Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Bon Jovi – The “Because We Can” Tour will be renamed to “Because I Can”

The “Because We Can” tour needs to be remained to “Because I Can”. Based on the drop off rate of musicians, it looks like Jon Bon Jovi will be the last man standing.

It began with controversy and the absence of lead guitarist Richie Sambora. In my opnion, Richie Sambora is the reason why a lot of the metal and rock community enjoy Bon Jovi’s music. He gave the band some street cred, while Jon Bon Jovi went and played all his little games like “I want to be an actor” or “I want to be a football franchise owner” or “I want to be a politician”.

Isn’t it a huge coincidence that when Richie Sambora pulled out on the eve of the show, Jon Bon Jovi had a replacement for Sambora on the same day. By connecting the dots, Jon Bon Jovi knew this was coming. In the weeks after the departure, Jon stated that the show must go on and that he is not beholden to anyone. Of course, the angle that Jon put out there was that he cares about the people that work on the show and how those same people need to know that they are being taken care off by their employer and that they can put food on the table and make house payments.

Let’s look at the departure of Richie Sambora a bit more. On September 18, 2012, Richie Sambora released his third solo album, “Aftermath Of The Lowdown.”

At that time of the albums release, Richie Sambora stated that “What About Now” album was recorded before his solo album “Aftermath of the Lowdown” was completed. From reading interviews between September 2012 and February 2013, one would get the impression that Richie Sambora is a bit upset that he had to go out and promote another Bon Jovi album, while he also had a new album out. In other words, Richie felt that Jon Bon Jovi was killing off his solo record.

In order to appease Richie Sambora, it was decided that the new Bon Jovi album, “What About Now” will include a track from “Aftermath Of The Lowdown” as a bonus track on the deluxe edition. It looks like it wasn’t enough.

Fans then started to vent their frustration at the lack of information from all involved. The Bon Jovi shows kept on selling out in new markets, and shows in the common markets of Europe and North America kept on selling well with the hope that by the time the “Because We Can” tour rolled into town, Richie Sambora would be in tow. This didn’t happen and it took everyone by surprise, including Richie Sambora, who believed that he would have returned to the band by September the latest. The issue about money was banded about on various websites and with Jon Bon Jovi trying to get rid of his New York penthouse for $40 million since April 2013, the money angle theoretically holds true.

Then on September 10, 2013 Tico Torres undergoes emergency appendectomy surgery and the band POSTPONES their Mexico concert. Based on Jon’s assertion when Richie departed, the show must go on and that he is not beholden to anyone. However in this case Jon Bon Jovi was caught by surprise. To be fair, Jon Bon Jovi would have seen the departure of Richie Sambora rising on the wind, so he did have a back-up plan for that, however when Tico fell ill, there was no back-up plan and he had to cancel. However, this would have gotten Jon thinking about having a back-up plan for Tico Torres and Dave Bryan, just in case they all pull out.

So when Tico fell ill again, New Jersey native and Kings Of Suburbia drummer Rich Scannella was called to fill in until Tico is cleared to play.

Again the show goes on. With super large merchandise deals signed, Jon Bon Jovi cannot stop the tour. He might not be beholden to his band mates however he is beholden to the contracts. Merchandise deals become very expensive to the artist if they are broken or if the sales do not meet targets or if the promised shows are not delivered.

I have tickets to see Jon Bon Jovi live in Sydney. I cannot call the band Bon Jovi anymore, as it is not a band. The tour wraps up after the Australia shows. It will be interesting to see what Jon Bon Jovi plans to do next. In my view, he will still try to get every penny out of the Bon Jovi name, regardless of who his backing band is.

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Last Man Standing – Classic Bon Jovi song waiting to be rediscovered

I have been critical of Bon Jovi, especially around their latest release What About Now.  However, the band has created a lasting legacy and a lot of great songs along the way.  Everyone knows the hits.  They are the songs we go to the live show to see.  However, there are a lot of songs that deserve more attention than what they have received. 

