David Bryan and Tico Torres from Bon Jovi take some time out to discuss the upcoming tour and re-release of This House Is Not For Sale.
Bon Jovi head back out on the road next week, for the second leg of their This House Is Not For Sale tour. The 26-date North American tour begins on March 14 in Denver, CO and will see them on the road for two months. The tour is being supported by a re-release of the This House Is Not For Sale album, which now includes two additional songs – “When We Were Us” and “Walls.” The album is currently at the #1 spot on the Billboard charts. While out on the road, the band will also be getting their long-awaited inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
National Rock Review were invited to take part in a group teleconference interview with David Bryan and Tico Torres, which included interviewers from across the US and Canada. They discussed their induction, the upcoming tour and the re-release of This House Is Not For Sale.
Q: One of the big stories is you guys are going into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame later on this spring and it’s been a topic that’s been discussed for a long time of when it will finally happen for you guys. I’ve got to ask what you want to say about finally getting in. It seems like it’s been an overdue honor.
David Bryan: Yeah, it’s nine years a little late, but we’re in the club and it’s a wonderful club to be in. From Elvis and the Beatles and the Stones and you feel like it’s definitely a club to be in. It’s a great honor.
Tico Torres: Like David said, you can’t ask for better company. Obviously it’s going to be going on for years and there’s a lot of people that deserve to be in there as well. I think the beauty of it is it also brings to light a lot of music from the past to a lot of generation today that has never really experienced that which I think it’s good. To keep it alive and show that this music is relevant from years past.
Q: Yep, definitely. Do you guys talk about what you’re going to do as far as the performance goes?
David Bryan: We’re going to play a couple songs and Alec and Richie are going to join us and it’s going to be pretty cool. We’re looking forward to it.
Q: First, to stay on the Rock Hall for a minute. What’s it going to be like getting back together with Richie and Alec? You know, Alec, he had dropped out earlier and I guess on friendlier terms. What do you think the emotion of that night is going to be like by getting to play again with those guys?
Tico Torres: It’s harder to pick what you’re going to go through emotionally but speaking to Alec on the phone it was wonderful. In reality, we took that journey together at certain times as a group. I think it’s wonderful that we can reenact that, not only for us but for the fans. I think when you get together with old friends, there’s always going to be some deep emotions within that.
Q: For sure. Then I also wanted to touch on this new version of the new album with two new songs. Can you talk about both those songs and also is this Bon Jovi kind of entering the new world order and maybe becoming a band that puts out songs as they’re ready rather than 10 years preparing a new album?
David Bryan: I think it’s re-releasing This House is Not for Sale to support these next 30 shows with two new songs. “When We Were Us” is a song that’s brought on by the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and where we’re at in our career and it’s talking about where we were, where we are and where we’re going. The other song, “Walls” is about unification not separation and we’re going to do the tour. I don’t think we’re going to put out songs. Who knows what the future is but we usually make records and this one is just adding to it because it’s a continuation of the tour really, it’s the second leg.
Tico Torres: But I liked the way you called it “new world.” In today’s day and age you can do that, and so we can add two songs off the cuff, but it’s kind of cool to be able to do that.
Q: Just wondering about this proliferation of farewell tours we’re seeing and been seeing in the last three weeks or so, Elton and Paul Simon among them. I’m kind of wondering what you think of that in terms of people who are older than you doing this and if you guys see somewhere down the road retirement sooner than later or later than sooner.
David Bryan: Yeah, hopefully later than sooner. You know what, it’s amazing when you look at the reunion tour and then the farewell, I mean the farewell tours and then you look at so many bands that have their, they’re in their 14th farewell tour. I don’t really know how true those are and how much they need to sell tickets. I think for us it’s more about, we’re just going to keep doing it and having fun. The future is the future has yet to happen and until then we’re just going to keep having fun and making records and go play in front of the people and have a great time.
Tico Torres: We made a promise to ourselves as far as that. As long as it’s fun and as long as we can have something to contribute musically together why not do it? That’s where we’re at.
Q: Right. I just wondered about the proliferation. This is probably never-ending. We’re going to see more and more farewell tours as classic rockers get older, right? Does that make you feel nostalgic or sad or do you think people should just know when to stop for themselves.
