Q&A: David Bryan talks Bon Jovi tour, Sambora’s absence

Bon Jovi - including Tico Torres, David Bryan and Jon Bon Jovi - plays Lincoln's Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday. Find information and tickets here. (photo by David Bergman)

Bon Jovi – including Tico Torres, David Bryan and Jon Bon Jovi – plays Lincoln’s Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday. Find information and tickets here.
(photo by David Bergman)

Bon Jovi is always a good time. I saw the band back in April and, despite the glaring absence of guitarist Richie Sambora, the band packed it in and played all the hits.

The rock band and its super-hits head back to Nebraska on Sunday for a show at Pinnacle Bank Arena, and I called keyboardist David Bryan while the band had a day off in Dallas. (20 more shows to go this year, Bryan said, until they can take a real break.)

“We’re still having fun and we’re kicking ass,” Bryan told me.

Kevin Coffey: Do you know when Richie Sambora might rejoin the band?

David Bryan: I don’t know. The ball’s still in his court. Until he’s all great and helping us out, I don’t know.

There’s trials and tribulations in a band. This too shall pass. Everything will be good.

KC: You guys are playing a lot of songs from your new record, “What About Now.” What do you like about that record?

DB: When we came out with it in the beginning, we played a lot of songs from that album. We’re still playing a bunch of songs from the record, and then the songs you know. It’s a good old big party-time like we always do.

KC: Jon occasionally likes to call an audible and play a random song in the middle of the set. How do you guys handle that?

DB: Usually for the tour, there’s about 80 songs in our brain. The audible is welcome, and it doesn’t faze us. I’ve been doing it for 30 years, and there’s a tune-up room backstage. We can refresh any ones that are in your brain. That’s fun. We like it when we’re not a choreographed show that’s with all backing tracks.

Our show is about how the audience feels. It’s live, no jive.

KC: What about the songs you have to play like “Livin’ on a Prayer?” 

DB: We have to play “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “Bad Medicine.” We have to play them and we want to play them, and that’s what we’re supposed to do. It’s like going to see The Beatles and them not playing your favorite song. It’s not the right thing to do.

KC: You’ve been going for 30 years. Is there anything you guys still want to do?

DB: One of the challenging things is staying a band and staying current. We strive to do both of those. We’re proud of having a new record out and touring on new songs not just being a nostalgia act.

KC: You guys have kept making music, which not all of your contemporaries have done. Is that important to the band?


DB: That’s what we strive for. We don’t want to just be known for what we did. We want to be known for what we do and what we did. We’ve been highly productive since 2000 when “Crush” came out. The last 13 years, we’ve probably been home for four and touring for nine years.



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10 Responses to Q&A: David Bryan talks Bon Jovi tour, Sambora’s absence

  1. Julia says:

    I’m with David, I think that after a real break, everything will be ok again. Jon should try to do something else during a couple years, and give everyone enough time to work on and promote their solo things. He’s a super talented guy, he’s involved in great philanthropic projects and he’s got a great family, there will be a lot of things to do outside the band. I’m gonna miss them but they need a break. I’m sure we’ll all be there when they’ll decide to come back.

  2. Torsten Wolf says:

    I have enjoyed bon jovi shows 5 times. I’m a fan since ’01 and it was always a great concert experience.I mean, phil x is doing his best for the show.I’ve seen Richie 4 times, at least 2011 on my 33 birthday. It was so great. And one part who makes bon jovi concerts so magic like is the fact of Jon and Richies treatment with eachother. You can tell me how hard phil works to fill in Richies solos but i’ll never be enough.It’s techniqually but it’s without the wrong soul. Jon always said that he and Richhe are like brothers. I don’t have to see it, i can feel it. This kinda passion of them both is not replaceable.

  3. Joe says:

    Richie Sambora is the reason why Bon Jovi is not a one hit wonder. Wanted, Prayer, Medicine – Slippery wouldnt have happened without Richie – Jon would have been as obscure today – as much a flash of the pan as White Lion without Sambo – Much of Jovi’s repitoire other than the love songs are more a contribution and tribute to Richie than Jon can ever claim credit for. I hope Jon acknowledges this every time he opens up his mouth on stage and looks to his right and sees what his selfishness has cost him. I have seen Bon Jovi more times than I am proud to admit – and I will never see them again without Richie — and neither should any of you fans. Their show without Richie is a cheap carnival act that only serves the purpose of pleasing and the women in attendance with strategic and timely ass shaking. Save your money people – SAMBORA ROCKS!

  4. The Chalupa says:

    Long-time Bon Jovi fan. Have seen them a handful of times, and have listened to their music for decades. I have to say that it has always been disheartening to hear Jon’s voice go further down-hill into a nasally mess with each passing year, but I over-looked it because I loved Richie’s playing and the one song per show where he’d take lead vocals. Richie’s vocals have always had a warm, folksy tone, and were powerful. But without Richie, there just isn’t anything to look forward to. I’d probably feel differently if Jon’s voice was still decent, but the fact is that Bon Jovi in 2013 is not the Bon Jovi that we grew up with in the 80s and 90s. That band is completely gone.

  5. Chris Swindells says:

    I totally Agree Sold All my tickets not bon jovi anymore sorry Phil x just does not do it isle of Wight was awful !try as he will he just doesn’t get it right. The atmosphere and chemistry isn’t there without Richie .decided wasn’t feeding Jon bovis ego any more .samboro has to come back for true fans or for them they are a defunked band !

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  10. Stamatis says:

    I’m a big Bon Jovi fan. I’ve seen the band live many times from 1990 till 2013. In the last concert Phil X was playing in the place of Richie in the beginning of the European Tour. PhilX is a great guitarist BUT the chemistry with Jon and the rest of the band and feeling on stage was NOT there. This is not his fault, the other guys have been together for 30 years. Richie does not just play guitar for the band. He’s a co-writer, co-singer and founder. Anyway. I agree that the band needs a break. Everyone should loosen up, do their own things and then they will come back with great songs AND Richie!!!