Phil X Opens up on His Struggles With Impostor Syndrome When Performing With Bon Jovi

Having performed on stages since the 1980s, guitarist Phil X found his way throughout the music industry with bands like Triumph. But that all changed when he stood in for Richie Sambora during a few Bon Jovi shows back in 2011. Although enjoying his time with the band, Sambora eventually returned. That was until he suddenly decided to step away from the band without members like Jon Bon Jovi knowing. Needing to feel that role, the band turned to Phil X, who became a member. While thrilled about the spot, he recently discussed dealing with imposter syndrome when standing on stage with Bon Jovi.

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Sitting down for an interview with Masters of Shred, Phil X opened up about his time with Bon Jovi and his struggles with feeling part of the band. “When… you’re filling in for somebody, and somebody comes up and says or writes a comment, ‘That was my first Bon Jovi show, and it was Phil X,’ I feel bad, sort of. I feel like, ‘Yeah, that should have been Richie.’”

[RELATED: Exclusive: Jon Bon Jovi Rebounds From Vocal Strife To Be a ‘Forever’ Rockstar]

Phil X Admits “This Isn’t My Moment”

While knowing the star power that comes with a band like Bon Jovi, Phil X recalled performing in Milan back in 2013. “[W]e were in Milan and we did the Stadium Bowl – that was my 30th or 40th show in 2013. [Fans] do this thing called choreography… you’re in a stadium and they hold up signs. So I saw, ‘Okay, over here is the Bon Jovi symbol.’ You go to another stadium, ‘This is a Bon Jovi symbol,’ and it’s usually just a section [of the crowd]. In Milan, it was the entire bowl.”

Noting how singer Bon Jovi needed to stop the song, Phil X continued, “All the front seats were holding up the Italian flag, and across the entire Bowl it said, ‘Bon Jovi Forever.’ It was the most amazing thing I ever saw. [I] never saw Jon stop a song because he was emotional – and he stopped.”

Although thrilled by the reception, Phil X felt like an outsider during that moment. “You know what I was thinking? I was thinking, ‘This isn’t my moment, as amazing as this is. Richie should be here for this.’ … [T]o me, it was weird being the guy having a cool gig because of somebody else’s situation.”

Over a decade later, Phil X continues to tour with Bon Jovi, finally finding his place among the iconic band.

(Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

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