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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Jon Bon Jovi

Aired December 09, 2010 - 21:00   ET



LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Jon Bon Jovi. He gives rock 'n roll a good name. Twenty-five years at the top of the charts and not going anywhere.

JON BON JOVI, SINGER: Every day, you have to get up and work harder because if you don't somebody is ready to do it for you.

KING: Wanted, dead or alive, Jon Bon Jovi here for the hour. Next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Jon Bon Jovi return to LARRY KING LIVE, the singer, songwriter, actor, philanthropist and the lead singer and founder of the group Bon Jovi. Their newest greatest hits album debuted in the top five in over 20 countries including the United States.

And now you're on -- again on "People's" list of the top 10 sexiest men.

BON JOVI: Right next to you.

KING: Good luck. What do you make of that?

BON JOVI: It's flattering but, you know, there're a senior section in the back. And that's what I qualify.


KING: Yes, how many years have you made this list?

BON JOVI: A number. I don't know how many but I've been picked by them.

KING: But you were never the most sexiest?

BON JOVI: No. You know --

KING: You take that --

BON JOVI: I'm going to start lobbying.

(LAUGHTER) KING: What was the reaction like when this happens like your family?


BON JOVI: I sent it to my wife and my kids on the e-mail. No response. Like yes, great, whatever. So it's really -- you know it's cute but it doesn't make me -- my mother didn't respond to the e-mail.


KING: How about the band group?

BON JOVI: They are fine with it. You know? They expect their lead singer to go out there and shake his moneymaker for them, you know?

KING: I see you brought along your great producer.

BON JOVI: I did. The great John Shanks, a common friend of ours, you and I. And --

KING: John, we're neighbors.

BON JOVI: He's a good man. He's produced my last three albums.

KING: How important, by the way, is the producer of an album?

BON JOVI: In my case, very. He's the sixth member of the band.

KING: Because they do what?

BON JOVI: He understands the message I'm trying to get across. He's an amazing musician. And he's the mediator between Richey and I. So John is the sixth member of the band. I've told everybody that. And he's -- he'll do our records until he throws me out.

KING: So in other words, if you don't have a great producer that will effect the way --

BON JOVI: Well, it will make a difference.

KING: Yes.

BON JOVI: You know, I mean, we're all very capable of producing our own records. But I like the collaborative effort. And in that case, we've found a great partner.

KING: How did you -- what made you? What was your -- how did the public get to know you?

BON JOVI: I wrote a song -- I was playing in bars, obviously, 16, 17, 18 years old. And you thought that was, in fact, the big time. But you realized that unless you started writing your own stuff you were going to be in a bar band for the rest of your life. So I quit my own cover band to join an original band singing for somebody else. That was short lived. But I started to pen my own material.

KING: And this is all around the east Jersey --

BON JOVI: In New Jersey, yes, down in the Jersey Shore. But fortunately for me, I was always one of those crazy guys who thought so outside of the box and says, who is the loneliest man in the music business? The DJ, because you're talking to a microphone. And for somebody who began in radio --

KING: I was one.

BON JOVI: I know. That you sat there how many nights and you wondered, is anyone or is everyone listening to me? So I went to a brand new radio station. So new they didn't have a receptionist. And I knocked on the booth of the DJ's. He's on the air, put the record on. He came out, what can I do for you?

I said, you know I'm frustrated. I'm holding this tape. Nobody is responding to it. Listen to it. He said, when I'm done with my shift, I'll come out and do it. He did. He introduced it to the media market in New York City and put it on a homegrown record.

And all those same A&R guys who had that tape on their desk went fighting for it and 27 years later, I'm still with the same record company.

KING: What was the song?

BON JOVI: It's called "Runaway." A little, you know, observation. I was traveling in and out of the city, hustling, working in a recording studio, and there was a lot of kids whose dream ended at that Lincoln Tunnel working the streets.

And the observations was quite simple and I wrote about another, you know, kind of a teenager --

KING: It's autobiographical.

BON JOVI: Well, you know, not from my biography. It was, you know, witnessing somebody who in fact -- their dreams died working the streets. You know? There was a lot --

KING: He lost --

BON JOVI: He did not.

KING: Tell me about the name, Jon Bon Jovi?

BON JOVI: Well, it's really -- you know, it's professional courtesy here. It's pronounced Bon Jovi but it is spelled B-O-N-G-I- O-V-I. Phonetics in America, the Italian GI is a J sound. It made it easier to remember.

KING: And you called the group Jon Bon Jovi.

BON JOVI: Well, we called Bon Jovi because it's -- it really is a team effort but on the other hand there's one quarterback here. And I had the record deal and it was without the band prior. So it was a way of inclusion and yet deciphering, you know, who was going to be there.

KING: Got it. It was like Sinatra being Sinatra?

BON JOVI: Well, you know, the chairman.

