10 Questions for Jon Bon Jovi- Time- 25.07.2007
Has the dynamic of the band changed over the years? —Aaron O'Reilly, London, Ont.
I don't think it has. It's always been a team sport. But somebody had to be the quarterback and somebody the receiver and the lineman. [Lead guitarist] Richie [Sambora] understands that, and the other guys have to collaborate as their parts fit.
Are you going country on us? —Larkin Werner, Pittsburgh, Pa.
No. To clarify, Lost Highway is not country. It's a Nashville-influenced Bon Jovi record. It's not George Strait or Alan Jackson. It's more Keith Urban, Sugarland or Big and Rich.
If you could choose only one song that showed the real you, which one would it be? —Doreen Townsend, Nashua, N.H.
I think if there was only one, it would be a tough choice between "Living on a Prayer" and "Wanted Dead or Alive." Maybe because the themes of "Wanted" are a little more universal, it makes "Prayer" that much more unique. There is nothing that you can say is derivative about the song. It is its own entity.
What's playing on your iPod? —Aiden Bettag, Dubuque, Iowa
I have been a great fan of Damien Rice and his album O. Most recently, this Amy Winehouse record [Back to Black] is slaying me. I love the sound of it. So I really do find great solace in the next generation of songs and songwriters.
What is the coolest thing you learned from being an actor? —Jessie Moon, Sinton, Texas
You learn humility, like when you go to an acting coach who makes you pay for 10 lessons in advance and makes you sit out on the stoop until it's your hour. That's all fine, but when you are not the writer, the director, the producer or the star, you also learn humility. I brought that back to the band, and I think it truly is the key to our success from the '90s on. It helped us not rest on our laurels.
How do you balance your family life with the demands of your career? —Deena Lytle, Petal, Miss.
It's not always easy. This week alone, I was in New York, Venezuela, Tobago, Wisconsin and Wyoming. I came home at 4 in the morning and was obviously delirious and had to get up to take my son to the dentist the next day. Needless to say, I overslept. My wife graciously let me sleep, said I needed the rest. Tomorrow I've got to take another kid to a doctor. I try. The day after that, I'm back to being a rock star.
You mention faith a lot in your songs. What is your own spiritual life like? —Lisa Sidney, Maple Grove, Minn.
I think I find more strength in faith than I do in organized religion. "Living on a Prayer" is most certainly nondenominational.
Have you considered encouraging Al Gore to run again? —Debi Dodson, Chattanooga, Tenn.
I may have been the first one in that line, but there are a lot of people behind me trying to say the same thing. I think I have spoken my piece politically with "Have a Nice Day." I find I can get a lot more done personally through philanthropy than I can stumping for either side of the aisle.
How do you feel about playing in your home state of New Jersey? —Donna Jackson, Cherry Hill, N.J.
It is actually not my favorite place in the world to perform. The guest lists are too long, and every aunt or uncle that you don't even see at Christmas tends to want access to sit on the drum riser or something. [Laughs]. My favorite place to play is actually Dublin. I have got some kind of passion for that city. Something keeps drawing me back.
What do you think of the many Bon Jovi tribute bands that are out there? My son-in-law's the drummer in one. —Peter Wolk, Brooklyn, N.Y.
I think that they are a great compliment. And once I can start getting them to do interviews for me, they would really serve a purpose.
After all these years, what still excites or drives you to perform? —Frederick Do, Riverside, CA
Songwriting is key to all of it for me. Recording comes second. And if in fact your idea comes to fruition—both through the writing process and then the recording process—you want to go out and share it with as many people as possible. That is what drives me to tour again.
Do you ever disagree with Richie Sambora over the creative process? —T. Hyland, West Islip, NY
In truth, the answer is no. I think we all share the same creative vision. Each of our contributions are equal, though some of them aren't as highlighted. Richie and I may have creative discussions, but truly never had an argument about a direction in the songwriting or recording process.
Bon Jovi as a band has gone through so many changes over the years—there was more of a country flavor with this last album. How do you guys change like that? —Eric R. Bower, Hagerstown, MD
We remain successful by remaining true to who we were. Never was there a time when trends came and we decided to jump on anyone else's bandwagon. In retrospect, that's probably what differentiates us from a lot of our peers. When we grew as a band, we did it naturally, without having a rapper when rap was in fashion, or pretending to be from Seattle when grunge was in fashion or trying to dance like a boy band when boy bands were in fashion. We just grew up and grew in public, and fortunately 100 million people came along for the ride.
