Bon Jovi shakes things up on new disc
Bon Jovi circa 2016.
Bon Jovi’s 14th studio album, This House is Not for Sale, out now, represents a major shakeup in the New Jersey rockers’ lineup.
The disc is the band’s first in their 33-year history without lead guitarist-sometime singer and frontman Jon Bon Jovi’s songwriting partner Richie Sambora, who left the group before a Calgary show in 2013 mid-tour without explanation.
“It’s a different thing,” admitted keyboardist David Bryan alongside drummer Tico Torres in a teleconference call recently from London, England.
“But there’s new life, and I think when you have new people, you have new energy. You know, of course, we had some wonderful years with Richie, but if he wants to move on in his direction, it’s one of those things that you can’t avoid, and we carry on.”
Added Torres: “The band itself also went through a lot of angst. Richie’s a brother with us for many years – not something you brush off.”
Sambora’s immediate replacement on the road had a Canadian connection in the form of guitarist Phil X along with seasoned Bon Jovi producer and guitarist John Shanks in the studio for This House is not For Sale.
Both men will be touring with the band next year (Canadian arena dates are still to be announced).
“The both of them together, because they’re both so proficient, and this beautiful melody and sub-melodies going through, to be able to have the taste of not stepping on each other is – I mean, it’s pretty hip,” said Torres.
“It’s hard to find guys that are musical enough to be able to do that, and at the same time, be creative about it. So it’s an absolute delight, of course. That being new, it also spurs on our creativity, working together. And that translates into new avenues of music and experimentation. So it was very healthy and very enjoyable to record this record.”
Shanks and veteran songwriter-producer Billy Falcon also took over as Jon Bon Jovi’s main songwriter partner this time out too.
The band, who have sold an impressive 130 million albums worldwide, recorded This House is Not for Sale in the same studio - Avatar, formerly the Power Station - where they made their first album in 1983.
“It felt good to get in there and take these songs and really build them together,” said Bryan. “And that was John Shanks, myself, [bassist] Hugh [McDonald] and Tico and Jon. And then Phil came in and played a couple of solos. But it really was – that was the core then, over the last year, of making this record.”
Both Bryan and Torres insist they have no hard feelings towards Sambora, who also worked with Shanks over the years.