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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Encore Presentation: Interview with Jon Bon Jovi
Aired December 26, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Jon Bon Jovi, two decades as a rock idol and still scoring hits that make music history and more people coming to his concerts than almost anyone else out there. How does he do it? What's he got to say about all those tabloid headlines swirling about his band mate Richie Sambora, Heather Locklear, and Denise Richards?
Jon Bon Jovi is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. Hope you had a merry Christmas and enjoyed our all-day marathon of some of our best interviews of the past year. We got another one for you tonight. One of my favorite people, Jon Bon Jovi. The man's staying power is incredible. Bon Jovi the band remains a top 10 concert act. And when we spoke back in August, his latest album, "Have a Nice Day," had already topped the charts. But this time, their big hit single, "Who Says You Can't Go Home," is a country song.
KING: His most recent album, "Have a Nice Day," and there you see its cover, has skyrocketed again to the top of the chart and it's country music that has made the theme go. His staying power is incredible. The group has sold more than 100 million albums and remains a top 10 concert act.
JON BON JOVI, MUSICIAN: The great gift that you have in this situation is that we just wrote a good song that transcended any radio format. It was a pop hit as well. A lot of my songs have been covered on country by other artists.
With this one, when Richie and I wrote it, we thought it would be a great idea if we could get on country radio but knew that the format was close to a rock band so we sought out the help of a country artist.
And our record company suggested a brand new one and I said I'd like to have her fulfill three requirements. I have to like her voice. I have to like the songs that are on her forthcoming record. And then I have to believe that she delivers our lyric.
KING: She sings with you then?
BON JOVI: Jennifer Nettles from a brand new band called Sugarland, knocked the ball out of the park. KING: Are you surprised at its success?
BON JOVI: Not really, to be honest with you, because I really do believe that a lot of the young country artists of this generation grew up probably closer to my music than they did to Patsy Cline and to Woody Guthrie and, you know, the originators of what was country.
KING: Do you enjoy the format?
BON JOVI: Very much.
KING: You're going to do more of it.
BON JOVI: Yes. I think in all honesty my next record will be greatly influenced by the Nashville scene.
KING: so, now you're going to be hoe-down?
BON JOVI: No.
KING: You're going to scene in Nashville, and Green Point, North Carolina.
BON JOVI: Well, we play those places anyhow.
KING: Do you think you're now in a rebirth in a sense?
BON JOVI: Yes.
KING: Like Bon Jovi is in again?
BON JOVI: Yes.
KING: You never really went away.
BON JOVI: Well, no there's ebbs and flows to any real career. We're not talking about one, two, five or ten year careers. After you span 20 years, then you can start talking to me about having a career. And, I've gone over that cliff now and I'm in the 24th year of my recording career. Yes, we have been up and we have been down but this is one of the up years and it feels good.
KING: Are you always aware that there are downs?
BON JOVI: Any real career has that and I think that while you're in that you -- you'll acknowledge it. I don't know if you'll accept it.
KING: We're going to see a clip of you performing. Do you like -- many artists don't like to watch themselves. Do you like watching yourself?
BON JOVI: I don't mind it. I'm very comfortable performing in front of football stadiums full of people. I've met a lot of artists that surprise me, don't like performing and as I...
KING: A lot of stars don't want to see themselves on screen.
BON JOVI: It's what I do for a living. I'm quite comfortable. It's OK.
KING: You're playing big stadiums now, right, baseball stadiums, football stadiums?
BON JOVI: Baseball and football, yes.
KING: Is that harder?
BON JOVI: Not at all. If I perform as we will tonight for five people here, I want to be as good as I was last night in Miami, Florida and tomorrow night in Montreal, absolutely.
KING: That's true. That's the same.
BON JOVI: Yes.
KING: You always want to be your best.
BON JOVI: Absolutely.
KING: But it certainly can't be intimate at Giant Stadium.
BON JOVI: I feel as a performer I can make it intimate, you know. I'll give you a great example. Last night we were playing and someone held up a banner and they were about 30 rows down. It says, "Our first date, Bon Jovi, 1985, the Meadowlands, New Jersey." It got my attention. I said a little something to them.
Half an hour later I see a guy and a girl just jumping up and down crazy, it is obvious that he had just proposed during one of our songs. I stopped singing and the band kept playing and I really just soloed them out and I said, "Did you just ask her to marry you?" "Yes." Put a spotlight on them, yes, band kept playing. I never missed a beat, you know, and when you do that in a stadium full of people, they know that you're paying attention to them and you can make a football stadium intimate.
