Rock and roll is
not just so last century, and Bon Jovi is back to remind us about
the power of rock. The superstar group has been recording since 1983,
but over 20 years later their latest album This House Is Not For Sale
Ė their first album on Island Records after spending their entire
career on sister label Mercury Ė still entered at the top of the charts.
Coming out of the
Jersey bars and pretty much giving birth to the hair metal genre, Jon
Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Tico Torres and David Bryan had the first two
of several number one singles in 1985 with ďYou Give Love a Bad NameĒ
and ďLiviní On A Prayer.Ē The road has stretched long and hard as Bon
Jovi hits continued into the new millennium, including the
country-tinged ďWho Says You Canít Go HomeĒ a few years ago.
The band has
stayed pretty consistent over the years. The four main member stuck
together until just a few years ago when the band had an ugly musical
divorce with guitarist Richie Sambora in the middle of a tour. Sambora,
who has had a history of drug problems, left before a show and never
came back. He was replaced by guitarist Phil X, who played on his first
album for the band with the current album. Longtime sideman Hugh
McDonald also officially joined the band.
Bon Jovi is
currently warming up for their first worldwide tour in three years (they
played selected shows in the time between tours). For the tour, Bon
Jovi is running a contest in which local bands can send in videos of
their performances, and the best band in every town gets to open for Bon
Jovi. The band is also making the audio of each show on the tour
available for download to their fans.
We were one of
several outlets which recently caught up with Bon Jovi members Bryan and
Torres as they were rehearsing for the tour.
Bon Jovi tours
always have a certain look and technology to them. Whatís this tour
going to be like?
weíre doing it base it off of the This House Is Not for Sale
format and giving it those kind of lines. It looks like weíre doing a
lot more stuff in the round and have some people behind us as well,
which we always loved, instead of the proscenium. To be able to have
actual fans behind you while youíre playing. Itís quite simple and itís
movable. Thereís a lot of motion that goes with the songs. Believe it or
not, weíre rehearsing it now and still trying to get used to it. When
youíre on stage you see it a little differently than when youíre in the
what Tico said. Weíre selling all the way around. This one is really
concentrating on the music, not so much video screens. We have such a
body of work now, itís really about getting all the songs and itís about
In terms of
repertoire, will there be a lot from the new album? Is Burning Bridges
[a 2015 contractual-obligation rarities album] at all a thought for
this, or is that put away?
rehearsing now, so weíre figuring it out. Thereís definitely going to be
a section from the new record. Weíll have all the classics. Now we have
90-some odd songs to choose from, so, weíre definitely a work in
progress right now. But there will be your favorites and we get to
change it up every night, too.
do some from Bridges as well. Yeah.
This is your first
tour in more than three years. As you get older, what is your
LetTico go first. Heís older. So go ahead, Tico.
(laughs) As a joke, we do a
lot of Advil. Weíve been doing a lot of the old stuff forever, so itís a
little bit of polishing getting that in there. We did that little
listening party kind of thing Ė three or four shows on the new record Ė
and that was fun to do. It was a different way to present the record, as
opposed to a listening party. People can actually get a story behind it.
See where it comes from and see it live. So, we pretty much have that
under our belt. The first time we had a really big break like that,
youíre not rushed to do material. Then now when youíre ready, you come
out. Thatís the fun part. Weíre ready to come out. Itís cool.
What about as far
as physically for preparing for a tour?
just get in shape because you know itís a long show. We play anywhere
from Ė I think our average is around two and a half hours, two forty. So
weíre always in shape, but youíve got to get yourself in super shape so
you can sing that long, play that long, and feel strong.
came from the gym. (They both laugh.)
How are the tour
rehearsals been going so far? Do you guys just fall right into the
rehearsal process? Or is it something that you have to build towards?
Most of the time we fall into it. Again, itís just like learning how to
ride a bicycle. You donít really forget; youíve just got to get back on
there. Itís also a new set and new lighting, new shell, so our crewís
diligently working every minute of the day. Itís a complex cog/wheel.
Weíre just the music part. Then thereís all these other cogs working
hard to put on a show and make it all time-wise, from the bottom to the
top. The fact that we can do that, but getting out there and just having
fun and playing and feeling it, itís nothing new to us.
