Richard "Richie" Steven Sambora (born on July 11, 1959), is an American rock guitarist, producer, musician, singer and songwriter who is the lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi. Along with frontman Jon Bon Jovi, he forms the primary songwriting unit of the band. He is also a solo artist, having released two solo albums; Stranger in This Town in 1991, and Undiscovered Soul in 1998.
Born to a Polish father, Adam C. Sambora, and an Italian mother, Joan Sienila, Sambora grew up in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. He attended Woodbridge High School there. He began playing the guitar at the age of 12 following the death of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix in 1970. From his early days Sambora was strongly influenced by blues and 60s rock 'n' roll. His most important influences were Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter and Jimmy Page and Joe Perry. He was also influenced by Spanish classical music and began a life long love of the Spanish guitar.
Sambora has occasionally taken over as lead vocalist on some Bon Jovi songs, most notably "I'll Be There for You" and "These Days" when played live on the Bounce, Have a Nice Day and the current Lost Highway tours. He has also performed "Stranger In This Town". One of the live performances of "Stranger In This Town", recorded during the Keep the Faith tour, was released on Bon Jovi's CD single "Dry County" in 1994.
Recent ventures have seen him compose television theme songs for both Entertainment Tonight and The Insider. He (along with Jon Bon Jovi) is part of the Ownership Group of the Philadelphia Soul, an Arena Football League football team.
Over the years, Sambora has been an ardent fundraiser for many charities, such as Dream Street, the Steve Young Foundation and Michael J Fox's Parkinson's charity. He has donated a lot of money privately to various cancer charities since the death of his beloved father, especially with recognition to both hospitals his father was treated at, Memorial Sloan Kettering and M D Anderson. Richie's fundraising with the charity Stand Up For a Cure allowed for three mobile full service hospital units to be brought to the streets of New York, two of which were named after his parents respectively. These units will hep to serve the community and help those afflicted with cancer as well as educate the public about the risks. Having learned about a girl who attended his alma mater, Woodbridge High, who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour that caused her to have several strokes and aneurysms post operation, Richie donated auction materials that were raised on WPLJ radio station, and he designed t-shirts for general sale. The auction lone raised $53,000 dollars which helped Kelly Mahon's family enormously with their mounting medical bills and the possibility of raising funds for adaptations necessary to their property if Kelly were to ever come home.
In May 2004, Richie Sambora was bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Kean University where he attended the awards ceremony and gave a speech of acceptance, even though he had attended Kean University as a freshman, but then dropped out to pursue a career as a professional guitarist and session musician.
Sambora made a cameo appearance in The Sims Superstar.
Sambora is featured on the track "Baby Rock Remix," from LL Cool J's upcoming album "Exit 13".
His first solo outing was Stranger in This Town in 1991, a blues-influenced album that was received well by many critics although commercially a relative flop partially down to the more adult tone of the record that was not instantly appealing to Bon Jovi fans. Eric Clapton played the lead guitar track on the song Mr Bluesman, backed by Sambora on acoustic guitars. He did a short US tour in support of the album, featuring Tony Levin (bass), Dave Amato (guitar), Crystal Taliefero (percussion) and Bon Jovi bandmates Tico Torres (drums) and Dave Bryan (keyboards). Ballad of Youth was released in the UK in summer 1991 and despite plugs from The Friday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1 the song barely skimmed the top 75.
Undiscovered Soul was Sambora's second solo album, released in 1998. The album was produced by Don Was. In support of Undiscovered Soul, Sambora toured Japan, Australia and Europe in the summer of 1998. The band featured Richie Supa (guitar), Ron Wikso (drums), Kasim Sulton (bass), Tommy Mandel (keyboards), Everett Bradley (percussion - Japan only), Gioia Bruno (percussion - Australia only) and Crystal Taliefero (percussion - Europe only).
He made a special guest appearance on Bo Diddley's 1996 album A Man Amongst Men, playing guitar on the tracks "Can I Walk You Home" and "Oops! Bo Diddley".
Sambora played on a recently released album called Lessons from a band called Message. The album was recorded in the early 1980s.
Sambora sings "Long Way Around" (background audio) during the final scene in the 1997 Steven Seagal action movie Fire Down Below and is featured on the movie's soundtrack.
