Interview: Jon Bon Jovi Is Humbled To Be Inducted Into the Rock Hall — And Yes, Richie’s Invited!

January 19, 2018

Photo: Ron Elkman / USA Today


By Joe Cingrana

Looking over the list of Rock Hall inductees we see Chuck Berry, the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Elvis Presley… and now we see this little band from Jersey! Scott Shannon, who has gotten to know Jon and his family very well over the years, wonders how he feels now to be included in this group.

“Come to think of it, I’m probably the youngest guy or pretty darn close to it,” Jon admits, “but it’s humbling. When you strum a tennis racket or a broomstick as a kid, the wildest dream you have is to make a record. So to be here 34 years later and talking about Songwriters Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, all the things that we’ve done over the years — it’s humbling.

“The dream about going to the places where we’ve been was beyond anyone’s expectations.”

After reaching the level of playing on the worldwide stage in front of tens of thousands of people, especially in Europe where the stadiums can hold close to 100,000 fans, Jon jokes that the thrill of it all is sometimes diluted due to aging.

“God has a way of playing tricks on you,” he says. “Because as you get to a place where you can play to 40, 50, 60,000 people — he then messes with your eyesight!”

In addition to his incredible songwriting and on-stage talents, fans and bystanders alike would agree that Jon has never stopped working or believing in this thing that is “Bon Jovi.” Again, Jon jokes that it doesn’t always come easy. “The love [of the game] fuels you so that you go out and you’re willing to work,” Jon admits. “Don’t think that Tom Brady wakes up in the morning and throws touchdown passes. He’s got practice every single day.

“You’re catching me between the workout and the singing lesson that happens daily — 34 years into it this is my regimen. That’s life. I don’t wake up any day and think, ‘oh great I’m gonna write a song today.’ Every day you’ve got to work at it.”

As Jon and the band are inducted this year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, sometimes fans forget that they had to get their start somewhere. Putting Jon on the spot, Scott asks him to tell the story about when and where the band’s iconic hit “You Give Love a Bad Name” was written.

“Wow! We used to take turns between my house as the primary home base or Richie’s mother’s house depending on the record. But on the third album, ‘Slippery When Wet,’ that song was written in Richie’s parents’ basement, next to the washing machine. Yeah, just a cinder block cement basement, unfinished, next to the laundry machine on two kitchen chairs.

“A matter of weeks or a month later there comes “Wanted Dead or Alive,” or “Never Say Goodbye” — the ‘Slippery’ album was written in Richie’s mother’s basement in Woodbridge, NJ!”

Speaking of Richie, a subject Jon is constantly fielding, Jon says that he has been invited to the Rock Hall ceremony, as well as Alec Such who was the band’s original bass player.

“I’ll say it for the hundredth time, he wasn’t fired. There was no animosity, there was never a fight. He had some things that he had to work through and he just chose not to show up anymore. There was never an ill word between us, and none of us in the band have seen him in nearly five years.”

“We look forward to seeing him.”

Moving forward, expect to hear some new music on the band’s current tour, specifically two songs that Jon plans to add to future releases of their latest album This House Is Not For Sale.

“In honesty, I didn’t tour the record like I would usually tour a record,” Jon says. “You go around the globe and support it and release a bunch of singles. It was a shorter tour, a total of maybe 40 shows, so we thought ‘let’s go back out and do another 30 — but the record’s a year old.’

“As we’ve been writing, short of an album, I thought these two songs could represent a microcosm of where I’d be today. One of them is called “When We Were Us” — it’s really about the Hall of Fame and the idea of everything that I look back on and think fondly of.  Another one is more of a social messaging song called “Walls,” and it’s evident what that’s about.”

Bon Jovi will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14th, 2018 with radio icon Howard Stern on hand to welcome them in at Cleveland’s Public Hall. An edited version of the ceremony will be broadcast later in the year on HBO.