About the opening
act contest, what kind of video submissions are you guys getting thus
far? Where are the best videos coming from?
done it before and weíre doing it again. I think it does two things. The
big thing is that it really just helps out young acts to get out there
and play. Weíre doing ones in every market. We have 30 shows, so there
are almost 28 cities in America, so thereís a lot coming in. Itís all
good. It really helps out that young person and that young band thatís
trying to make it. We remember that. It was a different world when we
started out, but I think itís good.
How do you weed
Nation actually weeds through it. We get the tail end of it and then we
look at it. Weíre not sitting there going through a million bands. Not
enough time to do that.
weíre presented stuff, itís already been scrutinized by the people.
(publicist): There are quite
literally thousands of entries at this point.
Do the bands and
performers from Jersey get any extra attention as far as the opening
band contest? Specifically, I see that Matt OíRee has entered the
contest on his Facebook page. Do former touring members of the band get
any extra attention?
know about attention. I guess weíll just see how many comes in there and
see what it is. But, yeah, I will definitely give a closer look at Matt.
We all know that
some songs are inspired by fantasy and others come from true experiences
and feelings. The songs on this newest album seem especially personal.
Could you talk about one of your new favorites to play and a little bit
about what inspired it or what it means to you and the band?
say, for me really, I think itís what encompasses the whole record is
This House Is Not for Sale. When you look at that picture and the
deep roots in it, itís just about what we stand for. Weíve been here
since 1983 as a band. Iíve been with John since 1978. Our roots are
deep. We keep digging in and we keep growing at the same time. For us,
itís a statement that weíre not going anywhere and itís not for sale.
Itís our house and weíre proud of it. Weíre going to keep bringing it
around the world until they nail the coffin shut.
Thank you. And
itís a gorgeous picture, too. I love that photo.
You talked about
some of the things that people can expect on this tour. Do you feel
pressure to top yourself with tour after tour, both with the music and
the actual set?
always try to be better than we were in any situation; try to do the
best music you can, try to do the best tour that you can. Sometimes you
canít really chase that, but you have to be happy with what youíre
feeling. If youíre true and youíre feeling good about it, itíll
translate as a good show. It doesnít matter if you have one spotlight.
If the bandís not on, itís not going to convey anything. The bottom line
is we try to play our asses off and have some fun on stage. Really itís
a big party. We want our audience as part of our band. We want them to
sing and revel as much as we do. We count a lot on that as well to turn
each other on, but thatís the bottom line. Itís really just having fun.
I hope that answers it for you.
Could you talk a
little bit about the overall generational appeal of the band with this
upcoming tour? Youíre seeing fans of all ages coming out.
started out a long time ago. Weíve managed to just keep writing current
songs and have number one current records. We keep bringing along those
fans. Then those fans are growing up and having kids. And then those
kidsÖ So for us, it is multi-generational. Thatís a great compliment Ė
that you can still have a little kid singing a new song and still
singing ďLiviní On A Prayer.Ē Itís a nice compliment to the power of a
band and the power of a good song.
is always ageless and timeless, I think. Going back, I remember when the
Beatles came out. I think their music still is as strong, if not
stronger than it was then. I guess you grow up with what you grow up
with. Itís nice to be part of that with young people.
Does it ever
surprise you which songs fans tend to gravitate towards, even with the
different territories in the world. I mean, the Europeans will pick
certain albums and songs. Then Americans will pick the complete
opposite. Itís also, I guess, the way people grow up. The nice thing is,
through the whole spectrum of the world, thereís always something for
The world has
changed so much since you last went on tour. Are you guys going to
incorporate any of your thoughts on current events into the new show? Or
is it shaping up to be strictly a night of entertainment?
itís been three years. I donít know if the world changed that much in
three years, but it definitely changes every day. For us, those changes
are reflected in the records and the songs. When we get out there, our
job is to be performers and give everybody a great night; forget about
your problems. Forget about the worldís problems, because they were
there since the beginning and theyíre going to be there until the end.
The idea is to have a good night, have fun, and forget about [problems].
Everybody in the world has problems. The nice thing about entertainment
is you get to forget about those problems and have a good time for a
couple of hours.
