Article from The Associated Press
|Bon Jovi Rocks on With New Album
By GERARD O'LEARY
NEW YORK (AP) - Relaxing in his luxury Manhattan apartment with its magnificent view of his native New Jersey, Jon Bon Jovi is feeling happy.
His band's new album ``Crush'' (Island) recently debuted in the top 10, and he has received good reviews for his role in the submarine thriller ``U-571.''
It's a happiness he didn't know earlier in his career.
``The success happened so fast, I didn't really get a chance to enjoy myself,'' Bon Jovi, 38, said. ``It was nonstop touring for four years straight, with not much rest. My voice was strained and my body constantly ached. ... I guess everything hit me way too fast.''
Now he is pacing his life and enjoying his success.
``When we hit the road this tour, it won't be a long drawn-out thing. We'll play a gig, take two days off and play again,'' he said.
Although the band is busy promoting the new album, Bon Jovi said the group no longer has anything to prove. ``We established this band by selling 80 million records. Now we can sit back and let the music take care of itself.''
Bon Jovi, the quintessential '80s pop-metal band, combines the power-chord driven guitars of hard rock with the working-class sensibilities of Bruce Springsteen. This combination propelled ``Slippery When Wet'' (1986) and ``New Jersey'' (1988) into multiplatinum status. Both albums were criticized for having more pop than metal and for targeting an audience of teen-age girls. Yet Bon Jovi managed to move away from metal and concentrate on straightforward rock and big ballads. In the process, the band has retained a sizable audience.
``This is just a simple rock 'n' roll band,'' Bon Jovi said. ``It's definitely not metal nor is it pop. We were classified metal because of the bands we played with. But I was never influenced by Kiss, Judas Priest or the Scorpions.''
The new album has many flavors. The opening track ``It's My Life'' is a classic Bon Jovi song with a great hook. The next track, ``Say It Isn't So,'' has more of a Beatles flavor to it, something a hard-core Bon Jovi fan might not appreciate.
``We wrote 60 songs for this album and wanted it to be very diversified,'' said Bon Jovi. ``We picked songs to give the album a beginning, middle and an end, and we hope that's what the listener will get from it.''
And it wouldn't be a Bon Jovi album without a ballad and the song ``Thank You for Loving Me.''
``The catalyst for the song was the movie `Meet Joe Black,''' the singer explained. ``Brad Pitt played the Grim Reaper, and at the end of the movie, he grabs this beautiful girl. As he leaves he says, `Thank you for loving me.' And I thought, `What a courageous thing to say to someone.' It's easy to say I love you, but more meaningful to thank someone for loving you.''
Bon Jovi's interest in films began in the early '90s when he wrote the soundtrack for ``Young Guns II.'' Then he caught the acting bug. He received favorable reviews for his roles in ``Moonlight and Valentino'' and ``The Leading Man.'' He has a role in the new Kevin Spacey film ``Pay It Forward,'' which is scheduled for release later this year.
``Critics love the work I've done in movies, but I haven't made any real money yet,'' he said. ``When I sell 80 million records, the critics hate it. ... I don't know if I wanna be the Elvis Costello of the movie business or the Tom Cruise of the music industry.''
Given a choice, Bon Jovi would rather win an Oscar than a Grammy.
``The Rolling Stones didn't win their Grammy until 30 years after all the great music they made,'' he said. ``That to me is a joke.''
His loyalty to friends, family and bandmates is remarkable. He is still married to his high school sweetheart. Three of the other four original Bon Jovi members are still with the band: Richie Sambora (guitar), Tico Torres (drums) and David Bryan (keyboards). And although bassist Alec John Such left because of the stress of touring, he is still considered part of the group.
``When I start something, I like to finish it,'' Bon Jovi explained. ``In my heart, Alec will always be a part of this band. Hugh (McDonald) ... has done a fantastic job filling his shoes.
The band, currently on tour in Japan, will start a U.S. tour this fall.
On the Net:
The Web site for Bon Jovi is: http://www.bonjovi.com.
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