Ex-BON JOVI guitarist Richie Sambora says that it's been "wonderful" rehearsing with his former bandmates for their upcoming induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The "joyous occasion" will also see the return of ex-BON JOVI bassist Alec John Such, who left the band in 1993.
"We played live to millions of people over 31 years," Richie told Billboard. "Do I miss it? No — but the memories are good. It feels great to see everybody. We already rehearsed and it was wonderful, it wasn't awkward. The chemistry came back very quickly; it's matrixed into our muscle memory at this point. If you're on the road performing and touring for 30 years, [the Rock Hall ceremony] is just another cycle — and it's a good one, so here we go."
Asked how he found out about BON JOVI being inducted into the Rock Hall, Sambora said: "There were murmurings that came through about a week before the announcement or so, and I was not trying to get excited about it — because I figured, you never know. We've been nominated before [in 2011]. I had kind of put it out of mind, because we were looked over by the grand forefathers of the Hall Of Fame until this year. But I figured that, you know, one day, I'd get in. Maybe I'd be dead, but I'd still get in. [Laughs]
"Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is a milestone, without a doubt," he continued. "Like I said, I've tried not to get too excited about it for a long time, but I'm starting to get excited about it. I'm glad that I'm actually alive to get in there."
Richie also commented on the fact that BON JOVI received the most fan votes out of any other nominee — over one million.
"You don't go out and make music for the awards," he said. "You make music for the fans — that's the truth. And this award is all about them, because without them, there would be no Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. There would be no music business. Think about it: you put a concert on, and if the fans didn't show up, there ain't no concert."
BON JOVI, which has been eligible to be inducted into the Rock Hall since 2008 and was nominated only once before, will finally get the nod on April 14.
Sambora, who joined BON JOVI in 1983 and co-wrote most of the group's iconic hits over the following three decades, hasn't performed live with the band since he left the "Because We Can" tour in 2013.
In addition to BON JOVI, the 33rd annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame class will induct the MOODY BLUES, THE CARS, DIRE STRAITS, Nina Simone, and early influence gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
The event will take place at Cleveland's Public Auditorium with an edited version of the events airing at a later date on HBO.