Richie Sambora has written a new song, "Lighthouse," that he hopes will help people with their drug addiction. The Bon Jovi guitarist debuted the tune at an event designed to raise awareness about heroin and painkiller abuse in a high school arena on the New Jersey shore, The Associated Press reports.
Sambora had originally titled the tune "Needles on the Shore," but thought better of it. "I wanted to do something optimistic, a beacon of light and hope," he said. "Everyone needs that light when they're far off the shore." It contains lyrics like, "Those who matter don't judge/ When you're swimming with the tide in the wake of a flood." The song will be available on iTunes and proceeds from its sale will benefit a drug treatment facility planned for the region.
At the event, Sambora acknowledged his own past drug abuse. "I got firsthand experience," he told reporters. "I never did heroin, but obviously I did other stuff."
The guitarist, who said he was now drug-free, said he wanted to participate in the event because he, like the audience members, was a scared parent. The father of a 16-year-old, Sambora said, "We can't be scared silent. Together we can make a difference because this epidemic has to stop."
Sambora is currently taking a break from Bon Jovi, having cited "personal issues" as the reason for his absence in April 2013, and he underscored that drugs played no part in his decision to sit out. He explained that the band had simply taken on too much. He expects to rejoin the group, though he could not say when.
Meanwhile, Sambora's Bon Jovi bandmates are celebrating their 30th year together. In July, the group is releasing a deluxe edition of their 1988 album New Jersey that will include previously unreleased demos and B-sides. The reissue will allow fans to hear the album's full recording sessions, which were originally meant for a double album called Sons of Beaches. The band has promised more anniversary releases in the coming year.