KING: You're what, 44?
BON JOVI: Yes.
KING: Do you see yourself doing this at 60?
BON JOVI: I've been asked that question a lot. We've always used the Rolling Stones as our role models.
KING: (INAUDIBLE) forever.
BON JOVI: I don't think I will be touring and doing it as actively as Mick Jagger has when I'm his age but I also think that I have a lot more that I've yet to achieve and look forward to achieving.
KING: Is it financial? I mean you don't need the money.
BON JOVI: No, no.
KING: Could you retire?
BON JOVI: Oh, certainly, yes, many times over.
KING: So when you're in that position, therefore you're not hungry.
BON JOVI: Not true. I want to prove it every day. I get angry with every release of every record to prove it to that next generation that's following me and the one that I was chasing, absolutely. No, that's not the case.
I'm as hungry as I ever was. You want to write the very best record you can and you've got to go out there and fight for that place. No, our reputation was built on fighting.
KING: Not to name drop but Frank Sinatra was sitting at that chair.
BON JOVI: Now we're talking.
KING: Even at the crest of his career, when he goes on stage, there's a moment, maybe 10 seconds, where he wonders if it's there or is it going to go away. Ever had that?
BON JOVI: Every night.
KING: You've had that too?
BON JOVI: Every night. The most important part of the show is the second the house lights go out and you have to say to yourself, I don't care how I feel, I'm Superman, right? That is the most important moment in my day. The rest of it is a pain, travel, interviews, hotels, another club sandwich somewhere and you wonder do I have it? Did I ever have it? Will I have it again? And that's part of being a performer.
KING: He also said that there's a lot to be said for longevity.
BON JOVI: Fact, the man...
KING: You've been around a long time. Somebody is doing something right.
BON JOVI: Persistence, staying honest. I didn't jump on fads and fashions when they came and went and a lot of my peer group had.
KING: How about criticism?
BON JOVI: Everybody has their critics. Jesus had his critics. Any president has his critics and you and I also have our critics.
KING: (INAUDIBLE). BON JOVI: I can accept it -- anyone but you. I can accept creative criticism. I really can. If somebody were to show me specifics with regard to a song or it was a lackluster performance, I agree, but the only review I really care about is oh yes, by the way, did you want to pay money to see it tonight? Did you want to pay money for the purchase of that record this year? That speaks volumes. I don't really need the pats on the back and the accolades from the critics.
KING: It is annoying to you?
BON JOVI: Not that any of them -- not that all of them are bad by the way.
KING: Of course and you've been praised a lot. Have you ever been helped by a critic where a critic said something and you said, you know, "This guy's right?"
BON JOVI: Yes, most definitely and I can take the hard criticism if I agree with it. And one example was -- it was based on a recreation, if you will. We rerecorded our greatest hits in an acoustic environment because I'm very comfortable in this environment. Some guys will tell you that we've been credited with creating that art form at an MTV show many years ago.
We recorded it, felt incredibly artistic over it, you know, this (INAUDIBLE) released it. It stiffed miserably, stiffed. And they said, don't mess with our memories. It hit me right over the head like a hammer. I was calling it art. They wanted to see what they called art and that was in its original form, so that is very good creative criticism. I won't do it again.
KING: We'll be right back with Jon Bon Jovi. His newest best seller, amazing seller, is -- and the title is "Have a Nice Day." I wonder where that came from. Don't go away.
KING: A lot of bases to cover with Jon Bon Jovi. One other thing in the area of performing and the like, does it bother you that so many people talk about your looks that your looks -- not transcend the music but have a lot to do with your success?
BON JOVI: It did when I was younger. And a great example of that is in my third album, which was called "Slippery When Wet." I was 24 years old when we wrote it. We had the long hair. I looked like any kid in the shopping mall in New Jersey. And here I was with three top 10 singles on that album, two of which went to number one.
And it was our phenomenon. It was our "Thriller," "Like a Virgin," I mean that big a record. And here I was on the cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine for the first time and I was very excited about that too.
All the reporter wanted to talk about was my haircut. All the photographer wanted me to do was take my shirt off. And I was sitting there thinking, you know, for all the years that I sat in my bedroom practicing the guitar, learning how to be a performer, ultimately writing these songs, how shallow for me to have to be subjected to this by them. The only great story I can tell now is that if that were true to them then I wouldn't have been here 22 years later with a number one song again this year...
