Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Richie Sambora on Les Paul

(October 8, 2012)

From Gibson.com:

From June, 1995

Twenty-three years ago, a feature article in Guitar World began with these words: “On a humid New Jersey night in early July, Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora sat on an empty dock on the Manasquan River chatting with guitar legend Les Paul. It was well after midnight, and while a party was in full swing just a hundred yards away, Sambora and Paul were left to themselves as they talked about music, the industry and guitars.”

That night marked the beginning of an extraordinary friendship, a near father-son relationship between Paul and Sambora that continued to deepen right up until Paul’s death in 2009. In the following interview, the Bon Jovi guitarist talks about what he learned from Paul, and how much the legendary innovator meant to him. The chat concludes with a question about Sambora’s remarkable new album, Aftermath of the Lowdown, and the latest news about Bon Jovi.

Was Les Paul the same in private as he was in public?

To me he seemed the same, yes. I happened to have an extremely close relationship with Les. We talked all the time, from the time I met him in 1988. A dear friend of mine brought Les over to my house, as a surprise, for a birthday party I was having. Les brought this beautiful white Les Paul guitar for me as a gift, that evening. We became fast friends that day, and that friendship never stopped.

Did you play together often, privately and in public?

I jammed with him everywhere from Fat Tuesday’s to The Iridium, in New York, many times. And of course I spent lots of time at his house. Russ, his son, said Les looked at me more as a family member than as a peer. Oftentimes, whenever we spoke on the phone, the last thing we would talk about was music. We would talk for hours. It was an amazing relationship. He asked me to induct him into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and we played together that night. We remained very close right up to his death.

What sort of advice did he give you, about music or other matters?

His life was a model. It was almost a fatherly role. We did talk a lot about business. A lot of the advice he gave me was business advice, and a lot was about staying young, staying creative. That was the essence of his life. He stressed the importance of always keeping busy, of having things to do, and keeping your mind flexible and nimble. Of course he also stressed the importance of continuing to play. The guy played those Monday night shows until he was 93.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

~ Hath


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