KING: Has the band always stayed together?

BON JOVI: Yes, 27 years.

KING: Same group?

BON JOVI: Yes. We lost the bass player because he quit the business. And for no other, you know, real reason. But everybody in the band is the same band since 1983.

KING: How do you account for that?

BON JOVI: We're friends, we trust each other. At the end of the day, that's probably the most important thing. I couldn't be in one of those bands where they don't talk. You know I just finished Keith Richard's autobiography. And he -- says, you know, I didn't talk to Mick for 20 years, didn't go in his dressing room.

That would break my heart if I wasn't, you know, in their dressing room every day and enjoying the moment with them.

KING: You've been dominated for induction into the rock n' roll hall of fame. That's got to come, right?

BON JOVI: Nothing guaranteed. I mean you know what that's like. But you're in the broadcasters' hall of fame. I'm sure it felt great. Right?

KING: You ain't kidding.

BON JOVI: Yes. We're in the songwriters' hall of fame. So now I hope that the band make it this year. And it would be nice to be in a club with Elvis and the Beatles and the Stones.

KING: The night they have the songwriters' hall of fame. That's a great night.

BON JOVI: It was a great night.

KING: That induction. I have been to a few of those.

BON JOVI: I was honored. You know that -- now that's special because, you know, it's more than going up and saying we sold X amount of records. These are the songs that Richey and I wrote that we were recognized by our peers. And -- (CROSSTALK)

KING: What was your biggest seller ever?

BON JOVI: Well, "Slippery When Wet" in 1986 will be the one that will be probably most remembered for. There were songs on it that are still really relevant today. There is a song called "Living On a Prayer" that has hit generations of fans. It's unbelievable.

KING: The hardest thing in the business is staying on top, right?


KING: And getting there.

BON JOVI: No, no, no. Getting there --

KING: Not easy but --

BON JOVI: Not easy. But then everybody is gunning for the guy in the top.

KING: How does Bon Jovi stay up there?

BON JOVI: You're fighting every day. Every day you have to get up and work harder because if you don't somebody is ready to do it for you. And -- you know, it's not that you're always on top because I think what makes a career is not one, two, five, or even 10 years. Talk to me after 25 years. Then we start talking about a career.

Because there's a true ebb and a flow. There's world travel involved. You know there's not catering who and what you're about to the marketplace. Being true is the particular --

KING: As the aforementioned once Sinatra said to me, there is a lot to be said for longevity. Don't knock longevity.

BON JOVI: No, no, no.

KING: If someone has been around a long time, somebody likes them.

BON JOVI: Well, that's for sure. And that -- you mentioned that name, I mean he's New Jersey's most famous export and one of my few, if only, regrets in this business, was not having had the opportunity to shake his hand.

KING: You would have liked him.

BON JOVI: I would have loved that man.

KING: We're having a nice day -- get it -- with Jon Bon Jovi. More after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: In addition to selling more than 120 million albums worldwide, Bon Jovi has performed more than 2600 concerts in over 50 countries. He talked about the drive to do big shows in the documentary "When We Were Beautiful." Watch.


BON JOVI: You write a song, and you want it to be a great song. And you want it to be a unique song. And when you write that great song, you want to share it. I've always wanted to share.

I'm very comfortable in that environment. People say, do you like playing stadiums? I don't want to move in front of stadiums. I want to be in an intimate club. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that. I want to play the desert and sell it out. More than once.


KING: When is that documentary showing?

BON JOVI: That -- well, that was -- we didn't release it theatrically come to think of it. It played in a few film festivals and because it was so honest, I probably was partially afraid to release it because it was so honest.

KING: In what way?

BON JOVI: It showed you the inner workings of a real band.


BON JOVI: You know what, forget that. We'll do that tomorrow. Let's just do something just a little easier in the vocal.


BON JOVI: You know I think people would like to see sometimes the cliche of a rock band. I was very surprised and pleased with the reaction to that documentary. People enjoyed the honesty and they didn't want the cliche. They didn't want you to throw a television out the window. And --

KING: It's the good, bad, and ugly.

BON JOVI: It truly is. Yes. But it was really well received and the film festivals liked it.

KING: Does the band have a lot of arguments?

BON JOVI: No, we don't. No, we don't. No, we truly don't. But I think that that's part of the success, is that everybody has a common mission and plays a very integral role. It's a football team. I'm a quarterback and I have to have receivers and linemen to block.

KING: Still own the team?

BON JOVI: Not (INAUDIBLE), I'm looking to get in the NFL. It's time to grow up and move on.

KING: That's a big number, though. You got the Packers so that --

BON JOVI: I'm working hard.

KING: Got a city in mind?

BON JOVI: A few. You know, and in these -- in these times, there's opportunities out there.

KING: Many bands do greatest hits albums because they don't have anything else new to do. But you've got a greatest hits album out. How did this decision come to do that?

