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Blog: Bon Jovi

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I've spent the past week or so delving into the works of BON JOVI. This isn't a sudden mid-life onset of A Heavy Metal Phase or anything (well, not yet anyway), it's because the lovely people at Fika Recordings have proposed a Bon Jovi Tribute Album and, as my initial choice of "Living On A Prayer" (which we do a MEAN version of at Hibbett singalongs) had been taken I needed to find something else to do.

It was actually quite a Good Thing that that song had already been taken, as I couldn't help notice similarities between that and certain ROCK EPICS I have been performing in certain ROCK OPERAS for the past couple of years, especially the "WOAH-OH" bit. I thus hit THE YOUTUBE and found myself in a WORLD of eighties/nineties LIGHT METAL.

The FIRST thing I noticed was that, GOODNESS ME, but eighties/nineties light metal videos take FOREVER to get going. Go and have a look yourself - BLIMEY! GET ON WITH THE SONG EVERYONE! Every single video has a LENGTHY and PONDEROUS introduction bit that had me GNASHING at the bit to get the actual music started. Were there just not enough videos for MTV to show, or something, so they had to pad it all out?

The SECOND thing i notice was that, GOODNESS ME, Bon Jovi had some GRATE songs. I've always thought of them as a lightweight standard issue soft metal group, but once you listen past the haircuts and old-fashioned production there are pretty much all ACE. Also: DEAD EASY. I went round the TAB sites and found that every one of there songs that i liked was INCREDIBLY SIMPLE - most times when I'm looking at songs to cover I have to figure out ways to simplify them so I can PLAY them, but Bon Jovi appear to have done this already. Nice easy chords, straightforward arrangements, and structures that make SENSE. Well done, Team Jovi!

The more I played the songs the more I realised that, beneath the hairspray they are basically BUDDY HOLLY songs, which rather explains them being GRATE. Big old tunes, singalong choruses, and a ton of HOOKS - HOORAH! Once THAT was in my head looking at the videos got even more weird - chaps! You're playing proper old fashioned 50's POP! Could you maybe STOP acting like you're in METALLICA or something? It was ODD - the more simple and JOYOUS the song, the more (in the early days at least) they seemed to want to be PORTENTIOUS and/or garbed in SPANDEX.

So anyway, eventually I settled on "Keeping The Faith", which nobody else had taken, and spent a GLORIOUS couple of days and evenings recording it. I did it all at home and got the MUSIC done pretty quickly (tho with a LOT of THORT re: arrangements - like so many of yr GRATE POP SONGS, the chord progressions are peasy but what they DO with them goes through all sorts of shifts and turns) but the SINGING took ages. Obviously I am physically unable of singing it in a proper ROCK way so had to go through all sorts of attempts to find a way to sing it that a) i COULD b) sounded REASONABLE. The BIG problem was the bit where everyone goes "FAITH!" Crumbs! It took me a LOT of goes to get THAT sounding right!

But in the end I think I did a pretty good job of it - I doubt it would please a ROCK MONSTER but it got ME jigging around the spare room to it, and even the HUGE GUITAR SOLO (oh yes! when I'm recording in MY house you can bet I'm going to put a guitar solo in there, also UKULELE) made me want to dance about. I sent it off to the Fika types who, much to my relief, seemed to quite like it, and now all I need to do is sit back and wait for everyone else to finish THEIR versions.

I think I might listen to some Bon Jovi while I wait!

posted 17/3/2011 by MJ Hibbett

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