Sambora also recorded the song "One Last Goodbye" on the soundtrack for the movie The Banger Sisters. He also covered Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" for the soundtrack of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, released in 1990.
In 2004, Sanctuary Records released a self-titled album which had been recorded in 1978 by Shark Frenzy, documenting Sambora's first recorded material. The mix tapes had been damaged in a flood and it had taken band member Bruce Foster to remaster them for them to be released so many years later.
Sambora co-wrote several tracks and played guitar on Australian rock/pop artist Shannon Noll's third album, called Turn It Up. It was released in Australia September 15, 2007.
On June 7, 2007, it was announced that Sambora was entering an "undisclosed rehab facility in Los Angeles" for treatment related to alcoholism. Following his release, he told an interviewer, "I was just drinking too much and I needed to get my life together. I'm still in therapy and stuff like that, but it's good. I'm great. I feel fine. He was released a little over ten days later, apparently so he could help with promotion for the newest Bon Jovi album.
On March 26, 2008, Sambora was arrested for drunk driving in Laguna Beach, California. At the time, his girlfriend and ten-year-old daughter were both in his Hummer. He was pulled over at 10:52pm after an officer noticed his car "weaving on the road", and when approached he "smelled like alcohol", but was "quiet and cooperative and didn't cause any problems." Due to the fact that his young child was in the automobile, he could have potentially faced child endangerment charges. At his May 2008 arraignment, he pled no contest "to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher", was fined $1,600, placed on probation for three years, and was required to attend alcohol education courses.
Sambora has been known to use a wide variety of equipment throughout his career. He is also famous for his extensive guitar collection, featuring more than 120 instruments.
In the 80s, Sambora mostly played Kramer, Jackson, Charvel and Hamer superstrats as well as modified and custom Les Paul models, such as his Rod Schoepfer model. In early-mid 1987, Kramer put out a Richie Sambora signature model with three humbuckers, pointy drooped headstock, gold hardware, star-shaped fingerboard inlays and a Floyd Rose Original locking tremolo, which quit production in 1989. Today it has been reissued by MusicYo, and is named "Jersey Star", no longer carrying Sambora's actual name. He had also used several other Kramer models, including a variety of custom ones ("one-offs"). His two most notable guitars from the Slippery When Wet album/tour were his Kramer Richie Sambora signature and a custom white Jackson with a Floyd Rose tremolo, HSS pickup configuration and a reversed Strat-like headstock. There is also another of his very famous guitars from Kramer, which is a Jersey Star signature double neck used on "Lay Your Hands On Me".
During the following years Sambora played various guitars, most notably a custom black Jackson, which featured only a humbucking pickup in the bridge position, Floyd Rose tremolo system and a maple neck and fretboard with a reversed Strat-like headstock, along with vintage Fenders and Gibsons.
In 1991, Fender issued a Richie Sambora signature Stratocaster model which featured an original Floyd Rose tremolo system and an HSS combination of DiMarzio PAF Pro humbucking and 2 Fender Texas Special single-coil pickups.
This guitar came in two versions; American and later in 1996, Japanese. US-made Sambora model featured an alder body with ash veneers and was available in Cherry Sunburst and Olympic White, while the Japanese version had an alder body with black paisley graphics (ltd) and a Snow White Finish. Other features included a one-piece maple neck/fingerboard with 22 frets and star-shaped position markers, as well as a 25dB active mid-boost circuit (US version only) with TBX (US & Japanese) tone controls and an active/passive push-button switch.
In 1998 the model has been updated with a vintage-style tremolo, a set of Fender Hot Noiseless single-coils, no-load tone circuit and a 12dB active mid-boost with a push-button bypass selector.
There was also a Mexican-made standard version of the instrument, featuring a DiMarzio PAF humbucking pickup in the bridge position and two standard single-coils in the neck and middle positions. The guitar also sported a rosewood fingerboard with 21 frets and white dot inlays, as well as a Floyd Rose II locking bridge. Both the US and Mexican-made Sambora models were discontinued in 2002. He still plays a variety of Fenders, apparently over 40 Stratocasters (mostly vintage, American Deluxe and Custom Shop models), such as the Telecaster doubleneck used on have a nice day. Sambora also has a '59s ash-bodied Telecaster used for these days on the current Lost Highway tour.
