band had just flown into the UK from Japan, where amongst other promotional
gubbins, they had been the focal point of interest of a midnight personal
appearance that was originally supposed to take place at Tower Records
but later moved to the Four Seasons Hotel. What was that all about then?
"Well, I was shaking a lot of hands. 400 or so" Tico begins.
"I think so. There were a lot of people there. It was pretty much
mayhem. They said they really liked the record".
That's good to know.
Whilst over in Japan, the band; that is Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora,
David Bryan, Huey McDonald and The Hitman himself Tico Torres, appeared
on a Japanese TV show, NHK TV, along with a variety of Japanese bands
(namely Penicillin, Surface, R.P.R. and Arisa Mizuki), who joined Bon
Jovi for a well-known Jovi tune.
"They played a song. Jon and Richie did 'Bad Name'. Jon and Richie
had to sing with them. It was pretty funny. Phonetically it was pretty
hard for the guy to sing the words - and rightly so. I think it would
be hard for us to do Japanese. But they made a go of it. It was fun. It
was a show that goes out to about 11 million people. It was Bon Jovi based.
It was fun to do."
Japan was the first country that the long-awaited 'Crush' album was released
in, due to being the territory where the band would later commence their
"It's probably about the most subdued place there is as far as audiences
go because they're very, very proper there. We're doing Domes which are
60 thousand seaters. They are very, very reserved audiences compared to
anywhere else in the world but that's their culture. We'll get them on
their feet though."
Since Black Velvet is about to embark on a trip to Japan to see the band
play, we're eager to find out certain necessities such as how the food
is and if we're going to have any trouble communicating with the local
You know, "Want to buy a copy of Black Velvet?
It's a bargain at only 400 yen."
that sort of thing.
Regarding cuisine (I tell Tico I'm a vegetarian) he says "If you
like Sushi it's a great place. There are lots of soups and noodles and
stuff like that. You should be alright if you're vegetarian."
However, much to my dismay I am informed that the Japanese don't all speak
English. "You'll get lost there, trust me! Stay close to us and you
won't get lost."
what a tempting offer. I guess I won't be selling too many zines
first shows that Bon Jovi did as a band since the 'These Days' tour
took place in April and May in the US. The band played a very impromptu
set at Tradewinds in Sea Bright, NJ during the Easter week, and again
just over a week later at the House Of Blues in Chicago.
"I enjoyed them. It was fun to go out and play. I enjoyed the Chicago
gig more as it was the second gig and we were a little more in the groove.
The first one was a little tough after not playing for so many years.
New text. Anything that's going to go wrong will go wrong."
Tico invited just a few of his friends down to the New Jersey show,
which saw the band play on a tiny stage in an almost-as-tiny club.
"I'd rather invite people to the full show" he says regarding
the club he's never ever played at before - despite being right in his
Tickets for the New Jersey show went on sale a day before the show.
The show itself was only announced two days before.
"We decided within a week to do it" Tico relates.
the Chicago gig fellow Mercury Records recording artist Shelby Lynne
supported. She joined the band on stage for a cover of 'Me & Bobby
"We'd never done it before so it was kind of fun to do. I hadn't
done that song since the early seventies. It's almost thirty years since
I've done that song."
Tico says Shelby is "a good country singer" although wasn't
so sure if Bon Jovi fans would be into her. "They need something
a little more energetic".
the gigs, one of the new songs to be showcased was 'It's My Life', first
single released from 'Crush'.
'It's My Life' according to Tico is "a fun song to play".
When I point out that the drumming during that particular song stood
out more in Chicago then any other, Tico replies that he always hits
hard. "I always believe that the drums compliment the music, not
lead it," he says.
'It's My Life' entered the UK charts at number three, showing a fantastic
return for the boys, who aren't keen on the thought that they've actually
been away. 'Crush' was released a week after 'It's My Life' and shot
straight into the number one position, not just in the UK but in a whole
host of countries around the world. Tico talks about the album:
"Originally this record was written and recorded with the purpose
of doing it live, so all the songs on here we said "we wanna do
these live" so that's why it's that type of album. So we can do
"The energy and the vibe of the whole record is very much like
'Slippery', but not necessarily the sound. The feeling behind 'Slippery'
was the same feeling, although it's not the same realm."