BON JOVI: The truth is, is that initially, it was a commitment. And I promised the record company because I called the CEO of the company in 2007 and I said, I'm going to go to Nashville and make a country record.

There was a long silence on the telephone. They said, after you're done losing millions of my dollars, will you do me a favor and at least give me a greatest hits. I said, you've got a deal.

It wasn't a really country record, it was more of a Bon Jovi- influenced Nashville kind of a record. And John Shanks produced it. And it was much more successful than any of us thought. It was a number one album.

But the idea of this greatest hits was still in the back of my mine simply because we had had one 16 years ago and in the last 16 years have had a lot of other hits. And like I said before, a whole new generation of kids have found us in the last decade.

We've been very prolific. We've done five studio records, five subsequent tours. So in the case of the new generation, this is my introductory course to them. And in the case of our long fan base that have been there for nearly 30 years, we wrote five new songs to accompany the greatest hits and made a value at it, if you will.

KING: And are the greatest hits the greatest hits? Are they the number ones in moneymakers?

BON JOVI: They're all included. All the number ones that we've had in the top 10, and -- you know, around the globe. Yes. They're all legitimate hits on the record. We've been blessed with quite a few of them.

KING: Remember how I was introduced to you? On the old radio show?

BON JOVI: It was the radio show. That's right.

KING: You called in and then you came on my all-night show. You were concerting somewhere and traveling in a bus, I guess.

BON JOVI: Yes, I'm sure I was.

KING: Have you written a song that you thought couldn't miss and missed?

BON JOVI: Dozens, hundreds. Where -- and the opposite of that was "Living On a Prayer," probably the one that they'll write about in my obituary. I didn't think was worthy of a record. So it goes to show you what you know.

KING: Where did you learn to play?

BON JOVI: The neighbor across the street was in a cocktail band and he moved into my parents' neighborhood when I was a boy. And he took me under his wing and showed me a couple of cords. And I didn't do very well practicing. And the next week he says, I'm going to kick your -- if you don't learn it next week and stop wasting my time.

And that was just what I needed because I made sure that I learned the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun" and you know, it's been upward and onward since.

KING: How do you rate yourself as a player?

BON JOVI: Miserable.

KING: You're not --

BON JOVI: I'm a great accompanist. I'm a singer --

KING: You don't write (INAUDIBLE) guitar players.

BON JOVI: No. Richey does. I'm a singer who plays guitar. I play in piano well enough to write.

KING: Never say good-bye, which we won't do. Get it? Jon and I will be back right after this.


KING: We're back with Jon Bon Jovi, the singer, songwriter, actor, philanthropist. He's quite a guy.

How do you do that hair?

BON JOVI: Hey, I'm just happy to still have it for 48 years.


KING: Does someone do it every day?


KING: You do you own hair.

BON JOVI: It's not that hard. You get up, you take a shower, you comb your hair. KING: No, you don't -- it looks like manufactured.

BON JOVI: Looks good, huh? No, it's all mine. I like it. At my age I still have it.

KING: Is there -- is there a Bon Jovi song, a typical song that people say, that's a Bon Jovi song?

BON JOVI: There is usually an underlying optimism as a theme in the songs.

KING: You don't like depressed things?

BON JOVI: You can.

KING: Sad songs?

BON JOVI: Sure. You know? Those are easier to write than the big, uplifting, optimistic ones because if you're in that good a mood, truth is you put the guitar down and go out. You know? It's when you're miserable, you sit down and write the blues. That's why they call it the blues.

But I find that, you know, the magic that this band has had that's universal and timeless in its appeal is that optimism. It goes beyond borders and languages. And that's the beauty of our appeal. Is it's international. We went every. We weren't afraid to go anywhere. An old adage was we bring our own electricity if you didn't have it.

KING: How well will you be treated in Japan where they don't know what you're saying?

BON JOVI: They learned English singing American pop songs dating back to the Beatles. When Japan was much more nationalistic -- as a matter of fact I'm going there this week. We'll play a couple of nights in the Tokyo Dome which is their stadium.

I don't think anybody has played that stadium more than I have, any international band ever has played that more than we have. But there's a kinship there because the lyrical content relates to them. And it's the same way --


KING: In Germany?

BON JOVI: Yes, because -- well, now you know that nationalism has changed. You know? It's much more of one world that we live in. You know? How many times I've watched your show and CNN in places like Japan, around the world. It gives me comfort.

But when they used to wear Kimonos and the wooden shoes and, you know, and it was much different in the beginning, in the early '80s. Now with the advent of video television and cable television, and world travelers, Tokyo is a metropolis. KING: Wasn't there a risk the first time you worked in a country where they didn't speak English?

BON JOVI: I'll tell you a better story. When we went to Moscow, the former Soviet Union, the wall is still up, 1989, we insisted on headlining this multiple act bill that was over there doing some charity work. And our whole rapport with the audience has been based on my speaking with them. And this optimism and uplifting, and they got -- we had big hit records in '86, '87, '88, '89.