David Bryan: Look at the Rolling Stones, and they’re in their 70s.
Tico Torres: Some people have to retire. A lot of it could be physical. Some people like Neal Peart, I was watching that. He says I can’t play like Neal Peart anymore. You know? Certain people, in their own mind I think it’s okay. Then you have the other spectrum of B.B. King, he passed away with a guitar in his hand.
Q: I just want to go back to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction for a second and wanted to know how do you feel about Howard Stern inducting you. Also was that a group decision or was that Jon’s decision?
David Bryan: That was our decision, group, and Howard Stern was there actually for us in 1984 when Runaway came out. He was with WNBC, and he was playing in New Jersey. He had his radio show at the Club Bene which we had played through our various times in our lives. He was the first one out there promoting us and playing it and really loved it. He’s been a part of our career since day one, believe it or not.
Tico Torres: Yes, it’s gracious that he’s there. He’s able to come out and do it for us.
Q: He’s really excited about coming to Cleveland I hear.
Tico Torres: Who isn’t? Come on. We love Cleveland. It’s a rock town.
Q: Just so you have a little bit of what was said earlier about the Rock Hall induction, making sure the music is relevant for a new generation who maybe are not familiar with it or 20-year-olds will not be familiar with it. Just looking back on the career and the band, what have you guys learned about the band, each other through this entire journey that you’ve taken to get to this point. Can you comment a little bit about that?
David Bryan: Yeah, I think the one thing we always set out to play to be the biggest band in the world. It takes a lot of hard work to get lucky. We put in all the hard work and we got lucky and we went around the world to 50 countries and we played it over 30 times each country. We’re proud to bring the world of American rock around the world. We remain curious and kept just always wanting to remain current, always getting better at our craft and always getting better at making records and playing live. It’s always a constant learning lesson. You just learn and stay curious and stay passionate.
Tico Torres: The key is like David said, stay true to yourself. I’m amazed that we have three generations in the audience that come see us play. That amazes me that it transcends not only to the kids that grew up with us but their grandkids. To me that’s wonderful that music can do that.
Q: That’s true. About this particular tour in general, what’s it like being back on the road again? I know this is a long tour for you guys. What’s that been like?
David Bryan: Well actually we did 30 shows last year and then we did about six more down in South America … 30 shows in North America and then we did six more in South America. This time we’re doing 30 North American shows and then we’ll see after that. It’s good. We’re not doing those 100 shows go around the world for 10 months and 30 countries anymore. We’re just going to break it all up.
Q: There was a report in the Buffalo News last month that had Jon won the ownership to the Buffalo Bills, he would have been prepared to give up the music business and focus on the NFL full time. I was just wondering were there any discussions within the band to that end?
Tico Torres: No, at all. It’s like Dave writes these great plays and he’s got two in the oven now. He had a great success with “Memphis,” I’m an Artist. For Jon with football, it would have been the same. You can’t get away from the joy that we have playing together. We always said as long as it’s fun we’ll keep doing it and as long as we’re relevant to ourselves and our music we’ll keep doing it. That never really came up.
Q: All right. I also was just wondering, just given the popularity of the band as such that you could put out a five-disc compilation of B sides and outtakes and still have it sell like crazy. What are some of your favorite songs from the catalog to play and is there anything that you think should get more attention than what it has?
David Bryan: You love to play the old songs and the new ones and we mix it up and that’s what keeps it fresh. We have so many to choose from so we change up the sets every night and swap out a couple of songs. You always got to play the ones that we have to and want to and our fans expect and we expect. Yeah, and we get a lot of variety now with every record there’s another 12 songs to play. It’s good on the memory too. It’s fun.
Tico Torres: Yeah and then two nights ago we did iHeartRadio, and we got to play some of the new stuff “When We Were Us” and again Colbert on Thursday. It’s fantastic to be able to play some new stuff. Whenever it’s new you enjoy really playing it and you digest it. Like anything in the whole album there’s certain songs you really love to do and that really work live and then you figure out which ones don’t which you’ll throw them in once in a while but pretty much by playing them live you get an idea what works out there.
