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April 01, 2008

Bon Jovi saying goodbye to yesterday

Nashville-hatched 'Lost Highway' takes band down some country roads

With Lost Highway, Jon Bon Jovi and the band he fronts took their dabbling in country music to a new level. The New Jersey pop-metal band is all over country radio with the Nashville-hatched album, and they're taking it on yet another world tour.

Bandmates Richie Sambora, Tico Torres and David Bryan recently sat with a group of reporters to talk about the tour. Here is that interview, edited with extreme prejudice, because if there is any group of people more inarticulate than rock stars, it's music writers.

Sambora on his recent rehab/divorce trials. (The interview took place before Sambora's arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence last week in California.)

"Obviously, just because you're, you know, a rock-and-roll star, doesn't make you exempt from any of life's tragedies that happen. I had a couple of them kind of mount up on me a bit. But the band is obviously a great, great aid in pulling me up and helping me out of all those situations. . . . About a week after I got detoxed and stopped all that stuff, I went right back to work. And we just started touring and (doing) promotion on the Lost Highway album. Between the band and the fans in my face, (they) got me through it."

Sambora on being involved with picking new bands like Evanescence to open their shows:

"We all discuss it. . . . We don't care if you're a country band, if you're a younger band, if you're an older band, if you're a blues band . . . We like to give young bands a new chance because when we were younger, bands gave us a new chance by being an opening act. And we really respect that because that's a great thing to do for a younger band. . . . It's getting harder and harder and harder to figure out (how to succeed) because all the businessmen, and the old model is failing, and the new model needs to work. So any chance we have to give a new act a chance, no matter what genre they are in, we usually do it."

Was there a song you thought was ordinary that turned into a huge hit?

Sambora: "Who Says You Can't Go Home was one of them . . . We are the first rock band that ever had a No. 1 country hit for a couple of weeks. That was something that we all kind of scratched our heads. But we were happy it went down."

Sambora on writing Lost Highway in Nashville:

"In Nashville, there's a lot of great songwriters and, you know, we kind of fancy ourselves as good songwriters also because it seems that we get to people with our lyrics and our music. So, I mean, it was like a natural progression and a natural 'Why not try that?' and see what happens. . . . We walked in there with a blank pad and a pen. We had no idea what was going to go on. And we kind of cruised. (Jon) got a rent-a-car and we went over to people's houses and just wrote. And it was Â? it was mind-blowing."

Sambora on having Daughtry on tour with Bon Jovi:

"Chris is unbelievable. I mean, obviously, he was a fan of Bon Jovi's when he was on American Idol there. He was doing a bunch of our songs and stuff like that. And so he was a fan, and he had a lot of respect for what we did. And as far as musical style, he doesn't seem like he needs a lot of help, man . . . He's got a good record for himself, and, you know, he's out making a name for himself around the world, and he's doing a really, really good job. We kind of became fast friends with him, and it was one of those that just was kismet."

Advice for new bands:

Sambora: "Hold on to your publishing and pray."

What did Led Zeppelin mean to you?

Torres: "Who?"

Sambora: "Are you kidding me? . . . What an amazing, amazing band. I mean, obviously, one of a kind and a complete mystique, an enigma and probably one of the heaviest bands of all time. Amazing songwriters. I mean, four of the greatest musicians that ever graced the rock 'n' roll stage as far as I'm concerned."

Bryan: "The reason why we are us is because of them. I mean, that their records influence us . . . and that was just like a new planet coming into the solar system. They just broke new ground and affected everybody on earth."

Posted by riesambo at April 1, 2008 06:22 AM