(TRR) We could not have been more excited to hop on the phone with Bon Jovi band members David Bryan and Tico Torres to chat about the band’s latest album release “This House Is Not For Sale”, as well as Bon Jovi’s upcoming tour which will kick-off on February 8th in Greenville, SC.
The This House Is Not For Sale Tour will mark the band’s first tour date since November 8, 2013 on the Because We Can World Tour, which was ranked the #1 top-grossing tour in the world! Bon Jovi will be recording each concert on their tour and making the shows available for download and on a custom USB Bracelet that can be worn as a piece of jewelry. The bracelet will be available at concert merchandise booths or in the official online store at BonJoviOfficialMerch.com. Audio files will also be available for download in the official online store.
Bon Jovi is also running an opening act contest where band’s can submit audition videos for a chance to open up each of the This House Is Not For Sale Tour dates. Bands should check the entry info on BonJovi.com or Live Nation’s Facebook page to get details on how to upload audition videos. To pick the winners of the opening act contest, Live Nation will choose 10 finalists, and Bon Jovi management will select the opening act contest winner for each tour date.
When speaking about what is to be expected from the upcoming tour, Bon Jovi’s Tico Torres explains, “Well, we’re doing it based off of “This House Is Not For Sale” kind of format and giving it those kind of lines. But it looks like we’re doing a lot more stuff in the round and have some people behind us as well, which actually we always loved that, instead of the proscenium. Be able to have actual fans behind you while you’re playing. And it’s quite simple and it’s movable. There’s a lot of motion that goes with the songs. And believe it or not, we’re rehearsing it now and still trying to get used to it. When you’re on stage you see it a little differently than when you’re in the audience.”
David Bryan adds, “It’s exactly what Tico said. We’re all – we’re selling all the way around. This one is really concentrating on the music, not so much video screens. It’s more about – we have such a body of work now, it’s really getting all the songs and it’s about the band.”
We can only imagine just how hard it can be for a band like Bon Jovi to craft a set list each and every night, on which David comments saying, “There’s definitely going to be a section from the new record and we’ll have all the classics and yeah, we just have – now we have, like, 90 some odd songs to choose from. So, we’re definitely a work in progress right now, but there will be your favorites and we get to change it up every night, too.”
When speaking about how the band get’s prepped to go out on the road now that they are both older and wiser, Tico Torres jokingly says, “As a joke, we do a lot of Advil. We’ve been doing the songs, like a lot of the old stuff forever, so it’s a little bit of polishing getting that in there. We did that little sort of listening party kind of thing three or four shows on the new record, and that was kind of fun to do because it was a different way to present the record as opposed to a listening party where people can actually get a story behind it and see where it comes from and see it live. So, I mean, we pretty much have that under our belt. The nice thing about having – the first time we had a really big break like that was you’re not rushed to do material and then now when you’re ready, you come out, and that’s kind of the fun part is we’re ready to come out. So, it’s kind of cool.”
David Bryan echoes those sentiments by saying, “You just get in shape because you know it’s a long show. We play anywhere from – I think our average is around two, two and a half hours, two forty, so we’re always in shape but you’ve got to get yourself in super shape so you can sing that long, play that long, and feel strong.”
We think the fact that the band has put together the opening act contest giving smaller bands the chance of a lifetime to open up for Bon Jovi is absolutely amazing. Bon Jovi has already received a ton of submissions. David Bryan reveals, “We had done it before and we’re doing it again. I think it does two things. It really – the big thing is that it really just helps out young acts to get out there and play. And we’re doing ones in every market, so there’s videos from – we have 30 shows, so there’s almost 28 cities in America, so there’s a lot coming in. And it’s all good. It really helps out that young person and that young band that’s trying to make it. We remember that. It’s a different world than when we started out, but I think it’s good.”
Many of the tracks that make up Bon Jovi’s newest album “This House Is Not For Sale” have an incredibly personal feeling about them. When speaking about the band’s inspiration for the new material, David comments, “I think what encompasses the whole record is “This House Is Not For Sale.” And when you look at that picture and the deep roots in it, I think it’s just about what we stand for. We’ve been here since 1983 as a band. I’ve been with John since 1978, and our roots are deep and we keep digging in and we keep growing at the same time. So, for us, it’s a statement that we’re not going anywhere and it’s not for sale. We’re just – it’s our house and we’re proud of it and we’re going to keep bringing it around the world until they nail the coffin shut.”
When describing the pressure that can sometimes be present to top themselves tour after tour, Tico Torres comments, “I think we always try to be better than we were in any situation; try to do the best music you can, try to do the best tour that you can. Sometimes you can’t really chase that, but you have to be happy with what you’re feeling. I think if you’re true and you’re feeling good about it, it’ll translate as a good show. It doesn’t matter if you have one spotlight. If the band’s not on, it’s not going to convey anything. So, the bottom line is we try to play our asses off and have some fun on stage. And so, really it’s a big party. We want our audience as part of our band and we want them to sing and revel as much as we do. So, we count a lot of that as well to turn each other on, but that’s the bottom line. I mean, it’s really just having fun.”