I wanted to ask
you about the New Jersey roots. Just what is it about that state and
growing up there? There seems to be a lot of pride. How does that
connect with who you guys are now versus then? Give me some love for the
(laughs) The Garden State
always gets a bad rap, from movies all the way down. So, I guess
everybody tries a little harder there. Itís close to New York. The
tri-state area is part of that whole thing. Definitely East Coasters are
different than West Coast people in that sense. Weíre exposed to a lot
more music because itís New York City, and youíve got grassroots and
playing. Even from the band from the beginning, it was about going out
there and kicking ass on stage. There was always that innate feeling
with all musicians from Jersey and New York, and to this day, it hasnít
agree with that. When youíre looking at the big city and youíre the
little town thatís across the water from the big city, you always fight
a little harder. You work a little harder. Your feet are on the ground
and itís real. Thatís what I can really say, especially in Jersey City,
Can you talk about
maintaining that blue collar aesthetic despite all the fame and
you still are who you are. You can never get away from where you grew up
and where your roots are. So, thatís who we are. Weíre a bunch of guys
from Jersey that made it. Weíve worked our asses off. It took a lot of
hard work to get lucky. We got lucky through a shitload of hard work.
Weíre proud of it. Those are still reflected in our songs and our
You guys will be
playing at the Dickís Sports Goods Open at the end of the summer. Have
you guys have ever played on the 18th hole of a golf course like you
will when you come to En-Joie [Golf Club] this August?
played shitty golf on the 18th hole, I would say. (laughs) But,
no, Iíve never played music on the 18th hole. Itíll be pretty
Have you guys ever
played any gigs in the southern sphere of New York? If so, what do you
remember from being there?
going to be in Saratoga. Is that correct?
In that area.
good thing is itís summertime and itís beautiful. I know in the
wintertime thereís no golf and itís cold and a lot of snow. Iím looking
forward to that. Itís a great tournament. When you see the classic
players that play still so well and endeared by so many people. Itís
going to be fun not only to watch the golf but play there.
You guys have been
playing together for well over 30 years now. When you started out, could
you ever imagine that youíd still be touring in 2017?
it. I told everybody in í83, ďWeíll be here until 2019.Ē No, thatís a
joke. (laughs) You start out with your eyes wide open. Youíve got
dreams and we worked really, really hard and ours came true. Weíre
fortunate enough to keep putting out number one records. Weíre fortunate
enough to get out there and keep playing and we truly have a blast. Itís
so much fun to be on stage and play. It really is.
think about it, in those days Ė well, in any days, but I know for sure
in those days Ė bands didnít last more than a year, or two years at a
time. You always expected at least youíd work with a band and then youíd
go to the next band and you build your career that way. Itís odd and
special that we were able to stick together this long.
After touring all
these years, do you have any crazy Spinal Tap type of stories about life
on the road?
(laughs) Yeah. Iíve got a
million; I canít remember them.
is a Spinal Tap moment... (both laugh)
Exactly. Yeah. I think thereís been a lot.
Are there any
songs in the catalog that you especially look forward to playing every
time you go out on tour?
my mine remain ďWanted Dead or AliveĒ and ďLiviní On A Prayer,Ē
obviously. They have transcended time and itís hit people in a certain
way. Itís not only thematic, but if you had to sum up Bon Joviís legacy,
[ďLiviní On A PrayerĒ] would be probably at the top of the list. I think
because of the optimism. David?
Itís amazing those songs... and then ďItís My Life.Ē Thereís a lot of
great songs there. Itís hard to say which is your favorite, but those
are classic ones that keep going forward. Weíre blessed by that. We
touch a nerve within our audience and it definitely transcends time.
there any songs that you have to do that you think, ďAww, Iíve done this
so many times.Ē Maybe you donít want to do again, but you have to do for
song is fun and great to play. Thereís no burden of a song. For me, when
we always talk about the set list, itís always been... I donít like it
when bands donít want to play that one song everybody wants to hear. I
think thatís cheating everybody. Itís selfish of an artist to do that.
Thatís my own opinion. Weíll never be that band that will not play our
catalog song that people love.