And this German band went on before us and they just knocked the place out. (INAUDIBLE) beat on their music. I went on the stage, dead silence. Why? They didn't understand me and with the iron curtain, there was no western records released. They were all black market. They didn't know what I was doing. I got my butt kicked. Went backstage.

KING: Almost like the bomb?

BON JOVI: Great. Because the next night, again went on, the German band did their thing, everybody was doing their thing, and so I got a trick because to tell you the truth, if you're a good showman, you're a master of the trick.

I took a Russian soldier and said, come here, take these blue jeans, give me that uniform, the hat, the coat, the shirt, the whole thing. I walked down the center aisle of the stadium basically doing a strip tease. One piece at a time. Told my band you just keep playing until I get to the stage.

By the time I got to the stage, one of the guys in one of the other bands punched the concert promoter, the manager, right in the nose and fired him on the spot. And said, you set this. I don't even know what that other guy did. But I stole the night back and won the audience over.

Because you have to find that thing, whatever that thing is. I was not a guy you wanted opening for you because I would find the trick. You know and it's an art.

KING: Let's go back to first night in Moscow. What's it like when you know they are not getting you?

BON JOVI: You do that, kind of, hello, is this on? You know?


BON JOVI: Hello? You know? And that's when you call audible. Look, I just come back from South America last month. And country to country, some songs were and some songs were not hits. And you play something like -- there's this song called "Who Says You Can't Go Home." First rock band ever to write a number one country single.

Big monster hit here in America. Played it down there somewhere. Bombed. And you have to laugh at yourself and the audience, saying, hello, you know, anybody out there? Because you know -- and then you call audibles. And again, because it's -- you know, the football analogy. You go, OK, here we go. Pull this one, pull that one, pull the cover, pulling the old one.

KING: Don't run that one, kill this.

BON JOVI: Exactly. You know? And that's how you win.

KING: The great Jon Bon Jovi. We're halfway there, we're living on a prayer.

BON JOVI: You're just full of them tonight, Larry. I'll tell you.

KING: Got good writers. Back with Jon Bon Jovi after this.


KING: We're back with Jon Bon Jovi. By the way, Bon Jovi recently was given the first ever Global Icon Award. That was at the European MTV Awards. That was the world tour for your 11th studio album, "The Circle," was named the number one tour, first half of the year 2010 by Billboard.

Is there a difference to a big stadium and a smaller room?


BON JOVI: It is what you make --

KING: You're doing it differently.

BON JOVI: Not really. Because the truth is, if I was performing for 50 or 50,000, I still prepare the same way. And you want to win the crowd. You want to win the night. But I do feel very comfortable in the stadium environment. I always have.

KING: Well, how -- because most people don't.

BON JOVI: I don't know why. I find that there's a disconnect there. I'm able to see the back of the stadium and -- maybe not as well as I used to, but I can see. And I try to include them. And that's why people keep coming back.

It is the biggest tour in the world for 2010. It's been -- we know that now, it's been announced. And that's quite a testament. You know? When you consider U2 is on the road and a lot of big bands out there.

KING: You ever get tired of it?

BON JOVI: Yes. Sure, physically, mentally, another club sandwich, another traveling day, in another hotel room somewhere far away.

KING: But something happens, though, when you go on? BON JOVI: Those three hours on the stage are worth the other 21 hours of the day. But it's -- I'm also not an applause junky. You know? How many guys you've met over the years that need that adulation?

When I'm not touring, it's the furthest thing from my mind. But when you're there, you're like an athlete prepared to go to the game.

KING: Why three hours?

BON JOVI: I don't know why. Again, I have to revert back to Keith Richards' book. He says in this -- whole through the '60s, they were doing 20-minute sets and they got hooked up to the Everlys because they did a 30-minute set. My god, I'd start doing matinees if I could do a 30-minute set.

I think a lot of that had to do with my heroes growing up were known for their long shows.

KING: Like?

BON JOVI: Springsteen, South Side Johnnie. The Jersey Guys. And these marathons. And so you emulated your heroes as a boy. And now --


KING: Why do a show that long, frankly? You know I give you -- the other model is Fred Astaire.

BON JOVI: Martin Moore?

KING: Fred Astaire, famous. He worked Las Vegas. Dance and sang, 42 minutes. Walked off. They're screaming more. Stayed off.

BON JOVI: I have nowhere else to go.


BON JOVI: That's a part of it. I have nowhere else to go.

KING: But there is (INAUDIBLE), right?

BON JOVI: Yes, it makes sense. But again, you know from where I come from and the guys I looked up to -- now that's our reputation, is these marathon shows and a lot of hits. You know, you keep them out there. And as long as there's interaction. Granted, they're not sitting there and it's not that kind of a jam band or nobody is out there -- you're interacting. You're still a part of it.

