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May 23, 2008

‘We’re having a great time’

q&a Richie Sambora

Richie Sambora is the lead guitarist in Bon Jovi, who played at the Emirates Palace on Tuesday night. We spoke to him before the big concert in the capital.

How is touring now different from when Bon Jovi started out?

There’s a lot of big differences. We’ve been doing this for 25 years now, and we have a bunch of hit records. That makes a big difference, being able to go out there and play songs that people know. We have this arsenal of songs that are a fabric of people’s lives, and we have the poise and the knowledge to go out and make people happy. Plus, obviously, we know how to tour a lot more effectively now. How to be comfortable, how to take it easy on our heads and hearts.

Like what?

Like having our own jet. Staying in great hotels. Stuff like that – being able to be comfortable. And we’re having a great time. Selling 120 million records, being together for 25 years, being able to sell out stadiums all over the world. Plus we’re getting all kinds of accolades and awards. Jon and I just got inducted into the songwriter hall of fame and the European rock ’n’ roll hall of fame.

How is the Emirates Palace? Have you been able to see Abu Dhabi?

It’s unbelievable. We woke up yesterday morning and took a tour. Just kind of rode around looking at real life, going to markets. We had a sense that we might see some older stuff, but we didn’t, I guess because there isn’t any older stuff.

Are you going to go back to solo work anytime soon?

I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m dying to do it. But we’ve been having such great success over the last eight years that I haven’t had time.

Have you played in the Middle East before?

Nope. Never. But our audiences are pretty consistent around the world, especially in places where they don’t get a lot of acts, like Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Guatemala, Central America. Places where the last show was Santana in ‘77. When you go to places like that, they’re always very, very appreciative. And that’s why touring the world is a great thing. You get to feel some culture and do some sightseeing. Then everything you see seeps into the music. It’s impossible for it not to.

Have you picked out tonight’s set list yet?

No, not yet. We’re going to soundcheck in a few hours.

How does the selection happen?

Basically, Jon calls the set. The lead singer is your quarterback, like on a football team. His voice is a muscle, so he calls the set according to what the muscle is feeling.

Do you have any idea what your Abu Dhabi fan base is like?

No. But it’ll be interesting to find out. Then tomorrow we’ll fly to Germany to start our European tour and find out what our German fan base is like now.

Do you ever get tired of the travel?

Touring is a fun part of the cycle, so I don’t really get tired. The joy of bringing something that you came up with out of thin air to so many people is a joy. It’s part of what we do. It’s in our blood. And the only drawback to being a touring mechanism is missing your family.

Do they get to join you?

Absolutely. When we’re stateside, I’ll fly home on a day off if I’m anywhere close to home. And this summer, as soon as school lets out, the kids will be joining us in Europe, we’re going to have a plane to accommodate them.

How many guitars have you bought to Abu Dhabi?

Probably about 12. A couple of spares in case one goes down. They’re all different flavours. It’s like having different colours of paint. Music is like a pallette, but you paint with instruments like guitars. And different guitars give you different colours and shades.

Posted by riesambo at May 23, 2008 10:11 AM