Pittsburgh pre-show article
|Bon Jovi pushes ahead with new sounds
With more than 100 million records sold during a two-decade career, it's been proven time and time again that the members of Bon Jovi know how to expand their audience.
On the band's new CD, "Have A Nice Day," Bon Jovi has tried to reach out to another demographic -- country music fans.
The band, which performs Tuesday at Mellon Arena, teamed up with Jennifer Nettles, singer for the country band Sugarland, to record a country version of "Who Says You Can't Go Home," a tune that also appears on the CD in a straight-ahead rock version.
The country version of the track -- complete with additional fiddle, mandolin and other instrumentation -- was produced by Dann Huff. It is being pushed to country radio, and Bon Jovi and Nettles performed the song on the Country Music Association awards show Nov. 15.
For a band that on its early albums helped create the pop-metal blueprint -- hair metal was more derisive term -- and with later songs like "Keep The Faith" and "It's My Life" came to embody radio-friendly mainstream rock, this foray into country may seem calculated and perhaps even crass.
But as guitarist Richie Sambora explained in a recent teleconference interview alongside keyboardist David Bryan, doing a country version of a song isn't as big a stylistic stretch as some might think.
"Honestly there's been a little country with (the song) 'Wanted Dead or Alive,' and things like that," Sambora says, mentioning a popular hit for the band. "We've had those elements, and now it's just kind of catching up to us. So, it's a nice thing. And I love country music, I got to tell you, I watch CMT all the time. I'm a big country music fan now. I got into it over the last couple years."
Time will tell if "Who Says You Can't Go Home" will be Bon Jovi's ticket to a new audience segment. As it is, "Have A Nice Day" has gotten off to a strong start. With first-week sales of 202,000, the CD generated the band's best single week of sales in 15 years.
"Have A Nice Day" comes after a period of resurgence for the band, which in addition to Sambora and Bryan includes singer Jon Bon Jovi and drummer Tico Torres.
Formed in 1983 in Sayreville, N.J., the band made its big breakthrough with the back-to-back hit albums "Slippery When Wet" (1986) and "New Jersey" (1988), which sold a combined 19 million copies in the United States alone, spawned a string of number one hits such as "Livin' On A Prayer," "You Give Love A Bad Name," "Born To Be My Baby" and "Bad Medicine."
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