Eins Live (Germany)- Interview with Jon Bon Jovi -01.2004
Translated from German with Internet translator
Eins Live: In the middle of April is not only the 20th Anniversary of your first record, but also the 10th years from the death of Kurt Cobain. Can you remember the day?
Jon Bon Jovi: Absolutely. I saw it in the media and was very disappointed from the messages that he did that. Whereby I thought particularly of its daughter. It left naturally an enormous blank in a music world, but in first place I worried about the future of his family. One can only sympathizes what he has experienced, what pressure he has felt. But suicide is also makes no sense.
Eins Live: Your opinion about how important is Nirvana for the Rock musik?
Jon bon Jovi: They were useful. Something that we needed urgently. And also something the current music scene needs. Because I have the feeling, as if the entire Rock is dead. To do what we did before nowadays is nearly impossible: to play, to make records or to do a world tour. If I had to begin now, I could never reach again what we have reached.
Eins Live: A frightening conception?
Jon Bon Jovi: Yes, if I have to begin today, Iíd had big fear before it. Iíll confess to you: even some records that you create to succeed to become platinum the concert tickets hardly sell. There you have someone like Match Box 20, which are awarded with Grammys and sold several millions albums. But outside of the USA they are nothing, and even in America they have problems to enthuse more than 5000 spectators. And exactly the same are also the Strokes, Vines, Hives and s.o.. They still get the press attention Ė but they hardly sell tickets.
Eins Live: Do you hope that something may change on a long-term basis?
Jon bon Jovi: It hardly to say. I believe, the world really need a new Kurt Cobain to kick the music business in the ass. And I believe that each generation brings someone out in such a way. Whoever this man is, so far he has no Airplay in the radio to open him the necessary doors
Eins Live: And this man you talked about is welcome? Even at the risk that he face you problems like at the time of Grunge? It brought the Metal of the 80's to death.
Jon Bon Jovi: Grunge ended long hair Metal Bands era. But that had to come in such a way - they had earned nothing else. It was a decadent, inflated nothing. And not in the last place they came because of the success of Guns N' Roses and Bon Jovi. Because of us the labels began to take ten Bon Jovi copies under contract. What happened then: the originals lived further and were able to maintain themselves, only the copies disappeared. And in the Grunge era the original was Nirvana. And they took in the tow ten bands, which sounded exactly the same as the original. And you listened to Creed and asked yourself: "Is this now the Pearl Jam, Creed or Nirvana?" According to my opinion music of these era stay for a long time already. This "Oh, what makes me feel so bad" Songs that I already donít want to listen.
Eins Live: But one also heard nothing new from Guns N' roses for a long time...
Jon bon Jovi: I think, we are the only survivor. We survive all these trends and fashion streams. Probably, because we did not betrayed ourselves. We ignored all this. I had never tried to be Hip Hop or Grunge. And I never cooperate with Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera. I had had the options. But we made only our thing. And afterwards I can only say: fortunately.
Eins Live: What do you think about these Casting Shows?
Jon Bon Jovi: They are the decline of America! But this fits simply to this pseudo Promis and Reality Shows. And what probably all the poor people think, if they see Jessica Simpson with her 14.000-Dollar Bedclothes, her Mercedes and her mansions? They say theirselves: "Jesus Christ, it shows only how all these money was wasted.Ē Why is there no more good, informative television?
Eins Live: How do you react to it? Does it make you more creative? Finally you had in the last years an enormous output.
Jon Bon Jovi: We are already considerable busy. Though I donít think we are burned out thereby. When we began for example with the acoustic CD, I had the concept about a song, that appears now on the DVD. Its name is "Last Man Standing" and summarizes what happend with the music industry. Just, that there is only one that can sing and play. And that is a circus-freak. Because elsewhere one hardly has still the possibility to present his talent to the show. Look at someone like Bob Dylan: he hardly gets nowadays the respect that he earns. And even Johnny Cash himself received only a larger footnote obituary in the People Magazine after his death. That breaks my heart. Because these magnificent types, whose songs changed the entire world, were displaced by someone from "Pop Idols".
Eins Live: You mean that those who are less dressed sell more records?
Jon Bon Jovi: Absolutely. And I discussed this with Sheryl Crow only few days ago. She told me that Lifestyle magazine wanted to take her the cover. But briefly before the shooting they called her and said: "Sorry, we now take Tussi with the belly navel ring and the big tits." That is exactly the kind of magazine, with which I want to have to do nothing more for years.