Q: Well, you guys rocked my world when you mentioned Club Bene. I knew Howard Stern had performed there. I didn’t know Bon Jovi performed there. Can you tell me about your experiences at Club Bene, the famous Club Bene in Central Jersey which is about a mile from Jon’s home and was, I hear it was a pretty big stage for you guys to play back then.
Tico Torres: Back then yeah, it was big.
David Bryan: But we never … I mean we played that radio show but as a band, we never played Club Bene, just in all our different cover bands. I think we played in Atlantic City Expressway, I played there. It wasn’t the actual band but our different bands.
Tico Torres: Joe Bene was a friend so we always perform there.
Q: Did you guys have the baked potato wrapped in tinfoil before the shows?
Tico Torres: Heh-heh, I had the zucchini.
Q: Okay, everything prepared with love at Club Bene
Tico Torres: Yeah, I hear you, I hear you.
Q: What was it about the band that led you to – this is going back – to kind of led you guys to join? You guys came to Bon Jovi via different routes. Tico you were kind of like a veteran. You’ve been through the ropes. David you had kind of played with Jon before but you had to make a life decision. It seems like it took a little bit of faith to roll the dice with the band like that and 35-30 years later you’re going into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Back then it wasn’t so sure.
Tico Torres: Yeah, it takes a lot of faith, you know? At that time I owned a house, was married. Had to do commercials and a lot of sessions with other people just to make ends meet. I think when we played together, we had a magic. You go home and go well, like anything, I mean like every other musician in the world you take a chance because of that magic and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It took us to the third album where we found ourselves and realized we played great as a live band and let’s make a record like that and that’s how Slippery came out.
David Bryan: Yeah, you always have to have … I mean there’s no crystal ball to say you’re going to make it or you’re not. You just have to have that faith and take the leap of faith. Like I said, it takes a lot of hard work to get lucky and just roll up your sleeves and get into the hard work and hopefully it works out. We got lucky on top of the insanely amount of hard work that we did.
Q: How many songs do you have to choose from when you make the set list?
Tico Torres: Jesus, about 100. More, yeah, we’re up to a lot of songs.
Q: Jon recently called the current band another rebirth for Bon Jovi. From that first incarnation of the group in the 80s that I started listening to, to Keep the Faith in the 90s, or latching onto a new generation of fans with “It’s My Life” and breaking into the country market with “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” you’re constantly reinventing. What are your thoughts on the band’s ability to keep shifting with the times and maintain that popularity with both new and older fans?
David Bryan: Well, that means that was one of the things we set out to do. First, you set out to make a great record and learn the craft of that. Then once you get to the number one record you realize that that was the hardest thing. Then you realize well the hardest thing is to stay number one and to remain current. It’s definitely, it’s an effort and it seems to be working.
Tico Torres: You have no idea how it’s going to turn out. To me every song you do and every record is like a new born baby. You don’t know how they’re going to grow up. It’s the way we do it because we feel good about it in the studio and that’s why we put them out. Then there’s a lot of songs that don’t make the record. Somebody mentioned before, there’s a lot of those songs left over and you put it out and it becomes the people’s. Oddly enough we’re able to keep going and that’s what keeps us wanting to do it not regurgitation of what our past was.
Q: I wanted to ask you guys, if there’s like a standout memorable experience that you have performing? Something that really stands out?
David Bryan: It’s so hard. At 3,000 times at least it’s hard. They all stand out. You can’t really say that one is better than any. They’re all great and some are even greater. We’re very fortunate to have that many great experiences, really.
Tico Torres: Yeah, I mean I can think of one. When we played for the Queen of England. Presidents come and go but the Queen’s been around for 80 years. That was an interesting thing because we headlined since the Beatles more of a variety show and she’s been doing that for 40 years every couple of years they do it in Liverpool, the home of the Beatles. It was kind of special to meet her and play for her. It’s those little things but there’s a lot of those that are like Dave said, that really charm our life. We’ve been blessed.
Q: Other than appearances at the 2009 and 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, you guys have not played a proper New Orleans show since 1989 on your New Jersey Tour.
Tico Torres: I know, it’s about time.
Q: I said, what’s up with that? Come on, it’s New Orleans.