KING: You don't last on looks.
BON JOVI: I would be a model. I would be a poster and that would be the end of it.
KING: How about dealing with the tabloid press? Your band mate, Richie Sambora made a lot of headlines with the breakup of his marriage to Heather Locklear. How did that affect the band?
BON JOVI: It's been a hard year for Richie. He celebrated a birthday this week and we -- you know, as I talked to the guys on the way out to the stage last night, I said, you know, let's just start the year fresh. Happy birthday, pal. Last year is behind you."
He didn't look for this to happen. He didn't want it to happen. He's a doting dad who adores his daughter and it's heartbreaking not only for him and his parents and his daughter, but for Heather too. That all said, it didn't do anything else to affect us, you know. He's the pillar of, you know, greatness.
KING: Who left who? She left him?
BON JOVI: You know the tabloids will say one thing but honestly it was a long time coming. They were both -- it was time, yes.
KING: How's it going with him and Denise Richards?
BON JOVI: I think it's actually going rather well, you know, and...
KING: Have you seen them together?
BON JOVI: Sure. She's on the road with us occasionally. She seems like a very nice girl. And you know, I hope he finds peace.
KING: Do you think it affected the band?
BON JOVI: No, no, but everyone in my band, unfortunately...
KING: Except you can't (INAUDIBLE).
BON JOVI: Yes, oh, my goodness. Everybody in my band except for me has been through a divorce and I've seen it all so it's never easy. They all have kids and it's just a nomadic life, you know, living out of a suitcase for 20-some years is not easy.
KING: We have an e-mail for you from Michelle (ph) in Plymouth, Michigan. "How do you keep the long-lasting love alive between you and your high school sweetheart wife after all these years and all the temptations?" BON JOVI: I just feel like I got it right the first time. You know, not too many guys are able to say that but it would be the worst deal I ever made if I blew it and I just don't have any intention of blowing it. I like her, first of all, you know, and then of course I love her and we've got four great kids and they're healthy kids, what's not to like? It's a great deal.
KING: Been tempted?
BON JOVI: I wouldn't know. In fact I really feel sad when I see all this, you know, this actor is with this actress this month and six months from now she's telling the tabloid that she's in love with that guy. I think you're lonely on your birthday and at Christmas. I just don't think it's worth playing the game.
KING: Does your wife go on tour with you?
BON JOVI: Rarely. She's seen this movie. She's seen this movie.
KING: How old is the kids?
BON JOVI: Thirteen, eleven, four and two.
KING: How do the thirteen and eleven handle schoolmates?
BON JOVI: Where we lived in New Jersey my eldest is Stephanie, she's 13 and my son Jesse is 11, they're OK with it, you know.
KING: Kids must talk to them.
BON JOVI: They're very aware but there's another guy in Jersey too that all our kids went to school together so the two rock stars in Jersey were there everyday.
KING: Who's that?
BON JOVI: Springsteen.
KING: So they all went to school together?
BON JOVI: Yes, so they'd be in the school there together so I guess the community was sort of accustomed to seeing two guys there and it just made us the Smith and Jones family.
KING: Bruce is very much Jersey. Are you?
BON JOVI: Oh, yes, I think that honestly I could probably run for senator tomorrow and win, you know, not that I have any great intentions to do that.
KING: I think you might.
BON JOVI: I think I'm identified very much with New Jersey.
KING: You seen "Jersey Boys"? BON JOVI: I have not, no. I know I need -- I've been working all year.
KING: There is a story that Denise wanted to give Richie a birthday cake on stage during a Bon Jovi concert but you said no?
BON JOVI: Not true.
KING: Not true.
BON JOVI: Not true.
KING: What's the truth -- nothing?
BON JOVI: His birthday was yesterday and there was no Denise or cake.
KING: You ever wonder about where those things come from?
BON JOVI: It's amazing. I'd like to find the writer and get, you know, a couple lines in there with him once in a while because I don't know where they make this stuff up from.
KING: Do you ever think that being happily married hurts your musical credibility?
BON JOVI: No. It doesn't hurt credibility.
KING: Not credibility but...
BON JOVI: You know what's funny? How did I become the poster boy for married rock stars? It's true because there are some of my peer group who are married as long or longer.
KING: Bruce is still married.
BON JOVI: Yes. Bono, you know, a whole bunch of guys.