In the period of 2003-2006, he played a wide variety guitars on stage, including custom "Sambora" guitars built by his guitar tech Chris "Lumpy" Hofschneider, Zemaitis Guitars, Floyd Rose guitars, Zemaitis, Ovation, Taylor and Martin guitars, vintage and Custom Shop Gibson and Fender models, as well as guitars from his collection. One of the guitars built by his guitar tech features a fretboard made of both maple and rosewood, on an ash body with neck-through-body construction and a custom humbucking/single/single pickup layout. Currently, he mostly plays the custom black "Sambora" guitar (which is now a custom model called Sambora SA-2 for ESP LTD), different models of Gibson Les Pauls and Fender Telecasters and Stratocasters (American Vintage, American Deluxe, Custom Shop and other models).
Sambora used Ovation electric-acoustic guitars from the beginning of the 1980s until today. He played a custom-made doubleneck designed by his longtime guitar technician Gary "Gaz" Douglas which is featured on many unplugged versions of some other Bon Jovi songs) and a variety of other Ovations, such as Adamas.
In 2000, Taylor started the production of a Sambora signature model, a 6-string acoustic made of koa wood, called the RSSM. Only 100 were made, all in the year of 2000.All of his double neck acoustics feature a 6 string then 12 string, completely opposite of the normal manufacturing standard.
Since Sambora has been known to use his favourite Martin acoustic, among others, on a lot of recordings, Martin guitars put out two of Sambora's signature models in 2006, a 6-string and a 12-strings, based on his mentioned favourite 1930 Martin OM-45. He has also been seen using a Yamaha double neck acoustic at specific live shows.
Sambora also used Gibson and Guild acoustics, particularly a Guild F-50 12-string, which the song "Wanted Dead or Alive" was recorded with. He acquired it directly from the Guild factory due to the guitar having a finish flaw.
For most of the 80s and early-mid 90s, he used Marshall amplifiers, particularly the JCM800 models with 4x12" speaker cabinets and a variety of rack and pedal units (including effects). During his Stranger in This Town tour, Sambora used 2 Marshall JCM800 2203 heads and a Fender amp head (model not specified), with 3 4x12" Marshall cabinets. In 1995, Sambora started using Fender ToneMasters with Fender ToneMaster 4x12" speaker cabinets, following the These Days Tour. On tour, he used up to 12 cabinets on stage. For the studio sessions of his second solo album, Undiscovered Soul, he also used a Fender Bassman 4x10" combo and a Vox AC30. On the tour, he used Fender ToneMasters, a Marshall amp head, a Vox amp head and a VHT Pitbull in combination with Fender ToneMaster 4x12" and 2x12" speaker cabinets. In 2000, Sambora started using the Marshall JCM2000 DSL series (both on the tour and recording sessions of Crush). The song "It's My Life" was also recorded with a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier. He has also used the Marshall DSL series on the Bounce tour, as well as a Hughes & Kettner amp, occasionally. During their Have a Nice Day tour, Sambora used Diezel and Divided by 13 amplification and custom made 4x12" speaker cabinets. During the studio recording sessions of the Lost Highway album, he used Matchless, Bogner Ecstasy and Diezel Herbert amps. In 2007, he started appearing on stage with 2 halfstacks, again featuring Marshall JCM2000 DSL amplifiers and custom made 4x12" cabinets.
Sambora uses gauge .009 strings in the studio and gauge .010 strings live (usually tuned half step down), with the action set relatively high.
In 2008, Sambora began to use a Matthias Jabs Mastercaster, along with vintage guitars, such as a 1958 Gibson ES-335, and a 1954 Gibson Les Paul Junior.
His pedal setup includes the following: BOSS CS-3 Compression Sustainer
Keeley Mod BOSS SD-1
VOX V847A Wah (before he used a Dunlop Crybaby)
Frampton Talkbox (before he used a Heil Talkbox)
Fulltone Chorlange (recently discontinued in production)
Hep to have pep ; North Idaho College cheerleading squad comes into; its own by placing in its first-ever national competition
Feb 08, 2003; Organized cheerleading has been around since the late 1800s, when students at the University of Minnesota decided their winless...