You mentioned that
this album is really about the band; what youíve created together after
all this time. Could you talk a little bit about your personal
connection to the music of Bon Jovi? And if thereís a memory in your
life, that sticks out to you where you had to turn to that music as a
therapeutic outlet? Something difficult that you had to get through that
the music helped you to get through?
seems to me that a writer of a song, obviously, it means something when
they write it. When you put it out in public, it becomes your song, the
listener. Your interpretation and what it makes you feel like, I think
is a very personal thing. As far as the Bon Jovi music, our own music,
Iíve never felt that way about listening to a song in that manner; I
think because Iím too inside of it in a different way. But thereís songs
from other bands and other music in my life that affect me and would
carry you through a good time or a bad time. So, thatís my answer. Yeah,
Dave, go ahead.
guess for me the therapy is walking on stage, playing all of our songs,
and walking out. Thatís probably my therapy. Thatís a good time. I think
bad times I sit down and I play Ė thereís definitely certain songs that
touch in certain ways. I go back to ďMoonlight SonataĒ by Beethoven;
that usually takes care of everything.
Can you guys speak
to the changes that have happened in the band, specifically in this
album, where you donít have a very key songwriter and player playing on
this new album. Can you speak about that?
speak to that. We have been speaking about it. Itís the first record
without Richie [Sambora]. We havenít been in communication with him
since the last tour Ė well, since 15 shows into the last tour. Itís not
a sentence. Heís decided to not be in it anymore and we decided to keep
going. Weíre going to keep going. I think this record was just everybody
stepping up and saying, ďThis house is not for sale. This is what we
want to do.Ē For me and Tico, heíll tell you in a minute, or not, but
weíre here. Weíre here and we want to be here. This record, Iím proud
of. Like I said, we just had to step forward and do everything we had to
do to make a great record. We got a number one record in over 30
countries. So, weíre working; weíre still having fun. Is it the way we
wanted it? No. But itís not our decision.
With the opening
act contest, why is it important for veterans like yourself to give back
to the younger community? And what other advice do you have to new
artists and bands coming up today?
couple of things. When we grew up, there were a million clubs to play
at. Thatís before disco came in and DJís and club owners decided it was
cheaper to have one guy instead of a band. That hurt music, I think a
lot, local music in not only New Jersey and New York, but around the
country. Itís harder to find venues for guys to play at. Iím glad we
grew up in our era, because we had plenty of places to play at. I see
now, youíre going to see a resurgence, like there is in life. It always
comes back in not only music styles but ideals of how to play music.
Maybe this is one way to let the kid or man or woman thatís playing
music and say, ďIíd like to put my stuff out there.Ē Then you never
know. You might find a shining star and just by supporting it, theyíll
be able to go out there and play for thousands of people. Thatís my
Jersey, there is a resurgence. Once they changed the drinking age from
18 to 21, that really changed the scene a lot. Now, thereís a bunch of
places in Jersey, Dayton and Asbury Park, and at Red Bank and at
different towns where there are live bands that are playing. Some of
those bands arenít just covers; theyíre playing originals. It is good to
see that people are starting that again and for us to give somebody a
chance like that. It feels good for us. Itís the right thing to do. The
advice is write songs; it takes a lot of hard work to get lucky, so
youíve got to be in it to win it. Youíve got to be out there working and
playing and working and playing. Itís a great thing.
In talking about
the opening act contest, can you guys just reminisce for a minute on
your own experience in 1983? It had to be a huge break for a band from
New Jersey to play Madison Square Gardens with ZZ Top.
(laughs) I took the train in. I remember that. I took the train
in. Got there; we played a million miles an hour, nerves were on end. It
went so fast that I didnít even really get to enjoy it. Is that the way
you felt, David? It went pretty fast for me.
yeah. I mean, first we were an unsigned band. That was a manager at the
time trying to manage us, so he gave us that slot. We went out there and
did it. Yeah. You went from a club to playing the Garden, which is where
we were growing up. Thatís where all the biggest bands in the world
were; thatís where I saw everything, we all saw everything there.
Richieís amp didnít work. It was like an eternity. It was probably like
30 seconds; felt like 10 hours, but we got it working. We were sitting
up there. You know how everybody is like Ė they donít want to see you.
(laughs) That was pretty much fun.
What does Phil X
bring to the band in a live setting that might be a little bit different
than playing with Richie?
really helped us out in a time of need. Richie was battling his demons
and Phil was there for us. [He] came out and we didnít know whether it
was going to be one show, or 10 shows, or now three years. He definitely
helped us when we needed it the most. Heís a great player and heís got
great energy. We welcome him and thank him.