KING: Why you?
BON JOVI: I don't know. That's what I'm asking. But it works for me. I'm very happy. I'm very proud of it. And so, you know, it just -- it makes the girls that know they can't have you want it more I guess. I don't really know. I haven't ever thought of it. You know, you just go out and do (INAUDIBLE).
KING: Your wife is secure in it?
BON JOVI: I think she is a very secure individual, yes.
KING: There is another major aspect to Jon Bon Jovi. It's political and we'll talk about it after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back with Jon Bon Jovi. It's no secret that you're a liberal Democrat, right, outspoken in the field of Democratic causes and you put your money where your mouth is? You tour. Al Gore is a very close friend.
BON JOVI: Yes, he is.
KING: How did that start?
BON JOVI: We met during the Clinton administration and then when it was coming time for him to campaign I offered my services and became the guy that was out there the most with him. And I've just always told everybody and anybody that I think he is the smartest man I have ever met. And, you know, the way that the election turned out is what it is but we've remained very close. We do get together socially and I just sit in awe of him. And now this film is just, you know, more proof how intelligent and thoughtful he is.
KING: What doesn't the public know about Al Gore?
BON JOVI: That Al has got the greatest sense of humor and personality when the lights were off, when the microphones are turned off. He's very engaging in conversation. He remembers everyone's name. And he is very astute on a number of subjects. He can talk music or politics and he can talk sports and family and he is just an incredible individual.
And you know this better than anyone but there was a poll question answered and, you know, they said, "Well, I'd like to have a beer with this candidate." I don't want to have a beer with my candidate.
I want to sit in awe of my candidate. I want to sit there and go, "You're the smartest guy I've ever met and how can I serve my country better and what can my country do to unify itself," you know and...
KING: Do you think entertainers get votes for politicians?
BON JOVI: No. And I didn't aspire to get votes for any politicians nor did I ever use my stage as a platform to preach politics because, you know, everybody counted those moments and said "What if I would have, how could I have?" It didn't work out. The country was truly divided.
It became in my lifetime I had never seen anything like this, very red, very blue. I realized the next day it was all of our jobs as American citizens to try to become purple because we've got to get on.
And I wasn't going to ever stand on my stage and use that platform as a place to preach my politics. If I'm on the Larry King show or if I'm at a rally, I can take sides. I'm a citizen. I'm a father. I'm a concerned individual. But if you're paying me to entertain you, I'm going to sing a song and I'm going to entertain you. And that's where that platform is to me. KING: We have an e-mail from Yvonne (ph) in Baltimore. "I have been a fan of yours for over 18 years and my question is would you ever consider running for governor of New Jersey? I think you'd win."
BON JOVI: I have no aspirations. I think that ultimately when you walk out the door as a candidate, 50 percent of the populace dislike you and that's a very hard row to hoe.
I wonder what motivates anyone to really get into politics, to be honest with you. So I've taken a different tack and that's as a philanthropist, as somebody who wants to make a difference in a community by inspiring everybody, Republican, Democrat, Independent, I don't care. I want to take a look around my neighborhood and see what can we do for each other here?
KING: Can you ever envision yourself running?
BON JOVI: Not at this time in my life but if I were to have said no to movies and no to being an owner of a football team and no to being -- I would have been a liar many times over. I don't envision it. I don't think I'm as educated as you need to me and in the company of men like Mr. Gore you don't consider being a politician.
KING: How about movies?
BON JOVI: I enjoy making movies. I feel that I could have been a lot further along in my movie career.
KING: Why not?
BON JOVI: I have a day job. It's that simple.
KING: How many films have you done?
BON JOVI: A dozen and varying degrees of success. I've studied now for quite a long time. And I've got something lined up when we get done with the tour. But what I've found about Hollywood, as we were talking in the green room, is you're not even back at the airport yet and you're out of their minds, you know, and you got...
BON JOVI: That's what I feel. It's not what have you done in your career, what have you done for me lately, it's what have you done for me today? And I guess that's a pretty rotten existence to be in, you know. It's a lot better for me being the director, producer and star when you make a record than it is to go stand on that long line (INAUDIBLE).
KING: You like the record business and the concert business better?
BON JOVI: Absolutely not. No, equally. I just wish I had more control the way our -- my idol and your friend Frank Sinatra had or the way that I have with the music business. You know, I'm standing in the long line with the audition ticket waiting for every other guy in Hollywood to turn the role down.
