Around the turn of the millennium, Bon Jovi found another gear.
The result of the shift has been a decade of career-altering achievement in just about any category used to quantify success in popular music: touring, hit songs, awards, branding, No. 1 albums, DVDs, all produced at a remarkably prolific pace.
Call it the next level. But not the last level.
Driven by the intense work ethic, broad vision and rock'n'roll charisma of its frontman and namesake, Jon Bon Jovi, this band is still breaking new markets, finding new fans and remaining relevant while most of the rock groups that emerged in the '80s either have disbanded or are relegated to playing decades-old hits with little hope of charting new ones.
If Bon Jovi were a stock, it would be a blue-chipper-savvy investors would be bullish. And Jon Bon Jovi is CEO, the personification of that delicate intersection of art and commerce. He accepts that description, with a caveat. "The commerce is really just a by-product of the art," he says, calling from a hotel room in Los Angeles where he's decompressing from the latest mega-tour by writing and cutting tracks with multiple Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer John Shanks for what will end up being the next Bon Jovi album.
"The intent wasn't that I picked up a guitar to make money," he continues. "I loved the idea of learning to play and perform, and then when I chose it as a career path, it was only for the passion. The by-product of that was we were very successful and, subsequently, not only earned but kept our money, as opposed to so many other artists you read about that weren't as lucky."