Did he change the
sound of the band live at all?
of course, it changes the sound. Itís a different avenue. You canít ever
replace anybody [without changing things]. Richie is incredibly
talented, his voice, and there was a character of the part of the band
that we grew up with, and everybody else grew up with. The nice thing
about Phil is he adds his own dimension. Thatís important. You have to
show that on the new record. We tried to do that as well, as well as
have our producer John Shanks play guitar on this record and play with
us live. They add a different element to it. I think itís a positive and
very good element. It sounds very good. Weíre moving on. I think itís
something people will enjoy.
Thereís been a lot
of discussion in the last few years about rock music not doing as well
on the charts as it used to do. But obviously you guys put out a record.
It is a number one record. Do you feel like youíre holding the torch for
rock after so many years? And do you think that there will be a
resurgence for rock in the future?
conscious effort has always been, the hardest thing in the world is to
get a number one record. Then when you get one, the hardest thing in the
world is to get another one. And then itís harder and harder and harder
as it keeps going on. Here we are so many years later and we still have
a number one record. Itís because itís not luck; itís effort. We work
our asses off to find those songs. [We] get in the studio and experiment
and move forward. Not rest upon ď[You Give Love a] Bad NameĒ for the
50,000 time. Just keep moving on and moving on and progressing. When it
comes in at number one, thatís not a given. Itís a statement that makes
us very happy that weíre a current classic. We can be on classic radio
and we can be on current radio. If weíre the ones who can fly the flag
of rock and roll and run up the hill, we planted it on the top. Thatís a
good thing for rock and roll.
I wanted to go
back to a question about this line-up; not so much about whoís not
there, but the lineup is now official, with this album Hugh McDonald
becoming an official band member and Phil X in everything. Thatís got to
be good for the psyche of the band to make it feel like Bon Jovi is
mean, thatís an important chapter, because Richie not being here, of
course, it was not easy for us. At the end of the day, itís a process.
To be able to have all of the guys in the studio Ė yeah, itís important
that we are a band working together. A lot of this record was done in
the studio and by the old way. We used to banter back and forth, try
parts and then just record it. I think the success of the album is
because it does have that band element. Itís not just music put together
and then filled in. Everybody had a good part in this. It shows
musically, and itís also shows live to see that.
to keep stepping forward. This was the time where it was stepping
forward. Like Tico was saying, we got in the studio and said, ďLetís
bash that out all together in one room.Ē It really shows. You can feel
the energy. You can feel all that. Then, we went out and did a promo. We
did a live listening party for the new record. We just played 15 brand
new songs; which stories and the line up was John Shanks, who was our
producer, who played guitar and, of course, Hughie and Phil. Then we
also added Everett Bradley, whoís a great percussionist and singer. So,
we just made it Ė itís a very musical band, I would say Ė in a new, good
direction. It feels fresh; itís good and everybodyís out there kicking
ass, like we always do. But now it has that new element of ďWeíre going
to keep going forward.Ē If you can grow as youíre going forward, then
weíre doing what we want to do.
Can you tell me
how you ended up filming the video for "This House Is Not For Sale" in
think we did that in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
we did that in Long Island. No, Jonís scenes were in Bethlehem. Yeah.
some car scenes in there. Yeah, we did some in Long Island, New York,
and we did some in Pennsylvania, itís a couple of different locations.
They go out, they scout stuff and they said, ďThis will work.Ē They show
you pictures, and you go, ďOkay, letís go.Ē Itís pretty much that way.
Yeah, we were glad
to have you. But it was a shock when I saw the video for the first time
and it was in Bethlehem.
thatís how that happened.
Are you guys going
to be wearing any of Jonís Heart N Dagger clothes up on stage for this
sure Jon will. No, I have no idea. I donít know. Itís a lot like street
wear, to tell you the truth. Maybe. (chuckles) That is if we can
get a good deal.
Yeah. You can
probably get a discount on it, right?
the Bon Jovi discount.
Going back to the
set list, are there any songs that you intend to play that you havenít
ever played live?
a good one. David?
you never know, but thatís a hard one. We played a lot of songs live,
especially I think we really got tested in our live set list when we did
the O2. We opened that up in England. I think we played, like, 15 shows,
and every night was different songs. So, except for the couple we always
have to play, which we want to always play, butÖ
Yeah. You always realize once you do it and you see the reaction if it
works or not, whether youíll do it again. (laughs) There are just
some ones that donít speak well live; thatís all.
