By Dan Davis
Jon Bon Jovi filled dozens of notebooks, journals, diaries and cocktail napkins with song lyrics and his thoughts on music, fame, hair spray, and money. His journals reveal a blossoming songwriter and lyricist, as well as an artist with many strong opinions on music, creativity, identity, and the pressures of celebrity. These journals have recently been collected and published in book form, and the following selections from the journals of Jon Bon Jovi are a mesmerizing and revealing portrait of one of the most celebrated rock stars of our time.
“Johnny Bongiovi… Johnny Bonjon… John Starr… Johnny King… Johnny Ace… Jack Starr… Jack Jovi… Johnny Jovy… Johnny Bonn… John Bongiovi… Jon Bonny… Jon Bon… Jon Bonjon… Jon Bonji… Jon Von Bonjonsonmon (Just kidding!)… Jon Rock… Johnny Rock… Johnny Rocket… Jonny Bonjiovi… Jonny Starr…”
“Jackhammer of Love:
Yeah, baby, I am a jackhammer of love
Yeah, baby, I drill from above
You know what you want
And it’s my jackhammer of love, Yeah!…”
“Baby Says Rock, Rock, Rock:
Yeah, my baby, she’s wild
And I don’t mean mild
She is known as one wild child!
And my baby she says Rock!
Rock! Rock! Yeah!
All night long
If you know what I mean…”
“The Johnny Starr Band Shore Tour ’79
1. “Jackhammer of Love”
2. “Jersey Rules”
3. Kiss cover: “Rock ‘n Roll All Night”?
4. ballad: “Dream On”? “Love Hurts”? “Tonight’s the Night”?
5. “Baby Says Rock, Rock, Rock!”
6. “Dangerous Boy”
7. “Hoboken Cowboy”
8. New untitled song
9. Other ballad
Encore: “Rock ‘n’ Roll Hootchie Koo”? “Jackhammer of Love” again?
“Dear Iron Sheik,
You are a bum! Iran is NOT number one, and neither are you! You are a cheater and Hulk Hogan is going to show you what wrestling is all about next week! I am beginning a career in the entertainment business myself, and I can tell you that yelling insults at the crowd that paid good money to see you perform (wrestle) is no way to go! I was there at the Trenton Civic Arena last week when you taunted the paying customers and broke the rules, and I think you are a bum! Who do you think you are? Do you think you are above the rules of professional wrestling and above showing respect to those of us who paid our hard-earned money to see you get whipped in the ring? Maybe you’d be more popular with the fans if you treated us better and stopped cheating! Did you ever think of that? You bum!
Jonny Starr, professional musician
p.s. do you know if the guys who run your wrestling league are looking for any original high-energy rock music for their wrestling shows? If so, give them my address and I will show them how to treat the customers with respect and give the people their money’s worth!”
We’d like to go with the guy you recommended for the band, but only on a couple of conditions. First, he needs to play keyboards, rather than guitar. He’s a good musician, but we’ve already got two guitarists, and we don’t need any competition within the band, all right? So can he learn keyboards by next month? And he needs to get a nose job. We’re a professional band, and our appearance is very important. We can’t go out on tour with a guy with a giant schnozz, no offense intended to him (or you.)
Also, he needs to change his name from Anthony whatever it is to Tony Dazzle. If he has a problem with any of that, let me know ASAP, so we can get someone else.
No offense, but that spotlight incident last night has really been bothering me. Maybe you thought it was funny, but you’ve got to understand that when we’re doing that song, the spotlight is supposed to be on ME, and only me. The whole thing doesn’t work if you waltz over and get in the same spotlight at that point in the song! It would be like if I sang over one of your solos! I don’t do that because I am showing you respect as a musician. I think it’s VERY important that you show me the same respect as a frontman and stay out of my spotlight, especially during “Love Rocket,” because we’re supposed to be a team of professionals working toward a common goal, and one little thing like that can ruin the whole show. So please understand that it’s not personal, and it’s not an ego thing, it’s just for the good of the band as a whole. So basically, don’t do it again, or else I’ll start singing over your solos! I mean it, I will do it! Remember, the name of the band is Bon Jovi, not Richie the Spotlight Hog! Nothing personal, but I have to lay down the law and get this straight now, before things get out of hand.”
“The best bands have something that sets them apart from the all others, something special that’s hard to describe. I mean, why does Aerosmith rock so much better than Foghat? It’s not just the playing, or the singing or the songwriting, I believe that it goes way deeper than that. My theory? It’s the hair. You can get by without all that other stuff, but you can’t shortchange the hair. Like, can you even imagine Aerosmith if Steven Tyler had a crew cut? Or the Stones if they had Afros? No way, man. I’m going to get the hair right, and once I do, the rest will follow.”
“Jon Bongiovi’s Houserockers… Jonny B and the Rockers… Larry Feinstein Sucks (just kidding!)… Jon Bon and the Aces… the Italian Stallions… Coolness… Hoboken Cowboys… Bongiovi…”
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Grammy Award for Best Singer on the Best Album by the Most Rockin’ Band of all time goes to… Johnny Starr! Nah. Goes to… Johnny Jovy! Nah… John Bongiovi… Bonjovy… hmm…”
Baby, you mean so much to me
When I hold you close, it feels so good to me
I love the way you feel at night
When I am there and holding you tight
So let’s get down to it
And have some sex together right now…”
“Touring can be such a drag! We just zip around from place to place every single night. Sometimes I feel like I’m some sort of roving cowboy, only the “horse” I ride on is a big chartered airplane made of steel! Instead of a real horse! I know it probably seems like an easy life, but it’s hard work rocking all these different people every night. I must have seen a million faces, and rocked them all! Which is really kind of impressive if you think about it. And all this travel is hell on my hair, just like it must be for a real cowboy. At least the groupies rule! Did cowboys have groupies?”
Your love is like some kind of ineffective medicine/That type of unhealthy medicine is what I need/Shake it up, just like some brand of medicine that doesn’t work very well/There ain’t no doctor that can cure my… (Illness? Sickness? Malaise?)”
“What have I learned from this fiasco? Never again will I go on tour with less than two teleprompter operators. It’s MY ass out there looking bad in front of thousands of people if the teleprompter-op comes down “sick,” or has to be fired mid-tour for “personality conflicts.” There needs to be backup so that this sort of DISASTER does not happen again! And it’s the same with the wardrobe people! Sometimes I really wonder if I am the only one who really gives a damn!”
“Livin’ (something) Prayer:
We’ve got to go on to what we’ve got right now and then keep goin’ on some more/’Cause the truth in the end is that it doesn’t really make any real difference, actually, if we make it or not, you see/For we’ve got each other, and that’s a lot to have/For love, we’ll give it an attempt
Whoa, we’re nearly half way to there
Whoa, livin’ (something… under a? In a?) prayer
Take my plan and we’ll curse and swear
Whoa, livin’ (something) prayer”
“I’ve been looking in a mirror for a couple hours, and damn it, I don’t care what that stupid magazine says, I’m way hotter than Kip Winger!”
“This acting thing is really starting to happen. I’m definitely going with Moonlight & Valentino. It’s a great script, and it’s got some established stars already signed up, so it should definitely be a hit. I mean, like, Whoopi Goldberg’s never in any bad movies, so I think it’s going to work out great. Oscar, here I come!”
“Cocaine is fun! Wow!”