Guitarist Richie Sambora has been AWOL from Bon Jovi since April 3, when he left the band's tour surrounded by mystery. A lone tweet attempted to explain his absence. "Thank you everyone for your concern. I'm well, but had to stay in LA to take care of a personal matter. Love you all and see you very soon."
Since then, Richie has checked in with two other tweets, one on April 15, wishing "healing" after "that severe act of cowardness in Boston." In another on April 18, he wrote, "Hey everybody…Just want you all to know I'm all good…Thanks for all the positive vibes…" But other than that, there's been little talk about the reasons for Richie's departure and if -- and when -- he'll return to the fold.
The band's leader and namesake Jon Bon Jovi addressed the situation Monday during an appearance on Ellen. The good news for longtime fans is that Jon says Richie is still in the band. The bad -- there's been no talk about when Sambora might rejoin his band mates.
During the interview, Ellen asked JBJ how the band has managed to stay together for three decades. "We like each other," Jon replied. "I think that was really the key. We all have a lot of give and take. You had to love each other, you had to go through some ups and downs, but in the big picture, you had to really like each other so you go to work."
Of course, that left the door wide open for Ellen to ask about Richie's absence, which Jon addressed, but didn't give any specifics about his partner's hiatus. "Well, all I can say honest to God is that it's a personal matter, but we love him very much. He's absolutely still a member of the band."
Just to clarify, Ellen asked, "He's still your guitar player?" Jon replied, "Absolutely."
For now, however, Phil "Phil X" Xenidis is filling in for Richie. His credits include work with Triumph, Alice Cooper, Daughtry, Rob Zombie, and Avril Lavigne.
Bon Jovi plays Glendale, Ariz. Tuesday and wrap their U.S. tour Thursday in San Jose. Their world tour resumes May 7 in Cape Town, South Africa. For now, there's no word if Richie will be on board.