Tico Torres: But I got to tell you I went there for Thanksgiving. I spent my Thanksgiving there with my family. I love New Orleans, and I love the music. I’m glad we’re doing a proper show there.
David Bryan: I drink Community Coffee that I get shipped to my house with the chicory in it every day so I’m drinking a cup of it now and I’ve been drinking since I went to that place the first time, the home of Dr. John.
Tico Torres: Mac Rebennack. Love it.
Q: I think Dr. John played in front of you guys at one of those jazz fest shows and you may have been checking him out from the side of the stage?
Tico Torres: Oh definitely. I worked with him. I wrote songs with him, and he’s one of my heroes.
Q: Yeah, he is a legend in his own right, for sure. The Slippery When Wet cover, was that really somebody tracing their finger on a wet garbage bag?
Tico Torres: That was Jon yes because the cover we had was a bit too racy for the United States. It only appeared in Japan I believe. It was last minute was grab a garbage bag, wet it and put that Slippery When Wet sign on there.
Q: We’re actually very lucky because a Bon Jovi new tour almost always means Montreal shows. What makes our city so special for Bon Jovi do you think?
Tico Torres: Montreal is a great city. It really is. The fans, you guys know the choruses and the verses. We just love playing there. We did an interview earlier today and hopefully it’s not as cold as it usually is there but we always bring our coats just in case. We warm it up though, don’t worry.
David Bryan: Yeah, Montreal is great. The fans there are just unbelievable, and we love playing it. I can’t wait to come back.
Q: I think you come almost every year if I’m not mistaken, eh?
David Bryan: Yeah, we come a lot. We definitely, that’s part of the tour.
Q: I wanted to talk with you guys a little bit about This House is Not for Sale both the album that came out last year and the new edition. These projects that have some sounds that are new to Bon Jovi. What do you think are the most noticeable changes and what inspired the musical direction in general for the project?
David Bryan: On this one it was really we got in a room together, looking at each other and really bashing out in the studio. We hadn’t been doing that for a while on the other records, just a different method. And this one was like let’s just get live, get in the room all together and bash it out and really create something and we really did and very proud of that record. Then we added, for this second leg of the tour we added two new songs. “When We Were Us” is for the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and where we’re at in our careers and talking about where we were and where we’re at and where we’re going. We added a couple more songs to just bring some new material to it for these bunch of shows coming up.
Q: You know, many fans got to see last year’s debut of the This House is Not for Sale tour. What updates are you bringing to this year’s edition of the show?
Tico Torres: Ha-ha-ha, you shall see. You shall see as we shall see. You know the good thing is we have a big catalog and we’re going to mix up a lot of songs as well as some new ones. It’s kind of fun. We try to change the set every night. It’s going to be fun and plus we’re playing places we haven’t played in a long time. You might have heard before, we hadn’t really played New Orleans since ’89. Some places will be repeat but we change it, we do multiples and we change it up every night.
Q: There’s been a lot of really epic performances that come out of that induction collaborations and stuff like that. Who would you like to collaborate with on your induction and why?
Tico Torres: Having Richie and Alec back to join us, which is, I think it’s fantastic to be able to do because they did that journey with us. That in itself is going to be a lot of fun to do. As you said, there’s special moments at these events that most musicians are working and when we get together and actually jam and play together it’s a treat, so we’re looking forward to that.
Q: It was announced that you’re going to be doing the iHeartRadio Music Awards and you’re going to be also an award for Icon Award. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Tico Torres: I think it’s amazing we’re the first recipient of that. Again, it’s quite an honor. We did the iHeart show two nights ago, and it’s fun because we got to do some new stuff as well. It’s amazing that we’re in fashion to this day. We pinch ourselves all the time.
Q: I’ve had the privilege over X amount of years to see Bon Jovi so many times. Believe it or not, I love all of the songs you guys play off the albums but my favorite parts of the show were when you take on a cover song. Sometimes it’s unexpected. Sometimes it’s something you’ve done before. I like to see the audience’s reaction. What are some of the favorite cover songs you guys have done because you’ve done so many and they’re always such wonderful renditions.
Tico Torres: One of my favorites is when we, when was this David? We played it could have been close to Wembley Stadium where we did “I Don’t Like Mondays.”
