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Richie Sambora says his role in Bon Jovi was to “shut the f**k up”

Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz / Getty)

Richie Sambora has said that he felt obliged to keep quiet about his role in penning Bon Jovi songs, telling Nile Rodgers “that was part of my deal, to shut the fuck up.”

The guitarist – who left the band in 2013, stating that he wished to spend more time with his family – was appearing on Nile Rodgers Deep Hidden Meaning Radio on Apple Music. Their discussion starts by looking at the perception around his role in the band. 

“A lot of people don’t know… but you’re like singing on everything,” comments Rodgers. “It’s strange because when the band has a front guy and the band has the front guy’s name, you think that all the singing is the front guy.”

Sambora then chimes in, “And all the writing. That was part of my deal: to shut the fuck up. If I had a coffee place, the sign would say, ‘Have a hot steaming cup of shut the fuck up.’ That would be my coffee place. And you know what? Guess what? I did it. And it worked out because that's what he needed, for whatever reason.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Sambora discusses the writing of the band’s signature song, Wanted Dead Or Alive.

"I thought if the band was going to have any longevity, we needed a banner song for guys,” says Sambora, who had noticed their fans tended to be female.

"And I had this idea, Wanted Dead or Alive. And I got stoned one day, and I was sitting in my mother's basement waiting for Jon to bring me a pizza so we could get going. And I came up with that riff and I went, ‘Well, that's pretty easy.’

“And it's a very simple riff,” he continues. "It seems like it's hard to play – it's not hard to play at all. And it made girls able to bring their husbands and their boyfriends, [who] didn't feel like they had to go hide someplace.”

Sambora has only played with Bon Jovi once since leaving the band in 2013, appearing at their induction to the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall Of Fame in 2018. However, Sambora has previously told Rolling Stone “there ain’t no malice”, in his relationship with singer Jon Bon Jovi.

Check out Richie Sambora’s full interview with Nile Rodgers on Apple Music.

Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.