Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
After Sept. 11, 2001, Jon Bon Jovi started keeping a diary. He wrote down all the experiences and events that kept his life in motion. He also traced the ongoing lives of his family, his friends, and his band mates. He says it was a cathartic, necessary exercise after the attacks on the U.S.
"It was a good way of capturing moments in time -- both important milestones and simple, everyday occurrences," he recalls. "It helped keep me focused on the people and things that mattered to me."
It also inspired him musically. Eventually, many of those diary entries were shaped into songs that now comprise "Bounce," the eighth studio recording for his namesake band, Bon Jovi. Produced by the singer with guitarist Richie Sambora and Luke Ebbin, the Island Def Jam collection is due in the U.S. and Canada Oct. 8; it was released throughout Europe on Monday (Sept. 23) via Universal.
Though the band's frontman/primary tunesmith asserts that the project is not completely steeped in sentiments and reactions to Sept. 11, he admits that lingering emotions relating to that day waft over a number of its tracks-not to mention his overall perspective as an artist.
"It was necessary for everyone to look at their art after that day and look at what they're putting out into the world," he says. "For me, it was unavoidable. The county where we live was the hardest hit in New Jersey. There were 163 families affected on that day. We felt so close to the whole thing. It had to come out in some of the songs."
Bon Jovi's feelings about the current state of the world can perhaps be most strongly felt on the anthemic set-opener, "Undivided," which he says "speaks to the oneness of everyone. Rather than dwelling upon the horror, it celebrates the silver lining the black cloud Sept. 11 offered us."
He follows that line of thought right into the album's next cut (and first single), "Everyday." Like "Undivided," the track unfolds with the band's signature blend of aggressive, metallic guitars, forceful beats, and a melody that's pure pop.
"'Everyday' is about dusting yourself off and getting on with life," Bon Jovi notes. "It reinforces the need for us to live each day to its fullest. The lyrics acknowledge the harshness of life, but they also encourage you to push past those hard times and keep on going. The potential for happiness is always there if you keep pressing forward."
For the band's world tour, which it expects to last well into 2003, fans who buy "Bounce" will be excited that their copy of the album will allow them early access to tickets. A serialized code in the packaging can be registered at bonjovi.com to access presale ticket offers. Tickets for the tour go on sale to the general public in October.
After nearly 20 years as the leader of his namesake band, Bon Jovi says he still "gets the creative rush he needs" from being one of the guys in a quartet: "I've had my time doing the solo thing, and it's cool; it's different. But I just don't feel that burn to get out there and be by myself. I still just really get off on being a singer in a rock'n'roll band."
Over the years, he's forged a bond with bandmates Sambora, David Bryan (keyboards), and Tico Torres (drums) (original bassist Alec John Such left the lineup in 1994 and has not been permanently replaced) that he likens to "a family. These are not just people I work with. These are people who are so deeply ingrained in my life that I can't imagine ever not seeing and playing music with them on a regular basis."
Excerpted from the Sept.28, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.
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