Richie Sambora and Orianthi, better known as RSO, will be heading to Australia this month for a run of collaborative shows, essentially supporting and performing with one another. If it sounds like something totally unique, it’s because it is.
Described as Sonny & Cher on steroids, the pair are flipping the industry status quo on its head, working on recording and releasing an album on their own terms. We caught up with Richie to see how the album was coming along, and what they have in store for their adoring Australian fans.
Straight off the bat it was clear we were on the phone to Mr. Cucumber, as in, ‘cool as a’…
Richie Sambora: What’s goin’ on, brother?
Music Feeds: Not too much, man. Where about’s in the world are you right now?
RS: I’m at home in California, just kinda hanging out. Getting ready, actually. Tonight Ori[anthi] and I are doing a gig with Robby Krieger. There’s some other gigs going on then we’re coming to see you guys!
MF: I’ve personally been following your adventures with Orianthi, we’ve actually spoken twice now (here and here) about it all! It just seems like you guys are having the time of your lives right now…
RS: Oh without a doubt. That’s what it’s supposed to be. That’s what happens through the music. If you’re not having a good time making it, people aren’t going to have a good time listening to it. That’s always been a very simple adage that I’ve always had in my life. Look – if you have thousands of people coming to see you live, you best be happy about it.
You gotta have fun, man. Just throw those songs out there and have a good time. That’s the thing. At the end of the day, you’re basically saving the world with songs….As a songwriter, one of the things I’ve been able to do is accompany, through music, peoples lives. As a songwriter that’s what you really want to achieve, you’re trying to communicate with people and say “Do you feel like that? Cos I feel like this…”
MF: After all these years of successfully connecting with fans, is that still something that gives you a buzz? Or does that also become a bit like white noise?
RS: Of course, are you kidding me? You wake up with gratitude. On the other side of it, you hang out with people that you grew up listening to that were your heroes that are now your friends.
We weree just in Vancouver and [Paul] McCartney was playing. We went to see him play and Paul invited us to his hotel afterwards. I said “Come over to the studio” and he said “Okay”. I say to myself “He ain’t fuckin’ coming – He’s a Beatle! C’mon!” And you know what? He came. He shows up on a bicycle by himself. That’s how cool the guy is. He listens to what Ori and I are doing and goes “Mate I think you should do this like that.” I just saluted him and as soon as he left, everything he wanted me to do I did.
Here’s the thing. The cat that plans drums in their band, he played drums on everything on this record. It’s a great bunch of musicians, it’s a lot of fun – we’re going to make a lot of people happy.
MF: Will you have to credit him as a producer for the album now. I imagine your new album is at the point where you should be wrapping up the album notes…
RS: …I don’t know how we’re going to put this out yet. We have 22 songs, two albums worth of material. These days, who knows what works and what doesn’t? We’ll be bringing you guys a few surprises first, in Australia, and see what you think.
We have the ability now to take a breather and kind of test things out, see what’s gonna go on. People will be happy ‘cos it’s good stuff. I know how to make records, and this is a good record.
MF: I think your creative process for this album would be really intersting. What well have you been tapping into for inspiration? The same well as decades ago? Or a brand new one?
RS: It’s all of them. It’s every well. There’s a lot of different genre distinction on this record but we made sure we owned it all. There’s stadium rock, there’s hit songs, there’s amazing guitar stuff, acoustic stuff, blues, it just depends what we want to give you guys first. What are you going to digest?
So over the next four months before the new year comes we’re going to play for a bunch of people and see what works.
MF: It sounds like you guys have been having as much fun making the album as you’ve had touring over the past few years.
RS: First of all, I’m working with Bob Rock. How many record did I sell with Bob…I dunno, 100 million or something? [Laughs] He goes from doing the Metallica stuff to Michael Bublé stuff. The dexterity the man has a producer…we’ve been producing it together. It’s been a gas. And most of it’s been done in my kitchen. We got a bunch of great gear and it’s sounding pretty good!
MF: Bringing the work home! How has the kitchen studio gone down?
RS: It’s been an interesting thing. You wake up in the morning, you sleep five to four hours, you wake up at 5am in the morning, you’re watching sports centre then Bob Rock rocks past. He’ll go “What are you doing?” and I go “I got an idea, what about you?” Then by 6am we’re recording it. By 7am Ori will come down, I’ll hand her a guitar and there you have it. I’ve never done it like that before, this is the first time I’ve ever worked at home.
MF: You’ve already mentioned one of The Beatles came down, seeing as it’s in your kitchen, have you tagged any of your other friends to collaborate on the album?
RS: Yeah! My house has an open door policy. You never know who’s gonna be here. When you’re in a band like Bon Jovi – such a big, structured thing, when you lose that structure, you never know who’s going to walk in my door. Gregg Allman, Stevie Wonder, Robby Krieger. I mean forget about it. Everyone comes in and enjoys themselves.
And everything is set up. You get a bunch of musicians together and you just give them a bunch of food and a couple of beers, everyone loosens up and next thing you know everyone is playing together.
MF: So, I guess there’s only one thing left about the album we’ve not covered. When will it be out?
RS: It’s gonna happen organically. Everything is pretty much done. We’re mastering and all that stuff now. It’s 22 songs but all of them are really good we don’t know what to do first [laughs]…It’s not like I don’t know what I’m doing. But I’m working with great people. We’re putting together a team of people that hopefully will be able to supercede the strangeness of the music business at this point. Because it almost doesn’t exist anymore.
You gotta make it up as you go. Talking as a business person, I’m lucky because I fund this. It’s a lot easier for me to do. Entering the business at this point is very treacherous.
MF: You will be here very soon performing some of these tracks…
RS: Right around the corner…
MF: What have you got in store for the Aussie fans this time round?
RS: Pffft….Just come see us [Laughs]. We have a lot of surprises in mind, it’s going to be a lot of fun. There’s a concept of what happens in the show then Oranthi and I just go crazy and take it to a different place. We’ll laugh at each other and have a great time.
When we talk about the Sonny and Cher thing on steroids…That’s what we’re doing. Then you add a little bit of guitar virtuosity on that also. It’s a bit of an anomoly. Cher never played guitar.
My Cher is one of the best guitarists in the world…
Richie Sambora & Orianthi’s RSO tour kicks off on Friday, 23rd September. See dates and details below.
RSO: Richie Sambora & Orianthi Australian Tour 2016
Tickets on sale now.
Friday, 23rd September 2016
Metro City, Perth
Monday, 26th September 2016
Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre, Adelaide
Tuesday, 27th September 2016
Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne
Thursday, 29th September 2016
Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Friday, 30th September 2016
Eaton Hills, Brisbane