Names in the News: Wanted Guitarist Randy Slama
This Twinsburg rocker is the lead guitarist a.k.a the "Richie Sambora" of "Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band"
His name is Randy Slama.
Like a super hero, he leads a double life.
During the day he is a senior project engineer for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. But at night, he's a different person.
But Slama is not a super hero; he's something even cooler. His alter ego is "Richie Sambora" in Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band.
On Friday night he and the boys will be performing at Rock The Park, so we caught up with Slama to find out about this hometown rocker.
Twinsburg Patch: How did you get involved in a Bon Jovi Tribute band?
Randy Slama: It started about six years ago when I received a call from an old friend that I played in a band with in high school. He told me he was "getting the band back together" so I dusted off my guitar and after a 20 year layoff I was back in a Rock'N'Roll band. We played as a local cover band in small bars doing everything from country music to hard rock for about four years. It became evident that we had reached a plateau and that there was nothing to distinguish us from any of the other local cover bands. I also noticed that all of the guys in the band around me had changed since I joined the band so we were in search of a new identity.
We also realized that the lineup we had, the same as we have today (Ed Johnson - Vocals, Mike McCartney - Drums, Troy Sands - Keyboards, Dave Tudor - Bass), did a very good job emulating the sound of the Bon Jovi songs we did and they were very well received by the people we played to. One night after receiving a great response after playing Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" the idea hit us to become a Bon Jovi tribute band. Our first appearance as "Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band" was as an opener at the House of Blues. We had only ten Bon Jovi songs under our belt and we had never played them out before but the show went great and we haven't looked back since. It was the best move we ever made!
Patch: You are the "Richie Sambora" of the group. Is that a tough act to emulate? Do you try to add your own flair to it?
Slama: I've always been a big fan of Richie Sambora and Bon Jovi's music. While it has been challenging, I feel my playing style is somewhat similar to his and I have worked very hard to learn the music and play the guitar parts the way Richie recorded them. As a tribute band we feel it is our duty to play the music the way it was meant to be played and we also believe that is what people want to hear when they come out to see "Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band".
Patch: How excited are you to play in front of your home crowd in Twinsburg?
Slama: This is the culmination of my musical career and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to perform in front of my family and all of the good friends and neighbors we have in Twinsburg! These are the same people that came out to support us when we were playing in the corner of the local bars as a typical cover band and it will be great to take the stage at Rock the Park and have all of them there with us. We have also made a lot of good new friends as a result of playing in the band. It is the support of our family and friends that have enabled us to get to where we are and to say that we appreciate their support would be a gross understatement.
Patch: In your opinion, why does Twinsburg rock?
Slama: I think what the City of Twinsburg has done by creating the Rock the Park venue has been tremendous for the community as well as local musicians. It is a beautiful, outdoor venue that gives Twinsburg residents and residents from surrounding areas the opportunity to see great, live performances at an affordable and convenient location and it brings people from other areas into Twinsburg. Rock the Park has also been attracting and booking some of the best bands in the Cleveland area to a venue that resembles a "mini-Blossom" and the crowds seem to love it.