This song has had some history.  It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Falcon.  The studio version was meant to be on 2003’s This Left Feels Right greatest hits package, however, it ended up on the 100,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong box set released in 2004.  It was a laid back acoustic style ballad with slide guitar and all the country twang you can get into a song.  An acoustic live version of the song was added to the This Left Feels Right DVD.

It was then re-worked into a great rock song for the 2005 Have A Nice Day album.  The intro grabs you and makes you want to pay attention.  It’s no longer a ballad, but a real rocker.  This is the beauty of music.  You can try different variations of the same song.  The rockier Last Man Standing leaves the original version in the dust.

The theme of the song is about kids turning up to a circus/freak show act to see the last real performer of live music.

Come see a living, breathing spectacle
Only seen right here
It’s your last chance in this lifetime
The line forms at the rear
You won’t believe your eyes
Your eyes will not believe your ears
Get your money out, get ready
Step right up, yeah you, come here

I live in Australia.  In most cases, the bands that come down are the large arena bands.  Normally around Soundwave (February each year), I will get to some sideshows of the medium sized bands to come down for this festival.

This year I caught Bullet For My Valentine and Periphery sideshows.  Last year I caught Machine Head, Times of Grace, Shadows Fall and Chimera side shows.  I paid like $60 for those tickets.  I saw Motley Crue and Kiss last month and paid $200 a ticket.  I’m going to see Black Sabbath in a few weeks’ time and that is $160, compared to Coheed and Cambria at $60 the week before.

Basically the larger bands will try and grab more of the punters dollar as they have a larger entourage and then it will be the last man standing in the audience.

Once upon a time, rock shows where exactly that, people lined up around the side of streets just to get in.  These days, it’s not like that.  I have been reading articles where a lot of artists state that no new band can become a mega star like the artist of the old, and they always make reference to Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Bon Jovi, etc…

Bullshit, I say.  Artists are just as relevant today as they were in the past.  The difference is, in the past, artists created music and followed their muse.  If they sold a million or sold a thousand it didn’t matter.  These days, artists are in it for the money only.  If they sell a thousand, they see it as a failure.  The ones that are in it for the music end up breaking through.  Adele’s first two albums where so personal, she wrote those songs as a sort of therapy to get over her relationship problems.  She didn’t write them, thinking Rolling In The Deep will sell millions and 21 will move 13 million units plus.  The question is what Adele will do now.  Will she become another corporate money making slave?

You ain’t seen nothing like him
He’s the last one of the breed
You better hold on to your honey
Honeys, don’t forget to breathe
Enter at your own risk, mister
It might change the way you think
There’s no dancers, there’s no diamonds
No this boy he don’t lip synch

The debate, live vs. lip synch.  These days, it is acceptable to lip sync if you tell the people buying the tickets that you will be lip syncing.  However it is not acceptable to lip sync if you are telling the people that you are performing live.  There was that whole Britney Spears debacle here in Australia when she toured last time around, as she was lip syncing and didn’t tell the paying customers that is the case.

See those real live calloused fingers
Wrapped around those guitar strings
Kiss the lips where hurt has lingered
It breaks the heart to hear him sing
The songs were more than music
They were pictures from the soul
So keep your pseudo-punk, hip-hop, pop-rock junk
And your digital downloads

Artists used to play a tonne of live shows, to build an audience, to create a buzz and to get a recording contract that promised to make them mega starts.   These days, it’s not like that.  Artists can create something magical in the bedroom on a laptop, and reach a global audience of millions.  There is no need for the gatekeeper.   Bon Jovi wrote this song around 2002/2003 and you can tell he is trying to hold on to the old ways.  He’s even gone on record saying that Steve Jobs destroyed the music business and the album.  What he should have been saying is that Steve Jobs added money to the music business because the legacy record labels where too stupid and clueless to innovate and do it themselves.

If you like the country style of Bon Jovi, check out the ballad version.  It’s a live version that has Jon’s message in the intro about the song.

If you like the rock style of Bon Jovi, check out the rock version.

If you are a fan of Bon Jovi, check out both.