Saturday, October 24, 2009
The New Jersey News Room had this to say about the upcoming documentary.
New Jersey's Bon Jovi has survived and thrived for a quarter of a century, music critics be damned.
This weekend viewers can catch a behind-the-scenes glance at how these native sons have survived while other groups fell to the wayside.
Showtime will air "Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful," a black and white documentary on the group's 2008 Lost Highway World Tour, on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 9 p.m.
The film will help Bon Jovi promote their new studio album, "The Circle," which will drop Nov. 10.
The documentary, which was acquired by Showtime, goes on the road with Bon Jovi to Abu Dhabi, Dublin, Marbella, Munich, London and the closer locales of Madison Square Garden and Central Park.
The band members — Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Tico Torres and David Bryan — also do candid one-on-one interviews with director Phil Griffin, a filmmaker and photographer. They talk about the group almost breaking up, their own personal demons, their success and the loneliness of life on the road.
There's no question that Jon Bon Jovi is the boss of the band, with a hands-on grip on its financial affairs.
"True, it isn't a democracy," Jon Bon Jovi says in the film. "I've had a vision. The vision seems to work."
People who know anything about Jon Bon Jovi — who is a successful actor, and politically and civically involved — would peg Jon Bon Jovi as an empty-headed pretty boy. But in "When We Were Beautiful," he cements a new image, that of a hard-nosed, savvy, ambitious, calculating, worrisome and sometimes profane businessman.
Approached about investing in a pro-football team, Jon Bon Jovi is seen talking on the phone to his potential partner in the deal. Jon Bon Jovi tells the man he wants to meet with him, so he can see that Jon is not a rock-band cliché.
"I'm the CEO of a major corporation who is running a brand for 25 years," Jon Bon Jovi says.
In fact, Jon Bon Jovi just made history when he struck a unique deal to be NBC Universal's first "Artist in Residence." Under the pact, Bon Jovi will appear exclusively on NBC Universal TV outlets for two months to promote "The Circle." That includes appearances on the flagship NBC network and cable channels such as Bravo.
The "When We Were Beautful" documentary, from Oscar and Emmy-award winning producers @radical.media, was done when Bon Jovi had reached a new peak, with the No. 1 album and No. 1 grossing tour in 2008, according to Billboard magazine
On the group's Web site, Jon Bon Jovi lists his hometown as Sayreville. He now lives in a mansion on the Navesink River in Middletown. Sambora's hometown is Woodbridge, and he resides in California now.
Bryan's hometown is Edison, and he still lives in New Jersey, while Torres, originally from New York, resides in Florida.
Music critics have always loved another Jersey artist, Bruce Springsteen. But in "When We Were Beautiful," both Jon Bon Jovi and Bryan tackle dead-on the fact that while fans love them and they've had huge commercial success, music critics have consistently panned them.
"We're still not the critics' darlings," Bryan says.
But Jon Bon Jovi seems to have made peace with that. The rocker points out that he's been "the Tom Cruise of the music business and the Elvis Costello of the acting business."
He says he's received great reviews for his acting, mainly in small independent films, but won "zero commercial success" for those efforts. In contrast, critics don't like his music, but "the masses" do.
"Do I really want to be the Elvis Costello" or the "Cruise and Schwarzenegger" of music "and be here forever?" he asks.
Before the tour's show at Madison Square Garden, Jon Bon Jovi points out to the band and crew that the group has been together 25 years.
"We're not supposed to still be here," he says.
But as "When We Were Beautiful" shows, it hasn't been easy. The band members discuss the time they almost broke up.
"It was almost over," Torres says.
Jon Bon Jovi brought in a psychologist, Lou Cox, to help mediate the band members' differences.
Torres opens up and talks about making peace with his father, beating alcoholism and taking up art and golf instead of the bottle.
"He was a really bad drunk," Jon Bon Jovi says. "'T' was a very, mean, mean man."
Sambora talks candidly about his difficult last few years, a "dark period," when he was living through the death of his father and his well-publicized divorce from Heather Locklear. He credits Jon Bon Jovi with pulling him through that period.
For Jon Bon Jovi, there are the burdens of being away from home, Jersey, and the headaches of taking care of business.
He misses his children, and says he's selfish for touring and being away from them.
"There's four kids at home that are going, ‘Where the f--k are you?'" he says.
Jon Bon Jovi describes doing a concert to thousands of screaming fans, then going to a hotel room, ears still ringing, with no one to talk to. Your family is in another time zone, so you can't call them.
"It's a lonely existence," he says.
Jon Bon Jovi is also seen fretting over tangled plans for the band to do a free concert in Central Park, an effort that he calls a "fiasco." Blaming "lawyers," he is afraid the concert is going to have to be cancelled, and Bon Jovi will be blamed - not Mayor Bloomberg or agents or attorneys.
"No wonder why I've got a f--king headache and I'm going gray," Jon Bon Jovi says.
But the problems are resolved, because the next scene is a press conference with Bloomberg and Jon Bon Jovi announcing the free Central Park concert for July 12.
Jon Bon Jovi tells reporters it's "The perfect bookend to an incredible tour."
As the group gets ready to perform, Sambora jokingly laments that his daughter Ava (from his marriage to Locklear) won't be at his historic Central Park concert. Instead, she will be going to a Jonas Brothers concert that night,
Sambora mimics her voice, saying, "I love Nick."
The group is shown performing to a seemingly endless sea of people at Central Park,
But the documentary starts and ends with scenes of Bon Jovi getting ready for a concert at Madison Square Garden, where they sold out for two nights and ended their tour. Backstage family members — including both Sambora's mother Joan and daughter Ava, and Jon Bon Jovi's mother Carol — kick back with the band before it performs.
The group members celebrate their New Jersey roots and the bond they have.
"It comes from the way we grew up," Sambora says.
Torres similarly sums up Bon Jovi's blue-collar approach to their careers.
"We're going to fight to make it the best band, the best music and the best show possible," he says. "That's inherent in our upbringing. That's a Jersey-New York signature. You'll find it with anybody from that area."
New Jersey's band opens up at New York screening of ‘Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful' documentary
Bon Jovi set to be first band to kick off in new Meadowlands Stadium
I have no doubt it will be well worth the wait.