I’ve made it clear that Bon Jovi is my all-time favorite band. That will never change, mainly because their songs have meant a lot personally to me over the years.
But with their new disappointing album, and the sudden departure of Richie Sambora from the band, Bon Jovi is in some serious trouble.
I wasn’t really surprised Richie (temporarily?) bailed on Jon Bon Jovi and the band. Frankly, this was a scenario that was easy to see coming for several years.
But can these two survive a strained relationship threatened by egos, money and addiction? That isn’t so easy to predict.
What About Now: Bon Jovi’s worst album to date
Before looking at the background of the Jon and Richie feud, it’s important to look at the new album – “What About Now.”
I already had a bit of a bad feeling about this album when the first single “Because We Can” was released. Yes, it is a catchy song. However, it is the same song as “It’s My Life,” and “We Weren’t Born to Follow.” No originality.
My prediction was confirmed when I bought the album the day it came out. Though it pains me to say, the album was a disappointment.
Actually, the better description would be horribly disappointing.
As rock bands get older, they can’t realistically keep up the same sound they had early in their careers. Bon Jovi is no different, and it has shown in the previous two albums.
“Have a Nice Day” in 2005 was their last real good rock album. They followed that up with “Lost Highway,” a risky country rock sounding album. For the most part, I thought “Lost Highway” was entertaining and proved to be a good risk.
“The Circle” came out in 2009 and started to shift towards the soft rock. I wasn’t really thrilled with that album, but I thought there was some originality, especially with “When We Were Beautiful.”
I’m OK with a softer rock album as long as the song writing and sound has some originality. “What About Now” seriously lacks that.
Songs like “Pictures of You,” “What About Now,” and “That’s What the Water Made Me” have a solid sound, but they are not original at all. Then there are “Thick as Thieves,” “Room at the End of the World,” and “The Fighter” which I feel are just plain godawful.
The only songs I can say I enjoy are “Amen,” “What’s Left of Me,” and “Beautiful World.” However, those songs wouldn’t even sniff my top 20 Bon Jovi song list.
In my opinion, this is by far Bon Jovi’s worst album, right behind “Crush.”
What About Now: Why did Richie leave the band?
When you look closely, you can see that this latest Bon Jovi album played a huge role in the current Jon and Richie feud.
In the past, those two have written almost all of the band’s songs together. In the previous three albums combined, there were only eight songs Richie didn’t help write.
On the deluxe version of “What About Now,” Richie only contributed in the writing of five of the 15 tracks. Uh oh…
I could tell without even looking at the discography – the album didn’t sound the same and was missing a lot of the usual guitar solos.
Why the absence from song writing on the new album? Because Richie was busy working on his solo album, “Aftermath of the Lowdown.” He wrote all 12 of the songs on that album, and frankly, it was way more entertaining and original than What About Now. He doesn’t have the vocals Jon has, but Richie’s album had a ton of energy and felt like a real rock album.
Deep down, Jon probably realizes that Richie’s album was better, though he will never admit it. It kind of proves that Richie may have been the key to the band’s most popular hits.
TMZ’s report when Richie left said it was because Jon treats him like crap (code for doesn’t respect him) and money. For what it’s worth, Jon said the TMZ report is a bunch of crap.
The money issue is no surprise, since all the band members have said it the past that it is not a democracy and they are not paid evenly. When you make every business decision regarding the band, I think it is fair to say you deserve to take a bigger cut than your drummer or keyboardist.
Then again, Jon has shown incredible patience with Richie. On several occasions, Richie has let the band down when his alcoholism has led to a stint in rehab. The last time that happened was during the Bon Jovi tour in 2011.
I was at one of those shows when they came to Houston, and honestly, it wasn’t the same without Sambora on the guitar. The energy was off and the entertainment of seeing him change guitars every song wasn’t there.
Each time, Jon takes Richie back. However, that surely wore on their relationship over the years.
What About Now: The future of the band
So where does Bon Jovi go from here?
Obviously, the tour is continuing without Richie. The band has a backup guitarist in his place (who is nowhere near as talented as Richie I might add).
Many critics and insiders predict that tempers will cool and Richie will return to the band in time for their tour stop in Los Angeles later this month. That may be wishful thinking, though, as nothing has been worked out between the two stars.
However, here is the honest truth – Jon and Richie need each other.
Without Richie, there is no Bon Jovi. Instead, it becomes a solo career for Jon. In that case, prepare for an album of soft rock and ballads.
On the other side, Richie needs Jon just as much. There is no way he can make nearly as much money as he does with the band. Jon could theoretically survive as a full-time solo artist. I don’t think Richie can.
So does that mean a make-up session is inevitable? One would think so. But there are still a lot of issues they have to work out, and this could hang over the band’s head for quite some time.
I will still love Bon Jovi, but in my mind, there is no band unless Jon and Richie are side by side on the stage, seeing a million faces and rocking them all.
Time to put egos aside and work things out you two!
• Why can’t the organizers at Augusta National move into the 21st century and broadcast the morning sessions of The Masters on Thursday and Friday?
Sure, they show live video from Amen Corner, as well as the 15th and 16th holes. But why can’t I watch all of the holes during the day? People want to watch The Masters, and the tournament continues to make that impossible. It’s illogical and frustrating.
I was actually on the field of Cowboys Stadium when this happened, though thankfully I was about 30 yards away. I know a few of the reporters that were hurt, and each of them said Jerry Jones made sure they were financially compensated for all of their medical bills.
Save for a cut on his arm, this coach wasn’t hurt. And he’s not suing because of medical costs. Instead, he’s suing because the video going viral caused, “great personal anguish and embarrassment.”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That is absolutely ridiculous. Of course, he’ll get a nice payday for this lawsuit when Jerry Jones settles with him out of court. It is so frustrating to watch people abuse the legal system.
• I was a bit disappointed by the season finale for “The Walking Dead,” save for the very end. I’ll be curious to see the direction of the show at the beginning of season four. Hopefully it can regain a lot of the intensity it had during the first eight episodes of S3.
• If you haven’t seen “Olympus Has Fallen,” do so. It is one of the best action movies I have seen in years.
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!