Bon Jovi, featuring Jon Bon Jovi, center
Today--March 2--is singer Jon Bon Jovi's birthday. I've been intent on publishing my January 19, 1984, phone interview with him for a long, long time, but I just cannot locate the original print version of the story to accompany it, so today I am throwing up my hands and we'll just go with the audio. At the time of this interview, Bon Jovi was a hard-working, fast-rising Jersey Shore band that made itself media accessible and media friendly. The guys frequently played baseball against local radio station DJs as they toured the country, generating good feelings and lots of extra spins of their debut record.JON BON JOVI podcast excerpt: "My mom is a florist; my dad is a hairdresser. They always said, 'Do whatever makes you happy.' They knew I wanted this; there was a lot of of support."
I remember being struck by how nice Jon was in this interview and how surprised I was to discover his hometown was Sayreville, NJ. I grew up a short drive away in North Brunswick. He asked if I know any Bongiovis in North Brunswick--particularly Joe and Nanette. He also mentioned time spent at the then Boy Scouts of America Museum in my hometown. One other note about this interview: for years I carried around boxes and boxes of rock star interviews I conducted in the mid-1980s. Many, recorded on high-end brand name cassette tape, failed to hold up to the ravages of time and Florida weather. The ones recorded on cheap tape--Hello, Realistic!--seemed to do better. No one knew then there would one day be an Internet were all such things would have a second life.JON BON JOVI podcast excerpt: "Ron Diaz at (Tampa Bay radio station) YNF was the biggest supporter before I ever had a record deal."
Anyway, two friends inspired me to recover this and dozens of other lost interviews. First was my friend Dean Hendrix, himself a musician. Second--particularly for this Jon Bon Jovi interview--was my neighbor, Lori Crotts. One day, I was visiting with Lori about some school matter and I saw some Bon Jovi memorabilia on her desk, including a photo of her and Jon, I believe. Turns out, she became a late fan of the band and had been catching up, attending as many of their concerts as possible, meeting the boys in the band backstage several times. This happily married, mother of three, and beloved pillar of the community, worked hard and, as her reward, treated herself to Bon Jovi concerts whenever possible. I told Lori about this interview and offered to find it for her. I took too long, as it turned out. Unfortunately, soon thereafter, Lori was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and never got to hear this restored conversation. She died on January 31, 2013. (Read more about Lori here.) That's why, I'm dedicating this to a fine woman and the biggest Bon Jovi fan I've ever known.
Kicking Through the Ashes: My Life As A Stand-up in the 1980s Comedy Boom by Ritch Shydner. Order your copy today by clicking on the book cover above!
The Party Authority in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland!