Austin’s American Statesman has published an interview with Jon Bon Jovi where he addresses the situation with guitarist Richie Sambora.

Sambora left Bon Jovi’s What About Now tour, citing personal reasons, but a story on TMZ pointed to conflicts between Jon and Richie along with the urging of Jon’s wife, Dorothea, as the reason for Sambora’s exit.

“I think Richie’s doing all right, (but) I haven’t spoken to him,” lead singer Jon Bon Jovi says (Phil X has replaced Sambora for the rest of the tour). “We were surprised. It was 3:30 on show day on Tuesday and we got a phone call that he wouldn’t be there. It’s a personal matter.

“Don’t believe what you read on TMZ because it’s the furthest thing from the truth.”

The interview also delves into the current album and Bon Jovi’s songwriting. On his influences:

It’s a wide array. I just downloaded (David) Bowie’s record to listen to that. I just bought a Bruno Mars record before that. Influences? (Tom) Waits. (Leonard) Cohen. They’re huge lyrical influences. For rock bands, I look to the Stones, who at least show me where the bar is so you know how far and how high I gotta jump.

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