KING: How do you not let a bad day affect you?

BON JOVI: You do, but you have to be committed to being better the next day.

KING: Are there nights -- -it's not really there there? BON JOVI: Sure.

KING: You've got to work harder.

BON JOVI: You know that.

KING: Yes.

BON JOVI: Right?

KING: What do you do when that happens? You've got to work harder, right?

BON JOVI: You work harder.

KING: Sometimes you don't get it?

BON JOVI: You know if you're fooling yourself, you have to go and put your head on the pillow that night. You know, in n all honesty, you have those nights where you've gone through the motions and you want to shoot yourself for it. But you just didn't have the mojo.

It happens. It's human. You know I've been blessed with good health on this tour in the last decade. So I haven't gone out there and ever lost my voice or anything in a long, long, long time. That would be worse. But, you know, there's nights where you're off.

KING: Isaac Stern said, though, on nights where he thinks he's played the worst, he's gotten some of his best reviews and best audience reaction.

BON JOVI: Yes. And that's a little sad to me when people come up and they go -- and intimate people, say that was awesome. You go, really? Because when I thought I was awesome and you just think it's the same, maybe that's a good sign, maybe it's not. But you know?

KING: Do you know it right away, when you go on --


BON JOVI: You know when I know when night is magic? When the house lights go out. The second when I hear that roar, I could be a dead man and then the lights, boom, showtime.

You know and then you're on that stage and you're a prize fighter until, you know, they pull you off.

I did four nights at the New Meadowland Stadium, the new Giants Stadium in New York. We opened the place. Fourth night we're playing, we're in the encore, I'm about to really go for the full three hours and worked two-plus hours. And I popped my calf muscle, literally tore it on the stage. I was in such pain --

(CROSSTALK) BON JOVI: Probably. You know, I think it was as much as I -- I sort of zigged when I should have zagged. And I felt the shock back of the calf, an unbelievable pain. But I saw that on YouTube. And you know, in this day and age, you see anything on -- on YouTube. I was still in tune, I was still in time, but I was hobbling like a -- like a madman. And they -- they had to carry me off. And I played the next 14 shows. I didn't miss one.

KING: "It's My Life" and Jon Bon Jovi is my guest.

Keep it right there.


KING: We're back with the great Jon Bon Jovi, the number one touring band in the world.

I was telling him that Sinatra once said, right -- sitting right where you are, that right before he goes on, no matter where he is and where he's made it in life, before the man says, and now, there's a little jump in him, do I have it, will I have it. You might call it nervousness. There's a little edge.

Do you get that?

BON JOVI: Yes. And believe it or not, I have a little quick change underneath the stage. And so when the house lights go out and the band takes the stage, I'm under that quick change. I stare every single night at a portrait of Sinatra. And he's got such a smirk on his face. He's got his hand on his hip and he's got an old RCA microphone like that.

And some days I think he's smiling positively, some days I think -- I think he's looking at me going, so, what have you got, you know?

But every night I go and I look at that picture of Frank and I go OK, here we go, every single night.

KING: Your involvement in philanthropy, tell us about the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.

What is that?

BON JOVI: I began it when I had the Arena football team. And quite simply, in order to ingratiate ourselves to the country, we had to differentiate ourselves. So from dollar one, we gave money to a variety of charities. And with time and effort, I realized that the focus that didn't need a scientist to invent the cure was affordable housing.

And so I found someone in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by the name of Sister Mary Scullion and a place called Project Home, who are experts in the field of affordable housing. And -- and she has been my mentor ever since, because I realized it didn't matter if you were white, black, young, old, Republican or Democrat, the affordable housing issue, the homeless issue, can hit anybody at any time. And, you know, it's -- look, after the economic downturn where we stand today, it's very difficult to make ends meet and the foreclosures, et cetera.


BON JOVI: So we started to focus on --

KING: What do you do?

BON JOVI: We build houses.

KING: You build houses like --

BON JOVI: So we built 260 of them this --

KING: -- like the Jimmy Carter thing?

BON JOVI: Well, sort of like -- with Habitat, sometimes. In disaster relief, I've had great experiences with Habitat. A case in point, by the one year anniversary of Katrina, we had paid for and built 28 houses in Homer, Louisiana.

KING: Wow.

BON JOVI: In the inner cities, if it's Detroit or Philadelphia or Camden, New Jersey, we've gone on with other partners, like Project Home, because you can get tax credits and you have corporate part -- and the private sector, my own money. And we're able to get the job done.

And so 260 houses. Now we're branching out into a restaurant. And the concept -- and we call it the Robin Hood Restaurant. In this economic downturn, where families used to have disposable income to go out to dinner, for example, and you would have a lot of great memories of going with your folks to dinner, just simple for pizza, you will.