KING: Jon Bon Jovi is our guest. He is going to sing later. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with the life and times of Jon Bon Jovi. First time on this program. A great pleasure. How did that name, Jon Bon Jovi ...
BON JOVI: The phonetics of it, really. My name is Bongiovi. My last name is Bongiovi.
KING: One name?
BON JOVI: Yeah, but it's spelled B-O-N-G-I. When I got a record deal I was a solo artist and I put the band together around my record deal so we thought phonetics, get rid of the G-I, change it to J and there's your band name.
KING: Brothers and sisters?
BON JOVI: Yeah. Two younger brothers.
BON JOVI: No. But one of them is in the music business. He directs our show. He's the director of the video that shows behind us and another one owns a wonderful restaurant and night club.
KING: Your mom was a bunny?
BON JOVI: She was. One of the original bunnies. When the club was on 58th, 9th Street over there near the plaza.
KING: Do you remember that?
BON JOVI: I did go there as a kid. Oh God, did I have the stories and the pictures.
BON JOVI: They had their little outfit and my dad was like this hip cat because he was married to a Playboy bunny.
And I was already born, actually, but Lauren Hutton was one of the originals, my mom was one of the originals. Yup, true story.
And a marine. My parents met in the Marine Corps. That's a tough mother.
KING: She was a marine?
BON JOVI: My mother was a marine, yes.
KING: Marine and a Playboy bunny? BON JOVI: Yeah.
KING: Back in 1989 you told "Rolling Stone" that the bond you and your band mates have is more than a marriage, it's like a brotherhood. Is that still true?
BON JOVI: Yeah. Absolutely.
KING: What kept you together? A lot of groups break.
BON JOVI: They do. There comes a time in most successful bands' careers where they don't know why but they are about to implode and we had time to reflect on what was going wrong and all that was going wrong, in retrospect, was that those who were working for us, pushing harder, more shows, more records, more this, more that, were only really trying to do their jobs, but at the time I was quick to point fingers that you're killing us for commission.
They almost did make the band break up but when I was able to take that deep breath and look at it, I said wait a minute. I don't dislike any of the guys. I don't even dislike these management people. We just had to get down to what it was about and this, that, we retired. And once I convinced the guys when I fired the manager, agents and lawyers and everyone else and decided to take over the management myself, that if you have faith in my vision we can be here forever, and they did.
KING: What makes a band work?
BON JOVI: Teamwork.
KING: Do they have to like each other?
BON JOVI: No. But in my case, yes. In my organization, yes.
KING: You don't have to.
BON JOVI: You don't have to.
KING: Just as the shortstop don't have to like the second baseman.
BON JOVI: Absolutely not. But it's teamwork. Somebody has to be the quarterback, somebody has to be the receiver. That's just the way it is.
KING: Is it like a family? In other words, when Richie Sambora had problems, would you all help him?
BON JOVI: You bet. Absolutely. And each of the other guys with their situations at home or business or decisions they wanted to make, absolutely.
KING: Get involved in charity?
BON JOVI: Quite a bit. Yeah. KING: You do the Special Olympics, right? The Red Cross?
BON JOVI: Yeah.
KING: Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.
BON JOVI: All those things are little things here and there but the big basis of all my philanthropic work and charity work now is under the umbrella of what is the Philadelphia Soul. I co-own ...
KING: What is that?
BON JOVI: ... an arena football team. You know arena football?
BON JOVI: It's played in the off-season of the NFL.
KING: NBC just dropped it.
BON JOVI: Which is a good thing.
BON JOVI: We're OK with that. It's only going to get better for us.
KING: Why are you better off with not having a network contract?
BON JOVI: Oh, we're going to go to another network, it will be a better deal.
KING: We have a question from Vince in Brooklyn. Eh. I'll try to ask it like Vince would. "Was there ever a song of yours you liked that didn't quite take off as a hit and vice versa, a song you didn't like that became a hit?"
BON JOVI: I can tell you that from the moment we wrote "Livin' on a Prayer" that I thought it shouldn't even be included on the "Slippery When Wet" record. It is probably the cornerstone of our greatest, greatest hits.
KING: You didn't like it?
BON JOVI: I just thought it was OK. It was No. 1 for I don't know how many weeks and it's truly a staple of our career.
There was other songs, there was a ballad on this record called, "Welcome to Wherever You Are" which was greatly influenced by what was going on during the election and I thought for sure this was going to be a universal, timeless theme song of unity, diversity. Not a hit, not even close. Swing and a miss.
