One day after the announcement that Richie Sambora will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside the other founding members of Bon Jovi next April, the guitarist is releasing a new song, “One Night of Peace,” that captures the spirit of the holiday season.
Sambora and his musical partner, former Michael Jackson guitarist Orianthi, will release an EP, “Making History,” on Friday, although “One Night of Peace.” is a stand-alone single. The EP is the follow-up to “Rise,” the first of what Sambora says are at leave five EPs that will be released under the pair’s project, RSO.
“It just rolls off the tongue,” Sambora says. “What were we going to call it? SambOrianthi? It seems okay!”
Written years ago, “One Night of Peace” was inspired by a close friend of the guitarist who served in the military during the first Iraq war. “That song was written twenty-something years ago, when the first invasion of Iraq happened,” Sambora tells Variety. “A good friend of mine was in the service and he called me the night before. He couldn’t tell me where he was — I imagine it would be Kuwait — and he goes, ‘Hey, I’m going in tomorrow. I can’t tell you for what and what I’m doing or anything like that, but do me a favor, can you take care of my kids?’ He had two kids and a wife, and he wanted me look out for them. That’s when the song really was born. It’s been sitting there for a long time.
“I usually don’t take songs from the past, but for some reason I think that song is going to be relevant at any time,” he continues. “I just performed on a TV show for the troops in New York [“Guitar Legends for Heroes,” airing Dec. 23 on Tribune affiliates] and there and it was not a dry eye in the house. It’s one of those songs that that can potentially really be around and be a real healing kind of song for a lot of people, because we all want one night of peace. It’s a pipe dream but let’s hope it happens.”
The “Making History” EP explores those themes as well as personal relationships, continuing the musical conversation began in September with the “Rise” EP, he says. “They’re really songs about hope and positivity,” Sambora says. “It’s about trying to be positive in such a wild time in this world when there’s so many crazy things that are happening.”
Others explore the couple’s relationship as it happens in “real time”—with many of the tracks recorded in the kitchen located in their home in Casablasas, Calif. “’Walk With Me’ is one of our favorites because it’s one of the earliest songs that we wrote together. It’s really about togetherness. I think if two people believe in the same thing, it’s a very powerful thing. If you got two 2,000 people and then 2,000,000 and then the whole world to believe in that, then you’ve got something.”
To bring the music to life, Sambora enlisted producer Bob Rock, who worked with Bon Jovi back in the ’80s.
“He is just unbelievable,” Sambora says. “Obviously Bob and I have a history — we sold maybe 70 something thousand million records or whatever together.”
There is more in store for 2018: Sambora and Orianthi wrote three songs just this week while on vacation in Hawaii. There are 25 masters finished, he says. Plus, there is the touring schedule, which includes shows in Australia, and a gig at Carnegie Hall honoring the music of Led Zeppelin on March 7.
“Jimmy Page is a good friend of mine and Robert Plant t is an acquaintance and it came through Stan Martin, one of Ori’s friends, and we’re looking forward to doing it.,” he says.
Having two musicians in the house is ideal for Sambora, who first got together with Orianthi when he needed a guitar player for an Australian solo tour. “People look at me as Jon Bon Jovi’s side guy and they look at her as Michael Jackson’s side arm,” he says. “They don’t know that we write songs and we can actually sing besides just being the shredding guitar people,” he says. “When people come to see Ori and I play, they see two people that are really sincere about what they do and we do have a lot of life experience in us, so we bring that to the table on every performance and every show. It’s really a beautiful thing,” he says.
And then there is the induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. Jon Bon Jovi told Variety that both Sambora and former bassist Alec John Such are welcome to join himself, drummer Tico Torres, Keyboardist Dave Bryan, bassist Hugh McDonald and new guitarist Phil X in the celebrations. Sambora says he has no problem with playing at the show.
“It’s wonderful to be recognized for your achievements,” he says.