I was reading that
you guys are recording each show of the tour and making them available
for audio download. How is that going to work? How are the fans going to
get hold of the downloads? And are you guys going to be mixing up the
playlist to make each show unique?
can answer that first part. We are going to be recording it on the tour
and they are going to be available for download. We have these custom
USB bracelets that can be worn; itís like a piece of jewelry. Thatís
going to be available at the merchandise booth, and then you can
download Ė itís on the store, BonJoviOfficialMerch.com. Those audio
files will be on the download on our official online store, and then you
can download it to that bracelet. And weíve always changed up the set
list. Itís not like one of my Broadway shows, which is a very set thing.
Every one of the songs are the same. We always change it up, just for
ourselves and our fans. But mainly, weíre not going to do the same show
every night. I think we would go batty.
Right. Are you
guys gong to be doing any covers, too? I really loved Jonís cover of
ďHere Comes the SunĒ that he did at the Philadelphia Clinton Rally. Will
you guys be doing that or any other covers as while on tour? Or just
your own stuff?
get thrown in left and right. Itís on the spot. We donít talk about it,
just yell at each other on stage. (laughs) You never know.
Whatever weíre in the mood for.
weíre a bar band, so we know all the bar songs. We just have fun. The
thing about it, as I said, the set list is a loose guide. Itís really
just about how it feels and how the audience is and how everything is.
Itís really a live show and things change. Itís fun.
decades, what keeps you excited about making music?
itself keeps you excited. I mean, look at all the other musicians in the
world. Any artist, whether itís a painter, writer, a musician, you donít
really retire. You play until you expire. Itís creative. Anything in
life thatís creative, you never get old and you never stop doing. I
think that works for everybody in the world, in this little world that
we live in. Itís a great denominator between languages and countries and
Ė for the most part Ė itís a positive message for everybody. I mean,
think about driving your car... you listen to music. Youíre home, you
listen to music. Itís an important part of our life. Itís not hard Ė
itís a given. Itís fun that weíre blessed that we can do this.
You think about the working world, you know? The working world,
everybody is retiring at 55, 65, 62 1/2, whatever it is. I think, like
Tico was saying, in the arts we donít fall into that same world, because
for us, you donít work an instrument, you play it. Itís fun and you
grow. You get better at it all the way until the end.
You have John
Shanks on tour. Thatís not something that happens a lot. How did you
manage to get him to go out on the road? Do you have to keep him from
trying to produce everything every night?
him in the studio with us playing, you know? Youíre right in the same
room creating with him, so it was a different chair for him to have
besides being in the booth. He was there, creating music together. It
seemed kind of logical. It started out, ďLetís do this promo tour
together of the album.Ē It seemed logical since he played on all the
songs that he would play. Then, took a step further, like, ďDo you want
to go on the road with us?Ē Itís kind of cool. Talking to John, he says,
whatís cool for him is when he was playing with Melissa Etheridge and
bands like that his kids were babies. Theyíve never seen him play and
perform in this venue thing. This is an opportunity for him to revisit,
play, and have his kids, who are older now, to partake and enjoy it.
Itís almost like a dream for him, so itís cool.
exactly what Tico said. When we started it, when we were doing these
four live listening parties for the new record, [we] asked John to join.
John joined, and also Everett Bradley joined, who sings and is a great
percussionist. The band was really musical. Then, after playing those
four shows, we were like, ďHey, it would be great to do the whole tour.Ē
[We] asked them and they wanted to do it. Weíre fortunate. It
definitely, like Tico was saying, like sports guys have to give it up
early and, for us, our kids get to see us play even when weíre old and
theyíre older. Itís fun.