Anyhow, we have this restaurant where there's no prices on the menu. But you're served by a waiter or waitress, there's a great menu prepared by a chef. And if you can pay, you see effective change. If you cannot pay, you come and you volunteer the -- the next week, either in the soul kitchen or in the food pantry or at lunch break, which is a soup kitchen...

KING: Who came up with that?

BON JOVI: Well, we saw an idea on the evening news, to be honest with you. Brian Williams did a great piece. And we expanded upon it. And so we saw the -- the seed. And my wife and the head of my foundation flew out with Sister Mary, did a bunch of research, started this pilot program.

Once I perfect it, I'm going to be able to say to you, look, Larry, this -- this sort of pays for itself, why don't you do one in your hometown? I'm going to be able to do this with a lot of different people, because it sort of pays for itself. People want to see effective change. Sometimes they don't know how or who to help. They don't know where their dollars are going, on administrative costs.

You want to see effective change?

Put a 20 in the envelope. You just paid for that family next to you.

KING: Do you get the feeling of accomplishment having that?

BON JOVI: That gives me more pride than going up on the stage at night, because I know that we are affecting change.

KING: You know what in -- when that terrible hurricane, Andrew, hit South Florida, a lot of homes went down, but the -- the homes built by Jimmy Carter and his crew, the Habitat --


KING: -- stood.

BON JOVI: Yes, those -- they're -- they're wonderful houses. It's a great organization.

KING: What do put in great construction workers?

BON JOVI: Yes. You --

KING: Top materials?

BON JOVI: -- you -- a lot of things are donated and -- and you are creating jobs, but you also have a lot of volunteers in -- in those places. I'm glad to see that those Habitat houses stood. I was very proud that on the one year anniversary, because of Habitat's help and with our partners, we were able to have 28 families in those homes. That was important.

KING: Who is Sister Mary Scullion?

BON JOVI: She runs Project Home in Philadelphia.

KING: How did you meet her?

BON JOVI: A friend of mine was born and raised in Philly and I -- and when the idea came to me -- I saw a homeless guy sleeping on the steps of city hall. And I was across the street in my little guilded cage of this hotel room. And I looked down and I saw this man, in the dead winter. And I thought this isn't what our forefathers were thinking when they drafted the Constitution. This was not the way it's supposed to be in Philadelphia.

And so I said find me somebody, but make sure it's not lost to administrative costs. It ends up that the patron saint of the homeless issue lived in Philadelphia. So when he went to go see her and he says, listen, I work for Jon, this is what -- and she said, yes, right. And Santa Claus is coming to town. And I met her and I said, strap in, sister, because when we're done here, you're going to Disneyland.

Last year, she was named one of "Time's" most influential and we've had her on a whole bunch of stuff because she speaks to the issue.

KING: You participated in our Heroes.

What did you make of that?

BON JOVI: The best use of my time on television since I can remember, since the 9/11 concerts, because what CNN are doing are shining a light on the Sister Marys of the world, who give of themselves unselfishly, 365 days a year. And all they need is the spotlight to shine on them so that the general public sees that who, where and how to get involved, because we can't just rely any longer on government. We can't rely on -- on anything more than each other.

KING: Jon Bon Jovi is the guest.

We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with a man who is at the top of the number one touring band in the world, who's been a successful -- since what year have you been successful?

How many years now?

BON JOVI: '84 was the first record. Getting up there.

KING: Wow! Twenty-five years.

BON JOVI: Twenty-six, yes.

KING: You started in '85?


KING: We started together.

BON JOVI: There you go.


KING: I know you -- you supported Barack Obama.


KING: Do you retain that strong feeling? BON JOVI: Yes. You know, I -- I think it's a very difficult -- regardless of where you stand in the political aisle. Washington, as we're learning more and more every day, it's such a pile of spaghetti now, you know, and -- and I -- it's not easy, no matter who is in that chair. But I absolutely still believe in the ideals.

KING: Do you ever think, though --

BON JOVI: -- and I wasn't a guy that spoke.

KING: Did you ever think of running yourself?

BON JOVI: No, because 50 percent of the people hate you before you've left your front door in the morning. We could do more philanthropically than -- than being elected to office.

KING: All right. Sarah Palin used your song, "Who Says You Can't Go Home?" during her 2008 campaign rallies.

You didn't like that, right?

BON JOVI: Well, you know, I -- I --

KING: You weren't her supporter?

BON JOVI: I'm not a supporter. But it's nothing against the -- the party. It was just, you know, using something without your permission was -- it should be frowned upon.

KING: Do you write all the time.

BON JOVI: No. No, I'm able to turn it off. You know, I think that when you're out there on the road, all your energy is around tonight's show. You know, no matter what you're doing during the course of the day, you're thinking about tonight's show.

And then when I'm home, I'm able to turn it back on again.

KING: How old are the kids?

