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Jon Bon Jovi Interview - Time Out London

Thursday, June 24, 2010

As Bon Jovi pack out the O2, we ask the band’s entourage to put their questions to the frontman

Behind every great man, they say, there’s a great woman. But if that man is an enormodome-rocking titan of cowboy-ish rawk-pop, there’ll also be roadies. And sound engineers. So, to get a unique insight into the mind of Jon Bon Jovi – currently tearing up the 02 Arena at 48 years of age – we decided to solicit questions from the people who know him best: the people he goes on the road with…

Mike Savas, management: ‘Is the jet really better than the tour bus?’

‘Yes. I would work another job before I gave up the airplane. It seats 20, but all that matters is that it seats one… me. I’ve had the same stewardess for 23 years. She’s everything you need her to be: mom or bartender. Airplanes are the way for me. I wouldn’t know what a tour bus is like. That’s like dying and going to hell.’

David Bryan, keyboard player: ‘Who in the band makes you laugh most?’

‘David Bryan. The guy just thinks funny. I mean, what can I tell you? Just look at him’

Dean Grillo, chiropractor: ‘What would make you stop touring?’

‘People not wanting to come see it, though I don’t see you and I having this conversation when I’m 60 or 70. I don’t know how Jagger does it, God bless him. Jagger’s gotta do the shit I gotta do. So I’m holding the bar up to see how high and how long he can go, but goddamn, that’s tough’

Obie O’Brien, recording engineer: ‘What’s this button for?'

‘I don’t know and don’t want to know. That for you, sir, is called job security. If you work on a recording console, it’s got a hundred-and-some-odd knobs and dials on it. The truth is they’re laid out in strips. But if you didn’t know, you’d think that guy’s a genius for knowing how to work it. So if you asked him, “What’s that button for?” he could tell you and make it really simple, or he could continue that job security and not tell you.’

Mike, rigger: ‘Why is your mic stand white?’

‘It was painted white in 1983. That’s not the original but it’s almost that old. I don’t remember why I painted it white, probably emulating somebody else, but I don’t recall who.’

Anthony Piedmonte, tour assistant: ‘Will you ever run for office'

‘I’ll run from office is more like it. Who in their right mind would want to be a politician? It’s a thankless job. I was flying with my wife and President Clinton and a guy asked the two of us whose job was better. I said, “Mine, because I get to keep the house and the airplane.” ’

Ike, front-of-house engineer: ‘As a songwriter, what song do you want to be remembered for?’

‘I’ll probably be most remembered for songs like “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Living on a Prayer” but you also want [it to be] every song you write. With every latest one, you think: That’s it, I’ve outdone it. What are they going to write in my obituary? “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Living on a Prayer”. Hey, it’s better to have had one. Shit, I’ve been lucky enough to have had six.’

Cheryl, management: ‘What is your motivation to keep going?’

‘This is the best job ever, next to Santa Claus. He’s probably the only guy who’s universally liked more than a guy in a rock band. People’s uninformed viewpoint of what his job entails sounds like just Christmas morning, but Santa puts in a lot of work. The pleasures wouldn’t come without all of the dedication and commitment. There’s a lot of adulation for doing something that seems so simple.’

Knute, security: ‘If you weren’t Bon Jovi’s lead singer, what would you be doing?’

‘Working for Bon Jovi. Anyone, from being on the road crew to management, hasn’t got a bad gig. Being the stewardess is also pretty good. A lot of people have been with us most of their adult lives. Good work if you can get it.’

Sooner, lighting director: ‘What was the first concert you went to?’

‘First concert was Rush, Heart and the Doobie Brothers in 1975 at a high school in Erie, Pennsylvania. It’s a crazy line-up and, because it was meant to rain, they flip-flopped the bill, so the Doobie Brothers went on first and Rush closed the show. Not that I knew what that meant when I was a 12- or 13-year-old kid. And I think we smoked far too much. We kept count and, in retrospect, it was likely to have been nothing more than glorified oregano, but we thought we smoked a lot.’

Bugsy, production chief: ‘Which song do you wish you’d written?’

‘Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. I have such feeling for the lyric and understanding of the lyric. Too many kids sing that song like a Christmas carol and haven’t got a fucking clue about the sexuality and the innuendo in that lyric. It’s just it’s a big part of who I am, the storytelling connection with that audience member who I’m singing it to.’

Glen the Finger, monitor engineer: ‘Besides you, who’s your favourite rock star?’

‘Elton John… greatest guy in the biz. Elton loves music. Elton is a fan of music. He buys records every week, he encourages young artists, he has taken more than one and made them into stars. Can you imagine getting a note or a call when you’re some nobody kid named James Blunt five years ago, going “Hi, it’s Elton John, I want to help you.” You’d probably just shit yourself.’

Abby, stylist: ‘Do you have a lucky pair of shoes?’

‘Not really, I usually wear boots until they have holes in the soles. And I wear basketball sneakers on stage. They’re easier to start, stop, jump in. Boots are too tough on the knees.’

Tony Bongiovi, video director (and Jon’s brother): ‘What am I getting for a tour bonus?’

‘Tony, stop asking questions. Ask Mom.’


WomanOfTheCity June 24, 2010 at 11:31 AM  

That is a really funny interview.

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