Bon Jovi‘s 32-year relationship with Mercury Records is ending, Jon Bon Jovi tells Billboard.
“It is the end of an era,” says the singer just before taking the stage for a show with his sideband, Jon Bon Jovi & The Kings of Suburbia at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada.
The news comes one day after the release of Bon Jovi’s “fan album,” Burning Bridges. The record, he explains, is a collection of songs that was meant to accompany the group’s upcoming 12-show tour of Southeast Asia, but in reality, it was something more, he said.
“[It fulfills] a commitment to Mercury Records,” he tells Billboard. “After 32 years, we have parted ways. That is the big news. If you listen to ‘Burning Bridges,’ the song, it is clearly spelled out.”
The song is last on Burning Bridges’ tracklist, and includes the scathing lyrics, “After 30 years of loyalty, they let you dig the grave / Now maybe you can learn to sing or strum along / Well I’ll give you half the publishing / You’re why I wrote this song.”
The Sayreville, New Jersey native says he’s fully aware that the song is targeting the label, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group which effectively operates under the Island Records banner. Says Bon Jovi: “This hits it right in the head and tells you what happened. Listen to the lyrics because it explains exactly what happened. And that’s that.”
Bon Jovi has sold 21.8 million albums in the United States, according to Nielsen Music, including five which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The band has also notched 25 Billboard Hot 100 hits, including 10 top 10s and four No. 1s.
Bon Jovi adds that he is looking towards the future with a new album and tour scheduled for the spring of 2016. He intends to complete recording by the end of this year, and he promises that the material — which comes after a difficult 2014 that saw longtime collaborator Richie Sambora leave the group — is worth the wait.
“A lot happened,” says Bon Jovi. “Richie’s sudden departure, my trying to buy the [Buffalo] Bills and now this with the label. I have a lot of material to write about. Believe me, the new record is good. It’s pointed. It is something we are going to be very proud of in the spring when we put it out.”
Right now, Bon Jovi says he is focusing on the evening’s show at Rogers Arena, which was scheduled to take place in Stanley Park but moved to the arena after plans fell apart with the original promoter, Paper Rain Promotions. A “stressful” week involved discovering all of the pieces weren’t in place for his show with The Kings.
“When it all fell apart, my initial reaction was it’s too bad, make sure everybody gets their refunds,” he shares. “And the second sentence was, there isn’t going to be any refunds. Now we got to take over. So we called the arena and God Bless them for coming to help and the Tourism Board. We made it happen.”
Bon Jovi describes the Kings as a group of friends from New Jersey who give him “the freedom as a player to go and make music when it’s not in official capacity,” and the snafu as “a situation that turned left,” adding, “All I care about is the folks who paid their hard-earned money. We are like the International Silver String Submarine Band from The Little Rascals… We’re gonna do a show! So we’re playing baby!”
Billboard has reached out to Mercury/Island Records for comment.