He still won’t discuss what led to the guitarist’s non-appearance at the start of Bon Jovi’s latest world tour leg – but he insists it’s not about money, and the pair haven’t fallen out.
Bon Jovi tells the Mirror: “We were all in Calgary. Richie was going to turn up on show day, but we went the night before because it’s a long flight.
“At 3.30pm on show day the manager said: ‘Guess what?’ He didn’t even have to finish the sentence. Because we had been through it before we performed that night. We couldn’t let down the fans.”
He admits he hasn’t set eyes on his bandmate since that moment. “I talked to him once – once in six weeks and 18 shows. He’s not fired, we didn’t have a fight, it certainly isn’t about money. He can return when he is ready to die every night, the way I walk on stage. No one’s mad, no one’s sad.”
Bon Jovi is still reeling over his teenage daughter’s overdose – Stephanie, 19, was taken to hospital in November after being found unconscious in her college dorm. She faced drugs charges but they were later dropped.
“We went through something that a lot of parents do; many more than I thought,” he says. “I feel it was a terrible tragic lesson of life, but I thank God every day because she is whole. It happened and it has gone. I know people where it was a lot, lot worse. That could have been Stephanie.”
He believes it’s a struggle for parents to understand the environment that surrounds their children, because things are so different today. “There’s a lot of pressure on this generation – a lot of temptation and access and pressures that, just a generation ago, you and I didn’t know about.
“Our world is far more relatable to our parents’ world than the kids’ world. There’s many more pressures on kids: what is this college degree going to do for me, what am I going to be when I grow up, will I be able to accomplish things?”
Bon Jovi tour the UK next month:
Jun 8: Manchester Etihad Stadium
Jun 9: Birmingham Villa Park
Jun 12: Cardiff City Stadium
Jun 13: Sunderland Stadium Of Light
Jun 15: Dublin Slaine Castle
Jun 16: Isle of Wight Festival
Jul 3: Glasgow Hampden Park
Jul 5: British Summer Time Festival, London