Richie Sambora promises he will reunite with Bon Jovi if the iconic American band is inducted into the Rock’n’roll Hall Of Fame in April.
He wouldn’t miss it – dead or alive.
“It’s going to happen. It’s been a long time,” Sambora tells Weekender from his home in Los Angeles.
It would be sacrilegious if Sambora wasn’t there celebrating Bon Jovi’s inclusion into one of music’s most exclusive clubs.
Together with frontman Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora forged one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the late 80s and 90s, producing era-defining hits like Livin’ On A Prayer, Wanted Dead Or Alive and Keep The Faith.
The pair were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009.
The Rock’n’roll Hall Of Fame opened in 1986 and boasts the veritable cream of popular music talent like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and David Bowie.
Bon Jovi have previously been nominated and will compete with the Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, Dire Straits and Kate Bush to join the class of 2018.
“To get in that line, to get in that queue with all those people I grew up idolising, that’s what makes it,” Sambora says.
“I grew up make believing I was Paul McCartney, or Bob Dylan and they’re all in there. The fact that someone gives you a little nod is really good.”
If the induction happens it will be particularly exciting for Bon Jovi fans. It will mark the first time since 2013 that Sambora has performed with the arena rock legends.
However, the 58-year-old guitar maestro has hardly been keeping quiet since departing Bon Jovi’s rock juggernaut.
In the interim he has forged ahead by launching an electrifying duo, RSO, with his partner and Australian guitar goddess Orianthi.
Last year Sambora and Orianthi toured Australia and performed at the NRL Grand Final and then in September they released their debut EP Rise.
The five-track EP of polished modern rock was merely a taste of what the couple have created in their home studio.
“I think we have 70 songs in the can, or something like that,” Sambora says of writing with Orianthi. “We’ve written so much.
“The man-woman thing doesn’t really exist. Some people will get together in today’s world and do a single, but this is Ori and I and it’s an entity.
“I don’t think it’s happening out there any more. We know what to do. It’s not like this is our first time at the dance.”
The 32-year-old Adelaide-bred Orianthi might have been born a year after Bon Jovi’s debut album, but she’s hardly a newcomer to the rock’n’roll world.
Orianthi, full name Orianthi Panagaris, has been writing songs since she was 15 and jammed with the legendary Carlos Santana at 18. Then came her big break in 2009 when she performed in Carrie Underwood’s band.
That led to her being personally selected by Michael Jackson to perform on his This Is It tour, which was ultimately cancelled due to the pop icon’s death.
It’s not like this is our first time at the dance.Richie Sambora
However, Orianthi quickly recovered from the tragedy to become Alice Cooper’s first female touring guitarist from 2011 to 2014.
These successes in the traditionally male-dominated world of rock have made Orianthi a poster girl for aspiring female guitarists.
“Growing up I never thought about that, I just wanted to play guitar,” Orianthi says.
“I love to inspire more females to pick it up and be in the industry and be strong and empowering, but I also want to inspire guys too.
“It’s really cool I get so many messages through Facebook and social media saying ‘thank you so much for inspiring me’.”
Given both Sambora and Orianthi are renown for their wizardry on a fret board you can only imagine the guitar duels which happen in the lounge room.
Orianthi says their professional relationship never crosses the line into their personal one by becoming overly competitive.
“I think it’s just being able to inspire each other, like if Richie comes in with an idea, we’re working off each other,” she says.
“We bounce ideas around all the time and it’s a very creative atmosphere.”
Sambora agrees. “It’s basically common respect, that’s what it’s about,” he says. “We respect each other and what we’ve done and we live together.
“There’s the relationship part of that and then the business part.”
Richie Sambora and Orianthi headline the inaugural Under The Southern Stars with Jimmy Barnes at Tuncurry’s Harry Elliott Oval on January 6.