miércoles, 19 de mayo de 2010

From hair to rock eternity. (interview with rock icon Jon Bon Jovi)

Author/s: Gwyneth Paltrow, July, 1995

Album after album Bon Jovi has defied the critics and cynics, and delighted the masses. The bank epitomizes the power of pop to translate across borders of land and language. Here, leader Jon Bon Jovi talks to actress Gwyneth Paltrow from Taipei, Taiwan, the second stop on Bon Jovi's current world tour

Just as neighboring Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen is said to be the poet laureate of the working class, Bon Jovi has become the cool older brother to younger generations who have continually found refuge in the band's emotive power ballads and walloping rockers about teen angst, raging hormones, and the struggle of growing up and finding your place in the world. While the band releases its seventh record, These Days, this summer, singer Jon Bon Jovi will break into a new arena: the movies. We asked his co-star in Moonlight and Valentino, Gwyneth Paltrow - who's been a fan since she was rocking out to "Livin' on a Prayer" in the ninth grade - to talk with the rock star about his hits, hairdos, hometown, and happiness.

JON BON JOVI: Hey, Gwynie.

GWYNETH PALTROW: Hi, honey. How are you?

JBJ: Good.

GP: Are you?

JBJ: Yeah! I mean, I'm upside-down. Everything is completely the opposite here in Taipei.

GP: What time is it there?

JBJ: It's 12:30 in the afternoon tomorrow.

GP: Did you do a show last night?

JBJ: No. We started the tour in Bombay the day before. You know how in Central Park they have horses? There they have camels!

GP: Oh my God!

JBJ: It was so wild! It was Indiana Jones.

GP: And how long does this tour go?

JBJ: Life. I'm out all year at least. Last tour was thirty-seven countries. This one's about forty-five.

GP: Mother of God.

JBJ: Just about anywhere there's electricity. So what are you up to? Are you working like crazy?

GP: Like crazy. Since we did our movie, I've done two more, and I'm starting my third.

JBJ: My God. You know, they screened Moonlight and Valentino in New York. I saw it in L.A. a while ago.

GP: Did you like your work?

JBJ: Yeah. At first I was scared to death with you guys - I was like "Duh . . ."

GP: But you're so good. You're so natural -

JBJ: Aggh.

GP: - and so charming. Do you want to do more movies?

JBJ: I'd rather be doing that than this right now.

GP: No way. Really?

JBJ: I had such a good time that if all movies are as much fun as that one, then I'm dying to do one.

GP: How will you fit everything in? You're a daddy now, too, for the second time. So what do you do when you're going on tour? Will your wife, Dorothea, bring them over later?

JBJ: When we hit Europe in mid-May, the families will come over. I've had to commit to the band for the rest of this year, so I just turned down a film. I enjoyed doing Moonlight and Valentino so much that I want to do another.

GP: Why was the movie so fun for you? What did you like the best?

JBJ: You guys, first of all. Everybody was just a riot. But the whole experience . . . the reason it made so much sense to me is because i got to be artistic without having all the other stuff that for a while went with the band, which was having to write, direct, and, in essence, produce it. With acting, all I've got to do is show up and speak someone else's words.

GP: Right!

JBJ: I get to be in one place for a long period of time and still do something artistic. And with this, I'm in Taipei today, Manila tomorrow, Jakarta the next day. This is really great, too. But I don't think I'm going to do 250-show tours anymore.

GP: Is that how many it is?

JBJ: Yeah.

GP: Jesus Christ, are you kidding me? Do you do the same thing every night?

JBJ: No, no, no. The good thing about this being our seventh album is that there are a lot of songs. So I mix it up every night. Then we take great bands to play with. Like in Europe, Van Halen's supporting us. Then we're playing with the Stones just for the thrill of playing with the Stones.

GP: That is so cool. Do you do your wicked acoustic version of "Wanted Dead or Alive"?

JBJ: Yeah.

GP: You do? Oh man. I want to come see you guys play. Maybe I'll come to Europe. What kind of things do you do to change it every night?

JBJ: I make a set list and then I completely disregard it. I just look at it for a guideline and then decide as I'm going along what I feel like playing. And the band has been together so many years that they're able to follow me. It keeps the whole crew excited.

GP: Are you good friends with all of them?