David Bryan: That was Bob Geldof joining us. We’ve done a lot of them. We did “The Boys Are Back in Town” we used to do. We used to do “Gimme the Beat Boys and Free My Soul.” We’ve done “Twist and Shout,” and we’ve done Stones’ songs. It’s kind of, it’s fun.
Q: You’ve spent obviously a lot of time over the years touring with Bon Jovi, many, many years. I’m just wondering what is the funniest thing that has ever happened on stage during a show?
Tico Torres: I don’t know. Dave, can you think of one?
David Bryan: I’m just some, I can’t pinpoint one. Lots of fun stuff we’ve gotten into. They all kind of blend.
Tico Torres: You know what, sometimes we forget them.
David Bryan: Well at your age, not my age. I remember every one of them, they just blend.
Tico Torres: I wish I could elaborate. Early on sometimes the PA stopped working, for instance. We just grab the acoustics and sing as loud as we can and play as loud as we can acoustically until they got the power back on. That wasn’t necessarily funny but we carried through it. You know? It’s one of those things you can laugh about later on.
Q: This question’s for David. I was wondering how the “DIANA” Musical is coming along and how you’ve managed to find time in the writing process with all the touring that you do.
David Bryan: It’s coming along great. We’ve been building the beast, this one’s pretty quick one, only a couple years. We’re going to be in La Jolla Playhouse next year and then transfer to Broadway after. Knock on wood, everything goes good. It’s good. It’s a good work ethic. I always, my writing collaborative Joe DiPietro, he and I we Skype each other a lot when I’m on the tour or when I’m home and he’s in New York and I’m in Jersey and we get it done. We always manage, when I’m done with my interviews today I’m going to be Skyping with him for a couple hours today doing it again.
Q: I was just wondering when you’re starting out a new tour or a new leg of one of these, how long does it take you to feel like everything is running on full cylinders, like you’re hitting the sweet spot so to speak?
Tico Torres: We’ve always been pretty well rehearsed as far as that. Technicality is we try to get the best guys in the world and they’ve been with us some of them for over 30 years that are really incredible what they do. The whole idea is not really, is to come off out of the gate with a home run if you can.
David Bryan: Yeah, definitely. We’re rehearsed. We don’t do our rehearsing in front of people. When it’s time to get in front of people that’s when you’re doing it. We’re firing on all cylinders the second the lights go down.
Q: David you touched on this a little bit earlier. There are a lot of your 80s and 90s counterparts who are still out there putting out new albums and touring like you guys are but they’re not getting number one albums like you guys are, they’re not selling out arenas like you are. Is there something you can point to in Bon Jovi’s music that enables you to continue to resonate with the public after all these years in ways that those others don’t?
David Bryan: It’s all about the keyboards.
Tico Torres: Excuse me?
David Bryan: It’s all about the keyboards they give us longevity and everything I’ve done helps this band to be where we’re at today. Just kidding.
Tico Torres: I want to give the fans credit. I mean we’ve got loyal fans. I’ve mentioned it before, there’s three generations. Their grandkids are listening to it. You’ve got to give the kudos to the parents that turn on their kids and their kids’ friends. When they pass the hats three generations of listeners so that kind of keeps you young when you’ve got young people listening to your music.
David Bryan: It’s a combination of the songs, what we’re saying and then how we’re performing it. Those are the two unique things that make us Bon Jovi. If we’re more popular for it then it’s whatever, we’re touching more people. More people are relating to it, I guess.
Q: I know you guys have played with Buddy Guy before and I just actually went to his residency in January here which was absolutely awesome. What are some memories of you guys playing in Chicago? Favorite show, favorite gig, was it playing with him or can you talk a little bit about that?
Tico Torres: Chicago is a great town. It’s been known for its blues. As a matter of fact the last time we were there I went to see him, I forgot the name of the theater but it was a blues revue of who’s who playing. Of course to see him there it was awesome and catch up. It was beautiful. Any time you can play with an icon it’s a gem in your life, one of those things you remember and enjoy. Of course there’s a lot of great musicians that have passed on that we’ve had the opportunity to play with. I mean, growing up you go, wow. Go and listen to them is one thing, another thing is the play with them. You stand in their shadows.
