domingo, 25 de julio de 2010

Never say goodbye.


Bon Jovi is rocking hard, aging gracefully, and just hitting its stride.

Bon Jovi may only be playing one show at Gillette Stadium (tomorrow, with openers Kid Rock and local band Mission Hill), but thanks to recent residencies at other venues — including 12 nights at London’s O2 arena — the band is primed to play just about anything. Whether it’s tracks from the multiplatinum rockers’ most recent release, “The Circle,’’ expected hits like “Livin’ on a Prayer,’’ or a deep cut from his “Young Guns II’’-inspired solo album “Blaze of Glory,’’ Jon Bon Jovi is prepared. “A lot of bands write a set list and go out and do that all year. We’ve never been that kind of band,’’ the frontman said recently by phone from Philadelphia. Just don’t expect to hear ’80s pop metal anthem “In & Out of Love.’’ Ever again. “Oh lord, no thank you. Pass.’’
Q. You appeared on the Tonys last month via satellite to congratulate your keyboardist Dave Bryan on being nominated for, and eventually winning, the best musical award for “Memphis.’’ Even though he had to take a break from the tour, you must have been thrilled.

A. We’re very proud of that; it’s a hell of an accomplishment for a first time.

Q. That got me to thinking: a Bon Jovi jukebox musical, perhaps? It certainly worked out for Frankie Valli and Abba.

A. Yeah, right? We’ve got a song or . . . two in that [musical] “Rock of Ages.’’ When you have a catalog of music that’s cross-generational and it’s universally accepted as [ours has] been, you’re not saying something that hasn’t crossed my mind.

Q. You were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame last year. What was that like?

A. I’m very proud of it. I love it. . . . But . . . now you’re staring at a blank piece of paper and you’ve got to do it again.

Q. When you get an award like that does it tempt you to reflect on your evolution from the first album to “The Circle’’?

A. Absolutely. We’re not trying to be something we’re not, and we’re not trying to rehash the past and rewrite “You Give Love a Bad Name.’’ When I was 25 I never wanted to be 50 and pretending to be something I wasn’t. And now that I’m 50, I’m not going to pretend to be 25. This is part of growing up in public and having shared a life with a lot of people who’ve witnessed it. So “The Circle’’ is a huge leap, a mature step, I think.

Q. Bon Jovi has a group of songs it has to do every night. Are you tempted to rearrange them? Do you ever find yourself mentally going over your grocery list during “You Give Love a Bad Name’’?

A. Don’t think that that hasn’t happened. (Laughs.) But yes, there are going to be that handful that it’s unforgivable if you didn’t do them — “Wanted,’’ “Livin’ on a Prayer’’ — and you understand that. Because I remember being a fan and seeing Eric Burdon doing reggae versions of the Animals and I thought “Oh no, no, no. I don’t want to hear reggae versions. I want to hear ‘Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ the way it’s supposed to be sung.’’ And yet I understood why he was over it. But I still like singing “Livin’ on a Prayer.’’ Who wouldn’t with the response it gets after all these years?

Q. Or the response it gets after a few beers, which is when most people find themselves singing it.

A. It’s the karaoke song of the century.

Q. Are you a studio guy or stage guy? Or does it feed different parts of you?

A. One feeds the other in this order: writing it, recording it, and then performing it live. Writing it, you think you have something. Recording it and realizing you do in fact have something makes you want to share it with the audience and then you go out there and do it.

Q. So it’s all good for you?

A. No, it’s just different stages of good. The writing to me is the best, it’s my favorite. Recording is second and then touring is third because it’s physically demanding, it takes you away from any kind of a life, it’s tedious. But when you’re in good shape and you’re doing what we’re doing now and the kinds of ridiculous accomplishments we’re having in this last decade, it’s pretty hard not to enjoy it.

Q. Be honest, have you ever had nightmares about losing your hair since you haven’t actually lost it?

A. Thank the lord! It’s like “mirror mirror on the wall.’’ (Laughs.) But you’ve gotta know how to grow old gracefully and just know that you’ve got to deal with it. It’s all part of the process, I ain’t 25 but I’m not 65 yet either. I’m just enjoying the ride.

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