Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora has been in the public eye over the past few years thanks to his much-publicized breakup with Heather Locklear, his on-off relationship with Denise Richards, two stints in rehab and a 2008 drunk-driving arrest.
The guitarist has chronicled his feelings about all those things in his new solo album, “Aftermath of the Lowdown,” in stores this week after being digitally release last week.
This is only the third solo album of Richie’s 35-year career; his last one came out in 1998. If you ask him why it’s taken so long for him to make another one, well, he’s been a little preoccupied with his day job.
“Obviously, the band has been very, very busy over the last decade and I didn’t really have a chance to actually fit anything in there,” he told ABC News Radio. “But when I got done with this last tour in August, I was completely energized. These songs started to come out. The album started to take shape and I said, ‘Well, time to do a record.’” He said in writing these songs, “I was able to take stock in my life and own some stuff.”
His “stuff” is his feelings about what he calls his “trials and tribulations” over the past seven years or so, which he examines in songs like “You Can Only Get So High,” “Learnin’ How to Fly with a Broken Wing” and one, “Weathering the Storm,” that he co-wrote with Elton John’s songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.
“It took a damn long time for my demons to catch up with me,” said Richie of the crash that eventually led him to rehab twice, most recently in 2011. “I was running pretty fast for a long, long time … [but] I would gauge myself [by] the people I was hanging with, and they were doing, like, 10 times more than me so I thought I was OK!” Eventually, Richie said, he “reached his quota,” adding, “I’ve had enough … I’m full to the brim now … I don’t feel deprived or anything like that. I don’t really have any regrets about it, either.”
As for his personal life, which he also wrote about for the new album, Richie said he’s still open to love despite some bad experiences. “I want a relationship. I really, really do,” he told ABC News Radio. “I mean, I would never say that I would never get married again. I would certainly want more children if I found the right person to have them with.” He laughed, “I’m not put off at all, man … I wanna be in a relationship! So, anybody out there hearing this, I’m taking resumes right now!”
Of course, any woman who Richie dates has to pass muster with his teenage daughter Ava, whose mom is Heather Locklear. Several songs on “Aftermath of the Lowdown” were inspired by her, including the single “Every Road Leads Home to You.” “She’s very critical of who I see and who I don’t see,” laughed Richie. “She’s always telling me, ‘Dad, she’s too young. It’s inappropriate.’”
Next month, Richie has three North American solo shows booked, in Philadelphia, Toronto and New York City. Earlier in the month, he’ll be touring Europe. But next year, he’ll turn his attention back to Bon Jovi: the band’s new album is due in March. So what does it sound like?
“It’s obviously an evolution but it’s still, you know … we’re writing songs to fill stadiums … Let’s face it,” he told ABC News Radio. “It’s gotta be those kinda songs that have a good, positive message … it’s basically what we do, and it’s some new production ideas, and stuff like that, so it sounds contemporary.”