Why Richie Sambora Chose Bon Jovi Over KISS

Why Richie Sambora Chose Bon Jovi Over KISS | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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In the realm of rock and roll, Gene Simmons’ influence transcends the stage. Not only does he paint his face and rock stadiums with KISS, but he’s also a powerhouse behind the scenes. His keen eye for talent unearthed and propelled Van Halen to stardom, showcasing his knack for spotting potential.

But Simmons’ influence stretches further. He became a launching pad for many aspiring rock stars, offering them a taste of the big leagues before they landed in their iconic bands.

One such talent was a young guitarist named Richie Sambora, who would soon become synonymous with another legendary group: Bon Jovi.

So, what led Sambora to choose the path that made him a household name? Why did he forgo the chance to join the outrageous spectacle of KISS and instead become an integral part of Bon Jovi’s sound?

The list also includes Slash and Lenny Kravitz

Simmons recently shared some surprising insights on the Your Mom’s House podcast with Christina P. and Tom Segura. He revealed that during KISS’s long and successful career, several legendary guitarists actually tried out for the band, hoping to join the ranks of the rock and roll spectacle.

One such guitarist is Sambora, who went on to become a founding member of the rock band Bon Jovi. Sambora wasn’t alone in his pursuit of KISS stardom, though.

According to Simmons, Slash, the legendary guitarist from Guns N’ Roses, and the multi-talented musician Lenny Kravitz also took their shot at joining the band.

“I didn’t really want the gig”

In a 2016 interview, Sambora revealed that his experience with KISS wasn’t driven by a deep desire to join the band. He admitted, “I didn’t really know what I was doing back then, and I didn’t really want the gig.”

He felt that KISS was searching for someone who idolized them, something he didn’t identify with. While he enjoyed their music, his passion lay elsewhere. And besides, Richie felt KISS “wanted someone who worshipped them”.

This sheds light on the agency Sambora had in choosing his musical path. He wasn’t simply swept up by the opportunity with KISS but rather made a conscious decision based on his own interests and aspirations. This ultimately led him to Bon Jovi, where he found the perfect fit and co-created a musical legacy of his own.

A guitar legend in his own right

Sambora became an iconic lead guitarist for Bon Jovi, leaving an ineffaceable mark on the band’s sound. Alongside lead singer Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora formed the band’s main songwriting unit, contributing significantly to their massive success.

He also ventured into solo territory, releasing three albums: Stranger in This Town in 1991, Undiscovered Soul in 1998, and Aftermath of the Lowdown in 2012. Sambora’s talent and dedication were duly recognized in 2018 when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Bon Jovi.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Sambora continued to explore his musical passion. In the same year, he formed the duo RSO with Australian musician Orianthi. This collaboration produced two EPs and their debut album Radio Free America, released in May 2018.