The end is in sight for Bon Jovi.
Oh, not THE end. But with seven more shows over the next nine days, the long-lived rock group with 120 million albums worldwide is bringing a curtain down on what guitarist Richie Sambora calls "the 'Lost Highway' era" -- and he admits to being "a little bit" > sentimental about it.
> "Each tour is the end of an era and it's an end of a journey," says > Sambora, 48, who co-writes Bon Jovi's material with frontman and > namesake Bon Jovi. "The journey starts out with Jon and I sitting in > the room with a couple of pieces of paper and a pen and a guitar, and > the songs start the whole thing. And it ends up in the studio wtih the > band and then on the promotional tour...and then the fun part, taking > it to the people.
> "So this'll be the end of the 'Lost Highway' era -- and the beginning > of a new one, absolutely. The end of one chapter, the beginning of a > new one."
> It's certainly a chapter that's added to Bon Jovi's prodigious legacy.
> "Lost Highway," which Bon Jovi refers to as "a Nashville-influenced > Bon Jovi record," was the group's first album to debut at No. 1 on the > Billboard 200 chart when it was released in June of 2007. It's sold > nearly 3.5 million copies worldwide and straddled the pop, rock and > country charts with singles such as "(You Want to) Make a Memory," > "Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore" (a duet with country singer LeAnn > Rimes) and the title track.
> Bon Jovi was nominated for two Grammy Awards, while the Rimes team-up > took home the CMT Music Award for Collaborative Video of the Year. The > group also has one of the top tours of the year so far, with more than > 966,000 projected to see the group by the time it wraps things up on > June 15 at New York City's Madison Square Garden, a few days after > playing the Major League Baseball All-Star Concert in Central Park.
> "It's had a pretty good life considering what's going on in the > 'record business' these days," notes Bon Jovi, 46, who was presented > with a banner for 10 Palace of Auburn Hills sell-outs when the group > played there on Feb. 20.
> That, Sambora says, is an understatement.
> "It's unbelievable, man," the guitarist gushes. "This has gone so good > it's just...insane. It's a monster. I mean, yeah, it's still > surprising to us in a lot of respects because of the decline of the > record business at this point, but...
> "Y'know, we've had a lot of hit songs in our career and we can throw > them out there and people are gonna react to that. But when they start > reacting to the songs that they [i]don't[/i] know, that's a good test. > That's when you know it's really working.
> "Luckily for us, it's been that way for a long, long time now."
> "Lost Highway" hasn't been without its bumps, however -- and Sambora > fesses up to causing most of them.
> A 2006 divorce from actress Heather Locklear and the death of his > father left Sambora reeling and sent him to two separate stints in > rehab. Bon Jovi even says that one of his motivationss for making > "Lost Highway" was "to keep (Sambora) in a hotel in Nashville instead > of letting him find himself in the bottom of a bottle every night by > himself in California."
> Despite a drunk driving arrest in March -- for which he was fined and > put on informal probation -- Sambora, who has a 10-year-old daughter, > Ava, with Locklear, says that he's "on the other side" of his problems > now.
> "Hey, just because I'm a rock 'n' roll star does not make me exempt > from life's little tragedies and the things that happen to you," he > explains. "There's always a bump here and there in the road. Life > isn't perfect and you gotta roll with the punches.
> "And I'm a tough son of a gun, so it worked out OK."
> With "Lost Highway" coming to an end, the Bon Jovi crew is starting to > think about what comes next. One project that's likely in the offing > is a documentary commemorating the band's 25 years that's being > directed by award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, who's been on the > road with the band this year.
> There's also talk of a second greatest hits album, for which Bon Jovi > might record some new songs.
> "I'm not quite sure where to go -- "Is it 'Greatest Hits, Vol. 2' or > is it time for a solo record -- or is it time to walk away?" says Bon > Jovi, who co-owns the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League > with Sambora. He also has a lengthy acting resume.
> "I don't know what it'll be yet. I'm thinking about it but [i]not[/i] > thinking about it, y'know? I'm still too caught up in this touring > process to think."
> Sambora, meanwhile, says he'd be surprised if there's much time away > from Bon Jovi.
> "I wouldn't foresee much of a break, no," says the guitarist, who > recently guested on a new song ('Baby') for rapper LL Cool J and is > doing music for a blues film that also includes B.B. King and Dr. > John. "We need to take a little bit of a breather and decompress, and > then we'll get back together and see what's going on.
> "Jon and I, we start woodshedding, we start writing pretty quickly. > There's lots of other stuff to do an opportunities, but Bon Jovi's the > number one priority, no matter what."
Bon Jovi and All-American Rejects perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday (July 7) at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $132, $55 and $39.50. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com
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