Inside the Actors Studio

Season 16 Episode 2

Jon Bon Jovi

Aired Monday 7:00 PM Nov 16, 2009 on Bravo

Episode Recap

James introduces the band by giving the following stats; 120 million albums sold, over 2600 concerts in 50 countries and 34 million fans. He notes that in 2008, Billboard ranked them the top touring act in the world. He notes that Jon and Richie were inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2009. He states that they have a new album, "The Circle" and the band plays the first single from this album, "We Weren't Born to Follow" live for the first time.

He states that he would like to go back to the beginning and Jon and Richie make some sound effects. James states that this is the first time in fifteen years that he has ever had sound effects. He begins by talking with Jon Bon Jovi, the creator and lead singer of this band. Jon discloses that he, Richie and David were all born at the same hospital and by the same obstetrician, Dr. Greenberg. James notes that this is weirdest evening. He verifies the facts he has learn about Jon, he last name appears on his birth certificate as Bonigiovi (which means "good fisherman" in Italian), his parents were both Marines and his mother was a playboy bunny. Jon states he went to Catholic school until he was in the 5th grade when he was kicked out. He states that he went to an all boys Catholic high school for about 1 ½ years. Jon stated, "One of the brothers sat me down at the beginning of my sophomore year when I had just learned how to play guitar and found girls and , uh, said to me in this all boys high school you should be like me; play guitar as a hobby, and you know the girl things, I don't know. I had just unlocked the magic of the kingdom in these two things, girls and guitars" Jon states that he was smitten with guitar and the idea of being a rock star at the age of 13, but that by the age of 16, there was not other option for him. He stated that he played the trumpet in his high school's marching band and wore one of those stovepipe type hats. Richie comments that he did not know that about Jon and that he was in the band in high school but not the marching band.

James discusses with Jon how "Runaway" become a hit. Jon explained that he took the single to a local radio station and it became a national hit. Jon states he needed to build a band and he contacted David Bryan, he friend, noting that they were in an earlier band together, "Atlantic City Expressions". He contacted Tico, who was in a band that was making records, but Tico reported that he felt that this was worth a chance. They were playing a show at the Fountain Casino in Aberdeen, New Jersey when Richie had come to see the band. Richie states, "When I saw Jon on stage, I just was like wow, that kid's a star. I knew it immediately, he had the charisma, he had the chops. I was the missing link, I was the missing piece". They discussed that the first album, "Bon Jovi" was easy to put together as they had 16 years to write it. James asks Jon about his second Album, "7800 Fahrenheit" and then asks Jon is he hates it and Jon says yes. He states that he only had a short time to write the album and they feel it was a "Sophomore Slump". Tico notes that the band itself was going through many break-ups and divorces in their personal lives.

James takes a moment to talk with the other band members. Riche states he was 13 years old when he began playing the guitar and that he had no formal training. He states he was born with a very good ear and noted that he also played the accordion. David was seven when he began working with Emery Hack, a Juilliard professor. David remembers the day he was taught the C-scale for the first time and was told to learn it before the next lesson; 'I'm seven, I just learned to pee". He stated he learned the scale. Tico reports that his given name is Hector Samuel Torres and that his parents were from Cuba.

Jon reports that their first album sold about 400,000 copies domestically at that time and the second album went gold. James then brings up their "Break Through" album, Slippery When Wet" and asks how they came up with that title. Jon appears to be a little apprehensive with the story, explaining that the album was recorded in Vancouver. And that there were a lot of strip clubs with showers on stage and the women would soap themselves up before sliding on the poles. Jon added, "We were very young and impressionable". James notes that "You Give Love a Bad Name" was the first single form that album and their first #1 single. Also, that VH1 named this song the twentieth greatest son of all time. The guys share that they had just finished a concert in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and they partied at the hotel that night. Jon notes that their writing process usually begins with the title and then everything else just falls together. James states he first met Jon at the 9/11 concert, where he and Riche played "Livin' on a Prayer" the second single from this album. He has the band play this song live for the students.

Next, they discuss "Wanted Dead or Alive" and Jon notes that they wrote that song in two to three hours. James asks about the cowboy connotations and Jon states, "A young band or a young gang, a young band of thieves, if you will, riding into towns stealing the money, the girls and the booze, before the sun comes up. That was the life of every rock band." Next James mentions their fourth album, "New Jersey", which gave the band another five top ten singles. Jon states that they had went right into another tour of twenty-two countries and more than 232 shows. He was exhausted. Then they decided to stop, at the time they did not know if this would be temporary of permanent, but it lasted about two years.

Jon discusses that he worked on the movie soundtrack for "Young Guns" and after seeing the process on the movie set, he decided to give it a try. He took acting classes and began working as an actor. James brings up his character, Michael in "No Looking Back" and shows a clip of his performance. David began working on plays and writing his own Broadway show. James mentions he saw David's current Broadway show, "Memphis" last night. Tico worked on his art and describes his form as Impressionism. He stated, "I see people in a way a Camera doesn't".

James discussed the album "Have a Nice Day" and notes this is an oddity, as this album has a title track. He asks about the title and that it can be taking sincerely or sarcastically. Jon states that their from Jersey, meaning sarcastically. James notes that the single "Who Says You Can't Go Home Again" was their sixth number one hit and the first number one hit on the country charts. It is also noted that it is the first number one hit on a country chart by a rock band. Jon notes that this was a special collaboration with the then unknown Jennifer Nettles.

James states he wants to discuss their newest album, "The Circle". Jon notes that it represents that the circle is never-ending, "In a Jersey way, it's very hard to get in and it's harder to get out". The band members discuss that they spend more time with each other than any one else in their lives.

James then goes into the "Pivot Questionnaire" portion of the show.

- What is your favorite word? David answered sleep.

- What is your least favorite word? Jon answered recouperable.

- What turns you on? Richie answers women.

- What turns you off? Richie answers women.

- What sound or noise do you love? Jon answers laughter, my kids' laughter.

- What sound or noise do you hate? Tico answers sirens.

- What is your favorite curse word? David answers fuck, Richie answers ditto and Jon answers you piece of fuck.

- What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Tico states he wants to be Jon.

- What profession other than yours would you not like to attempt? Jon answers politics.

- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Richie answers, "Come on in. You did good. You're alright" to which James responds, 'Your God is both Jewish and French" Jon answers, "We got one seat left, it's yours". Tico answers "Tico, count off the song".

Jon is asked a question by Nicholas, noting that their music defined the first half of his life, about what is his favorite song. Jon states that this is always changing. Jon closes the show with the statement, "To have had a couple of songs, like Wanted, Livin' on a Prayer or It's My Life. That um have stood the test of time is the closest thing to immortality that we'll ever experience."
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