I *~heart~* Jon Bon Jovi

I actually had a sweatshirt made with that saying, decades ago, it seems. It was black with sleeves that rolled up to show a gray fleece, and it had a big red heart and white lettering. I might have been in seventh grade, so here I am 15 years later, wishing I had that shirt so I could sleep in it tonight.

I’ve only listened to four songs off the new CD, “Bounce,” but I am loving it so far. Bon Jovi CDs are my catharsis — kind of like warm, fuzzy pajamas or flannel sheets to me. You know they’re going to feel heavenly before you even touch them, and you know you can pull them out on a crisp night and feel good while you’re in them. I tend to memorize Bon Jovi song lyrics immediately in a bizarre bonding ritual with the CDs, and when I revisit the albums, even if it’s years later, I haven’t forgotten a single syllable or guitar riff. I think their CDs have thwarted many a bout of depression on my part.

Today, I even bought “7800 Degrees Fahrenheit,” their second CD, since I finally wore out the cassette and frankly, it’s the last album I had left to convert to CD (except for the “Young Guns” soundtrack, but I’m fine with having that one as a cassette). I never did buy Richie Sambora’s CDs (he has two solo records), but when I have money, I’ll get around to it. I loved his solo stuff, but having limited funds most of my life, I invested in Jon’s solo efforts instead … and of course I was not disappointed. Although I’m trying to get my hands on the video movie, “Destination Anywhere” — does anyone know anyone who’s selling it? My online stores aren’t stocking it.

“Bounce,” the new CD, is an epic. Jon and Richie were inspired to start writing material for the album after 9/11/01, and each song completes a thought that flows fluidly into the next song. Yet each song stands freely, easily, beautifully. I always feel so good when I hear one of their CDs, although “These Days” will always be my favorite. But I think this one is going to rate as one of my favorites, just because I know where their hearts were when they wrote the melodies, and someday when I force my kids to listen to these songs, I will make sure that they know why the lyrics mean so much to me. They don’t tell of gore and tragedy … they tell of finding strength and hope when it seems to have all dissolved into an ocean of tears.

My history with Bon Jovi has been a long one, since 1984 when the band debuted, although everyone really jumped on the bandwagon in ’86 when “Slippery When Wet” was released. It was in ’88, though, when I was lying in my bed, listening to the newly released “New Jersey,” when I had the inspiration for my book series. I’ve been hammering out ideas for that series in the ensuring 14 years and always get a renewed interest when I hear a Bon Jovi song. It’s a story about a rock star, not so surprisingly. 😉 I don’t talk about my series much, but I will admit that I named my characters Stephanie and Jesse, and years after I did that, Jon proceeded to have three kids, and the first two were named Stephanie Rose and Jesse James. The connection that I felt to him was so eerie … my literary Stephanie and Jesse are like my own children, and those became his real-life children. Damn it, I need to meet this man someday. I just have to.

I saw that my other favorite artist, Melissa Etheridge, has a new book on the shelves. Who knew? I wanted it so badly, but I know my spending limits. Next pay, maybe. Or the one after that. But Bon Jovi was definitely today’s priority. I bought all of their albums since “Slippery” on the first day that they were released. It’s just my tradition to do that, just like I have to see them every time they play a concert in my city. There are some splurges that become necessities, and anything related to Bon Jovi qualifies as a spending emergency. 😉 And in November, I will be in the record stores, buying Melissa Etheridge’s concert DVD and hopefully the single for “The Weakness in Me” because I am going CRAZY without it!!!

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