BON JOVI: Seventeen, fifteen, eight and six. We have the gamut. Our eldest is our daughter Stephanie and then three boys, Jesse, Jacob and Romeo.

KING: Is it tough on them, having a famous father who's not home a lot?

BON JOVI: You should -- I -- you know, you'd have to ask them, but I hope not. I think because they were -- they were there every step of -- they were born into it. You know, it's not like I just picked them up on the side of the road somewhere and said, this is what's going on here.

My wife and I have been together 30 years now -- 30 -- yes, 30 years. And -- and so we've -- we've seen every -- every slide show here, you know? Somebody was talking to me about a business opportunity and they said, and you get to come on, you know, and see the whole thing.

And I said, you'd have to understand, I'm Mickey Mouse and I already own Disneyland. My kids really don't want to go on the rides anymore. They're not impressed by any of this nonsense. They just want you to come home at night.

KING: You're just dad?

BON JOVI: Oh, yes. That's not a platinum record hanging in my house nowhere.

KING: Are there -- do you ever hear a song someone else singing and it's just, I wish I wrote that?

BON JOVI: That -- that's the greatest compliment I can pay, you know, is when you say, God, I wish I wrote that.

KING: What's a song you wish you wrote?

BON JOVI: Oh, I don't know. I mean --

KING: Give me one.

BON JOVI: -- it's timeless, it's endless. It's, you know, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," it's "Yesterday," it's -- it's -- it's, you know, "Satisfaction." You can go up and down the list. There's a million of them.

And -- and you're always trying to write the perfect song. I don't think it ever comes for anybody. You're always aspiring.

KING: Have you written a song that surprised you, that you -- you liked, but it became enormously successful?

BON JOVI: Sure. We've had a lot of them. I keep harkening back to "Living On A Prayer," because, truly, that will be the one in my obit. They'll say he co-wrote that and it's -- it's touched people's lives around the globe for generations. Yes.

KING: So it surprised you?

BON JOVI: Sure. It shocked me.

KING: What disappointed you the most?

BON JOVI: I've had a few of those. You know, when you thought a record was going to work. Or the industry is changed. My business is not what we knew. And every time you learn the rules, it seems they've changed them.

But I do believe that the record industry will rediscover itself in time -- not now, but in 10 or 15 years from now the -- the kids on the social media networks that own those social media networks, I think that they'll take those catalogs of music and monetize them. But not now. I don't believe that the old guard are ready to give up those catalogs to those guys. And they're still holding to an old, antiquated model.

KING: I'll ask about how you deal with the social networking in the recording business.

Back with Jon after this.


KING: We're back with Jon Bon Jovi.

The music business, what -- how do you make money with a record, if they can drop it down for nothing or steal it or?

BON JOVI: I think it's going to be very hard for the next generations of me to come and sell 120 million records. As we know the model, I don't think that's possible. But then you have to have had, established some kind of touring base.

KING: You've got to be out there?

BON JOVI: Yes. And, you know, these -- remember back when I began, you were able to have two or three albums before a record company made a decision about who and where you were going to stand. These days, it is instantaneous and if you don't deliver immediately, chances are you won't get that second record, let alone international exposure.

So it -- the model is changing. But I do believe that they've -- we've come out of the bottom of it. I think it's time. It's -- it's about to invent itself.

KING: How old are you now?

BON JOVI: Forty-eight.

KING: Does anything about this social media turn you off?

BON JOVI: You're not going to see me Tweeting and, you know, I'm at Larry, I'm going to dinner and -- it's just -- that's -- my kids are able --

KING: What do you make of it, though?

BON JOVI: It's a way to contact your fan base instantaneously. You know, somebody on our tour will be out there and reaching six million people in the press of a button. That's -- that's pretty amazing. You know, you -- you can get the message out there.

So if you're able to control it in -- in a way and still re--- remain private, it can be of benefit.

KING: How do you feel about they're doing a lot of your songs on Glee? BON JOVI: I love it. I mean that's the -- that's the magic of music, is when it's appealing on a television show to, like I keep saying, generations.

We're not on a where are they now list, you know?

We're still doing it in -- and in a major way. I'm -- I'm honored by it.

KING: What do you make of Justin Bieber and that phenomenon?

BON JOVI: Well, there's -- you know, I've been around long enough to have seen them all come and -- and either make it or not. Justin Timberlake, who came from that kind of a background, is an enormous talent. Justin Bieber seemingly has some talent.

But I think there's room for all these kind of different kinds of styles of music and it's not a competition. We're all just in this together and...

KING: What about Taylor Swift?

BON JOVI: She's the real deal. She's absolutely the real deal in every way, shape and form. She's a writer, she's a singer, she's a beautiful girl. Apparently, she's got her head on straight. I think she's going to be Loretta Lynn. Like she's going to be around.

KING: Oh, really?

