Jon Bongiovi, Jr., famously known as Jon Bon Jovi, is one of the world’s best-selling music artists and the lead singer of the band ‘Bon Jovi’. He is also known for his solo albums and acting career in Hollywood. Jovi was born in New Jersey in a middle class family and knew since a very young age that he is going to be a rock star one day. He was not interested in studies and instead devoted his time in playing music and singing with local bands and recording demos at his cousin’s recording studio. Soon he was noticed by New Jersey radio station and he, along with his band mates, signed his first deal and became an international craze soon after. Along with his musical career, he has always worked hard for his acting stints in movies and television. Jovi’s film career has been interesting as he started with small-time cameos and ultimately got lead roles in movies like ‘The Leading Man’ and ‘Moonlight and Valentino’. He also ventured out in the world of business with his record label ‘Jambco Records’, management company ‘Bon Jovi Management’ and professional arena football team ‘Philadelphia Soul’. He is socially active and is the founder of the charitable foundation ‘The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation’; reason why he was appointed by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Services. His 2020 Album tackles many of the social issues faced by all during the Pandemic.
Following in the footsteps of the band’s last LP, 2016’s This House is Not For Sale, 2020, which was released Friday, was meant to be topical. There were songs about soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (Unbroken), mass shootings (Lower the Flag) and the political divide in America (Blood in the Water). There was even Story of Love — a track inspired by his 40-year romance with his wife Dorothea. But as the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe and the Black Lives Matter reached a boiling point in the wake of the death of George Floyd, suddenly Bon Jovi found himself with more to say.
“I don’t know that I set out to make a statement,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer says in a video call. “When I came up with the album title, I said to the band, ‘The title of the album is going to be Bon Jovi 2020.’ And, in truth, it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. It was a bumper sticker. A T-shirt. With time, many events unfolded and I had to write Lower the Flag, American Reckoning and Do What You Can.”
With 2020 delayed, and the band’s summer tour postponed, Bon Jovi added to the socially conscious theme of 2020 with American Reckoning, a song that dealt with police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, and Do What You Can, a rallying cry for life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That was what made the record unique for me because it wasn’t just my journey — it was yours and mine.” Bon Jovi, 58, says. “It was ours. We were all living these moments in time, together.”
. Having sold over 130 million records worldwide, the band — which is also comprised of keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, bassist Hugh McDonald, guitarist Phil X, percussionist Everett Bradley, and guitarist John Shanks — now finds itself in a unique position among stadium rock acts. Yes, they are known for making some of the biggest sing-along-anthems off all time, but as the group looks forward to the decade ahead, Bon Jovi wants his namesake band to be about something more.
“What I hope people see in the album is just that I’m bearing witness,” he says. “I’m open enough in all of my senses to be able to see and then say what it is that I’m witnessing. In doing so, I don’t want to take sides. I just want to bear witness the way a reporter would or a historian does. I just want to say, ‘This is what happened,’ with no embellishments.
Calling from New York, Bon Jovi spoke about the new socially charged songs, his evolution as a musician and how he hopes to leave his mark on history.
Tell us about American Reckoning and Do What You Can — two of the newer songs that really deal with the moment we’re in. When did you realize you had to put pen to paper to sing about what is going on in your country?
I started to think about the album and how I would discuss it, and it was finished. I thought, ‘OK, I’ve made a topical record.’ But what I meant by topical in that moment wasn’t a complete thought. There were too many songs that were still just personal. So, I thought, if I’m going to have a topical record when COVID hit and not write about COVID, I’d be remiss. So I set out to write Do What You Can and I got excited. I thought, ‘OK, this helps me tell my story.’