KING: You can't read the public, can you?
BON JOVI: No.
KING: This ain't a science.
BON JOVI: You're always going to be a day late and a dollar short if you try to do that. Everything that you do that really works, when you capture lightning in a bottle, it's an accident. It's not science, it's an accident.
KING: More from Jon Bon Jovi, and again, he's going to sing in a couple minutes. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Jon Bon Jovi. Again, in a little while he's going to be singing.
What do you think of "American Idol"?
BON JOVI: I've never seen the show and I know that a kid has a hit with "Wanted Dead or Alive," I know, on it but I've never seen the show.
Ultimately, what I believe in the show is that as artists, if any of these guys or girls are going to survive they have to just start writing their own stuff. So up until then they are just lounge singers.
KING: So you haven't seen any of the action?
BON JOVI: I've never, ever seen it. I've never seen it. And I'm not saying that as any sort of a slag towards the show because I think it's been incredible. The success, God bless them, happy they're even using my songs. I've just never seen it.
KING: What do you think of celebrities selling pictures of their newborn children? The "People" magazine phenomenon. The Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, that aspect of your business.
BON JOVI: I don't know. I shouldn't comment on something I've never done.
KING: Go ahead, Jon.
BON JOVI: If I must, I have to think what Angelina and Brad did in giving all that money to charity, she continues to amaze me more and more every day. I'm very happy for all the great things she does. She's an inspiration now. So that looks like a great idea. They made money to give it away. I like that.
Pictures of my kids anywhere, I can do without. And my wife hit this one right on the head. She explained to my kid, your daddy's famous. He's famous because he wrote a lot of songs and plays those songs for people. You kids are kids, you're not famous. When you get famous someday for doing something, then you can have your picture in these magazines. Until then, go and be kids.
And so that's really the way we live it.
KING: What music has affected you the most? Who are you a fan of?
BON JOVI: A lot of people, both new and old. And it's rather diverse,too. So it can be country and folk and it can be ...
KING: Who's the big influence?
BON JOVI: The initial influences -- I remember a great reason why I got a Bob Dylan record called "Desire" in '78. And he wrote this song "Hurricane" which for those who don't know became the movie and all that, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was in prison in New Jersey at Rahway State Prison. And once a year you'd have to go with your father and your mother and your car would have to go through the inspection line and those lines were forever and you'd have spend a whole afternoon on a Saturday in the shadow of Rahway State Prison.
The first time I heard a song about that man and that man is behind that wall and those pictures put a face on that man to me. Now, I said I've got to know more about this idea of storytelling through song, and I got turned on to Dylan which then took me to Morrison, which told me about Springsteen and it was the hard rock stuff of the late '70s. When you meld all that together and that's how we became us. We found our own sound by telling great stories and playing loud guitars.
KING: Is that one of the things that appeals to you about country music, that it always tells a story?
BON JOVI: It has to tell a story. I think the great appeal, what helped differentiate me from the pack in the '80s and where we went to as we became very good storytellers and it wasn't about boy- girl, boy-girl. It was more, there was social aspects, there was political activism, that's what differentiated us.
KING: Stardom rests easily to you, doesn't it? I mean, you are unaffected.
BON JOVI: I'd like to think so. I'm not an applause junky. I've met a lot of people who are. You know, the minute a tours over they're in a bar playing again. It's just what I do for a living. The rest of it is just hokey to me. It's a cliche. It disappoints some of the media. They want you to talk about that.
You go, been there, done that. They really want to know about you throwing a TV out the window. It's a cliche.
KING: You've never ...
BON JOVI: Sure I have. But I've been doing this since I was 21- years-old and when I was 21 that hotel room was a lot nicer than my bedroom at home so we didn't want to leave it. A bus? I didn't have a house. I had a bus. That bus was good.
As time went on ... KING: It's called maturity.
BON JOVI: I grew up in public.
KING: We'll be back with some more moments with Jon Bon Jovi and then he's going to sing. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with more with Jon Bon Jovi. The new CD is "Have a Nice Day," a major hit.
What are your thoughts, they were just on this show, the Dixie Chicks?
BON JOVI: I'm a huge fan. I really am.
KING: As a talent and politically?
BON JOVI: Look, they were chastised for a comment that they made from that stage that honestly, I've heard a lot worse and I admire them as songwriters and I applaud them for standing up because ultimately dissent is patriotic.
