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December 07, 2007

Bon voyage

Richie Sambora and Bon Jovi are enjoying their trip to Canada -- the band's 'second home'

Bon Jovi have launched their latest world tour in Canada because the New Jersey rockers consider their neighbours to the north their second home.

So says guitarist Richie Sambora as the band prepares to launch the second leg of their Canadian tour tonight and tomorrow at the Air Canada Centre.

Bon Jovi return for two more ACC dates on March 10 and 12.

"We love Canada because we really, really broke out here in Canada," Sambora, 48, recently told Sun Media in an Canadian newspaper exclusive.

"We recorded (1986's) Slippery When Wet in Vancouver so we feel like it's a second home to us, and Montreal and Toronto have always treated us fantastically as far as cities go. We really lived in Canada for three albums (the other two were 1988's New Jersey and 1992's Keep The Faith). Let's face it, we made three of the most important albums of our lives here in Canada. Starting out with the most important one I think, Slippery When Wet, which is the one that was our breakout record. We were at that point where it was either going to go or it wasn't -- and it really hit big."

It also didn't hurt that Bon Jovi's latest country-tinged album, Lost Highway, was No. 1 for three consecutive weeks in Canada.

And, just to be clear, before actually launching the Canadian tour in Montreal on Nov. 14, Bon Jovi played 10 consecutive nights at the brand new Prudential Centre in Newark, N.J.

"It was kind of a great way to open things up," Sambora said. "Because it gave us a chance over 10 nights to do every song we ever knew and we saw everybody we've ever known, everybody and their mother, and our mothers, too. We did it to help this city rebuild itself, being sons of New Jersey."

And despite recent rumours, Sambora says Bon Jovi frontman Jon Bon Jovi isn't making a run for New Jersey governor anytime soon.

"I will be his evil vice-governor," joked the guitarist, who is also Bon Jovi's songwriting partner. "I have no idea how it got started but I think it's really funny and so does he. The ironic part of it is I believe he'd probably make a better governor than the guy that's in there -- easily, easily. It's never even entered his mind. Somebody must have put two and two together and it just went crazy.

"You know Jon knows the political arena very, very well. He's been involved with it at different times and realizes that it's kind of a tough game. And I think if he wanted to get involved in it, he'd be really good at it. I don't think he wants that kind of life."

Keeping the rock 'n' roll life fresh for the band, whose worldwide sales during the past 25 years now total 120 million, are the crowds they get to play to every night.

"I think the reason that we're still around after all these years is that we make music that people relate to," Sambora said. "We still have records that go to No. 1 and the music remains contemporary. And I think it's a contact sport. Really, that's the great thing. Look, if the band got together 20,000 times and played for just us, that would be a no-go.

"It's kind of like sex, if you have it with yourself too often it's not that good. But if you have it with 20,000 people in a different city every night, it's pretty good. That's what it really comes down to and we get a chance to go out and do that and it's really the audience that gives us the energy and makes it a special time for us."

Sambora says the country element to the new album, Lost Highway, has meant adding a pedal steel guitarist and fiddler on the road but the new songs are blending really well with the old rock hits. The bottom line, he says, is the group is having just as good a time as the audience.

"The fact that the band is enjoying it after so long and so many years of being together and perfecting our craft over the years, not only as record makers, but also as live performers, I think people can bet when they come see a Bon Jovi show that they're going to walk out with a smile on their face."

Posted by riesambo at December 7, 2007 06:18 AM