BON Jovi are not coming to Hong Kong this year - even though they embarked on an extensive Asian tour two weeks ago. But don't ask Richie Sambora why. 'Routing tours is not something I get involved in: I'm not the guy who has the computer for that stuff,' the songwriter and guitarist says. Jon Bon Jovi is taking a mid-afternoon nap in his Taipei hotel suite on the first day of the band's world tour, so it falls to their record company, PolyGram, to explain the band's absence from the territory. It comes down to a lack of suitable venues; even though the band promised to come back after they were rained out during a particularly virulent typhoon on September 25, 1993. Tonight, they play the Hard Rock Cafe in Jakarta as the official opening act for MTV Asia, which finally returns to the airwaves at 8pm. But, frankly, band members have other things than Hong Kong on their minds at the moment. Since we last saw them, Bon Jovi have recorded a new album, These Days, which will be released on June 19. The first single, This Ain't a Love Song comes out today. They've lost a member: bass player Alec John Sutch, who had been with the band since 1984. Jon Bon Jovi has had a second child, a boy. And Sambora has married America's favourite soap vixen, Heather Locklear (Dynasty, Melrose Place). 'I'm happy, I'm in love. Thank God. She's a great woman,' says Sambora, who seems to be in an unusually confessional mood. 'And that's the truth. I always wanted to be married. I always wanted to be a one-woman kind of happy guy, but I never found the right woman, so I was a 12-women happy guy. I don't regret a moment of it. I dated a lot of lovely women and I wasn't as promiscuous as most people might think.' Come again, Richie? 'OK, when I was a teenager and in my early 20s, then I was promiscuous in a big way,' he says. 'When I got older, there were a lot of different women but they were women that I knew and they were my friends. They weren't one-night stands, women you would pick up on the road, you know?' Not surprisingly, a panic-stricken record company executive butts in at this point. 'Richie, you have 20 minutes left,' he says. But Sambora is in full flow. 'Heather may join me in Japan. The press angle can be tough for us, but we work it out by not paying attention to it; I mean, when I was with Cher, that was even bigger. She was even more famous than Heather, so I got my training with her - earned my wings with that girl.' Now equipped with a personal trainer and physician on tour (who dispenses turkey hormones to the band to overcome jetlag). 'We don't live the raucous lifestyle that we used to - wine, women and song all over the place,' he says. 'Once you do that for so many years it becomes a bit . . . well, you know. The music is the most important thing and we have to be more health-minded now - as you get older you have to stay in shape to do this. There's a bit more clean living going down - not too clean, we're still musicians. I still have a few drinks. It's just not all day now.' In his mid-30s, Sambora has calmed down. 'It's not like before where the first thing you used to do was get up in the morning and drink immediately,' he says. 'You'd be out doing interviews and you'd be sloshed. And in the evening you'd have to do a show, and after it you'd go out drinking again. 'Literally for a couple of years there I was drinking a bottle of whatever a night. And you just can't take it any more. So now you have a couple of drinks and you're happy. Now it's a different ball game.' In fairness, it took a while for Bon Jovi to cope with the massive onslaught of fame. The band was US$2 million (about HK$15.4 million) in debt and in the middle of a so-so tour when Slippery When Wet rocketed to the top of the charts, eventually selling more than 13 million copies. That was quickly followed by New Jersey, in 1988, which logged nine million in sales. The band toured constantly for 41/2 years. 'Slippery When Wet was like this big blur in my life; it's almost like it never happened, but it did,' says Sambora. 'After New Jersey, everybody had to get a hold on themselves. For a while we really did feel like super men - whatever it was, drugs, alcohol, women, music, we could do it and it would work. 'So nothing really slowed us down until the end of that second tour, where we ended up in South America and nobody could even speak. One thing I can say is that the shows never suffered, because that was the two hours where everything was still OK. We could get it up for those two hours. But personally, we were all in bad shape. A couple of the guys had to go into 'rehab'.' The band ended up taking a four-year hiatus until the 1992 release of Keep the Faith - a time during which both Jon and Richie recorded solo albums. 'It was a cleansing thing,' Sambora says. 'And Keep the Faith started an era of really trying to enjoy and become comfortable in our success and who we are. Keep the Faith was a statement for our band, that we had to keep together and we had to believe in ourselves.' They also took control of their own management. 'We were young kids out there, and we were pretty fatigued, and the management would come to us and suggest adding another 70 shows. And we'd say sure, no problem. At that point, they should have said 'those kids are tired, let's send them home',' Sambora says. 'We had to take a hold; Jon and myself had learned a lot about management, so we set up on our own. And it's been working very, very well for us now for three years. Plus we save a lot of money - 20 per cent off the gross is a lot of bread. 'With Keep the Faith everyone was thinking we would fall on our faces. We just went out there and worked and it was one of our biggest-selling records.' Bon Jovi is still one of the top-selling bands of all time - and the richest, if you believe the reports. 'People have an inflated idea of what we're all worth, and it's not true,' he says. 'Recently, I was listed as the third richest man in rock'n'roll. If I was the 300th richest man in rock'n'roll I would laugh.' Which brings us on to the current album, These Days, which boasts some anthemic ballads and the usual Bon Jovi stadium rock. But with lyrics playing to the man on the street, how is it possible for Bon Jovi to relate to the human struggle after 10 years at the top of the heap? 'We're all human beings, we're all in the same basic human condition,' says Sambora. 'Just because you have a little bit of money doesn't mean you don't get the blues. It's better when you have a little bread, believe me - you can calm yourself down with a nice little boat, or something like that. 'That doesn't make the real difference on emotional stuff. You're still going to feel as deeply as anyone else. Money doesn't cure anything, man.' And Bon Jovi are still one of the hardest-working bands in rock'n'roll. Sambora came out of the studio only a week before embarking on this tour - which isn't scheduled to end for another year. 'We're kids from around the block that made it in this business, made it big around the world, and we never forget that,' he says. 'We're incredibly grateful to the people who made it happen for us, to the fans, and we work hard for them. If you want to keep this position, to be one of the top five bands in the world, you have to work. You have to be devoted. You have to give the public as much as you can for their money. You can't take out what you don't put in.'