Richie Sambora compares exiting Bon Jovi to leaving mafia

Former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora doesn’t regret leaving the rock band but does think he could have gone about it differently.

Last Updated on April 30, 2024

Richie Sambora

It’s hard to picture so many rock bands without the lead vocalist and guitarist pairings: Mick and Keith, Steven and Joe, Jon and Richie…But not all of these partnerships last. It has now been over a decade since Richie Sambora left Bon Jovi. And while he doesn’t regret the decision to leave the arena rockers after 30 years of hits and hairspray, he’s not entirely proud of how he did it.

Ahead of the second leg of their 2013 Because We Can Tour, Richie Sambora left Bon Jovi, undoubtedly the biggest change in membership for the band since forming in the early ‘80s. But with so much bad medicine in his mouth, he had no choice. As Richie Sambora revealed in Hulu’s docuseries Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, “I don’t regret leaving the situation, but I regret how I did it…So I’d like to apologize fully right now to the fans, especially, and also to the guys, because my feet and my spirit were just not letting me walk out the door.” He added, “I guess if you’re in the mafia, the only thing you possibly do is disappear. And I did.”

Richie Sambora was an integral member of Bon Jovi not just as guitarist but co-writer on a number of the band’s hits, including “Livin’ on a Prayer”, “Wanted Dead or Alive”, “It’s My Life”, and “Have a Nice Day.” On collaborations of this magnitude, Sambora said, “Jon and I touched the planet with those songs. You realize that you were warriors that love each other, watched each other’s backs, told each other the truth. If anybody doesn’t think that we were Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jimmy [Page] and Robert [Plant], any way you wanna slice it…come on!”

Richie Sambora has mostly stayed away from Bon Jovi, although he did jam with them at their 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, stepping back on the stage for a quartet of songs, including Slippery When Wet hit “You Give Love a Bad Name”.

What is your favorite Bon Jovi song? What has the band been missing since Richie Sambora left?

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.