They band is named after the lead singer, but stadium rockers Bon Jovi are no solo act.
Drummer Tico Torres and keyboardist David Bryan have been part of the group since its inception in 1983. They say they never felt overshadowed by their charismatic frontman.
“Bon Jovi has always felt like a band to me,” Torres says. “Jon is the frontman and he is absolutely great at doing that, but that never took away from the fact that it is a band.”
Bryan concurs, stating the live shows are the best illustration of the group’s dynamics.
“Once you see us on the stage then you will know what we are about,” he says. “It’s definitely a group effort and everybody does their best to deliver a great show for the fans.”
Torres says there is a definite sense of renewal within the band. Speaking before a recent show in Malaysia, he says Bon Jovi are enjoying their live return after a two-year break. “In a way it does feel like the first day of school,” he says with a laugh. “But this is where we are best, out there with the fans. It never gets old.” Bryan also credits the renewed vigour to new band member Phil X. After fellow original member and lead guitarist Richie Sambora left the group in 2014, X took over and made such an impression that he was enlisted as an official member last month.
However, that doesn’t mean the band doesn’t miss Sambora. Bryan credits the flamboyant axeman for taking the hard step of entering rehab to battle substance abuse.
“You know, drug addiction is a very tough thing,” he says. “All we can do is just wish him all the best.”
Torres says Bon Jovi plan to hit the studio immediately after this mini Asian and Middle East tour. While acknowledging the new album Burning Bridges is a bit of a stopgap record in that it consists of previously unfinished songs, Torres says it served its purpose in getting the band back on the road.
“There is plenty more music to come,” he says. “But for now this is an album that we want to be for the fans. It gave us a chance to come and return to Abu Dhabi – it’s really for you guys.”