Friday, November 16, 2012

Jon: "I've Never Had Botox"

(11/3/2012)

From The Times in the UK.  It's a long one :)


Jon Bon Jovi talks to Hilary Rose about vanity, family and why his whole life is one big party

One of the many good things about being a rock star is that you’re surrounded by people whose job is to make you happy. So on a wet Monday in a suite in The Savoy, while Jon Bon Jovi does his job — which, today, is talking about 2013’s new tour and album — a selection of his employees are worrying about whether he’d have a better time at this or that London bar, and fretting that one closes at a very un-rock-star 1am.

“I’m going out?” asks the man himself, wandering in wearing jeans and a shirt open to reveal a long necklace, heavy with metal charms. “Where am I going? I’m tired, I’m going to get room service.”

It’s a long way from the days when Bon Jovi’s breakthrough album — 1986’s Slippery When Wet — which was named after the strippers they frequented in Vancouver, where they made the record. The man who once partied in Tokyo with a selection of women and Michael Jackson’s pet chimp, Bubbles, turned 50 in March. How was it? “Uneventful. I wanted nothing to do with it.”

You’re Jon Bon Jovi, you turn 50 and you don’t have a party? “My life is a party,” he says, pouring himself a coffee. “The last thing I needed was another f-ing party, so I did the opposite. It was me, my wife and kids, around the table, with a cake.”

Fifty or not, he still looks good. He’s got skin that looks like he’s wearing make-up, but isn’t, and hair that looks like it’s highlighted, and is. It’s a lot shorter than it was in the 1980s — when it famously made the headlines on CNN that he’d had it cut — but it’s still a statement accessory, and don’t get me started on the teeth. He’s always said he has no interest in plastic surgery, but did turning 50 change that?

“No. Not interested.”

Not even a teensy shot of Botox? A touch of filler here and there?

“I swear on my kids it never happened. It’s not me.”

So he’s too old to be vain now?

“I had to let vanity go. It’s God’s way of saying it’s OK because he f**ks up your eyesight anyway. You don’t look as good, but you don’t see as good either.”

On the other hand, he concedes that what he looks like is still as important to Bon Jovi’s success as it ever was.

“If I was bald and fat, in leather pants, with a big fat belly, we wouldn’t be playing the big stadiums.”

Indeed not. But next year, that’s exactly what he’s going to be doing again, on a tour aptly named Because We Can.

“When The Circle tour ended, I said, ‘I hope I’m smart enough to take a couple of years off’. I’m not. I did sit on a beach and read a book, but not for long. Sitting in front of the TV would kill me, I’m not that kind of guy. But we don’t do the 240-set tours any more. Nor do I want to live out of a suitcase; I like having another life.”

That other life starts with four children at home in the loft in Soho, New York, where he lives with his wife, Dorothea Hurley. They met at school, and have been married for nearly 25 years.
“It gets easier, yeah. It’s good. I have no complaints.”

He once said that at work, he was the chief executive officer of the company. Who’s the CEO at home?

“Me.”

Really?

“No.”

His eldest children — Stephanie, 19 and Jesse, 17 — have left, or are about to leave home to go to university, leaving Jacob, 10 and Romeo, 8. “Now’s when the dynamic will change. It’ll become a little-kid house and that’s yuck. With the big kids, it’s like talking to adults. The little kids still want to play video games and stuff. I’d rather jump out the window.”

Still, most fathers would struggle with watching their first-born daughter leave the nest. Not Bon Jovi. “I was like, ‘Goodbye already!’ She was on a six-week goodbye tour.”

Neither she nor any of her siblings have shown any interest in music, in spite of his attempts to convince them that playing the piano or the guitar would be fun. There will be no father-and-son jamming sessions. Is he disappointed? “Christ no, not at all. Four kids who are healthy is an accomplishment, and when they end up being good kids, you’re like, ‘Wow, we win!’

Until four years ago, they all lived in a French-style chateau in New Jersey, but he decided he’d rather bring them up over the river in New York. “They’re going to be a lot more worldly than if they grew up in suburbia. Is that a good thing? It’s an experiment. I’ll let you know how it works out. They get the subway, talk to the homeless guy on the street, know rich kids, poor kids, black kids, white kids, and they’re not growing up sheltered Little Lord Fauntleroys on an estate in New Jersey.”

