By MIKE CHAIKEN
Bon Jovi was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honor that sometimes precedes a band’s decision to retire from the road and launch into a farewell tour.
After all, no one would begrudge Bon Jovi—which includes original members singer Jon Bon Jovi, keyboardist David Bryan, and drummer Tico Torres—a life of ease. Think about it, “Slippery When Wet,” the group’s breakthrough album, was released 32 years ago.
But the group, which pulls into the Mohegan Sun on May 5, isn’t quite ready to hang up the guitars, keys, and drumsticks yet.
In a press teleconference earlier this year to announce the upcoming tour, Bryan and Torres were asked if Bon Jovi had plans to retire from the road any time soon?
“Hopefully later than sooner,” said Bryan. “You know what, it’s amazing when you look at the reunion tour and then the farewell… tours… You look at so many bands… (and) they’re in their 14th farewell tour. I don’t really know how true those are and how much they need to sell tickets.”
“I think for us it’s more about, we’re just going to keep doing it and having fun,” said Bryan. “The future is the future, it has yet to happen and until then we’re just going to keep having fun and making records and go play in front of the people and have a great time.”
“We made a promise to ourselves… as long as it’s fun and as long as we can have something to contribute musically together why not do it?” said Torres. “That’s where we’re at.”
“Look at the Rolling Stones, and they’re in their 70s,” said Bryan.
“Some people have to retire,” said Torres. “A lot of it could be physical. Some people like (Rush drummer) Neal Peart… He says, ‘I can’t play like Neal Peart anymore…. Then you have the other spectrum of B.B. King, he passed away with a guitar in his hand. “
Bon Jovi currently is touring behind its latest album, “This House Is Not A Home.” But with 30 years-plus of material, how does Bon Jovi choose a set list?
“You love to play the old songs and the new ones and we mix it up and that’s what keeps it fresh,” said Bryan. “We have so many to choose from so we change up the sets every night and swap out a couple of songs.”
“You always got to play the ones that we have to and want to and our fans expect and we expect.,” said Bryan.
“It’s fantastic to be able to play some new stuff,” said Torres. “Whenever it’s new, you enjoy really playing it and you digest it.”
“Like anything in the whole album there’s certain songs you really love to do and that really work live and then you figure out which ones don’t which you’ll throw them in once in a while but pretty much by playing them live you get an idea what works out there,” said Torres.
Although Bon Jovi first got its popularity sea legs in the 1980s, the band keeps returning to the charts over the decades, adapting to the times. The Bon Jovi of 1986 is not the Bon Jovi of 2018.
“That was one of the things we set out to do,” said Bryan. “First, you set out to make a great record and learn the craft of that. Then once you get to the number one record you realize that that was the hardest thing. Then you realize well the hardest thing is to stay number one and to remain current…. Definitely, it’s an effort and it seems to be working.”
“To me, every song you do and every record is like a newborn baby,” said Torres. “You don’t know how they’re going to grow up. It’s the way we do it because we feel good about it in the studio and that’s why we put them out. “
For “This House Is Not A Home,” Bon Jovi tried some new tactics to make it fresh.
“On this one,” said Bryan, “we got in a room together, looking at each other and (really bashed it) out in the studio. We hadn’t been doing that for a while on the other records… And this one… (we said) let’s just get live, get in the room all together and bash it out. (Let’s) really create something… We really did and (we’re) very proud of that record.”
Bon Jovi performs at the Mohegan Sun Arena Uncasville on Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $200 and $130.
For more information, go to www.MoheganSun.com or www.bonjovi.com