Jon Bon Jovi: 'there’s no chance I’d put on a pair of ripped jeans now'

The musician, 54, on growing up in New Jersey, being happily married and getting bored of singing his own hits

Growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey was never a source of angst for me. My childhood was very blue collar, average and good. I was lucky enough to have both parents around who were really loving, and two younger brothers, and we were a happy, working class family.

It broke my heart when Richie Sambora left the band. We worked together for 30 years. I don’t begrudge him now, but he could have done it in a better way. Instead he just chose to stop turning up to work.

I was never a problem child. When I was four I’d get up really early in the morning as a kid and knock on the neighbour’s door and say, “My mommy’s still sleeping, do you have any cereal?” That’s about as naughty as I got.

Fame is a bitch. At least it is initially. It’s a sort of trauma you go through when you first have success. When it came, I was completely unprepared for it. Suddenly I’m signing contracts and my parents are relying on me for money. Me and the band spent a lot of time in rooms with the door closed going: “I don’t fucking know, I’m scared to death.”

I get bored of singing my greatest hits. Do I really need to sing “Livin’ on a Prayer” one more time? Yes. Forever and ever, yes – and the thought of that depresses me. I have to reconcile that.

I’m not a blood relative of Frank Sinatra, but I’ve always loved that rumour. Who wouldn’t want to be related to the man?

The minute I’m not performing at the level I’ve become accustomed to, I’m out. You’re never going to see me on the “where are they now?” tour. I’ll never miss playing smaller venues, and it’s nothing to do with ego – I just enjoy looking out at a sea of people.

The thought of Trump becoming president is distressing. Any horrible reality is possible right now. Did you ever think Brexit would happen?

I’ve always been content with a bottle of wine and going to bed. Drugs have never been a huge lure for me. I’ve seen a lot of people fall down the drugs rabbit hole over the years.

The gold-mining years of music are dead. The days of selling 30m albums are long gone. I wouldn’t want to be a young, upcoming musician now.

If I’m going to be the poster boy for married rock stars, I’ll accept it – although Bono and Bruce Springsteen have been with their wives for just as long. My wife and I don’t need to live in each other’s pockets for us to stay together. We’ve got four kids and we both have a role to play: I pack a suitcase and she packs a lunch.

There’s not a chance on earth that I’d put on a pair of ripped jeans now. I spent the early years aspiring to make money so I didn’t have holes in them any more.

The new Bon Jovi album, This House is Not For Sale, is out on Virgin EMI on 4 November


Shahesta Shaitly

The GuardianTramp

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