As Bon Jovi prepares to start its 2011 tour schedule, the group members say what happens after they come off the road in July is anyone's guess.
"I think we need to take a break," drummer Tico Torres told Billboard.com during a conference call with reporters. "It's a long, extensive tour since last February, not just the tour but putting it together, doing the record ['The Circle']. It's a long process, and I think it's important for us to just get away from the audience for a bit. Sometimes you need to get away so people can appreciate you better, and you also have to get away to live your life and create and recharge... So the best thing I can tell you is we're gonna need a couple years off for sure."
Guitarist Richie Sambora, however, countered, "We do need a little bit of a break, but not that much of a break, 'cause what's going to happen is there's more songs to be written and... Y'know, guess what? We want to be the Rolling Stones. I know I do."
Bon Jovi's 2010 Circle tour was the top trek of the year, playing to 1.5 million fans and grossing more than $146.5 million. The group, which released a "Greatest Hits" set in November, starts up again on Feb. 9 in University Park, Pa., for North American dates into late March, then runs through Europe again from June 8-July 31, including a June 25 performance at the Hard Rock Calling festival in London.
Sambora said he had "an extensive conversation" with Jon Bon Jovi earlier this week and concluded, "I don't think we know what the hell's gonna happen" after the tour.
"We're just going out there and working our asses off and enjoying it, actually being the best band of our lives... We're not gonna quit. We're gonna keep on going and writing new, great songs, go in the studio and make great records, evolve more and get back into stadiums and give people a great, great show."
Bon Jovi's stated desire to do another solo album, he added, presents no threat to the continuation of the group. "It gives us a break," Sambora explained. "Everybody gets to be an individual... He's the leader of this band and you've got to respect that... Who knows what the hell he's gonna do, but it's okay with all of us. We're all gonna stick together. We're like a gang."
Sambora and Torres said this year's shows will continue to dig deep into Bon Jovi's repertoire, pulling out album tracks as well as covers. "We pulled out a lot of songs on this tour, maybe 70, 80 songs, (and) a lot of them haven't been anywhere near on radio," Torres notes. "We play differently every night. Unless you come see us 10 nights in a row, or three nights in a row, you won't notice it. It's something we look forward to."
About the only thing that didn't go Bon Jovi's way during the past year was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group was eligible for induction for the first time and made the final ballot but will not be getting in at the March ceremony. Torres said that "it's nice to be included in those things," but Sambora acknowledged some disappointment.
"I think it's a boys club over there," he said. "I don't know what they're doing, [if] they're looking for ratings or what they're doing. Is it legitimate? That's my question. Our legitimacy comes from our fans; you sell 125 million records and have the two biggest tours in the last three years, I'll take that. If I would complain, nobody would listen."