Longtime Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, who left the group in 2013, said he always wished the band had been more of a full group project instead of a showcase for frontman Jon Bon Jovi.
"I thought we should have made more strides to become a band,” Sambora told Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon, adding that the group began to stray from its original intent as far back as its second album, 1985's 7800 Degrees Fahrenheit. “It was going towards Jon being the front-guy and nothing else. I kept on going, ‘American rock 'n’ roll band, American rock 'n’ roll band, American rock 'n’ roll band.’”
In addition, Sambora said he was unhappy with the sound of 7800 Degrees Fahrenheit since producer Lance Quinn had “double-booked himself” and was unable to devote his full efforts to Bon Jovi. “That really, really kind of made things a little tense,” Sambora said. “If that record … sounded like a Bob Rock production, it would have been a whole different story.”
Sambora also confirmed reports that current Bon Jovi bassist Hugh McDonald (who was a session musician for the band until 2016) contributed more to Bon Jovi's early albums than the group's official bassist Alec John Such. “He did at the time because ... this is no knock on Alec. Alec, you know, takes a little longer to come with a part or whatever, and we were moving pretty quickly. [Hugh has] been the bass player in the band for all this time and created some of those parts. Hugh definitely helped out.”
Sambora, whose split with Bon Jovi was initially less than amicable, apparently has made peace with his past and appeared with Bon Jovi last month at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
"[It] wasn’t awkward or anything like that," he said. "I was there for 31 years. It was easy, fun.”