David Bryan: Definitely.
Q: The new song “Walls” seems so strike a bit of a political tone in light of your president’s affinity for building a wall. Do you hear it as a protest song? What’s the message?
David Bryan: It’s not just what, it’s current but it’s also what happens in the world, too. It’s putting up walls within yourself. There’s a lot of metaphors that go with that. It’s like Keep the Faith was a sign of the times. We still have a sign of the times in the writing.
Tico Torres: Walls are created in families more than anywhere. If you can keep that communication track going. But I think what really counts at least we’re cognizant of it. Then it’s nice that we have a voice. But it’s like David said, it’s a personal level for everybody to listen to those songs in their way, shape or form.
David Bryan: The thing about rock n’ roll, is it’s about inclusiveness. It’s about going around the world, and before the wall came down in Russia, to our enemies. Playing there and looking that it’s … I think rock n’ roll is the ultimate of a non-walls across the world. I mean music is the one universal language. You put a piece of Beethoven in front of anybody on the planet and people aren’t, “Oh that’s the French version, oh that’s the Italian version, oh that’s the English version, oh that’s the German version.” No, it’s music. Music is the international language of the planet.
Q: How do you feel about touring Canada?
Tico Torres: Canada is an incredible place to tour and I’ll tell you why. Remember, Slippery When Wet was born there, you know, where we recorded it. We’ve done a couple of records there. Canada’s been very kind to us. The fans have never, ever let us down there, ever. It’s always a pleasure to go and play because they sing loud and they love their music.
Q: One thing I’m curious about, you said Phil X in the lineup I assume. He’s been in since before the recording of the album and you’ve had a good deal of touring done with him. I’m curious just over time what you’ve seen from Phil and how he has evolved and worked his way into the dynamic of the band, I guess. I’m wondering just kind of how he’s come along and fit into what you are as a live band especially.
Tico Torres: Phil’s one of the most positive persons you ever want to meet. Besides him getting married and having children which is we have to see that as well, but when you have somebody that positive and he’s a great musician to boot. He’s Canadian and his time is impeccable. It’s like anything, you have a rebirth and whoever you play with it changes your sound and your feeling. But he gels right in because he knows what to play and what not to play. We’re thankful to have him.
Q: Good. Sounds like he’s worked his way in very nicely there, yeah.
Tico Torres: Yeah, yeah, great musician.
David Bryan: Definitely in this lineup, we have John Shanks on guitar also who was in the studio and writes and plays in the studio. We have Everett Bradley who plays percussion and sings. It’s a very musical band. It’s really, really fun.
Q: One thing that I was blown away by on the last tour, and I wanted to see if you were still going to continue that, was having a local band open for you. I know that it did wonders for that band after playing that gig, it was a great bunch of musicians and just how you guys went about making that decision to do that because you just really don’t see that for bands that play arenas, don’t usually have openers that are local.
Tico Torres: Yeah, we were in that position at one time. When you’re walking on shoes you go, I remember distinctly that we played at the Garden, we played what, about 20 minutes, David, with ZZ Top and we took the train in. It’s kind of cool to be able to give that back. There’s nothing better to see these young musicians and some very good ones by the way to have their shot.
David Bryan It’s giving back. You know, that’s the thing. People gave us breaks so you got to turn around and give other people a break.
Q: Lately I’ve been studying a lot about the intersection of music and politics and I was wondering if you could think of if there’s any songs of yours that might relate to today’s political climate or even if there’s a song that you could think of that might make a good campaign song for a candidate in the next election cycle.
David Bryan: I think we’re more about, even though there’s some political overtones maybe in what we’re saying, but I think it’s universal. I think for us politics are politics. You’re going to piss off half the people no matter what. I think it’s whatever side you’re on. I think we’re always on the side of positivity. The second that “Livin’ on a Prayer” came out and I think people really connected for the fact that you can be from nowhere, New Jersey is where we’re from and you can make it if you believe enough and work hard enough. I think that’s our message which is better than any political message that there is. I think that’s a person message, people to people is more important that governments to governments or governments to people.
