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Still serving Slippery customers 13 January 2008
Sydney Morning Herald article

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

'I've always wanted to be Irish," says Jon Bon Jovi, explaining why Dublin is among his favourite cities to play live. "Deep down I've always thought that if I was born Irish, I could have been a real hard man."

This seems quite an admission for the lead singer of a band whose breakthrough album, Slippery When Wet, was named in tribute to Vancouver's strip clubs and whose pop-rock anthems celebrate macho, blue-collar heroes.

Then again, despite all the gyrating on stage, Jon Bon Jovi (real name Bongiovi) has never had a rock star reputation away from it. After a nasty teenage encounter with marijuana, he doesn't touch drugs and has been married to his childhood sweetheart, Dorothea, for 17 years.

At 45, his only vice seems to be a self-confessed "fine wine habit", which, given album sales of more than 120 million, one imagines must be very fine indeed.

Today, when we meet for lunch at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London's Knightsbridge, the man famed for spray-on leathers is wearing disappointingly loose jeans and a tight purple T-shirt, unbuttoned to reveal greying chest hair.

His big-hair days are long gone and his blond-streaked crop looks so tended you can see why the actress Calista Flockhart quipped that "each hair must have its own stylist".

The main nod to rock-stardom seems to be dark glasses and a certain petulance when the service proves too slow. At this point he starts banging his chopsticks on the table.

"Can we please, perleaassee, get some food around here," he whines at the waiter, before slumping back in his seat. "I'm sorry, it's just I'm no good at all without food.".

Bon Jovi are in London to headline the Royal Variety Show. "I'm excited to meet the Queen," he tells me. "I don't think I've ever met British royalty before." Will he bow for Her Majesty? "Sure, I will pay attention to protocol - I can bow."


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