Bon Jovi is a band that can appeal to all generations. We are sure that the band sees a lot of various generations coming out to show their support on the road. David Bryan tells us, “We started out a long time ago and we’ve managed to just keep writing current songs and have number one current records. And we keep bringing along those fans and then those fans are growing up and having kids, and then those kids, so for us, it is multi-generational and that’s a great compliment that you can still have a little kid singing a new song and still singing, “Livin’ On A Prayer.” So, it’s a nice compliment to the power of a band and the power of a good song.”
Tico Torres adds, “Music is always ageless and timeless, I think. I mean, going back to I remember when the Beatles came out and I think their music still is strong, if not stronger than it was then. So, I guess you grow up with what you grow up with and it’s kind of nice to be part of that with young people.”
When asked if the band plans to incorporate their thoughts on any current events into the new show or if it will be strictly a night of entertainment David Bryan comments, “I mean, it’s been three years. I don’t know if the world changed that much in three years, but it definitely changes every day. But for us, those changes are reflected in the records and the songs, and then we get out there, our job is to be performers and give everybody – have a great night; forget about your problems. Forget about the world’s problems, because they’re always going to be – they were there since the beginning and they’re going to be there till the end. So, the idea is to have a good night, have fun, forget about – everybody in the world has problems and the nice thing about entertainment is you get to forget about those problems and have a good time for a couple of hours.”
Despite all the fame and adoration surrounding the band they have always somehow managed to keep their blue-collar aesthetic solidly in place. Tico says, “Well, you still are who you are. You can never get away from where you grew up and where your roots are. So, that’s who we are, and it’s always about – we’re a bunch of guys from Jersey that made it. We’ve worked our asses off and it took a lot of hard work to get lucky and we got lucky through a sh*tload of hard work and we’re proud of it and those are still reflected in our songs and our attitude.”
We were curious to know if when the band first started playing if they had ever imagined that they would still be playing in the year 2017. David says, “You start out with your eyes wide open and you’ve got dreams and we worked really, really hard and ours came true. So, and we’re fortunate enough to keep putting out number one records and we’re fortunate enough to get out there and keep playing and we truly have a blast. It’s so much fun to be on stage and play. It really is.”
Tico adds, “And if you think about it, in those days, well, in any days, but I know for sure in those days, bands didn’t last more than a year, or two years at a time. And you always expected at least you’d work with a band and then you’d go to the next band and you build your career that way. So, it’s odd and special that we were able to stick together this long.”
When commenting on which songs they enjoy playing live, Tico reveals, “Two of my mine remain is “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin” On A Prayer” obviously. That has transcended time and it’s hit people in a certain way. It’s not only thematic, but it seems to – if you had to sum up Bon Jovi’s legacy, that song would be probably at the top of the list, and I think because of the optimism.”
David concludes, “Yeah. I mean, and it’s amazing those songs, and then “It’s My Life,” and there’s a lot of great songs there. So, it’s kind of hard to say which is your favorite, but those are classic ones that keep going forward. We’re blessed by that. We touch a nerve within our audience and it definitely transcends time.”
Delving in a bit, David and Tico discuss some of the changes that have happened internally in the band over the last few years. David says, “It’s the first record without Richie, and we haven’t been in communication with him since the last tour – well, since 15 shows into the last tour – and it’s not a sentence and he’s decided to not be in it anymore and we decided to keep going. And we’re going to keep going. And I think this record was just everybody stepping up and saying, “This house is not for sale. This is what we want to do.” And for me and Tico, we’re here. We’re here and we want to be here and this record, I’m proud of. We got, like I said, we just had to step forward and do everything we had to do to make a great record and we got a number one record in over 30 countries. So, we’re working; we’re still having fun. Is it the way we wanted it? No. But it’s not our decision. And everybody who wants to be here is still around.”
When asked what Phil X brings to the live setting that may be different than playing with Ritchie. David comments, “Phil really helped us out in a time of need. Richie is battling his demons and Phil was there for us and came out and we didn’t know whether it was going to be one show or 10 shows or now three years. So, he definitely helped us when we needed it the most. He’s a great player and he’s got great energy. So, we welcome him and thank him.”
Going back to the opening act contest for a bit, we were curious what David and Tico recall about playing their first huge show at Madison Square Garden back in 1983 opening up for ZZ Top. Tico recalls, “I took the train in. We played – I remember that. It was, like, I took the train in. Got there; we played a million miles an hour, nerves were on end. It went so fast that I didn’t even really get to enjoy it. So, is that the way you felt, David? It kind of went pretty fast for me.”
David comments, “Oh, yeah. I mean, first we were an unsigned band. That was a manager at the time trying to manage us, so he gave us that slot. And we went out there and did it. Yeah. I mean, your nerves were – you went from a club to playing the Garden, which is where we were growing up. That’s where all the biggest bands in the world were; that’s where I saw everything, we all saw everything there.”