Are any of your children musically inclined? How would you feel if someday they wanted to start their own rock band? —Rosemary Moock, Philadelphia
They're starting to show some inclinations. I've never pushed it on them because, I want to let them find it out on their own time—like I did. If they ever chose music as a living, I would encourage it as a source of great pleasure and as something that will never let you down. Playing a musical instrument is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life. It can be a good friend to you.
Do you ever get tired of hearing and singing your more famous songs? —Priya Gupta, Burr Ridge, IL
No I don't. The day that this becomes nostalgic or a reunion tour, I will walk away. As much as I do enjoy playing Living on a Prayer or Wanted Dead or Alive every night, I wouldn't feel good about performing them every night if I didn't write Who Says You Can't Go Home and have a number one single on the last album. I wouldn't want to just talk about yesterday.
You've been happily married for a long time. I'm getting married next year. What's the key to having a successful marriage? —Joey Paez in Clifton, NJ
Find an independent woman—who loves you for you and will be your best friend. I got it right the first time and was very, very lucky. She is redly my best frend, and I wouldn't want to be with anybody else in the world. And I don't even wanna hang around any¬body else. It's that simple. I got it right the first time.
If you had the ability to cure any one social ill, what would it be and why? —Debra Lightner Riverdale, NJ
In this, the richest country in the history of the world, I think not addressing poverty, domestically, is the one issue that I would really like to point a finger at. Community service as it pertains to affordable housing is what I'm really focused on. Volunteerism in your community is something that is really rewarding and I find it has given me more personal satisfaction than any accolade that my profession brings me. You never know, the people that you're helping may be the next leaders of the free world. It's always great to give someone the opportunity to have a hand up.
Is it true that you now drive an energy efficient car, after all those great sports cars you've had? —Debi Dodson, Chattanooga, TN
I certainly do. I have a Toyota Hybrid, among other cars.
If you could write your own headstone what would it read? —Treise Kearney, County Down, North Ireland
Never bored. Never boring. [Laughs]
What do you think of your concert performances being broadcast on You Tube by people that went to the show? —Susan Smith, Haltom City, TX
I enjoy it. I am just as enamored as anyone else is with You Tube. Though I wish I could navigate it as well as my own teenagers.
What do you aim for in life nowadays? —Daniela Igreja, Lisbon, Portugal
Anything that I have cared to try in my life, I already did. Some things worked out. Some things did not. But I have always said of myself, I would never be a ?coulda shoulda woulda' kind of guy. So I think the only thing I would like to have for the next twenty years is continued longevity, health and family.
You've become such a successful and multidimensional businessman over the years. Have you considered writing a book that discusses your business style and philosophy? I'd buy it! —Sharon Seaman, Las Vegas
I considered it. I even went as far as to get the check, but we sent it back [to the publishers]. When I started to read the pages, they were looking for dirt and the clich? and I am not interested in that. I could give the next generation some great advice, not that they would take it. I have to qualify that answer by saying, I wouldn't have taken it at their age. Each of us has to carve our own path based on experience.
What is the proudest moment in your career? —Lucia Romagnano, Chicago
That is tough. From the time you play guitar as a teenager in a garage, you think each little milestone is the be all and end all. From the time you played at that block dance, to the time you played at a nightclub, to the day you got a record deal, to the day you had a number-one album, to the day you played ten nights at the local arena. It continued to get bigger and better and continued to be more fulfilling. I don't use these road makers to pat myself on the back. They are all just anther asterisk in the book somewhere. To me the story is just not going to be told for another thirty years. I think a career is a marathon and 25 years on is when you start talking about a body of work and about having an influence and a voice in the community. That is when I even will be able to look back and say this was a good year, this was a bad year, this is why this happened. I still think it is premature.
I know you're a fairly private person, but if a movie was to be made about your life, what would the title be and who would play you? —Sandra Bell, Miami, FL
Someone jokingly already told us it was going to be (Ben) Affleck and (Matt) Damon. That is going to be me and Richie. [Laughs]
What is the one item you cannot throw out, even though your wife is begging you to get rid of it?
I can be a bit of a packrat when it comes to those old ratty T-shirts and shorts. I have shorts that could walk home from the beach! I have a T-shirt that I stole off a girl's body at a political rally at a college I was at in New England, because the T-shirt said, "Tell your mom I said hi." She gave it to me right off her back. Thank God she had a shirt on underneath it! That's probably my favorite shirt.