That time Sambora was forced by Clapton to jam live

That time Sambora was forced by Clapton to jam live

Richie Sambora to most of the public and in a nutshell he is known as the “Talk Box” man behind the mega-hit “Living on a Prayer” of the Bon Jovibut beyond this role and those songs with the band in the guitarist’s artistic life there is a deep love for the blues.

The American musician (born in 1959) began playing the guitar at the age of 12, inspired by artists such as B.B. King, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton. Later in life, these would become much more than “just” heroes.

He had a strong relationship with BB King; Jimmy Page signed his band, the Mercywith Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label and finally in 1995 Eric Clapton ordered him to participate in a dream jam session at the Roxy. Richie Sambora certainly couldn’t ask for more.

In the latest issue of Guitar PlayerSambora looks back on his career, but most importantly talks about his acceptance by the blues community and the moment Slowhand gave him a poetic turning point.

“In 1991, as I was finishing “Strange in This Town”, I wrote a song, Mr. Bluesman”which was about a young guy like me who was following the blues guys,” he recalls. “I asked Eric Clapton if he wanted to play on it and he said yes.

“One day in March of 1995 he called me and said, ‘Richard, this is Eric…’ And I was amazed, because I’m still crazy and starstruck. He also said, ‘Tonight Buddy Guy, me and George Harrison We’re playing at the Roxy. You have to join us.”

“I jokingly say, ‘No, I’m looking at the fucking Price Is Right”, Eric?! … I’ll be there, I promise!”. In the meantime, I was shitting myself.”

Oddly enough, Harrison “did not show up”, replaced by John Lee Hookerprobably chosen among the many legendary names present in Clapton’s column.

“I played every lick I knew about three times faster—whatever I had to do to prove myself,” Sambora continues. “Buddy Guy would say, ‘Come on, come on!’ and Eric would laugh.”

“We blew the roof off the place and at the end when we were backstage Hooker looked at me and said, ‘Hey kid, was that you playing guitar up there on stage? Keep playing. You’re good.’ I got down on one knee and kissed his hand.”

Without a doubt, this is a moment that Sambora has never forgotten. As he himself says, his address book began to fill up and his idols became colleagues.

“Whenever Buddy Guy was around or I was around,” he concludes, “we’d call each other. It was the same with BB. I was accepted by the blues community. I did it for a living. I played in blues clubs for a reason and I loved every second of it.”

Sambora has recently released four new singles in 2024, his first solo releases since 2012’s “Aftermath of the Lowdown.”

“I Pray,” “Livin’ Alone,” “Songs That Wrote My Life,” and “Believe (In Miracles)” were released in consecutive weeks in April and May.