Jon Bon Jovi on Split With Richie Sambora, His Inspiration Ahead of New Album

Sambora left the group unexpectedly in 2013.

ByABC News
October 14, 2016, 7:55 AM

— -- After 33 years and 130 million albums sold, Jon Bon Jovi is not slowing down.

"Writing a song, to me, is the closest thing that I'll ever know to immortality because it’s something that’s going to last forever,” he said in an interview with "Good Morning America" co-anchor Michael Strahan.

The band is coming out with a new album, "This House is Not for Sale," which took three years to write, and is the first without original lead guitarist Richie Sambora, who left the group unannounced in 2013.

“Everyone says, ‘Well, what happened?’ We were in Calgary. The last album was entering the charts at No. 1. We're sold out every single night. It's show No. 21, and the short of it is, Ritchie just didn't show up at the show,” Bon Jovi said. “And we haven't seen him in person since. There was no fight. There was no money. There was nothing I swear in my whole career, and he'll tell you the same thing. So we went on.”

Bon Jovi reflected on his life and career in a candid interview with Strahan along with bandmates Tico Torres and David Bryan ahead of the group's 14th album release.

“It’s a continuation of the journey. We couldn't try to rewrite ‘You Give Love a Bad Name.’ I'm not 25 anymore. But where we're at right now, I feel like we have a lot to say and nothing to prove,” he said. “We're not going to try to keep up with the hot, young kid.”

The album title, "This House is Not for Sale," is meant to evoke “integrity,” Bon Jovi explained.

Despite their success, the group said there was no guarantee a song would become a hit.

"‘Living On a Prayer’ almost never made it," said Torres.

“Ritchie had to tell me, ‘You're outta your mind,’ yeah, yeah, yeah,” Bon Jovi recalled.

Through career highs and lows, the lead singer said his 27-year marriage with his high school sweetheart Dorothea and their family have been a stable presence in his life.

"I found the right girl when I was in high school. I love her more every day. She makes me smile inside and out. I'm just blessed," Bon Jovi said.

The proud father of four said his eldest daughter, Stephanie, 23, and son, Jesse, 21, grew up around their dad's rock-and-roll lifestyle and "completely understand it." But to his younger kids, he’s just a dad.

"The younger ones, they get it, but they don't like it. They're not coming to this show," he said. “Jake, my 14-year-old, it's all coming into focus for him. He's like, ‘Really?’ And I'll go, ‘Yeah.’ You know, he goes, ‘I just thought you sit on the couch.’"

The singer has been busy off-stage with the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation's restaurant Soul Kitchen, a passion project for Bon Jovis.

The farm-to-table restaurant, once a former auto shop, has dished out 59,000 meals to both paying and non-paying customers in need of assistance through what he calls "meal volunteers."

"Our model is what we call 'pay it forward.' So if you were to come in, and you want to directly affect change, you take our pay-it-forward card, which is placed on the table with what the model of the restaurant is. And you leave a $20. It covers your meal, and it covers a meal for somebody who can't put down the same money," he said.

People can go in, work in the gardens, bus a table or wash dishes to actively participate in the pay-it-forward eatery, and some notable celebrities including former President Bill Clinton, and chefs Tom Colocchio and Mario Batali have gotten involved.

It’s this work, his family, and his music that makes Bon Jovi proud of the person he is today.