Why Jon Bon Jovi sucks.
It's supposed to be about the music, pretty boy.
Because he just wants to be a star. If you're going to be a musician, be in it for the music. Jon just wants to be a star. Maybe it hasn't always been this way, though. He turned down the chance to be in Footloose so he could concentrate on music. Still, Jon ignores his old friends like Def Leppard, Skid Row, and Cinderella these days because he's too busy trying to look cool to hang around with bands like that. He goes off and stars in all these movies in spite of minimal acting ability. He's just not in it for the music. Jon is so obsessed with being a star that he fired Ross Halfin, arguably the best photographer in rock, because apparently Ross made him look too old (this is according the Ross Halfin's website). All photos of Jon have to approved by his people. He shows up at every Hollywood charity benefit in a bid to look like a nice guy, and desperately tries to keep a profile by attending whatever movie premieres he can. He's riding on his looks and he'd better pray they don't fade because the second they do, he's history. No wonder his people choose the photos carefully.
Because he's a bad songwriter. Jon's solo albums suck. Anyway, he can't write good songs on his own. Sure, I know there are good songs with his name on them but most of these are just rehashed versions of older Bon Jovi tracks. His biggest solo hit, "Blaze of Glory", is a cowboy power ballad; all he had to do was rip off the earlier tracks "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Stick to Your Guns" (written with Richie Sambora and, in the latter case, Holly Knight). Jon's strong suit is ballads, but before he wrote a decent power ballad of his own Richie had already produced classics like "Never Say Goodbye" and "I'll Be There For You" with him so Jon just had to steal the formula for his later ballads, which is why "Bed of Roses", "Always", and "Thank You For Loving Me" are all so similar. "Just Older" owes a lot to "In These Arms" (originally written by Dave Bryan). Anyway, Jon is always surrounded by able songwriters, from Richie Sambora and Desmond Child to Billy Falcon and Aldo Nova, so he gets to put his name on great songs even though the chances are he wrote relatively little of the songs. Then there's the fact that he worked with great producers like Bruce Fairbairn and Bob Rock who will just tell you which parts of a song are good enough to record, and make you re-write the rest, so they probably filtered out tons of Jon's crap. The only song to truly Jon's credit is the early minor hit "Runaway". But when Jon was questioned about working with Max Martin for Livin' on a Prayer 2, better known as "It's My Life", he said, "I could have written it on my own." Sure you could, Jon.
Because he gets all the credit. People talk about Bon Jovi as if it were just Jon. The fanclub is called "Backstage with Jon Bon Jovi." My local HMV even puts all Bon Jovi records under the "Jon Bon Jovi" section In fact, there are four other guys who are vital to the success of Bon Jovi. Richie Sambora has his name on most Bon Jovi songs but only guitarists mention him. Dave Bryan is a hugely talented pianist who attended Juilliard and, although he doesn't write much for Bon Jovi, is also an able songwriter. The Bon Jovi rhythm section is tight and powerful, and really Jon is left as the least talented guy in the band. The only thing stopping the other four from branching off on their own is Jon's looks. The fact is, he brings in the girls.
Because of all this "Blood on Blood" rubbish. After "Runaway" became a hit, Jon realised he had no band. So he quickly hired one. Then he had no compunction about screwing over his old friend Dave Sabo and firing him when he found someone better in Richie Sambora. Later, he screwed over Alec John Such, firing this so-called "Blood Brother" of his. Now they have Hugh McDonald, the highly talented former Alice Cooper bassist, but Jon would like to pretend he doesn't exist, keeping him out of all band photos. The relationships within Bon Jovi are fake, but when it suits him Jon appears to be a blood brother, only to enhance his own image. Plus the line about the white trash prostitute in the song "Blood on Blood" just sucks. Bon Jovi are no more blood brothers than Guns n' Roses.
Because he can't sing anymore. Jon used to have one thing going for him: his voice. There's no denying the vocal prowess on those early Bon Jovi records, up to Keep the Faith. If you hear Bon Jovi live, though, his voice now sounds thin, nasal, and whiny, and his range is nothing on what it was. Apparently, he started smoking when he was 37 because he was bored on a movie set. What an idiot! Most people quit at that age. After years of touring, Jon's vocal range is bound to diminish so he should do what he can to protect it. But no, Jon starts smoking. On Crush and These Days, studio magic and the option to do unlimited takes meant Jon still turned in great performances, but Jon's voice has now deteriorated to the point that at times on Bounce even Pro Tools can't hide his whiney sound. Check out the lead single "Everyday".
Because he doesn't respect the people who put him where he is. Jon once said "I can't believe how stupid and shallow our fans are. They think we sing about love. Our songs are about lust, not love." Do I really need to comment on that? He hasn't finished either. On a trip to Sweden he said "The Swedish fans are not loyal." Well, he sure knows how to encourage loyalty, huh?
Because he cheats on his wife. Here's what Jon said on MTV on July 4, 1990. "The way I look at it is you're only married within the state lines. There are 49 other states, we can have 49 other relationships." Now that's just not cool.
Because he thinks too highly of himself. In a recent interview Jon compared the songwriting battles and inner tensions between him and Sambora to the relationship between, wait for it… Lennon and McCartney. Give me a break! The greatest songwriting partnership in rock & roll history is being compared to Bon Jovi? The reason for battles and tensions between BJ and Sambora are because Sambora is a master and Bon Jovi is a peddler of trite rubbish and poor Richie has to try to get a decent song out of all that.
Because he's not in it for the music. On the Graham Norton show, the following words came out of Jon's mouth: "Truthfully, I got into it for the girls." Unbelievable. "We could have been AC/DC", (yeah, in your dreams Jon) "but I didn't want 10,000 ugly headbanging guys at my shows. I wanted their girlfriends. So the girls came to the show and then the guys came to check out the girls." (I slightly paraphrase here, but if you saw the show, you'll agree that I am not doing Jon an injustice). OK Jon, so if the girls are there because you're a pretty boy singing about love, and you're there for the girls, and the guys are there for the girls, who's in it for the music?"
Memorable JBJ quotes: (with Rock Hole comments in italics)
Do you think we're a pop band? Strangely enough, Jon…
Reporter: There is no natural second single to "It's My Life"
Jon: Kiss my ass. "Say it Isn't So" will become a huge hit and "Thank you for loving me" will be the big ballad.
[Both singles bombed]
Reporter: How do you feel about saying that now when both singles have failed?
Jon: You can still kiss my ass.
Jon on if he'd like to work with Max Martin again before It's My Life became a hit:
"I wouldn't mind but it's nothing I'm going to strive for."
And after it was a hit: "I'd love to, as talented as he is."
Jon uses a cheap chat-up line on a girl at a British party, 2000: "Hey, I like the dress and I like what's in it."
A lot of people have written to me complaining that these quotes are made up and/ or taken out of context. If they aren't, my critics insist, I should be able to provide sources. True enough. Well, the first three were supplied to me by a Swedish friend who saw them in a newspaper. I took his word for it. The last one I saw myself in a guitar magazine a while ago. Sorry, I can't be more precise than that, but it doesn't mean I'm lying.
Feel free to discuss it on the messageboard if you disagree. I still think Bon Jovi have made several great, classic albums.
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