TORONTO – While rumours swirl that Richie Sambora has been fired from Bon Jovi after 30 years, a Canadian musician continues to take his place on the band’s world tour.
At the group’s April 2 concert in Calgary, singer Jon Bon Jovi told the crowd Sambora “won’t be performing for awhile.” A message on the band’s official website explained Sambora had left the tour “due to personal issues.”
On Aug. 21, RumorFix.com reported Sambora was fired from the tour. “Sources close to the band tell us it’s all about money,” read the website.
(In early April, TMZ reported Sambora and Bon Jovi were “fighting over money.”)
Us Weekly reported on Aug. 23 Sambora “parted ways” with Bon Jovi and quoted a source as saying: “There were a lot of well-documented problems, so this was the best decision for now.”
Neither side has publicly commented about the most recent reports.
In June, RumorFix posted an interview with Sambora in which he said he was “very close” to resolving the dispute with Bon Jovi and could return to the tour by September. But the musician refused to divulge the nature of the dispute.
“It’s not for me to say. Family issues are family issues and the band is like a family to me so there’s no reason for me to actually say anything,” he said.
Sambora, 54, has been in Bon Jovi since its formation in 1983 and co-wrote most of the band’s songs with Jon Bon Jovi.
Filling in for Sambora on the tour is Phil Xenidis, a Toronto native who, according to RumorFix, is earning about $10,000 per month – far less than Sambora’s estimated $2 million haul.
On Twitter, Xenidis said the website is “full of s***” because “I wouldn’t even leave my house for that salary.”
Xenidis, 47, previously toured with Canadian acts Aldo Nova, Frozen Ghost and Triumph and has played on albums for artists like Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson and Tommy Lee. He was also the music coach for the 2001 made-in-Vancouver movie Josie and the Pussycats.
Xenidis performed 13 shows with Bon Jovi during its 2011 tour while Sambora was in rehab.
Bon Jovi is scheduled to perform Oct. 2 in Vancouver, Nov. 1 in Toronto and Nov. 8 in Montreal. The band’s Because We Can tour ends Dec. 17 in Australia.