Bon Jovi rocked the American Idol stage Thursday night, but if things had gone a little differently, Jon Bon Jovi might have been sitting at the judges' table with Randy Jackson and Nicki Minaj. He says he was invited to judge Idol -- and all the other singing competitions -- but he declined.
"They asked us my interest level in all of those shows and none of them appealed to me just simply because I had a tour and an album slated," Jon tells ABC News Radio, adding, "It's not for me. It's a different life than I lead." But that doesn't mean that Jon disapproves of those shows...or having Bon Jovi songs performed on them, for that matter.
"Oh, I love it!" he laughs. "I have no slight against any of the shows, it's just not me." As Jon explains, "We're very busy. I keep making records every two years and going on these long tours. So it just couldn't fit into my schedule. And I don't live in California."
Speaking of making records and going on long tours, Bon Jovi's new album What About Now just hit stores this week, but the band's actually been on tour since early February. Noting that it was a "brave move to go out there and put tickets on sale without a record" in stores, Jon says he's been happy to see how receptive the fans have been to hearing a bunch of new songs they're unfamiliar with.
"Playing seven new songs over the course of a three hour show you had to have that kind of trust," he tells ABC News Radio. "And it's worked. It's worked great. I've been really pleased that I was able to have that kind of room to move with our audience." However, Jon says he does reward the fans for their patience by giving them a huge helping of songs they do know.
"I tell 'em before I launch into any of the new stuff," says Jon. "I go, 'OK, listen, I'm gonna be playing these for me, and then I'm gonna play you all the hits you've ever heard for the last 30 years!'"
As for What About Now, it's filled with the kind of empowering, encouraging and compassionate songs that the band has become known for over the years, starting with the first single, "Because We Can." "I think that's who we are. I think that's who I am. I don't make believe with that messaging," Jon tells ABC News Radio, while noting that for most of the '90s, that particular point of view was "not the fashionable thing to do."
"We were sort of feeling like this little island out at sea," he says. "And in truth, I've seen the general feeling of music really turn around dramatically [lately] and I see a lot more of it by a lot of other artists, you know: that kind of uplifting optimism."
In "Because We Can," Jon sings about wanting to "be the one you run to, when you need a shoulder." So, does he feel that fans see Bon Jovi as the band that they can "run to" for uplifting songs when times are hard? "I think that that's probably been put upon us over the years," Jon admits. "And if that's the case for the listener who finds that solace, I'll accept it; but I'm not asking for that mantle. But I understand it, I get it -- people find solace in music."
Bon Jovi's Because We Can tour continues Saturday night in Oklahoma City.
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