Former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora says the experience of rehearsing with the band for their upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was a “wonderful” experience. He quit in 2013 in circumstances which, at first, caused friction between him and Jon Bon Jovi, but he’ll take the stage alongside the frontman at the ceremony in Cleveland on Apr. 14, with former bassist Alec John Such also taking part.

“It feels great to see everybody,” Sambora told Billboard. “We already rehearsed and it was wonderful, it wasn't awkward. The chemistry came back very quickly; it’s matrixed into our muscle memory at this point. If you’re on the road performing and touring for 30 years, [the Rock Hall] is just another cycle – and it’s a good one, so here we go.”

He added that he didn’t miss being in the band but that “the memories are good.” Asked for his thoughts on the fact that over a million fans – more than any other band – voted for Bon Jovi to be inducted, he said, “You don’t go out and make music for the awards. You make music for the fans -- that’s the truth. And this award is all about them, because without them, there would be no Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There would be no music business. Think about it: you put a concert on, and if the fans didn't show up, there ain’t no concert.”

Describing the upcoming honor as a “milestone,” Sambora added, “We’ve been nominated before [in 2011]. I had kind of put it out of mind, because we were looked over by the grand forefathers of the Hall of Fame until this year. But I figured that, you know, one day, I’d get in. Maybe I’d be dead, but I’d still get in. … I’ve tried not to get too excited about it for a long time, but I’m starting to get excited about it. I’m glad that I’m actually alive to get in there.”

The class of 2018 also includes the Moody Blues, Dire Straits, the Cars, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

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