Eins Live: Bon Jovi are no longer as successful as into the 80ern, but in countries like Germany they still succeed to gather 50,000 spectators per evening into the shows. Is that your stronghold?
was ein verdammt gutes Gefuhl ist.
Jon Bon Jovi: In any case one of them. And we are also conscious of it. We are really happy that the Germans are so loyal. Last year we completed a very, very big tour. And we also played finally in America on stadiums again, which was condemns good feeling.
Eins Live: Do you go sightseeing in the cities where you have shows?
Jon Bon Jovi: Never! I donít have particular desire after show. In the end I was everywhere in the last 20 yearsĖ and furthermore repeatedly. Moreover on a tour I concentrate so much on every single gig that after that I canít do anything than go back to the hotel and have a drink. And as regards to the sightseeing: if there is something really worth to see I already have seen it.
Eins Live: Now you sound like bored rock star, that experienced and saw everything. You are only 42.
Jon Bon Jovi: No, I am not bored. But I know very well that this age is a certain phase in the life of many musicians. I often saw how they purge into proper lethargy. I think it happens simply, if you achieve a certain age and already youíve been here for a long time. Then you catch yourself of interest in other things and restructure your life. And that affects also your songs - if you still write songs. When I was 20, the things were different. I was mad to live in the hotel and we had no other place for sleeping. Moreover we were always been out of cash and therefore it was a crazy thing to be invited from the record company to dinner and to eat ourself fill. But meanwhile some years passed, we now have families and children and bigger houses. And also see that there are other things to do- for example: films or football team. So I donít want any more tours every year.
Eins Live: But your career in the last three, four years again is developed again?
Jon Bon Jovi: Yes, there were some new products, and in not so near future there will be also another box set. But I will not do anything for this, and for the last plate I gave not even five interviews- world-wide! Because I donít have desire to waste my time for it.
Eins Live: Even if there is only a few steps to Graceland? Even if you have to sell only a few million albums, in order to reach the magic 100 millions mark?
Jon Bon Jovi: Up to then it is really not more far. Nevertheless I donít have interest in it. Because an internal voice says to me that it is not important. We played only thos show in Atlantic City center, held them for a DVD and discharged us from each other in all friendship. Because in this year we want to do other things. I might have shoot films, my wife expect a baby, and I worry about the football team. Dave wrote a musical, which has soon premiere. Tico became last week father. It is his first child, who he wants for a long time.
Eins Live: A well-deserved break?
Jon Bon Jovi: In my eyes in any case! I have anymore no desire in near future to do these promotions with TV Shows, concerts and radiostations. And Iíd like to make no further record for the time being.
Eins Live: On the Live DVD there are at least two new songs. Remains from the last album?
Jon Bon Jovi: No, those are brand-new. Richie and I work already on new songs. We put for example "Last Man StandingĒ on the DVD with completely different music. There is another song "Thief Of Hearts". Also a nice Song. But I had big troubles one with my record label. They didnít intend to bring the song to the radio and didnít want a DVD. Therefore I hold back song for the CD. I am not particularly happy with my label at the moment.
Eins Live: But the acoustic album runs well. Although these versions express habituation needy.
Jon Bon Jovi: Not for me. I know those songs already for a long time that I felt it as a big complement that they function also in another context. For the Songs it is a test. We invented them completely again and put more weight on the texts. I like the most "It's my life", actually even the whole album. Also, if I am quite conscious that some fans do not like it. I mean, we played them and they listened to them for long time, and think they are so good, as they are. Up to a certain degree I understand it. They have no desire for a change.
Eins Live: Und was ist mit dem mysteriosen Box-Set, von dem du seit Jahren redest? Was wird da enthalten sein? Etwa die Coverversion von Bowies "Heroes", die ihr im letzten Jahr ofters akustisch gespielt habt? And whatís the matter with the mysteriosen box- set, you talk for years? What will it consist of? For instance the Cover version of Bowieís "Heroes"- the acoustic version that you played last year?
