Huddersfield Daily Examiner- Jun 13 2001
ROCK superstar Jon Bon Jovi arrived in Huddersfield today to entertain a sell-out crowd.
before he took to the spectacular stage at the McAlpine Stadium, he took time
out to answer questions from The Examiner.
Q: You played a few concerts last year. You must have had a good time, as you're back for more? Tell us about this tour and what can we expect to see and hear?
A: We played Europe last summer and by the end of the tour, after the five dates in Japan and the 20 or so in Europe, more than one million people had already come to see us. It was great.
Being the last rock 'n' roll show ever at Wembley Stadium was incredible - we were each sent an actual seat from the stadium - they pulled them out for us before they razed the building.
Then we did a concise 15-20 date tour of the US in the fall and then I went to Mexico to do a movie.
This time around, we started with five shows in Japan again and then we toured the US in April and May. In June, we hit Europe and we're very happy to be coming back.
The stage at Huddersfield is going to be amazing - completely different from last summer's show. There are big video screens and the whole setting is going to be us performing on a rooftop - part of the New York City skyline.
Q: Many artists have a real passion for performing live, above studio recording while others see it more as a necessary evil. What particular do you love about touring?
A: That time out there on the stage. You live for that. That's when you're safe. It's magic. Everything else about touring is just a beating. The travel - the planes, trains and automobiles, the hotel beds instead of your own.
Living out a suitcase just isn't as appealing as it was when we were 22! The touring part is hell but as soon as you get out there in front of all those people and take it all in, you know that there's nowhere else on earth you'd rather be!
Q: Bon Jovi are renowned for their high energy and high-flying special effects. Do you find it harder and harder to keep coming up with new ideas and the energy needed to tour?
A: You can have all the pyro, all the confetti and all the bells and whistles you want ... but if you can't go out on that stage and put on an incredible show that you enjoy and the crowd enjoys, who cares what your stage looks like?
It's all about the music. Our stage won't distract you from the music. When you leave our show, what you're gonna remember is the music.
We're not really trying to out-do anyone else. We're not putting on a circus spectacle. Here we are, welcome to the show, we're here to play. As far as building up the energy to tour, mentally once I'm committed to touring then the physical prep begins.
If you can imagine what a prize fighter or an Olympic athlete goes through training for their moment of glory, it's not really all that different from what I have to go through to gear up for a tour. Our stage is the width of a football pitch and I'm running from end to end all night long... hell, yeah, I better train for that!
Q: How do you all decide what to include in your set? Do you ad-lib a lot on the set depending on the mood of the audience?
A: Sure, sure ... and on the mood of the band! I've always considered a set list nothing more than an outline. It changes all the time. Obviously you want to make sure you've got your big hits in there because the fans want to hear them and you want to play the new stuff because when you put out an album you're proud of, you want to play those songs.
But we've got such a huge catalogue of music that I don't have to play the same thing every night. I can change it as often as I like. We adlib a lot. Sometimes we'll break into something. Tico will see a look on my face and know I'm making a left when we thought we were going right!
Q: How do you take care of yourselves on the road? Do you have special diets/exercise regimes?
A: Going on tour now isn't like it used to be. We work really hard at keeping as healthy as possible. The grind of touring alone can take its toll physically - it's hard to take good care of yourself on the road but we try.
The gym every morning. Vitamin supplements. We eat pretty well. We'll indulge in wine. We may not drink as much as we used to but we know which is the better stuff now!
Q: Why do you think your songs and your career have endured?
A: The songs. It's always about the songs. If you can write a song that people feel connected to and people want to hear, while being true to who you are as a songwriter and not compromising yourself as an artist, you'll always be able to survive in this business.
I write a song for myself but when people make it their own, the song takes on a life of its own. We've had that happen enough times now that people have a real connection to a lot of our songs.
Plus, I think Bon Jovi are a great live band ... there aren't a lot of rock bands out there playing our kind of music and playing venues the size that we play. A Bon Jovi show is a good time. This is a great live band.
Q: Despite the continued success you have all had in your solo ventures, there is no doubt that you work well as a band. In this increasingly fickle industry, few bands can boast the same line-up. Why do you think this is the case with Bon Jovi?
A: I'm a loyal guy. These are the same guys who believed me when I told them we were going to make it and they stuck by me. Plus, there is a certain magic when this band gets together. The sum is truly greater than the individual parts.
Q: Even though Bon Jovi is quintessentially rock 'n' roll, your music has much wider appeal? Why do you think this is the case?
A: Again, it's all about the songs. We've never defined ourselves as anything other than a rock 'n' roll band. We're a bar band that just plays really big bars! But we're able to write a ballad or an anthem or a mid-tempo song.
As songwriters we don't just stick to one style of songwriting, so if a lot of different kinds of folk like what they hear then that's great. But it's really all about the songs - they can transcend a genre.
Q: Which artists, both from the past and present, have influenced you?
A: Growing up, it was Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Little Steven and Bruce Springsteen.
Lyrically, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan are true poets - their storytelling is nothing short of brilliance, how they can paint a picture with words - and Elvis Costello. Those are my songwriting heroes.
I've always been a huge Rolling Stones fan so I look to them as the gauge of ''when they call it quits, then the world will know when it's time for a rock band to hang it up!"
I listen to a lot of new stuff like Matchbox Twenty and Lit. I think Jakob Dylan and the Wallflowers are the real deal. Again, it's all about the songwriting. As long as you write your own stuff, you have a chance at longevity.
Q: You've been writing and performing for over 18 years. How do you feel your music has evolved?
A: Well, it would have to evolve or we'd never have had this much success over this amount of time. Anyone doing anything for 18 years had better evolve and improve! I hope I'm not writing about the same things I was writing about when I began!
"I think we're better songwriters now. We've embraced technology so that it's our friend, but not so that it's changed the fundamental heart of our music. I think we're more comfortable in our own shoes.
Q: You released an album of live tracks in the spring - tell us a bit about it.
A: It's called One Wild Night and it's only rock 'n' roll songs. No ballads. Just in your face rock tracks, up-tempo, big guitars ... maximum testosterone! Older stuff, current stuff ... all recorded live over our years of touring the globe. It's gonna rock.