Bon Jovi's Future Holds Vampire-Slaying, Another LP

Guitarist at work on songs for next group effort; frontman lines up role in horror film.

Bon Jovi still have two weeks of wild European nights ahead of them before they return to America on July 8 for the final leg of their tour, yet they're already preparing for their next studio project.

"I was gonna put out a solo record next year, but we decided we didn't want to lose the momentum we've got going as a band," guitarist Richie Sambora said over the phone Sunday afternoon before a show in Dublin, Ireland. "Jon [Bon Jovi] and I still have a lot to say as writers, so we're gonna take a brief break after this tour, then we want to get right in there and do another band record."

So far, Sambora has written frameworks for 10 or 12 new songs, all of them upbeat and optimistic.

"I'm really not feeling ballads right now," Sambora said. "Even on our new live record [One Wild Night - Live 1985-2001], there are no real ballads. They've served us well in the past, but at the moment, that's not where I'm at."

None of the new tracks have titles yet, and they're likely to be altered considerably by the time Sambora sits down with Bon Jovi in September to develop the new material.

"Maybe only two or three of my new songs will even make it," Sambora said. "Jon and I will probably write 50 songs before we decide on the final 10 or so that will make the record, so it's really too early to tell what it's gonna sound like in the end."

Bon Jovi will finish their tour July 28 after two sold-out dates at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. After that, Jon Bon Jovi will head to Mexico to play a vampire hunter in "John Carpenter's Vampires: Los Muertos," the sequel to the 1998 movie "John Carpenter's Vampires," written by Tommy Lee Wallace ("Halloween III: Season of the Witch," "Fright Night Part II," "It"), who will also direct.

While Bon Jovi is off giving Buffy a run for her vampire-slaying money, Sambora will be plugging a song called "Take Me On" that he wrote with Aerosmith/Baha Men collaborators Mark Hudson and Desmond Child and country writer Gary Burr for the film "On the Line," starring 'NSYNC's Lance Bass and Joey Fatone (see "No 'Grease' For 'NSYNC, Bass And Fatone Pursue Movies On Own").

"It sounds like a hit to me," Sambora said enthusiastically. "It's much different than what Bon Jovi is. It's got a little bit of rhythm and blues in it and a little bit of Steve Winwood, and it sounds like a strong song."

Sambora has also been talking to dance-pop belter Anastacia about writing some material together and has discussed collaborating on a project with Vertical Horizon frontman Matt Scannell. "I'd definitely like to get together with [Scannell], and I really think it will happen," Sambora said. "I really like Vertical Horizon's album. It's something you can listen to all the way through and not get bored. I think he's got a big future."

Bon Jovi's live LP, One Wild Night, which opened at #20 on the Billboard 200, dropped to #47 after its second week in stores. The 14-track disc, which collects performances recorded between 1985 and 2000, is the band's first live release (see "Bon Jovi Have One Wild Night").

"Lucky enough for us, we've been prolific enough not to have to put one out sooner," Sambora quipped. "But our fans have been asking us for this record for a long, long time, and we're very proud of it. It's a great snapshot of our career, and now all the new fans who bought [our most recent studio album] Crush thinking it was our first album can pick up this live record and listen to the old music."

For those who feel that One Wild Night only grazes the surface of the Bon Jovi live experience, Sambora couldn't agree with you more.

"We were actually fighting with our record label to put out something more extensive," he said. "We could have made it a triple-live album with all the stuff that we had in the vault. I think there'll be more live recordings later, because we have so much stuff left over."