It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Bon Jovi’s Because We Can tour was supposed to be the cherry on top of the cake, the proverbial rock n’ roll revival that would see them trek around the world like they have so many times before.
A triumphant homecoming stop in New Jersey in June and rumblings about a possible Super Bowl appearance in 2014 might have been all this band needed to get nominated, and finally voted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
Hindsight is always 20-20, but it seems a cruel joke indeed that the band’s new record, What About Now asks a very specific question as it pertains to the continued absence of Jon Bon foil Richie Sambora.
When will the two see past ego and self-absorption to do the right thing and put Humpty Bon Jovi back on the wall to finish this tour’s obligations to millions of fans holding tickets for the incarnation of the band they all want to see?
That is, Richie to Jon’s right (facing the audience) where he has always been, and forever belongs.
So what about now?
Sadly, according to public reports in the London Daily Mail Online, what was once the Bon Jovi organization saying Mr. Bluesman has left the building for ‘this leg of the tour’ has now turned into very personal sniping that hurts the band and the brand, and has loyal fans of either side at each others' throats like rabid dogs...or, simply bailing on all the mirth and mayhem.
In an interview with the Evening Standard reported on DailyMail online, band namesake Jon Bon Jovi, 50, finally dropped hints that Sambora’s absence is due to a more specific personal problem than just fatigue or bad gas.
“It’s getting more and more difficult everyday to not just sit here and say something (notice the implied threat?)…because all I can say is this, it’s for personal reasons”, he said.
Taking an accusation disguised as a cop-out further, the lion-maned maestro of this traveling minstrel show said, “He’s been through it before (implied drug use), fortunately for us the same guy who filled in last time was available this time”.
Sambora, who had been quieter than a titmouse in a crowded church on Sunday morning promptly fired back, “Jon needs to stop talking about me publicly. I am fine, working very hard on my fashion company Nikki Rich and this is a private matter”.
What about now, indeed?
For good measure, Sambora took to Twitter Thursday night to justify the importance of his work with Nikki Rich, pointing out that he has been running the company for five years as if that would suffice to justify his absence.
Really guys? Is this the best you can do?!
As a person himself in recovery I’ll give you another theory as to what is going on that is purely opinion which is why they call these pieces ‘Op-Ed’. (This is where Bon Jovi Kool Aid drinkers get an itchy finger to block me on social media).
Rule Number One in ANY recovery program whether it be Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) is the person in recovery make no major decisions or life-altering actions for the first year they are sober and in recovery.
This doesn’t mean that life should come to a halt or that you crawl under a rock; it is a bow to the fact that people in recovery were recently NOT in their right minds when they stopped drinking or drugging, and that they should wait before making any major life-altering moves while still groggy.
Mr. Sambora threw caution to the wind and broke this guideline with extreme prejudice.
Right out of rehab he recorded and released his third CD Aftermath Of The Lowdown, ventured out on a solo tour in support of it complete with Runaway Tours Meet-N-Greet packages, and oh by the way, broke up with on-again off-again bimbette Denise Richards.
This alone is enough to challenge anyone’s continued recovery.
But then Jon Bon calls to lay down tracks for What about Now, the band plays one-off shows when they should have been on total hiatus, and then they embark on another tour across the globe.
And anyone in or out the band has the audacity to question what this is about?
Pure and simple, Sambora bit off way more than he could chew in too short a time in recovery and didn’t allow his personal glitter and dust to settle; and his employer Bon Jovi was insensitive in pulling the trigger on a new CD and tour so fast.
Let’s face it: they make more money on touring than they do on song royalties, so to continue to support lifestyles of all involved with the organization,, they don’t just need to tour; they have to tour.
So, what about now?
Unless these two brothers of another Mother have a Come To Jesus Meeting with the Pope---or at the very least with a good therapist or two---Richie Sambora will not be back for the remainder of this tour and that’s a damn shame because Bon Jovi fans don’t just shell out money for song sing-alongs.
They stand and sing and scream for entire shows because Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora have worked to make personal contact with each and every fan, and without Richie, that chain of emotional connection is broken.
Be sure to find and follow Glenn Osrin on Twitter @wizardofosrin