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Bon Jovi's Sambora tries some different beats

The stadium shows might be on hold, but life on the road still holds some appeal for Richie Sambora.

FOCUSED: Sambora today  has made his peace with former Bon Jovi band mates and is making his own music.
FOCUSED: Sambora today has made his peace with former Bon Jovi band mates and is making his own music.

Last year saw the guitarist step away from Bon Jovi, the band he joined more than 30 years ago, amid a flurry of claims regarding the 54-year-old wanting to spend more time with his family.

Any dispute seems settled now, and Sambora appears focused on his own music, including an appearance in Glastonbury this week on stage with country legend Dolly Parton, and now a run of dates with his own band that stops off at the O2 ABC in Glasgow tomorrow night.

He believes his own gigs will deliver the feel of a bar band playing rock, the same as when he's with Bon Jovi.

"Bon Jovi was always a bar band, we just played stadiums," he says. "That's the way I always approached it. As the years have gone by, the improvisation level came down a bit for it but 30 years wasn't a bad marriage and there were a lot of great gigs.

"It's not over yet, it's just I needed to get back to my family - the last few tours were very arduous, the most recent one was 18 and a half months. I write the songs, co-produce the records and then there's the tours, and over 30 years I did that routine about 14 times. I missed a lot of family time and wanted to plug back into that."

The New Jersey native and his ex-wife Heather Locklear have a daughter, Ava, 16, who has already making acting inroads (she was in 2012 comedy This Is 40).

Sambora speaks cheerfully of their relationship, including trips every year to watch bands at the Coachella festival, and while he has no regrets over the time he spent helping turn Bon Jovi into one of the word's biggest rock bands, he's aware of the things he's missed.

"You miss a lot of real life, because you're in a cocoon. You just miss out on the little things, like parent/teacher night or your kid dressing up at Halloween.

"Since I've been home her grades are up, and I think kids need that masculine energy around the house and me just being there for her. It wasn't a popular decision but something I had to do."

His own music is continuing apace, though, and he spent part of last year working on songs for a new solo record, while also collaborating with the guitarist Orianthi, with whom it is rumoured he's now in a relationship.

"I've got three albums worth of music already written," he says. "When we started playing live, the musicians in the band started to really gel, and I thought we'd play some more shows, and then get in the studio and record too.

"The interesting thing about it is that there's a dexterity to it, we can cover it all. What I'm envisioning at the moment is a modern day Fleetwood Mac, there's both female and male vocals but Ori and I are playing anything from acoustic to the heaviest stuff going."

As for the subject of Bon Jovi, he's in good spirits about that, too. In the period after Sambora's departure was announced, he gave several interviews laced with thinly-veiled criticism. Now he strikes a conciliatory tone.

"I don't think I'm out of the band, there's still more to give. Everybody as an artist or a person needs some individual enrichment and that's what I'm doing."

He has other projects though, some more important than music. The guitarist is involved in a string of good causes, with his latest being an anti-heroin campaign. Given that Sambora has had a spell in rehab, problems with painkiller addiction and an arrest for drink driving, it's a cause he can relate to.

"A really good friend of mine of about 25 years standing came to me and said that in Ocean County, about 10 miles away from where I grew up, there's about 10 kids a month dying from heroin.

"So we went to some town hall meetings where you're looking into the eyes of parents who've lost their children. We've done gigs to get a rehab unit going, because there's nothing there at the moment. That's the next focus."

Richie Sambora plays the O2 ABC in Glasgow tomorrow.

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