I never was a Jon Bon Jovi fan, until I saw him on a Southside Johnny Youtube video and I started investigating him. He seemed to be in the background. I had heard of him, but couldn't name a hit of his back in the eighties, nineties or the early part of this century before a few months ago. I didn't listen to hits that much while raising children and sheltering them from secular music.
The first time I heard Jon gush about Southside, I thought, he can't be that bad. He wanted to be a Juke when he was a teenager. Last night, I slipped into that zone of too much video, as I started watching some from the Southside concert we attended in August. And as those little thumbnails pop up on the side, I kept picking one, then another. I wanted to see if that handsome guy mentioned Southside in any of his interviews. The only reference came on the Conan O'Brien show, when the band played Talk to Me, as Jon walked on. He said, "Oh, the Jukes." And that was it.
I watched the Biography episode to get a general background and history. Then, too many to count interviews (and I didn't even drink chai when I got home from work.) One of my favorites was when he was in England and another guest conversed with him about his success and creativity. Jon admitted that he never doubted himself. The other English artist tried to pin that confident spirit to living in New Jersey, the grittiness of working class America, the American spirit. Jon didn't really generalize his drive to being raised American. This was probably the most original interview and the host was clearly uncomfortable he wasn't in control.
I'm always impressed with staying power of relationships and Jon with his high school sweetheart, Dorthea, promote that. He admits, though, as much as he loves being a father (of four), he didn't rule the house, because of his touring schedule. With my husband's job taking him out of town all week for the last nine years, I could emphasize with that relationship.
Jon also cares about his people, his neighbors, his community. He gives back. His family runs a upper class soup kitchen, as it were. He washes dishes when he's home. Hmm, so does my husband.
What did I gleam from this all nighter of Jon Bon Jovi interviews?
1) He's really not in it for the money. He could have stopped any time. He lives on a sixteen acre estate with a wonderful mansion, five minute walk to his studio and a pub on his grounds in New Jersey. He has made it. But he loves to write songs. There, he has to write and he will, as long as he loves it.
2) Generosity. He lives generosity and can do it with his great amount of money. He cares, though, for his community. He chose his New Jersey community last year over campaigning for the President in Ohio after Hurricane Sandy. The Britain interview was right before the election last year. He seemed to jump out of his chair when he said he needed to be back in Jersey for his "people." First plane out of there.
3) Staying power and commitment. His parents also are still together. They met as Marines. His mother is most proud that Jon is a family man. She believed in her family, though, doing great and different things, like encouraging her husband not to take the traditional route of being a plumber, but to go to beauty school, which he did. She also gave Jon his first guitar at seven. Hmm, I know a mom who gave her seven year old daughter a small guitar and lessons. We stick to our dreams for our family.
4) Speaking of family, we all have trouble with our children when they strike out on their own. Even when it seems a person does everything right, there are pitfalls for the young adults. Have we not all gotten that call we would rather not get? Either from the high school, the college or the police? If you haven't, don't hold your breath, but you most likely will. A family then pulls together. I stood in awe at the love my family does have for each other in the times of crisis we experienced.
5) A sense of humor in gratitude with blessings. He jokes he couldn't run for political office and his job really is better than being president, because he gets to keep the house and the plane. I wonder if his house is lighted pink this month?
6) We do live in a great country where working for dreams can pay off. It isn't easy, but we do it for the love of the dream, not necessarily the success. I do admit, though, an estate near the Atlantic Ocean is dreamy. My own studio to write, instead of my corner of a second hand couch, is ideal. But I work at my writing and even though I haven't pursued it from high school, like Jon did, I believe with that plucky spirit, I can make a living at it some day.