"We have an open door policy at my house so you never know who is going to walk in. We've been working with Robby Krieger, Greg Allman and Billy Gibbons..... we're probably going to lay a new song on you guys at NAMM"
In this Exclusive Interview, Jonathan Graham catches up with Richie Sambora, ahead of their appearance at Namm 2017 to talk about the upcoming RSO album, his favourite guitar gear and their plans for this years Namm.
Hi Richie great to speak with you. So, you're going be hitting the Grand Plaza stage with RSO on Thursday at NAMM. Tell us more, what's the plan?
Well we're gonna go have a good time, check out some stalls and booths and jam, that's what you do at the NAMM Show. I'm a gear-head, I love gear and I love collecting gear. So it's great.
And what about your new project with Orianthi, we're really looking forward to hearing it, any chance of hearing some new material at NAMM?
We've been recording this project with Bob Rock which is coming along fantastic. We've actually been recording at my house and we've been lucky enough to have some tremendous musicians come in and work with us. We set up a studio in the kitchen, so we kind of just record and eat. Ori happens to be a really great cook, like insanely good, she should have her own TV show. But it's been great because we kind of have an open door policy at my house so you never know who is going to walk in. We've been working with Robby Krieger, Greg Allman and Billy Gibbons, which is obviously really great. So, yeah, we're probably going to lay a new song on you guys at NAMM.
That's fantastic! The last time we saw you was when you played in London (UK) and it was awesome to hear such a fine eclectic mix of your music and Orianthi's along with some classics. Will it be a similar set list on Thursday?
Well we can't break out all the new stuff yet because there's still deals that need to be done and a lot of business stuff to take care of. So anyone else that was at the O2 in London will get to see a similar show. I only have about 45 minutes to play, but we're still raring to go, like a bunch of wild horses.
We can't wait. So, as it's NAMM, and as you previously mentioned you love your gear, is there anything in particular or any stalls you're looking to check out this year?
I'm not really sure you know, I just go wandering, basically, I'm really not looking for anything, I think I've already got way too much gear in my studio and I've just brought a brand new Pro Tools unit with huge speakers to go with it. But it's hard because I've got a need for a lot of equipment, myself and Bob included, who put my home studio together for me.
So we know that you and Bob go way back, probably 30 odd years. And back then you were all about Charvel. But what guitars are you using today and what have you played whilst recording the new RSO record.
I use so many different flavours on every record, I've played everything on this record from Fenders to Nationals. I just got back from Japan where we've been touring and recording for the last two years and I walked into a couple of department stores in Ginza, which is in Tokyo, and they had all these old Harmonies and Nationals and I just wanted them all. So I've been using them for some alternative sounds. Also my 59 Les Paul, and 58 Explorer, 58 Flying V and my Stratocaster 13.
What do you think it is about old guitars that makes them so special and different from new models?
I think because they've been played by some big artists there is some kind of vibe to them and also from a technical standpoint the wiring codes are different, the parts are different and the lacquer is different because the environmental codes were different back then. So when you get a fine instrument it's like a fine wine and it gets better with age.
So it sounds like a lot of time and effort has been put into making this album. How many tracks can we expect?
Well we actually have twenty-two songs together, so we actually have two records worth. It helps because we both have rather prolific writing careers between the two of us. So I'd love to do a double album and release them all at once because it's done, it's here and it's finished. But it's more of a case of how much the people can digest, that's the question. Also I guess we're actually releasing a new sound with it. Most will recognise as both as guitar players and not singer/song writers. So I was actually debating on calling the record 'We Don't Know Who You Are Either'.
We're pretty sure you could both go pretty much anywhere in the world and people will know who you are. But with the way the music industry is these days you could probably release the songs in different fashion. Do you think that there's still a place for an album.
I hope there is! We definitely want to release this an album because we covered a lot of ground on this record, from rock to blues to pop there's even some country. I'm very, very proud of what this record has become.
Well we really can't wait to hear it, when do you think it'll be released?
It all should be done within the next two days. We're mixing it down right and now and then we're going to master and hopefully it should be officially released within the next couple of months.
So can we've spoken a lot about the record. But not enough about Richie Sambora's guitar technique. Over the years you've created some of the most iconic guitar solos thanks to your flawless use of time. What inspired that within your playing? Was there a particular player or style in general?
You know I think it's an amalgamation of a lot of my heroes. Everybody from Jimmy Hendrix to Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Clapton, Johnny Winter, Muddy Waters, Albert King and Buddy Guy. Now they're all my friends and it's really weird as I grew up listening to them. They inspired me to go out and just play and improvise and play with emotion. I also feel I'm very lucky to have a good understanding of music. It also helps I'm fortunate to have so many wonderful instruments, you know. I'm actually sitting in my office right now and I'm looking at my collection and it's like I have a candy store in my house of fine instruments. So Ori and I can just ramble through them.
So does Ori like to borrow and play your guitars?
Well of course, but she has many of her own instruments too, right now there's probably over 120 instruments in the house. So there's guitars everywhere. But we've been having a blast and lots of fun and I think that's the most important thing about music. When youre having fun making it I think it comes through and I think the people can feel that when they come to see you play. And I just know the people are going to really dig this record.
Well from what we've heard the album is brimming with talent so you can't go wrong. And you sound like you're now in a great place Ritchie. Like we've said, many times throughout this chat, we can't wait to hear the album.