Dear Jon, Ritchie, David and Tico:
I’m curious: Have any of you seen the movie Almost Famous? I only ask because there’s a line in the film that reminded me of you today. Perhaps you know it: As I recall, the Lester Bangs character says to the naïve William Miller, “…They will ruin rock n’ roll and strangle everything we love about it.”
Even out of context the line has resonance. But don’t worry, I’m not about to accuse you of ruining rock n’ roll – though I’m sure there are those who would, particularly after listening to your new album.
It’s just that quote was the only thing I could think of when I read the announcement of your Livin on a Prayer contest today.
Now, you know, of course, that I consider myself to be a fan of the band. I said as much to you back when you were on the These Days tour, and you graciously allowed a small-time writer to interview you. (Side note to Tico: you’re a dick.)
Your music has been such a significant component of my life that I’ve incorporated stories about it into my book tour. (Speaking of which, would it kill you to buy a copy of my book? I mention you in it, and for all the cash I’ve dropped over the past 22 years on your music and shows, I don’t think throwing a girl fifteen bucks in support is too much to ask.)
My guy even purchased the “Livin on a Prayer” gold record single as a Christmas present for me; that’s how much I love that song.
Obviously, I’m not alone in my appreciation of it. Which I suppose is why you’ve made it the cornerstone of this little contest you have running. I guess if I were still 12 years-old I’d think it was a cute idea, encouraging fans to record themselves performing “Livin on a Prayer” for the chance to be shown on a jumbotron during the hometown show you play.
Really guys, I’m not 12 anymore. I don’t need to see my face looking back at me while you play a song; hearing my inner thoughts come through your lyrics was what drew me to the band in the first place.
But that’s not what bothers me in all this; it’s the fact that your machine is churning out such poor music now that you have to blatantly whore out material written in 1986 to get people interested in the new tour.
Sure, your corporate entity could argue that this contest is a chance for your fans to connect with you, but I don’t buy it. If you really wanted this to be an opportunity to connect with your fans, you wouldn’t be showing the winning video clips on the jumbotron while you play; you’d invite the winning fans to join you on stage.
And that might have actually been enough to get me interested in your contest, were I interested in your music now.
Your pretty hairdo and white teeth (seriously Jon, layoff the whitener – your freaking teeth glow in the dark ) combined with rigid overproduction and lazy hooks does not add up to an album worth listening to.
I remain your fan, Bon Jovi, but do not expect me to sing along unconditionally. I demand more from the music I love. I’m hoping you will, too.
Hoping to see you on the rebound,