Richie Sambora Goes Indie With New Solo Album
Silversun Pickups. Beady Eye. Fitz & the Tantrums. Ben Lee. Richie Sambora. Which one of these is not like the other?
Yes, Sambora may stick out like a sore thumb, but the founding member and guitarist of one of the biggest rock bands in the world, Bon Jovi, is releasing his third solo release, Aftermath of the Lowdown, Tuesday via Dangerbird Records -- the Silver Lake, Calif. indie-label that hosts some of alternative music’s coolest artists.
Sambora certainly could have taken his music to his pick of major labels, but the axe-man, who once helmed his own indie in the early ‘80s, still has the independent spirit in his soul.
“The music business is changing so rapidly nowadays as far as the way records are being heard, marketed and sold,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “These larger companies don’t have the flexibility to move along with that. The independent structure has a lot more flexibility and a lot more freedom. I think that’s why I moved towards that.”
He adds that band leader Jon Bon Jovi is extremely supportive of the project, and is on board with assisting Sambora’s long-range goals. The singer will step aside and let Sambora feature a few tracks from the album when the group hits the road in the spring.
“I’m going to go play these songs live when the band goes out on tour, too. Jon’s going to let me play a couple of songs, so I am going to continue promoting this record even when I’m out on the road with the band,” he says.
When Sambora signed to Dangerbird, it was largely due to kindred spirit Jeff Castelaz, co-founder of Dangerbird, who Sambora said understood his musical vision from the very first meeting and “a bond was created immediately.” Both men were introduced through a mutual friend, Phil Cassens, a former A&R head at Virgin Records who now serves as Sambora’s manager.
“A good friend of mine brought him into the studio just to see what was up, and I do believe Jeff walking in the studio on day one had no idea what to expect. What we found is we were very like-minded when it came to music and record making,” he says. “I think when he heard the music on this record it changed his mind. We started to talk. Two strangers became family very quickly. This man was a great man to be walking this particular path with.”
As of last week, Castelaz went in a separate direction, as he departed the label in part to concentrate on his roster at Cast Management, which currently includes the Dropkick Murphys. At press time, Castelaz was unavailable for comment, but a source at Dangerbird said Sambora’s record remains a priority.
“From the label perspective, everything is the same,” says a source at the label.