It has been noted that Tico had a special drum kit made for the album.
"It's a masters series by Pearl. They've always made my kits special.
It's a really great sounding kit. I recorded with it and I look forward
to playing with it live." This is one of ten drum kits that Tico
Not to be outdone, Dave was also due for an equipment update. "Dave's
getting some special keyboards and programs made. For every tour Richie's
got to have new amps and new guitars
or old guitars should I say.
Everybody revamps their equipment. Certain songs need certain sounds
that are new and we don't have so we have to emulate that live."
Tico reckons that 'Crush' was one of the easiest albums to made. "It
was a very fluent record. A lot of that had to do with doing it in Jon's
studio, and the fact that we had five years to conjure up fresh energy.
It was beneficial for the record."
"The thing that makes a Bon Jovi record special is that the five
of us go in there and make it what it is. That's why Jon's solo records
are different - because it's not Bon Jovi. And Richie's are different
because it's not Bon Jovi. It's a certain chemistry that happens within
the five year gap that occurred between 'These Days' and 'Crush', each
member went off and did his own thing. A lot of Tico's time was devoted
to art. He opened an art gallery in Florida after spending a lot of
time painting (sadly it has since been closed down due to taking up
too much time) and also held exhibitions around the world, including
in London. "It's easier for my art to show in someone else's gallery,"
he says. His pieces range from 'A Touch Of Class' and 'Torseau' to those
inspired by his love of music; one is entitled 'All That Jazz' while
another is 'The Sound Of Music'. Some of Tico's work is reminiscent
of German expression painters in the 1930's while others are abstract.
I tell Tico that since the idea was already fluttering around for him
to do the artwork for an album or single sleeve, and as 'It's My Life'
includes 'Tommy and Gina', what would be really cool would be for him
to draw a picture of the couple
to let us all see what they look
like, or at least Tico's own impression of them.
"That's a good idea. I'll work on it," he says.
Due to the recording of the album, Tico has not spent much time on art
recently but admits that he does water colours while on tour.
"I'm not much of a partier, so instead of sitting in my room bored,
I'll sit and paint. It's a good time to create.
Regarding favourite artists, he says "Everybody's my favourite
artist. I don't have one artist. You could ask me that about musicians
and it'd be the same. I learned from people that never played an instrument
in their life and just picked up something. You make a mistake and you
can learn. The best artists are children because they're undaunted by
life and are just very pure. What comes out comes out. If you can emulate
that, you're hitting something good."
the time you read this, the tour will be well underway. The band will
hit the UK on August 19th for their first Wembley show since 1995. After
Wembley they move on to Gateshead and Stoke-On-Trent, home of Slash
and Robbie Williams. "I didn't know that" says Tico when informed
of the two celebrities who were born in the Staffordshire town.
The tour is a two-Summer tour, which will see the band returning next
year for more of the same
and yes, we really do mean more.
"Next year we'll do a lot of countries that we've never hit, and
the production will be totally different as well."
Certain countries such as France and Spain saw fans feeling a little
left out due to no shows taking place this year. Hopefully they'll be
added to 2001's itinerary.
"The time constraints because of the album release, and starting
the tour in the middle of the Summer
it's all because the album
release was late - well, for the Summer, I'd say. So we couldn't do
these countries. We had to really capitalise the tour, make it as small
tour will be the first the band has done with the aid of a webcam. So
what, pray tell, will that entail? Full concerts on the net?
"I don't think so. I think you'll get segments. Right now it's
so primal. It's too early to tell. I think it will take its own energy.
There should be a lot of good stuff you don't normally see."
whether you get to see the band on tour this year or next, or just catch
them live on the internet, we can guarantee that as Tico says there
will be lots of good stuff to see. Keep reading Black Velvet because
we'll be reporting back on as much of
it as possible.
Visit www.bonjovi.com and www.backstagejbj.com for more info.