Saturday, October 23, 2010
In my own words, Jon Bon Jovi
A band is like a marriage or a family.
It was hard for us early on because, like in a new relationship, we were trying to figure each other out. You had to be careful about what you said or did, because sometimes people interpret things incorrectly. Everybody has their idiosyncrasies, but when you’ve been around each other for nearly three decades, as we have, you know what they are, so you don’t misinterpret them.
Richie [Sambora, Bon Jovi’s guitarist] and I are closer than brothers.
There have been periods of love and less than love between us, but I don’t think there was ever a period
of disrespect. He’s had a few setbacks. He’s been through a difficult divorce [from Heather Locklear], he’s had other personal problems [with substance abuse], but he got through it. I’ve spent more of my life with him than I have without him. That’s a statement.
I was playing bars at 16.
Doing that gave me the opportunity to cut my chops. I also had the innocence and naïvety of youth to believe music was a real possibility. If you came from New Jersey and saw Bruce Springsteen do it, you thought maybe you could, too.
During Bon Jovi’s big success in the mid-’80s, I wasn’t sane.
When Slippery When Wet was big, I was doing too many things I shouldn’t have been. I wasn’t looking after myself. I was physically exhausted and worried about what came tomorrow, instead of enjoying today. If I were a manager, I’d tell a kid that had huge success to go to bed and call me in a year.
At that time, even my parents started asking me for advice.
I thought, no, no, I’m still a 25-year-old idiot – I don’t know anything. Suddenly, I’m signing cheques, thinking, where did that sort of money come from? I went from being a singer in a band to the head of a corporation.
Bon Jovi isn’t a democracy.
I make the decisions and that’s the way it is. I have to live with the good and bad of the outcome, because the decision lies with me. But I’m willing to accept that to have control. Looking back, there isn’t much I wouldn’t do again, except maybe some of the hairstyles, and a few of the outfits.
If you play a Bon Jovi song in a bar anywhere in the world, people will sing it. That’s beyond comprehension to me. I was just a kid strumming a tennis racquet in my bedroom. Having songs that people know the world over is crazy. I’m very grateful and humbled by it.
I really don’t care about fame.
I was on the beach with my kids the other day, and nobody cared. You can be so full of yourself, you tell everyone what you do. Or, you can think, that’s just what I did last night; that’s my job.
I’m blessed with four healthy kids and a wife who tolerates me.
That, to me, is success. My wife knew me before I was ‘me’. Our [21-year] marriage is up and down, like any relationship. It is what it is. It isn’t perfect, but I got it right the first time. I don’t even make jokes about it any more. I’m lucky and I wouldn’t trade it.
My kids are aware of the Lindsay Lohans of the world.
They think that sort of life is crappy and don’t want anything to do with it. On the other hand, sometimes there are people in my house and the kids will say, “Wow, really? You?” But,
in general, we keep them out of the spotlight.
My eight-year-old son, Jake, has ‘it’.
He should be an actor. But I don’t push him; my kids have to find it on their own. My daughter, Stephanie, is 17 and she has the ability to be something, if she chooses. But growing up in the shadow of a famous parent isn’t fair. You have to want to do it.
If you love what you do, chances are, it’s going to resonate.
If you write a song that means something to somebody because they can relate to it, or it becomes a part of the patchwork of their life and marks a memory of a time and place when they heard it, that’s success. But the accomplishments, the number-ones, the sold-out arenas – it’s all horse sh*t. None of that matters.
I’m a romantic optimist.
I believe in the common good. I’m liberal-minded, open to co-existing and I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, black or white, Jewish, Muslim or Christian. Because I’ve been so blessed, I don’t see why others can’t achieve and be and do. Some people call that naïvety, others call it a promise of hope.
Bon Jovi’s Greatest Hits is in stores November 5.