Jon Bon Jovi had only one person in mind to induct his band Bon Jovi into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame in April: Howard Stern. So, on Wednesday morning (Jan. 17), the two old friends revealed to the world that after much hand-wringing and kvetching on Stern’s part the radio icon has agreed to do the honors for the New Jersey rockers.
The announcement came during Bon Jovi’s appearance on Stern’s SiriusXM satellite radio show, where he revealed that he and Stern recently had a secret meeting to discuss the gig. Bon Jovi said he first tried to email Stern to say they had to talk in person, a request Stern tried to avoid, explaining he had a standing appointment with his psychiatrist that conflicted with Bon Jovi’s schedule. Finally convinced, Stern came down from his appointment and found Bon Jovi waiting in his car, eager to tell him the good news. “Does that mean anything to you?… Is that important?” Stern wondered about the Hall of Fame induction.
“I had hoped this day was going to come and it does come and I had given it a lot of thought to who I wanted to induct us,” the rocker said. After considering some unnamed “big rock star” to do the deed, Bon Jovi realized that “I only had one choice and I told no one, not my wife, certainly not my band.”
Stern, who is notoriously averse to traveling and was very chagrined to find out that this year’s induction ceremony would be in the Rock Hall’s hometown of Cleveland (and not New York), said he was torn over the decision, but ultimately accepted the request. “I am so honored that you asked me,” he said, inquiring once more if there was any way to potentially move the celebration back to New York to make things easier on him. “I am thrilled to do it.”
Bon Jovi explained his thought process to Stern, saying, “You’ve only ever been my first choice. Our careers have paralleled in a lot of ways. Whether ups or downs we’ve come through everything together and we do this at this point because we love the people we work with… nobody knows not only me, but the members of the band as well as Howard.”
Over the course of their hour-plus discussion about Bon Jovi’s long road to rock superstardom the pair talked about how the singer made the prophetic choice to ditch a garish neon cover treatment for the group’s breakthrough 1986 Slippery When Wet album in favor of the title hastily scrawled in water sprayed on a black garbage bag. Bon Jovi also addressed the elephant in the room: whether estranged guitarist Richie Sambora would be on hand for the induction.
— Stern Show (@sternshow) January 17, 2018
“There is no issue,” said Bon Jovi, shooting down rumors that he and Sambora’s feuding led to the guitarist’s departure in 2013. “There is no animus.” Though they haven’t spoken in several years, Bon Jovi said he and Sambora’s camps have been in touch and he expects the guitarist to be on hand at the ceremony. Revealing that he’s turned down other bands who’ve asked him to induct them in the past, Stern said later repeated he was honored, but worried that despite more than three decades in radio, “I will fuck this up and you will be miserable.” After hemming and hawing for much of the hour about how bad he is at public speaking and giving speeches, near the end of the interview Stern said confidently, “So I’m going to induct you. I’ve got a lot to say.”
The 33rd annual RRHOF induction ceremony will take place on Apr. 14 at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio, with the other inductors to be announced at a later date; the ceremony will be broadcast on HBO as well as SiriusXM. Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, The Cars, Nina Simone and early influence gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe are also slated for induction.
Listen to the interview below:
And listen to Bon Jovi’s new single, “When We Were Us.”