BON JOVI: Yes, I think she's the real deal, in a pop -- you know, she's writing pop songs right now, but she's 20 years old. And they're hit pop songs. She's good. She's real.

KING: Do you like country?

BON JOVI: I do, very much.

KING: Comfortable with it?

BON JOVI: Story teller. Yes, very. Very. I've always loved Nashville. I've always had --

KING: -- soft spot?

BON JOVI: I love it. Yes. I go down to Nashville for 20 plus years and just go and, you know, you sit in on a round and pick up a guitar and sing a song together and you're -- they're listening. And I find it -- they're a fabulous culture who really appreciate music.

KING: Do you like bluegrass?

BON JOVI: Yes, I like bluegrass. You know, it wasn't what I aspired to do as a player, so it -- it's not as appealing to me.

KING: What form don't you like?

BON JOVI: I'm not a big rave guy. I'm not -- you know, I was never a big rap guy. I like --

KING: Is rap music?

BON JOVI: It's real.

KING: It is?

BON JOVI: It's -- it was the story of the streets and it was told by a generation that hadn't been heard from before. Oh, yes, it had a huge influence on the culture. Absolutely.

KING: How about acting?

BON JOVI: Loved it. It adds a great humility to what I do musically, because I was able to continue in something in the arts with all the exuberance of youth and the experience of the music business, but truly on the bottom of the ladder. So, you know, you went in like a kid. And, you know, maybe some day again, but it's so far down the list of things to do these days, because the music has been so great, I've got other philanthropic actions and business stuff going on. So it's not that appealing.

KING: We're going to go out with a blaze of glory.

Our remaining minutes with Jon Bon Jovi after this.


KING: We're back with the incredible Jon Bon Jovi.

By the way, what do you make of "American Idol?"

You were on twice, right?

You were a mentor?

BON JOVI: Yes, I was.

KING: You were on this year.

BON JOVI: I was. I probably would not have been a -- winner. I probably would have been voted off.


BON JOVI: No. And Nora (ph) was --

KING: Because?

BON JOVI: Well, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, I can go down the list of guys that would have all been thrown off. It -- it -- it wasn't a --

KING: What does that say for the show?

BON JOVI: Well, it's just different. I think that, you know, what -- what artists have established, like the aforementioned, were telling their story their way. They were stylists. And those kids, they're all very technically -- you know, good singers. But that does not an artist make.

And then the -- being thrust into that spotlight where 30 million people are watching you every week, you win the contest and, by the way, you'd better have a hit record tomorrow. Wow!

I had 21 years to write that first record. You know, you have a year or two after that to develop who you are on the stage.

So it -- it's very hard on those kids.

KING: What do you make of the "Dancing with the Stars" phenomenon?

BON JOVI: Again, you know, I mean that -- that --

KING: You wouldn't do that, would you?



BON JOVI: Not my thing.


BON JOVI: I mean all -- all that reality stuff is -- is bothersome to me because I just think, you know, a show like "Heroes" could be such a better use of time. And there's just so many better things that we could be doing.

KING: What are you going to do for the holidays?

BON JOVI: Home with the --

KING: Are you working?

BON JOVI: Yes, well, I'll -- I'll be back from Australia on the 21st and, you know, get over jet lag with the kids for Christmas. But we -- we're always in New Jersey for -- for a Jersey Christmas, yes.

KING: Australia?


Where don't I go?

You know, I went to Tokyo, New Zealand, Australia on this leg. We go everywhere from South America to -- to South Africa to Israel for the first time on this tour.

KING: You did Israel already?

BON JOVI: Not yet. That's -- that and Greece are two places that I have yet to be, in all the tours, in all those shows, I never got to either Israel or to Greece and we're going this year.

KING: Does that complete the world?

BON JOVI: Within reason, yes. I mean, you know, pretty much the -- the -- the Western pop culture world.

KING: All right, now you don't know what the event, where in Israel?

Where are you at in Israel?

BON JOVI: Whatever the Olympic Stadium is.

KING: OK. So you're going to -- you have to go to stadium?

You have to rehearse?

BON JOVI: We don't rehearse. We just go --


BON JOVI: If we don't know the stuff at this point --

KING: What about acoustics?

I mean do you have to know the situation of the stage?

BON JOVI: I've had the same -- they're mine -- it's your stage. No, the -- you know, you carry everything. Everything is the same.

KING: So it doesn't matter what the event?

BON JOVI: No, my monitors are in my ears. It's my stage. We're just putting it in your house. That's all. We come in and set it up and do it. No, everything is there. There -- there's no need to rehearse. It's not all the time.

KING: Thanks, Jon.

BON JOVI: Congratulations on 25 years. You are a master, sir. And it's been an honor to be on your show. Appreciate it.

KING: My honor knowing you.

BON JOVI: Thank you.

KING: Stay tuned for "A.C. 360".