Bon Jovi continues nonstop touring because it can

2013-03-07T11:00:00Z 2013-03-14T12:12:48Z Bon Jovi continues nonstop touring because it canBy Kevin C. Johnson kjohnson@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8191 stltoday.com

There’s no stopping veteran New Jersey superstars Bon Jovi.

The rockers are back on the road with a full spectacle that lands at Scottrade Center less than two years after the band’s last visit there.

Keyboardist David Bryan says Bon Jovi keeps going because “that’s what we do. We’re musicians, and we love to play and make music. And with every album we get better, and with every tour we get better.”

Bryan says it’s an honor for the ’80s staple to be at the top of their game after so many years.

“The Rolling Stones are (at) the gate, so I guess we’ve got till 70-something,” he says. “We’ve got another couple years there.”

But the best reason for the band to continue doing what they do: because they can.

Bon Jovi’s “Because We Can — The Tour” kicked off last month in Uncasville, Conn., and will set up shop Wednesday night at Scottrade.

Bryan says the feeling of getting back on the road is great. “We’re privileged to be able to go out there and do what we do as a rock band — kick ass.”

He says the band, led by Jon Bon Jovi, always tries to keep its tours exciting without detracting from the fact that “there’s a band up there. For us it enhances what we do, and we really got some cool tricks up our sleeves.”

Also new is the album “What About Now,” scheduled for release next week, but the band doesn’t think that’s a problem for people who come to the show to hear “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

The band promises its show won’t be bogged down with unfamiliar, newer material.

“We play for at least 2½ hours — sometimes longer — so there’s a lot of songs from all the records,” Bryan says. “We know there’s staples that, as fans, we would want to hear, so we always give that and then we change up a bunch of songs and then throw in a couple of new songs.”

Bon Jovi lead guitarist Richie Sambora says this is the first time the band has launched a tour before putting out a new record. “What About Now,” like all Bon Jovi records, was born out of a specific time period, he says.

“We were never one of those bands that actually carried songs over from something that was written five or six years ago and brought that into a whole new situation,” Sambora says. “Every album is born out of what’s happening in the world and born out of what’s happening in our own emotional feelings.”

On its last tour, the band hit more than 50 countries, and the members witnessed a lot of different economic situations and how people addressed those situations.

“We were feeling how the economy was affecting people’s psyche,” Sambora says. “Just having a very optimistic outlook in the songs is very important, like the first single ‘Because We Can,’ a song of inclusion. If you can help somebody, you should try to do it because you can.”

But “What About Now” is anything but a “bummer” of a record.

“It’s certainly not a negative record,” Sambora says. “It’s a very optimistic and positive record.”

Radio programmers, clamoring for pop, dance, hip-hop and other more current genres, aren’t exactly putting Bon Jovi music at the top of their playlists anymore. But that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. The band landed a performance slot on “American Idol” next week.

“What’s happening in music is what’s happening,” says Sambora, a fan of acts such as the Killers, Muse, Silversun Pickups and Fitz and the Tantrums.

But that’s not going to change Bon Jovi.

“We do what we do,” Sambora says. “We stay true to who we are.”


What Bon Jovi: Because We Can — The Tour • When 7:30 p.m. Wednesday • Where Scottrade Center, 1401 Clark Avenue • How much $16.50-$572 • More info Ticketmaster.com

Kevin C. Johnson is the popular music critic and nightlife reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at kevincjohnson and add him on Facebook at kevincjohnsonstl.

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