JBJ: Yeah. It's sort of like a movie crew, in that there's that many people around. But it's the same people every year. You develop long-term relationships. Like, my guitar tech started working with me when I was about sixteen.

GP: What about the guys in your band?

JBJ: It's the same members since the inception.

GP: So you're like brothers, basically.

JBJ: Oh yeah. Really, you know more about each other than you do your own brothers, because you're with each other more.

GP: You grew up in New Jersey, right?

JBJ: Yeah.

GP: You still live in Jersey.

JBJ: Yeah.

GP: You're a Jersey man.

JBJ: A Jersey man!

GP: Do you love it?

JBJ: You know what? It's my home. I think the way of saying it is, no matter where you go, you're always pulled back home, because that's what you know.

GP: Is your house near where your parents are?

JBJ: Yeah. It's about fifteen minutes away.

GP: That's so nice. And all your guys live in Jersey?

JBJ: All the guys live about ten to fifteen minutes away, and we've always lived close to each other.

GP: Do you think that's important, for you to stay where your roots are?

JBJ: I think so. If this ever was to become a business, or like, "We'll get together September of next year," I'd quit. If it wasn't like "Us against the world . . ."

GP: Right.

JBJ: It was that kind of excitement that made us want to do it in the first place. And if I lost that, then I would stop.

GP: So tell me, you just played Bombay. That's fifty thousand people in one place, right?

JBJ: Mmm-hmm.

GP: And they all came there to hear you, and the music that you wrote and that you were singing.

JBJ: Mmm-hmm.

GP: So, what does that feel like?

JBJ: It's pretty amazing when you stop to think about where you are in the world. I never dreamed of it as a kid. I tell people now, I couldn't have made up lies like this! It's way beyond anything I ever dreamt of. The bands I wanted to be when I grew up were playing in little theaters.

GP: Who were they?

JBJ: A band named Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. They made records and played three-thousand-seaters around the East Coast. They never got to be really big or headline the Garden, let alone go to Bombay. So I never dreamed of places like that.

GP: This band's been around for twelve years, and from the time you started, you've been one of the biggest bands, right?

JBJ: I guess. You know, we're doing good. I have no idea how we do it. I'm just awfully grateful to be here. It's just doing what you love to do.

GP: It's like a whole thing that I can't even fathom. Are there songs that you would rather kill yourself than have to play again?

JBJ: [laughs] Everybody's got those skeletons.

GP: Like what ones?

JBJ: Oh God! There was a song that a record company guy convinced me to do on our first album, called "She Don't Know Me," and it's the only song that I've ever recorded that I didn't write.

GP: Wow.

JBJ: I did it because the guy said, "This is how you're going to get a record deal; you need a song like this." I said, "Oh Christ," and I did it. Never played the song live, hated it, and would rather be skinned alive than have to do it now.

GP: But not, like, "Livin' on a Prayer"?

JBJ: No. "Prayer" still actually holds up, and you realize that the lyric has meant a lot of things to a lot of people. So I don't mind that, or "Wanted," or "Blaze of Glory."

GP: I love that song. Are you bitter that "Livin' on a Prayer" was, like, the number one hit when I was in ninth grade? [laughs]

JBJ: [laughs] Oh man, you're makin' me feel old now. It's funny, because I'm lying here with a bag of ice on my back. "So when I was young . . ." [laughs] You're killin' me.

GP: Don't you have another album coming out, too?

JBJ: Yeah. It's called These Days.

GP: Have you ever stopped? What is with you?

JBJ: I just kept going, because we had a lot of songs. After the film, we went right into the studio.

GP: When were you writing them?

JBJ: Sometimes during filming in Toronto. I had some gear up there and, you know, all that sitting around!

GP: What do you mean?

JBJ: I got two great habits from the movie. I smoke cigarettes now, and I drink a ton of coffee, because that's all people do on movie sets.

GP: If you had to pick your favorite day on the movie or your favorite thing you did, can you think of one?

JBJ: I look at it as a whole. Somebody said, "Well, put your life in perspective," and I said, "Well, there are probably three things: the birth of my kids, the first time we played Giants Stadium, and doing Moonlight and Valentino.

GP: Oh my God!

JBJ: They were the greatest things that I've ever done. I loved making the movie. It reminded me of when we did our first record. Because it was uncharted ground, I had no idea what I was doing.

GP: What was your first album?

