I didn’t have break-ups to write music about like Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi jokes

Jon Bon Jovi has joked that his early song lyrics were not inspired by breaking up with people “all the time” like US megastar Taylor Swift.

The US rock star, 61, appeared alongside filmmaker Gotham Chopra at the Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour in Los Angeles, ahead of the UK premiere of his new documentary Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, which will air on Disney+ later this year.

Bon Jovi, who said not in his “wildest craziest dream” did he expect to have had a 40-year career, was named MusiCares Person of the Year at a gala last week, attended by stars including Bruce Springsteen, who features in the four-part documentary series.

When asked about his music writing process, Bon Jovi said: “That’s been the magic of 40 years of career.

“At 20, when I got a record deal, I didn’t have a lot else to write about other than high school, and I didn’t break up with people like Taylor (Swift) did all the time.

“But as I grew in public, the evolution happened, and in order to grow with your public I think you have to tell the truth and not pretend to be something you are not, and you’re only going to get better at what you do.”

It comes after Swift, who is well known for writing songs about her ex-boyfriends, announced the release date for her new album The Tortured Poets Department, with fans speculating some songs could relate to her English ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn.

During the interview Bon Jovi said he is 19 and a half months into recovery after his vocal cord surgery, and was performing for the first time in public at the MusiCares gala last week.

The series follows the band from February 2022 as they chart their future while Bon Jovi navigates a vocal injury, and as they celebrate 40 years in the industry.

“The ambiguity of the (documentary) title is also (about) what does the future hold for me and for my band, and that is a health-related question,” he said.

Bon Jovi concert – London
Jon Bon Jovi (Ian West/PA)

“Although I’m making great strides, we face something I didn’t expect which is this vocal cord surgery.

“Although I am doing very well and sang for the first time in public just the other night, so I’m feeling good, when we shot this there was no definitive answer.

“If I can’t go out and do two and a half hours four night a week – thank you, goodnight.”

He later said his craft had been taken from him, but the morning after his first public performance marked “the first time I woke up without multiple voices in my head, it was just me and that was the best thing”.

Bon Jovi and Chopra also said the documentary crew did not get a chance to interview band mate Alec John Such before his death in June 2022.

“Alec wasn’t unfortunately interviewed, but his passing was dramatic and hard on all of us because it was the first time we faced mortality, one of us passed,” Bon Jovi said.

“It wasn’t your father or your grandfather or somebody you knew, it was one of the guys. So these are all things that come with growing up in public.”

Bon Jovi ended by saying music has “always affected culture at large” and artists have the opportunity to “reflect the world around them” if they choose to.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Juan Medina/PA)

“We’ve been blessed to have had songs that resonate across borders and languages, and decades and now generations of people,” he said.

“I received a two-page handwritten long-form letter from President (Volodymyr) Zelensky telling me that It’s My Life went to the people of Ukraine.

“I was writing that coming from who and where I was at that time, and to realise the effect that some of these songs have had on cultures is humbling.”

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story will premiere in the UK on Disney+ later this year.