Tico continues, “Richie’s amp didn’t work and it was like an eternity. It was probably like 30 seconds; felt like 10 hours, but we got it working. And we were sitting up there. You know how everybody is like – they want to see you. That was pretty much fun.”
There has been a bit of a struggle to keep rock n’ roll in the mainstream these days and we certainly feel that with a #1 album release Bon Jovi are doing their part in carrying the torch for rock n’ roll. We can only hope for a resurgence sometime in the future. David says, “Our conscious effort of ours has always been, the hardest thing in the world is to get a number one record, and then when you get one, the hardest thing in the world is to get another one. And then, it’s harder and harder and harder as it keeps going on, and here we are so many years later and we still have a number one record. It’s because it’s not luck; it’s effort. And we work our asses off to find those songs and get in the studio and experiment and move forward and not rest upon not too bad name for the 50,000 time, just keep moving on and moving on and progressing. And so, when it comes in at number one, that’s not a given and it’s a statement that makes us very happy that we’re a current classic. We can be on classic radio and we can be on current radio. And if we’re the ones who can fly the flag of rock and roll and run up the hill, we planted it on the top. So, everybody can – that’s a good thing for rock and roll.”
We are sure that the creative process has changed for the band over the years. David reveals, “It changes every record, really. So, every record is different in how we approach it and how it’s not just – we don’t sit down and go, “We’re going to approach it this way.” I mean, it just kind of evolves and the last couple of them have been a lot where the writing happens and it’s on the computer and then, we kind of add to it. And then, this record was just like, “Let’s get back to the roots of sitting in a room, all of us together, looking each other in the face, and coming up with parts and coming up with ideas.” And some of the songs that were on the new record, like “New Year’s Day,” where that thing was ballad and a slow thing and it really wasn’t working. And then, we changed that into a rocker. “Hey, let’s try this. Let’s do this and do that and try this.” So, that whole different energy is apparent on that record. And so, it’s always morphing; it’s always evolving.”
When commenting on changes within the music industry overall, especially with the uprise of social media. David comments, “I think it’s always – for Bon Jovi, it’s always been coming up with new material and not just going on tour with not new material. So, we’ve always wanted to get out there, make a record we’re proud of, put it out there, and then follow-up with a tour. And, yes, social media – there was no such thing as the Internet when we started, or computers. So, or computers were at the very beginning stages. So, you roll with it. It’s a whole new world out there. I mean, for us, I think we have over 40 million Facebook fans, you know? So, if we want to send a message out, before we’d have to send 40 million – we’d have to buy 40 million stamps. Now, you can make one message and 40 million people can – If we say, “Hey, we’re going on tonight and it’s going to go on early,” or “We’re going to do this, that, we’re going to have this or this new opening act,” we can put that out there and bag all your 40+ million people know the message immediately, which is pretty awesome.”
Tico adds, “We still like making albums. I mean, I know the whole media thing has changed where people just take one song they like and don’t even listen to the rest of the record. We’re still under the premise that an album tells a story and there’s a lot to be said for that. We still like doing it where you start from the beginning and you end an album. And those days, growing up for us, was – an album meant something. I think that’s something we still like to keep doing and, hopefully, that will come back in a fast-paced world, because there’s a lot of great musicians out there that have a lot more to say than one song. So, hopefully, fingers crossed, it’ll keep going.”
David concludes, “Yeah. And it’s funny – never underestimate what new is. Because I have kids and the younger generation is sometimes new is old again. Now, everything normal on their iPhones. Music is downloaded; nobody touches anything and it’s just these numbers and these headphones. And now, all of a sudden, everybody’s like, “Hey, look at this thing. They’re selling albums again.” Like real albums in Urban Outfitter; starting selling records and record players. So, that becomes a new technology because this is just – the new – once you get the point of an iPhone or computer, it gets to the point where it’s so easy and convenient, everybody says, “Well, that’s the norm.” The new thing is this big black disc that’s called an album. So, never underestimate – sometimes new is old.”
When asked what keeps Bon Jovi excited about making music, Tico reveals, “Music itself keeps you excited. I mean, look at all the other musicians in the world. I mean, any artist, whether it’s a painter, writer, a musician, you don’t really retire. You play until you expire. It’s the creative – anything in life that’s creative, you never get old and you never stop doing. I think that works for everybody in the world, in this little world that we live in. So, I mean, it’s a great denominator between languages and countries and, for the most part, it’s a positive message for everybody. I mean, think about driving your car you listen to music. You’re home, you listen to music. It’s an important part of our life. So, it’s kind of not hard – it’s a given. It’s fun that we’re blessed that we can do this.”
David adds, “Yeah. You think about the working world, you know? The working world, everybody is retiring at 55, 65, 62 1/2, whatever it is. I think, like Tico was saying, in the arts there’s – we don’t fall into that same world, because for us, you don’t work an instrument, you play it. So, it’s fun and you grow and you get better at it all the way until the end.”
A full list of Bon Jovi’s upcoming tour dates can be found here! Also, be sure to visit BonJovi.com to get on the band’s mailing list for the latest and greatest info, as well as, merchandise directly from the band.