In the wake of the announcement of an arena and stadium tour in 2013 for his band, Jon Bon Jovi opted for a small club to introduce the two new songs he has in the film "Stand Up Guys."
Bon Jovi performed a 40-minute acoustic set Tuesday to about 80 people at the Mint, playing the songs from the film -- "Old Habits Die Hard" and "Not Running Anymore" -- in addition to "Living on a Prayer," "Who Says You Can't Go Home," "Blaze of Glory" and "Wanted Dead or Alive." Guitarist Bobby Bandiera and violinist Lorenza Ponce provided backup.
The crowd included Rob Light and other CAA agents, former EMI vice chairman David Munns and members of Bon Jovi management team, "Stand Up Guys" director Fisher Stevens and composer Lyle Workman, plus members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that delivered Bon Jovi a Golden Globe for "Blaze of Glory."
Bon Jovi sees parallels between the characters in the two movies and his own life. "I wrote in the voice of Billy the Kid" for "Young Guns II," he told the audience. "Now at 50, I have different relationship. The friendship, honor and trust you talk about as a boy -- now you look back at to see if that's what you stood for."
Song Samples From the 'Stand Up Guys' Soundtrack
After a lengthy period away from composing for movies, he asked his agent if there were any scripts around that needed songs. The first one he was handed was "Stand Up Guys" and within two weeks of receiving it, he had a demo of "Old Habits Die Hard" recorded -- in his iPhone -- and sent to the director and producer Tom Rosenberg.
The film did not start shooting for a another three months, however. Bon Jovi flew to the set in Los Angeles to watch the filming to get the feel of the scenes and he started envisioning even more songs. Stevens and Rosenberg had opted for '70s soul music and a core form Workman in synch with that sound, leaving room for only one more Bon Jovi original.
To ensure that it had the precise pacing, Bon Jovi recorded the song while watching the scene play in the studio. After returning home to New Jersey, he decided to fly to Nashville and record different versions for the soundtrack. "If you count the demos," he told Billboard, "I recorded these songs four times."
"Stand Up Guys," which will play for a week in Los Angeles and New York beginning Dec. 14 and then open wide on Feb. 1, stars Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin as former gangsters reunited after Pacino's character gets out of prison. Lakeshore Records will release the soundtrack digitally on Dec. 4 and physically on Jan. 8.
In an interview prior to the show, Bon Jovi saw "Stand Up Guys" playing a crucial role for Bon Jovi the band much in the way "Young Guns II" did in 1990. They have a finished album, "What About Now," with a release date penciled in for March 26 and a tour that runs through the U.S. from Feb. 9 to April 25 and will continue internationally through the summer.
"After four consecutive albums and four consecutive massive tours, we were on the verge of an implosion like so many bands that came before us and after us," Bon Jovi says of his career in 1990. "Everybody had to find something other than this. For me it was stumbling on Emilio (Estevez's) movie set. All I could talk about from the age of 21 to 30 was was how to be a singer in a rock band. And I went there and someone was learning to ride a horse or shoot a gun. They'd then go to another movie and learn how to race a car. I thought if I can get my hands on scripts I can learn how to do other things. It opened a whole new world to me.
"Fortunately I made amends with the purpose of the band. The collective 'we' is guided by one light -- we can be the Rolling Stones. If it works, great. If it doesn't work, we go down together."
Bon Jovi is impressed with his bandmates' work away from Bon Jovi: David Bryan's musical "Memphis" won four Tony Awards; Tico Torres has been showing his paintings in galleries; and Richie Sambora is touring behind his solo album. They'll reunite early next year to learn about 75 songs for the tour, including the "Stand Up Guys" songs.
"Theres always going to be some time where I'm going to want to strum an acoustic just like Richie will do something from his solo album," he says. "We'll definitely play them."