We're supposed to be able to speak our minds. Now maybe -- they've been beaten up for it - It's got to be very difficult, very difficult. But I really do admire them as artists.
KING: I want to get another e-mail question in. This is from Anne of Lawrenceville, Georgia. "With all the success both with the group and on a personal level, ever consider about writing a book about your extraordinary experiences?"
BON JOVI: Well, the book's not written yet and that's the way I look at it. I'm halfway through a life. It certainly isn't time for an autobiography at 44. There's so much more to achieve, or at least aspire to.
Perhaps a memoir, a moment in time if you will, but certainly not ready for the autobiography.
KING: Why is Jersey in again?
BON JOVI: I didn't know it was.
KING: That's the new hip thing.
BON JOVI: Is it?
KING: People from Jersey.
BON JOVI: Hah.
KING: People talking about Jersey.
BON JOVI: Well it's about time. Let me tell you. I don't know if it was ever in.
KING: Maybe I shouldn't have said again.
BON JOVI: We've been called the attitude capital of the world. We live in the shadow of the greatest city in the universe, New York City,and we - our teams that play in Jersey say New York Giants and New York Jets. We've just got a real inferiority complex. So I'm glad that we're fashionable this year. That's pretty fun.
KING: It gave the world Sinatra.
BON JOVI: Let's talk about Frank.
KING: All right. What about him?
BON JOVI: My hero, role model, numero uno.
KING: Of course.
BON JOVI: A number of things. Toured 'til he was 80. Made 60 movies.
Got a president elected. Walked through the front door of Vegas with Sammy on his arm and said, "If you don't like it, I'm leaving." Generous beyond generous, to all the things I've read in the books.
And my only regret in my career, only, is that I didn't meet him. And I had the chance. But I was too young. I was too young, wasn't ready for it. I blew it.
I was asked many a night to come see Frank, come and see Frank. Remember that classic story I was telling before about the "Rolling Stone" magazine and my mother went backstage and got him to sign it, said, "This is my son now, he's a big rock 'n' roll star." He wrote a little note. He was as gracious to her as I imagined he would have been and I had the opportunities and wasn't ready. Now I could sit and talk to him for hours.
KING: You would have liked him.
BON JOVI: I don't know if he would have liked me but I would have liked him.
KING: Frank - why wouldn't he like you?
BON JOVI: I don't know ...
KING: He liked Bono.
BON JOVI: And I love Bono. But, "The Way You Wear Your Hat." Did you read that book? I read it twice. Or the conversations with Mr. S. I would have really liked to have met those guys. All of them, Dean, Sammy.
I did a TV show for Italian broadcast here in New York, 1984, the beginning of our career and Sammy was frail at the time and he was walking towards the little stage in the TV studio and he was on a cane, glasses, walked in rather gingerly, as soon as those lights went on and I saw the director, go three, two, one to Sammy, that cane was gone, the glasses were gone and the showman came out again. I never forgot that. You see? And that's the magic of performing. And nobody can explain that to somebody who's a layman who doesn't understand what that is. You have to have done that sometime in your life. My wife again, has always said, I could perform with my head cut off. I don't realize the pain.
KING: Well you've had an extraordinary career and you're only 44.
BON JOVI: So far.
KING: Thanks Jon. Jon's going to come back and sing for us. He's going to perform an acoustical version of "Who Says You Can't Go Home" which is from the multi-platinum album, "Have a Nice Day," which we've been talking about. Earlier this year he became the first rock band to top "Billboard's" hot country song list. It scored the number one spot.
He's performing with Bobby Bandiera on guitar, Jeff Kazee on keyboards and Lorenzo Prince (ph) on violin. They're the backup performers. They're not part of the regular band but they're here as his friends and they're going to back him up and all that happens when we come back.
KING: For our final segment tonight, Jon's going to close us out on an acoustical version of "Who Says You Can't Go Home" which is from the multi-platinum album, "Have a Nice Day." Earlier this year, Bon Jovi became the first rock band to top Billboard's hot country song list. Now here's Jon Bon Jovi performing "Who Says You Can't Go Home."
BON JOVI: (SINGING)
KING: Thanks man, that was great.
BON JOVI: Thank you, thank you.
KING: A great hour with Jon Bon Jovi.
KING: A fond farewell to a giant who left us early Christmas morning. James Brown, a man who truly changed the course of the past 50 years of American popular music.