Jon Bon Jovi: The only I can say for the box set is that we found three complete albums with unpublished songs. And I mean these are not the things, which in Europe or Japan appeared as b-sides or other bonus tracks, but real material, which still no humans going place have. Among them are also a few cover versions. "The Joker" by Steve Miller, which became so mad that we kept in mind first to take it on "This left feels so right". In addition we made "Sylvia's MotherĒ by Dr. Hook- a song I love madly. But, hey, we ourselves are also good songwriters, and therefore we publish so far none of these cover versions. But who knows, may be we put them on the box set, in order to offer to the people something different. And the box accepted clear course in the last weeks. I am sure that it will get well.
Eins Live: And what are the plans for bands anniversary?
Jon Bon Jovi: I had hoped that we give a party and invite everyone, which had to do something in all these years with our career. A party with many drinks and approximately 500 people, where we will be dress in flashy gold suits, let us relax and drive us like Elvis. But at the moment I donít believe that will happen. In the view of the condition, in which the industry is, it will not probably happen.
Eins Live: That sounds depressive.
Jon Bon Jovi: I am not really depressed, itís just the new reality. The music industry was very selfish and arrogant for long time. And it made madly much money from the changes of the formats- from Vinyl to cassette, to CD, DVD and mini Disc. It made the market dull and make people to spend too much money. Now provocative outrage comes in form of the illegal downloads.
Eins Live: You already years ago began to manage yourself. Why you donít drive your own label and sell records through Internet?
Jon Bon Jovi: I donít believe that Iíll ever do that. Because of many reasons. For example I donít like big changes. When I was still a little boy, I always dreamed to make records. And now, since I can do that, I want to do it at a big label. Otherwise Iíll be rather insignificant. And I havenít experience but it functions differently. Take only people such as Prince. They really make eight dollar for profit at each CD, but, where you can find them? And where you can hear them? Because they are not played in the radio! A dollar more or less doesnít concern me. I want my music to be available, to be heard. Itís the reason that I still make it .
Eins Live: Apropo: Soon youíll become father for the fourth time.
Jon Bon Jovi: Yes, in April!
Eins Live: Girl or boy?
Jon Bon Jovi: No idea! We never want to know it before. In the end itís part of the surprise.
Eins Live: Do you still want more children?
Jon Bon Jovi: (laughs) no. The clan is complete. We were really very enthused and very gratefull still to be able to have another fourth child.
Eins Live: While Tico tried for many years in vain to become a father.
Jon Bon Jovi: Yes, he found finally the correct woman now, and has a marvelous son- a pretty, small boy. I myself just looked at the pictures in the internet
Eins Live: Then it has a new Model for his "Baby Rock Star" collection, that is very successful already for years.
Jon Bon Jovi: Correctly. The things are really incredibly cool. Iíll cofess you: he prepare even black leather jackets for babies. It lookís simply well.
Eins Live: Will you be at the baby birth?
Jon Bon Jovi: I was at all my children birth. It teaches you, what correct love is. And I can only recommend it to everyone with all my heart. No miracle that humans already done since thousands of years. A birth gives to you an unbelievable feeling of happeness.
Eins Live: What makes you to do Philadelphia Soul your own football team?
Jon Bon Jovi: And at this season there is nothing more. There is a 2 weeks period between the Play Offs and the super Bowl, and you suddenly aware that on Sunday there is no more football. It is the first time from August that you cannot sit on your couch and look a game, and that is madly frustrating. Thatís why I spoke with a friend of mine, who works on the sport marketing range. And he brought me on the idea to try it with my own team. Now I am like a 8 years old boy, who learns the game just recently, watches and still keeps enthusiasm. Because itís sudden much nearer at the playing field and because it has access to all areas. Of the commercial standpoint perhaps itís not the cleverest decision that I ever made but it will not make me a begger. Moreover I like it. And therefore I invest so much time.
Eins Live: But the role as manager not require that you sits all day long at the desk?
Jon Bon Jovi: I spend really unbelievably much time in this damned Buro! They wanted to give me even my own desk, but I said: "No." There I spend at the moment about 40 hours per week. At least. Now I fly with my manager to San Jose, where we have a training play. Afterwards I went back to New York at night, where I must perceive an appointment around 10:30 clock in the mornings for the team. Today I can find anymore so much time and energy for nothing other- neither for the band nor for the music bussiness.
Eins Live: Does your son play too?
Jon Bon Jovi: Yes, and for a 9 years old he is very good. He has reall talent.