When their album “Slippery When Wet,” achieved platinum status, Bon Jovi was opening for .38 Special in Iowa. Little did the band from Sayreville, N.J. know how many more millions of albums, sold-out stadiums and illustrious awards they would achieve in the following years. Although Bon Jovi has rocked a few notable hair styles since “Slippery When Wet” was the top selling album in 1987, they have still kept the same rock ‘n’ roll spirit since then. With the release of “What About Now,” Bon Jovi brings in new exciting elements to their music, yet remains the same group of hard rockers that have stayed true to their identity for the past two decades.
Inspired by the struggle of millions to make ends meet following the economic meltdown of 2008, Bon Jovi hit the recording studio to create an anthem for hardworking Americans to hear and be assured that the good times would return. As usual, Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora teamed up to write the album “What About Now.” The duo has been writing albums since the band’s inception, and they have always met the challenge of producing great hits for their fans. Their first single off the album “Because We Can,” reflects the band’s initiatives to help others, and their fans have taken the song to heart to assist their communities. The song has made it to No. 1 on the iTunes charts in 12 different countries in typical Bon Jovi fashion.
Introducing new songs in concert is never easy for established bands to accomplish. With more than 100 songs released throughout their decades-long career, Bon Jovi has the impressive task of playing fan favorites as well as new material at all 68 stops on their world tour.
When asked how the band plans to incorporate their classics with the newly released material in a recent Rolling Stones interview, guitarist Richie Sambora laughingly said, “We’ll give you the title of the song first. We’ve started rehearsing the new songs, and we’ll work ’em in.” Keyboardist David Bryan explained, “There’s a stable of songs 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.”
Bon Jovi often improvises the set list and decides on stage which songs to play, responding to each individual crowd’s preferences. Bryan continues, “It enhances what we do, and we’ve got some really cool tricks up our sleeve.”
One unusual aspect of “What About Now” is its release date. Typically, bands release new material before a tour kicks off to spark excitement, but Bon Jovi’s new approach aims to buck that tradition. “What About Now” was released in the U.S. on March 8, well after the February 9 launch of “Because We Can – The Tour.” Within its first week, the album debuted No. 1 on Billboard 200, sold 101,000 copies and became Bon Jovi’s fifth No. 1 album.
Like any band that has stuck together for over two decades, Bon Jovi’s sound has evolved from their early recordings but keeps the same essence of rock alive. Without a doubt, Bon Jovi will storm into Austin and bring down the roof for thousands of fans at the Frank Erwin Center April 10.
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