JBJ: It was in 1983, and it had "Runaway" on it. It was just called Bon Jovi.

GP: Oh my God, '83. When you get old and want to retire, what are you going to do?

JBJ: [sighs] I don't know. Guys like the Stones are the gauge. Nobody has an age limit yet. So I've got another thirty years.

GP: You'll have your kids around you and you'll be jamming.

JBJ: Well, I could think of worse things.

GP I know. Do you want to have more? Is Dorothea up for it?

JBJ: Yeah. But not for a while. [laughs] Right now we need a break. So we've just got to cool it.

GP: You can just, you know, keep practicing.

JBJ: Yeah, that's it. When are you gonna get married, Gwyn?

GP: I definitely will get married. I just don't know when. I'm only twenty-two. How old were you when you got married?

JBJ: Twenty-seven. You've got time.

GP: But you and Dorothea had been together for, like, ten years.

JBJ: Fifteen now. Our wedding anniversary is tomorrow, our sixth anniversary.

GP: Happy anniversary! Is it fun being married?

JBJ: You know what? It is. You can have your best friend, and she can sleep over all the time. [laughs]

GP: If you could pick the next movie you were going to do, what would it be about?

JBJ: I can tell you what it wouldn't be. It wouldn't be one of those silly action movies or the comedies with the slapstick nonsense. I'd much rather do a hip movie than a hit movie any day. I don't need to be in Wayne's World or Ace Ventura or Terminator Six.

GP: What's funny about. doing movies is, it's so hard, and I feel burned out from it all, and I think, There's no way I'm going to be able to do this one. . . . I just have nothing left. Then I get to rehearsals today, and I had this unexpected well of stuff that I didn't think I'd have. Sometimes it just comes from beyond you. Do you get that?

JBJ: Absolutely. When you write songs, you don't even know where they come from. When it happens, you just sort of look at the paper when it's done and go, "Wow." There are days when something just spills out, and it's pretty amazing.

GP: What was your first song to go to number one?

JBJ: "You Give Love a Bad Name" went number one in '86.

GP: What was your hairstyle in 1986?

JBJ: Oh God, don't do it.

GP: Whoo-hoo-hoo! [laughs]

JBJ: Don't do it to me. Please.

GP: What do you think when you see your hairstyles from '83 to now? [laughs]

JBJ: Oh God. You're killing me, Gwynie. I'm gonna tell people it's a wig. I just pull it off. I'm Tina Turner. I just hand it in at the end of the show. God.

GP: You wish you could get away that easily.

JBJ: Yeah, I know. I was just a mall rat.

GP: A total mall rat.

JBJ: I was just like every other kid in New Jersey. Long hair, sneakers, you know.

GP: You were so hip, let's face it.

JBJ: Oh yeah. Whoo! Heh-heh. Just cutting-edge, yup.

GP: All right, so I want to ask, when you had to kiss Elizabeth [Perkins] in the movie, was it O.K.? Were you nervous?

JBJ: She's a good kisser. It was actually a great week - between her and the video shoot with Cindy Crawford for "Please Come Home for Christmas" in the same week.

GP: Oh yeah!

JBJ: Have you been in these kinds of love scenes?

GP: No. I can't even imagine it.

JBJ: Let's put it this way. If you start liking it a little too much! . . .

GP: And Woodrow Wilson is reinaugurated . . .

JBJ: Yeah! Hey, these things happen. If somebody asks, "Were you acting with Cindy Crawford?" Fuck, no! [laughs]

GP: Oh man, what's Dorothea gonna say about that?

JBJ: She was there for half of it, which was really funny.

GP: [laughs] So when was the last time you remember being really, really happy? Not just normally happy.

JBJ: You know what? I'm really happy these days. I'm coming to terms with a lot of things.

GP: Like?

JBJ: Well, life in general. But success, and how my life worked around it, and how I'm not a prisoner of it. And being happy musically and professionally, by broadening as I have this year. And, most importantly, my wife is doing good and my kids are healthy. It's a good year to be awfully grateful.

GP: I've been having a good run, too. I feel safe.

JBJ: It's good to enjoy it. Sometimes you get caught up in it, and you can really do some silly things, or you could do the other extreme, which is to never acknowledge it, never even take the opportunity to pat yourself on the back and go, "Hey, this is a good day. Enjoy it." As long as you take the time to do that, you're really in a good place, you know?

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