I knew James Brown well. He performed at one of my cardiac galas, and I was honored to have him on this program a few times. In fact, I once asked him how the hardest working man in show business kept on keeping on.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JAMES BROWN: Ow, I feel good.
KING: No slowing down?
BROWN: No, Larry. I'm trying to keep up with you, Larry.
KING: You see us everywhere, right?
BROWN: I see all over the world. That's one of the things that I think servicemen and people traveling abroad really appreciate, God bless you and CNN, for keeping the American people well -- well relaxed enough...
KING: You know we're there, right?
BROWN: Oh, yes. It's like home. You know, like I'm going back and getting my -- it's like going to church, I'm going back and getting my -- reenergized again.
KING: "Universal James" is the 79th album in your career.
BROWN: Yes, 79th studio album.
KING: That's got to be close to some sort of record.
BROWN: Oh, I think it's probably a leading record.
KING: Sinatra right around.
BROWN: Individual, you know. No, but you can't get away from Old Blue Eyes, because...
KING: What do we mean by "Universal James?"
BROWN: It's because I'm an American artist that's known everywhere in the universe. Any person in the land knows James, and then the astronauts play my records when they go in space.
KING: Also, I think probably more people have seen you in concert than any other act.
BROWN: I think so.
KING: You pack outdoor stadiums.
BROWN: Oh, yes, we go places -- we were fortunate to get 300,000 people before the flood in St. Louis and 200,000 people in Memphis.
KING: How do you keep your energy going, though? You're not a subtle act, James.
BROWN: No. I pray to God and I thank God and I trust people and I draw from good spirits of people that are positive, and I can say...
KING: You mean, you create this atmosphere?
BROWN: Yes, you create it, and people giving it back and going crazy over you, and you see the familiar people, people like (inaudible), looks so good, Larry. I'm so proud of you, I don't know what to do.
KING: How much of the tune "Georgelna..."
KING: "Georgelina," is your life?
BROWN: Basically all of it. I'm in this tug of war between Georgia and South Carolina. I was born in Carolina and raised in Georgia. And they...
BROWN: Yes, I made it from Georgia, so I live on one side of (inaudible) area and I do my business in Georgia, and...
KING: And the story tells of your life?
BROWN: It tells of my life. It tells of my hard time.
KING: Bad and the good?
BROWN: Bad and the good. But you know, when you look behind, it takes all of that to make that -- it's like the wind blowing one way all the time, it's good for it to blow both ways. I thank God for it. I was just in South Carolina this morning, the general assembly, where I received a proclamation honoring me for all of the things that are positive that has happened. I'm on the stop the violence campaign. And...
KING: I want to ask you about that. You are a real bounce-off- the-floor kind of guy, right?
KING: I mean, you are a classic survivor.
KING: Now, what is this violence thing you're on?
BROWN: Well, education plays a tremendous part. People can't deal with the system even in prison. They go there, and they come back, and get in more trouble than they were before.
We've got to educate our people. We've got to educate our people, because you can't do it if you don't know it. And it goes -- it starts from the home, and we are coming from a long ways back. Basically, the Afro-American is really in trouble, because my father stopped in second grade, my mother in the fourth grade. And there is no way you can deal with the criteria of the job market and things like that.
KING: So you deal with your fists.
BROWN: You deal with the fists, you know, you deal it with -- the brawn's way. And when you see a young kid out on the street that could make $1,000 a day selling drugs and his father can't make $1,000 in a month, it's kind of hard to take him off of that.
KING: You even have a song about it, right?
BROWN: I have a song called "How Long." Just dealing with all the substance from 1941, the bombing of Hiroshima, and up to today. Violence, violence, violence. We compound it. And when you compound violence, you can only get a negative, so you're compounding the negatives.
KING: You were violent at times in your life, weren't you?
BROWN: When I was a boxer, (inaudible) was my trainer -- I've never been violent, but I might have done (ph) some violence -- if it gets tough and I have to move, I got to move, whatever, whether it's driving a truck or whatever it is.
KING: What do you make of the fact that there seems to be more of it now?
BROWN: There's more of it because when you look at the rap music, I'm sure that it changes, like the '60s, you know. You're talking about the problem, you raise the question. But they use four- letter words and not God, not three-letter word, not love, this other kind of word. The words that you wouldn't take home to mama. And I urge and challenge all the young people to not go at it this way.
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