His role as a rock star is kept separate from his home life: not for Bon Jovi a hall lined with gold discs.

“Who needs that? What am I going to do with them? I used to have rooms full of the sh*t, but you get older and you move on.”

Apart from family, he seems to like giving away his money through his Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation. He was recently on the cover of Forbes magazine as one of the 12 greatest living philanthropists in the world, alongside Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. (He admits he recently posed in an advert for a fragrance “because I’m a whore, but also because they gave me some money for the Foundation, and they gave me some money for me”.) Politics is his other schtick. He campaigns for the Democrats, and played at Obama’s inauguration ball.

“It’s going to be magic to see who wins next week. Mitt Romney’s not a bad guy, he just sees [the US] as a business that needs downsizing, rather than someone who wakes up in the morning and thinks, ‘How do I make the country a better place?’”

On the campaign trail this summer, he found himself with the President on Air Force One, which is apparently “not that nice”, and with Obama and Bill Clinton in the presidential car, which is. “I wanted to say, ‘Look! It’s me!’ and take a picture on my phone. You’re in a limo making small talk with the President and the former President! How many people get to do that?”

Bon Jovi grew up in New Jersey, the son of parents who started out as Marines; his father later became a hairdresser, and his mother a florist. Marines might be expected to take a dim view of a son who said he was going to be a rock star in a band.

“They never had to tell me to get a proper job because I was 20 when I got a record deal. I was lucky. I wasn’t the not-making-it 25-year-old still playing the night clubs.”

Unsurprisingly for someone who hit the big time the old-fashioned way, he’s not convinced by talent shows, many of them overseen by his friend, Simon Cowell.

“Just because you’re a good singer doesn’t mean you’re a songwriter or performer. You get to make a record and fulfil your dream. That’s nice; it’s not a career. Simon Cowell would agree with that.”

Did he ever doubt he’d make it? “No. I never lacked self-confidence. I don’t think it’s ego, I think it’s single-minded focus and desire. There was nothing that was ever going to stop that 18-year-old kid.”

And that included drink and drugs: although he describes himself now as “an expert drinker”, he was never into drugs. “It was just never me, it never appealed.”

He managed to hell-raise nonetheless. In 1987, at the height of post-Slippery mania, Bon Jovi found themselves in the same Tokyo hotel as Michael Jackson, who had just released Bad.

“Me and Richie [Sambora] went up to meet him,” he recalls. “The kid comes in in the full regalia, shiny silver shirt, bullet things, makes your eyes pop out. He was lonely and friendly. They’d gutted a room and put mirrors up so he could practise his dancing even after his shows and we’re like, ‘Man! We’re having a blast downstairs! We’re eating, we’re drinking, we got girls, we’re having a f-ing good time. Come on down!’”

But Jackson never did. Instead, he sent his pet chimp Bubbles down to amuse them, and Bubbles duly performed tricks on the bed. But what Jackson never knew was that when one of the band accidentally drenched the room-service butler with an ice-bucket of water, and the hotel manager wanted to throw them out, Bon Jovi closed ranks and resorted to slander. “We blamed Bubbles,” says Jon, grinning. “We said it was Bubbles that did it.”

Jon Bon Jovi’s perfect weekend

English tea or soya latte?
English tea.

James Bond or Jason Bourne?
James Bond.

Twitter or Facebook?
Neither.

Novel or autobiography?
Novel. No. I’m lying. Autobiography.

Obama or Romney?
Obama.

Leather or denim?
Denim.

LA or London?
London.

I can’t get through the weekend without . . .
Football.

1 comments:

Anonymous,  November 17, 2012 at 6:06 AM  

Great interview, thank you for posting.

I hope that his answer "Four kids who are healthy is an accomplishment, and when they end up being good kids, you’re like, ‘Wow, we win!’" will be true and that Stephanie will be ok.

LOL at the Bubble/ice bucket story.

J.


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