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Richie Sambora: Performing Is ‘Kind of Like Having Sex With 70,000 People’

Bon JoviFor established acts, playing older tracks can get, well, old. But for Bon Jovi, performing live is almost a sexual experience, according to guitarist Richie Sambora, so that keeps it fresh.

“Honestly let’s put it this way — I’m not going to sit around in my house and play ‘Livin’ on a Prayer.’ But when I’m playing in front of people and I’m playing it for people it becomes something different,” said Sambora during a recent teleconference. “And it becomes an experience. And we’re proud of the songs that were the big hits that got through because those are the communicators and that’s what music is about the communication part of it.”

Sambora elaborated very colorfully, saying, “And I think I’ve said this before: But it’s kind of like having sex with 70,000 people when you’re playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band. You’re out there and the cool part about it is you know when you play a song like ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ or ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’” it’s going to be satisfying.

Sambora explained that ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ is a song that’s still relevant today. “That story is still going to be current,” Sambora said. “It’s kind of like a timeless story. Everybody is Tommy and Gina. Everybody’s been in that situation before.

“But it feels good to play those songs. I never get tired of playing ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ or ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ or ‘I’ll Be There for You,’ those kind of songs. And then we also play a lot of covers, too. Jon [Bon Jovi] will say, ‘Hey you guys. Got any ideas for any covers?’ And we’ll go, ‘Yes. How about Neil Young, ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’?’ Then bang we just do it. ‘Helter Skelter’? Bang we do it.”

Bon Jovi are touring in support of their latest album ‘The Circle,’ which is a marked departure for the band. “I think it’s really about growing up I think,” said drummer Tico Torres, during the same teleconference. “Obviously on this record there’s not a lot of boy/girl songs.

“It’s not like we’re singing about like being on the road and girls and, you know, cars and things like that. We couldn’t have written this album if the world wasn’t in the state it was in. Jon and I were really conscious of what people were feeling around the world, you know, with the changes that were happening especially in our world.”

Torres explained the album was born out of a greatest hits collection on which the band was supposed to be working. They were supposed to pen a few songs for that, however, they got on a roll.

“Jon and I really got on a tear as far as a writing tear,” Torres said. “And then Obama became president, OK, so then we started feeling all this hope and all these other things that are happening and not even in our country but around the world because we are a leader. And then people feel the ripple effect all the way across the globe. Then the recession hit so then there was a lot of feelings to write about out there.”

The song ‘Working Man,’ for example, takes on people who are losing their jobs. “I related to it, particularly, because my dad worked in a factory,” Torres said. “And he got laid off periodically where he had to go find a job. So it was a cycle that came around so there’s stuff that, you know, you tap into in that respect.

“Our new single ‘Superman’ is probably the only kind of boy/girl song on the record. But, then again, you can take that into a place where the rescuer, Superman could be a fireman or a policeman or a doctor or a nurse or just a normal person doing just doing some good in the world, you know. So there’s a story on every street corner if you open your eyes.”

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