October 27, 1990
It was 26 years ago today that I had found out about the above album for the first time. Back in the day CD rental shops were a thing. Not for long though.
I had just bought a brand new CD player and wanted to check out this album and so I rented it. It was after I had seen the video for Jon Bon Jovi’s solo hit Blaze Of Glory as a kind of trailer for the movie Young Guns II on a VHS movie (remember VHS cassettes? good Lord, I’m old…). The movie was Blue Steel starring Jamie Lee Curtis.
However… so I rented the CD on October 27, 1990… and that should change my life dramatically for the next 15-ish years. I loved most of the songs on that album – at least those performed by Jon Bon Jovi – (it was a soundtrack so there were other artists on it as well).
On the backside of the CD cover were images of two Bon Jovi albums: Slippery When Wet and New Jersey. Hmmm… I remembered that I had a vinyl single by them somewhere… Livin’ On A Prayer… but that was basically all I knew about that band. Would it make sense to check out their albums?
Unfortunatley I don’t remember anymore the date when I decided to buy the New Jersey album. But I do remember exactly where I was and how I felt when I listened to it for the first time. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard about it. It had already come out in 1988, completely unnoticed by me. But now, here, listening to it, it was like CRASH BOOM BANG! There was not one weak song on it. When I was finished I started again immediately. OMG!
What then followed was: buying all the other albums of the band, falling deeply madly in love with their music, then buying all available video complilations, making a mix-tape for S and sending it to her via snail mail (that’s what we still did back in the 90s), telling her to listen to it IMMEDIATELY. She did.
What then followed was us turning into die-hard Bon Jovi fans. The band was on a break during that time so all we could do was listening to their albums over and over, watching videos on TV over and over, finding out about something that was called “bootlegs” and checking every damn record fair for ones we didn’t yet have, buying every magazine we could lay our sweaty little hands on, filling file after file with clippings, neatly put into transparent sheets etc etc etc. I don’t even want to imagine if there had been internet and social media back then like it is today.
In 1993 the band had their comeback with the Keep The Faith album, their sound had changed, leaving the 80s rock days behind them (almost), also some of the big hair, and we weren’t 100% pleased with it but hey… they were finally back and we could listen to new material, and also there was a tour. And so we went on our first road trip to see concerts. Something that we’re still doing to this day… although the artists and the musical style have changed. But that’s secondary. What we discovered in 1993 was our love for going on tour, seeing new places, meeting new people, and finding out about how amazing live concerts are.
Altogether we saw close to 90 shows all across Germany, Europe, and we even went to the USA. Several times. We were members of the fan club, and we had several encounters with the band.. some of them still remain some of the most exciting adventures we’ve ever had and that we’ll never forget.
But what had started with Keep The Faith, continued from then on. The music was different than it was in their early years. Which is not a negative thing per say… It just wasn’t what we really liked anymore. I was a Bon Jovi excuser for a longer time than S, who’s love for their music had started to decline even earlier. But there also came the time for me when I couldn’t stand their songs anymore. When I couldn’t stand how Jon’s voice/singing style had changed.
The definite end came in 2006. While we had still travelled to Philadelphia and New Jersey in November 2005, that had been more of an excuse to go to NJ (the band’s home state) again because we loved it so much there. The love for a state that was completely detached by now from the love for the band. We didn’t care so much for the actual show anymore but were more enjoying the trip and exploring Philly and going to familiar beloved places all over NJ.
Last show was an open air in the summer of 2006 in Munich’s Olympic Stadium. The Munich shows had always been among the best of their tours and this one was no exception. But still the thrill was gone.
I haven’t listened to new albums for years. Whenever I hear a new single from a new album, I find that they keep sounding the same old for years. And I’ve gotta say that I actually almost hate their music now. And with that I mean eveything from the mid 2000’s until today. Which makes me sad. I’ve loved that band so much for so long… but I can’t pretend to still love something if I don’t. No matter how big a fan I once was.
No matter what artist I like… I’m not one of those who become completely uncritical and like everything no matter what. Many fans in their fandom are like that… or at least were like that when we were still part of it. Saying a critical word was unwelcome. If you’ve got nothing nice to say, then shut up. Better: love everything they play, say and do. I’m not build like that though… in fact I hate such a mindset.
I was also never a lover of some of their most successful songs like Always, for instance. Or Bed Of Roses. Or In These Arms. Pure cheese for us, but loved by the masses and by the majority of fans. All songs that came in the 1990s and later. Saying out loud that you hate Bed Of Roses but instead think that e.g. Homebound Train from the New Jersey album is one of the best rock tunes ever… oh my! Good Luck with that. Saying something mildly critical about Jon’s songwriting style or – even worse – his looks! GASP! YOU SHALL NOT CRITICIZE YOUR IDOLS. It’s just that I have never idolized them. I have never idolized anyone. To me, idolizing whomever is bullshit. It means erasing the fact that that person is human and flawed just like us. Those who idolize don’t want to see flaws and imperfection. They want to keep on pretending that there’s no such thing as your idol maybe being an arrogant idiot or that a song is simply bad. That’s not what an idol is there for. Idols have to be perfect and if they are not, we just ignore everything that could not make them perfect. They want to pretend like everything is fine and expect that from other “fans” as well. I know that this is not only a thing in the Bon Jovi fandom. It basically happens with almost all big stars. It was an ongoing irritation for us though, while we were being part of it all. And then again not being part of it all because we have always managed to keep a healthy distance from all that typical “fan” nonsense and crazy attitudes.
It’s fine when you dislike an album… or some songs. Nothing wrong with that. But if you start to dislike the 2nd… 3rd… 4th album, you have to ask yourself whether you want to support someone anymore.
Still I loosely keep following what they are doing now, even though I don’t need to hear about every detail. They were such a huge part of my life for so long… and it was through them that I discovered my love for live shows and for going on the road to see several shows and to travel the world doing so… they are responsible for many many great and unforgettable moments and very exciting adventures for too long… that they will remain a part of my life, even if it’s a very small one by now.
And changing the subject completely now, I wanted to show where I go for my weekly hour of rehab sports activity. Sneaked that photo after the training ended today. The woman with the light blue tank top is the Doc who’s always in attandance.