Could you talk a
little bit about how your creative process has changed over the years as
far as making music together? You guys have been making music together
for a long time. Whatís changed? Is it easier? Harder? What works? What
changes every record, really. Every record is different in how we
approach it. We donít sit down and go, ďWeíre going to approach it this
way.Ē It just evolves. The last couple of them have been a lot where the
writing happens and itís on the computer and then we add to it. This
record was just like, ďLetís get back to the roots of sitting in a room,
all of us together, looking each other in the face, coming up with parts
and coming up with ideas.Ē Some of the songs that were on the new
record, like ďNew Yearís Day,Ē that thing was ballad, a slow thing, and
it really wasnít working. Then, we changed that into a rocker. ďHey,
letís try this. Letís do this, and do that, and try this.Ē That whole
different energy is apparent on that record. Itís always morphing; itís
I have a work/life
balance question, based on something I read that (Jon) Bon Jovi said
earlier this week. He said, ďBack in my earlier days, I would have
termed myself a workaholic, but not the last decade. When you get to a
certain age, you realize that thereís more to life than wanting to be
the lead singer of a rock band.Ē I think most people would agree. Itís
tough to reach a good work/life balance, but at the same time, everyone
would agree that being in a rock band would be a dream come true. Is
there anything Bon Jovi does as a band that helps you achieve some
balance on tour so you donít get burned out? Or is it just all-out
weíve changed our work ethic a little bit. There were times we wouldnít
be home for months, and what weíve concluded is: why donít we just take
a nice long break? [So] weíre not touring ourselves to death. Weíre
doing a certain amount of shows and taking breaks. There are other
things in life. When you put family into the equation, to me, and I can
speak for everybody else, theyíre the number one option in life.
(laughs) Itís nice to be able to do that. I think thatís also what
keeps us happy, to be able to balance that.
tough balance. As we move on, thereís more balance. When you first start
off, you donít really have a choice; you just have to get out there. You
have to do it. You have to go around the world. You have to make your
mark. The worldís not going to come to you. Youíve got to go to it.
Then, if youíre fortunate enough and get successful enough, you can
start to balance, which weíve done.
Weíve seen so many
changes within the music industry over the years with the uprise of
social media and all of that. How have those changes affected your
approach to recording and touring? At one point an album would support
the tour, and I feel now that it flip flops where a tour kind of like
supports the album.
Jovi, itís always been coming up with new material, not just going on
tour with no new material. Weíve always wanted to get out there, make a
record weíre proud of, put it out there, and then follow-up with a tour.
And, yes, social media Ė there was no such thing as the Internet when we
started, or computers. Or computers were at the very beginning stages.
So, you roll with it. Itís a whole new world out there. I mean, I think
we have over 40 million Facebook fans, you know? If we want to send a
message out, before weíd have to buy 40 million stamps. Now, you can
make one message. If we say, ďHey, weíre going on tonight and itís going
to go on early,Ē or ďWeíre going to do this, weíre going to have this,
or this new opening act,Ē we can put that out there and bang all your 40
plus million people know the message immediately, which is pretty
We still like making albums. I mean, I know the whole media thing has
changed, where people just take one song they like and donít even listen
to the rest of the record. Weíre still under the premise that an album
tells a story. Thereís a lot to be said for that. We still like doing it
where you start from the beginning and you end an album. Those days,
growing up for us, an album meant something. Thatís something we still
like to keep doing. Hopefully, that will come back in a fast-paced
world, because thereís a lot of great musicians out there that have a
lot more to say than one song. Hopefully, fingers crossed, itíll keep
Itís funny Ė never underestimate what new is. I have kids and the
younger generation is sometimes new is old again. Now, everything normal
on their iPhones. Music is downloaded; nobody touches anything and itís
just these numbers and these headphones. Now, all of a sudden,
everybodyís like, ďHey, look at this thing. Theyíre selling albums
again.Ē Real albums in Urban Outfitter; starting selling records and
record players. So, that becomes a new technology because once you get
the point of an iPhone or computer, it gets to the point where itís so
easy and convenient, everybody says, ďWell, thatís the norm.Ē The new
thing is this big black disc thatís called an album. Never
underestimate. Sometimes new is old.
To the casual
observer, Jon is the lead vocalist. Like the face of the band. Can you
guys talk a little bit about him as a creative spirit? Also just I would
assume a cool guy to hang out with. Talk about him on both those levels.
the lead singer is always the voice of the band. Thatís the face, the
voice; heís the guy out there and Jon is the creative force of doom. We
met each other Ė we were like almost 17 years old and I joined his cover
band. The journey started from there. Heís a force of nature that wants
to keep going forward. Get out of terrible New Jersey. Learn how to
write songs, write original songs and keep working it, working it,
working it. Then, find a band of guys that are just as committed to the
music, to the band, to him. Keep going forward and never fail. Thereís
no such thing as less than 100 percent. That spearhead has the team
behind him. Thatís why weíre still here.
BON JOVI'S MUSIC VIDEO FOR "THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE"