Bon Jovi on New Tour, Album and Getting Into Rock Hall 'Before We're Dead'
Bon Jovi fans can expect another visual feast, as the New Jersey group has become known for, when it hits the road for its Because We Can -- The Tour, which kicks off Feb. 9 in Uncasville, Conn.
"With every tour we try to up our game with that, without making it such a production that you lose the fact there's a band there," keyboardist David Bryan told Billboard during a pre-tour conference call with reporters. "For us it enhances what we do, and we've got some really cool tricks up our sleeve. It's really looking cool." Asked to reveal a couple, however, Bryan says, "Nope. Then it wouldn't be a surprise."
Certainly one of the intriguing aspects of the tour will be how Bon Jovi's set list evolves as it goes along. The group's new album, "What About Now," doesn't come out until March 26, more than six weeks into the tour -- the first time it's ever done that according to guitarist Richie Sambora.
"We'll give you the title of the song first," he noted with a laugh, while Bryan added that Bon Jovi has "started rehearsing the new songs, and we'll work 'em in" as audiences become more familiar with it. Frontman and namesake Jon Bon Jovi is in charge of each night's repertoire, Sambora and Bryan noted, with plenty of wiggle room and options built into the shows.
"There's extra ones on the side he'll call, so we're always ready," Bryan said. "We never do the same set twice...We play for at least two and a half hours, sometimes longer, so there's a lot of songs from all the records. And we know there's a stable we as fans would want to hear, so we always give them, then we change up a bunch of songs and throw in a couple new ones."
One that's likely, of course, is "Because We Can," the first single from "What About Now." The song sold 7,000 copies in its first week of release and peaked No. 16 on the Hot Rock Songs chart, though it slid to 44 this week. Sambora and Bryan said their confident the rest of the album will sound comfortable to Bon Jovi fans.
"What it really sounds like is us at the end of the day," Sambora explained. "A band like us that's been around for almost 30 years now, we're not chasing anything but ourselves... I think at the end of the day, that's the way it really ends up." Bryan added that, "If you put the four of us (including drummer Tico Torres) in a room, it's going to sound like us, so it's us. It's us that's the next step, if you will."
Bon Jovi plans to be on the road for a full year for the Because We Can tour; its last road trek, 2011's Bon Jovi live, played to more than 1.5 million fans and grossed nearly $143 million in North America and Europe. The group actually has a night off before its April 19 stop in Los Angeles -- which happens to be this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE. Bon Jovi is eligible for induction itself, but while Sambora says that "I'd like to see us make it in there before we're dead," he quickly adds that, "I don't think anybody's dwelling on it."
"It's an ongoing thing," drummer Torres adds. "There's a long list of great bands that need to go in there, and only a few can go in every year. It's something that even being nominated is an honor. It's nice to be in that company. There's such a long list of great, great musicians and some that are still alive that are eligible. You don't lose sleep over it."