Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
To Jon Bon Jovi, each new Bon Jovi album is a musical diary chronicling moments in time. But for the Island Def Jam set "Have a Nice Day" (out Sept. 20), the veteran rocker says he looked further within himself and at the world than he has in the band's 20-year history.
"There are songs that are socially conscious, especially in light of what happened both [in the] pre- and post-election period in our country, when I witnessed polarization that I have never seen before," Bon Jovi says. On a personal level, he says, "songs like 'I Wanna Be Loved' are more introspective than I've ever been."
It is that combination of personal revelations and universal themes that has attracted a global audience and spurred record sales past the 100 million mark worldwide for the quartet.
And now, the band that has always been a lot rock'n'roll may even be a little bit country: In addition to the title track, which is No. 17 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart and No. 12 on the Heritage Rock chart, there are plans for IDJ's sister label, Mercury Records Nashville, to work the song "Who Says You Can't Go Home?" -- a duet with Jennifer Nettles, frontwoman for country group Sugarland -- to country radio.
Bon Jovi and bandmates Richie Sambora, David Bryan and Tico Torres taped an episode of "CMT Crossroads" with Sugarland that is airing repeatedly on CMT in September. The album will include versions of the song with and without Nettles, who Bon Jovi calls "an incredible talent."
In part, via the country exposure, Bon Jovi hopes the new CD will find a wide audience, but says he does not create music with that goal in mind. "The magic is, we don't gun for anybody," he says. "What happens, happens naturally ... We were as surprised as anyone when [2000 hit] 'It's My Life' found a whole other generation of people, really young kids. Who knew?"
He sees such new songs as "Welcome to Wherever You Are" and "Last Man Standing" (a tribute to Bob Dylan) appealing to adult listeners while Bon Jovi's 10-year-old son "and his friends on their surfboards are cranking 'Have a Nice Day' and will play that next to a Green Day record."
Eight of the 12 tracks on "Have a Nice Day" -- a DualDisc version of which will include five live performances, the video for "Have a Nice Day" and an electronic press kit (EPK) -- were produced by Bon Jovi with songwriting partner Sambora and John Shanks (who also wrote four tracks with Bon Jovi and Sambora). Rick Parashar also produced four tracks with Bon Jovi and Sambora.
Though there are multiple marketing components fueling the album's launch, Bon Jovi feels radio is still crucial. He quantifies radio's impact by saying a hit record makes the "difference between stadiums and arenas. When we have hits, we can sell two or three nights at [New Jersey's] Giants Stadium, and when we don't have a hit single, [we] can do one. That's not too shabby, but a hit makes a difference."
The band will be highly visible with a slate of media appearances, including "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and "Today." Jon Bon Jovi will gain additional visibility with his latest acting role, in the film "Cry Wolf," due this fall.
The band kicks off its tour Nov. 2. As much as he enjoys the road work, Bon Jovi is not sure he wants to follow the Rolling Stones' example.
"I don't know if I'm going to want to be touring like this at 62 or 65," he says. "I'm not an applause junkie. What excites me more than anything is writing the song. If it's a good one, you'll know it will be there forever. That, to me, is the magic."