matt o'ree 1 062913Matt O’Ree playing in Red Bank’s Marine Park in 2013, will share in guitar duties for the band led by Middletown’s Jon Bon Jovi, seen below at JBJ Soul Kitchen in 2011. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


bon-jovi-101911In a headline-making realignment of local music stars, pop singer Jon Bon Jovi has chosen blues guitar monster Matt O’Ree as the road replacement for Bobby Bandiera, according to reports by the Asbury Park Press and other news outlets.

The Holmdel-based leader of the Matt O’Ree Band will join Bon Jovi as touring guitarist for the band’s upcoming shows in Asia and the Middle East starting in Indonesia on Friday, the Press reports, citing multiple unnamed sources.

The Matt O’Ree Band playing ‘Ten’ at the Saint in Asbury Park in an undated YouTube video. (Click to enlarge)

A frequent performer at festivals and bars and on the Greater Green — including Jamian’s in Red Bank, where he’s held down a first-Friday-of-the-month spot for about seven years — the 43-year-old O’Ree was dubbed the Guitarmageddon King of the Blues after a contest sponsored by the Guitar Center chain of equipment stores in 2006.

Noise11 reports that O’Ree will join the band as a second guitarist, behind Phil X.

From the Press:

Phil X, who replaced the departed Richie Sambora, remains with the band on lead guitar. No explanation for the switch has been given by the band.

Bon Jovi’s shows Monday, Sept. 14 in Shanghai and Thursday, Sept. 17 in Beijing were canceled on Monday, Sept. 7 as ticket sales were stopped with no explanation by the Chinese government. It’s suspected that authorities did not approve of Bon Jovi’s use of an image of the Dalai Lama as a backdrop in previous concerts.

The band recently released the album, “Burning Bridges,” its first without Sambora.

Billboard magazine reports that Bandiera, a longtime guitarist for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, had toured with Bon Jovi since 2005.