Tico Torres: Exactly, that’s true. Somebody asked a question about, we mentioned “Walls” and we were there for taking pieces down on the wall and the year before we played Russia. We grew up with this Cold War stuff going, this is the enemy. Our realization was these are people and they’re wonderful and it has nothing to do with politics because the real people in the world have nothing to do with politics. You have to understand that we played for them. I think probably if every politician in the world and every country the world would take a little more music in their life there would be a lot less strife.
Q: Having done so many live shows as you mentioned over 50 countries, you’ve seen a million faces and you’ve rocked them all. Do you have any crucial rituals that you do and what keeps you going still while you’re on the road?
David Bryan: Yeah, there’s a brief, we all get together when we do sounds checks. We all come together and we have a nice chicken soup together. We sit around and have soup.
Tico Torres: That’s a prerequisite. We got to have chicken soup in the dressing room in every show. Not M&Ms, chicken soup. It keeps the colds away.
David Bryan: Exactly, it’s good for the soul. You know and then the ritual once everybody’s dressed we put our hands all in right before we get on stage and we all look at each other and say, “Let’s get out there and have some fun and kick some ass,” and then we go out there and do it.
Tico Torres: As far as getting us up you know when you’re tired, it’s the fans. As soon as the lights down, they paid really good money to come see a show and you want to give them the greatest show they’ve ever seen. Forget your troubles for two or three hours and then walk away and go home and say you enjoyed yourself.
David Bryan: Yeah, we have a high respect for the stage. We walk onto that stage and it’s respect. You get out there and you give it everything that you have no matter what’s going on in your life. You know, no matter what, we’ve always been able to give it everything you’ve got through health issues, through personal issues, through mental issues, whatever it is. It doesn’t matter. You get in there you respect that stage and you get up there and you do it.
Q: Could you all elaborate on the songwriting process at this point for you guys? I mean how do you hash out differences of opinion? Especially if there’s an idea that somebody else just thinks is ridiculous. I mean is everyone free to call that out? How does that process look for you guys at this point?
Tico Torres: Well we threw out the word “no” a long time ago so every idea is heard. No matter how absurd it may seem, it may spark something. I think probably some of the best musicians in the world do that because there is no “no” when you’re creating. There is no mistake when you’re creating. The thing is to be able to hear it, air it and try it as a group, a unit, because everybody has something to inject to make it different, better, or worse. After you do it for a while you know that okay, this works. Let’s go that way or it doesn’t, let’s go in a different direction. The word “no” doesn’t exist.
Q: In the live version that are so codified in people’s memories that people love singing along, do you find space to improvise and play with them a little bit on stage or do you feel like we’ve got to do these the way folks know them.
David Bryan: No, I think we expand some songs. It’s funny actually when you go and listen to a song that’s on the radio and I’ll listen to it and go, “Wow, we don’t play it like that live.” Either A, we forget and we just add something to it, or we just expand it.
Q: You know so many bands are performing complete albums on special anniversary tours. Has that idea ever come up within the Bon Jovi camp and what would be a few that you feel would qualify for a milestone of that magnitude?
Tico Torres: We’ve actually done that. This House is Not for Sale was done in its entirety. We only did four shows around the world to a very limited audience but it was the best way we figured for a listening party to actually have people there and play it in its entirety. It’s kind of cool and that’s one record that really works doing the whole thing live. As far as energy level, you have to think of, you have 20, 30, maybe 50,000 people and there’s certain energy every time that you want to get to that sometimes doing the whole song is entirely a little difficult, the whole record I mean. David?
David Bryan: That would be a hard one because we have so many records and so many songs. We just, I don’t think we’ve ever sat there and said, “Okay, we’ll just do Slippery, or we’ll just do New Jersey.” We haven’t really talked about that. We haven’t talked about it, we just love to play all the songs to tell you the truth.
Q: I’d now like to ask David or Tico if they have anything else they’d like to add that was not covered.
Tico Torres: Well, I’d just like to say thank you, everybody. Much appreciated for your time. I’m glad you’re excited about what’s going on in our lives and we’re looking forward to seeing everybody on the road. Let’s have fun.
David Bryan: Yeah, ditto. Can’t wait to get out there and bring it to the people and thank you all for your help.
Tico Torres: Have a good day.