Jon Bon Jovi admits he didn't give his parents many reasons to believe in his music career at the beginning, but he recently applauded them for supporting his dreams nonetheless.
"The first talent show my parents came to see me play I was so terrible they wanted to crawl under their seats with embarrassment," Bon Jovi said. "But they saw my passion and commitment. So when I was just 17 they let me play in bars till closing time and they always said, 'Well, at least we knew where you were.' ...I could get home at one or two in the morning, and have to still be in school by eight o'clock. They just said, 'Show up on time for school; you know that is your responsibility... but pursue your dream."
While John and Carol Bongiovi might have doubted their son's musical talent early on, Jon quickly proved that if he failed at music, it wouldn't be for lack of trying. If Jon was good enough to get those bar gigs, they knew he would take the work seriously.
Fortunately, Jon's hard work and lack of sleep started to pay off after a few years.
"By the time I was 20 I had written 'Runaway' and it was on the radio and by the time I was 21 I had a record deal," he continued. "So there wasn't the need for my parents to have a sit down with their 35-year-old son who was still playing in a bar in Santa Barbara saying, 'I'm gonna make it.'"
Jon imagines his parents knew that his attitude, on some level, was a product of how he was raised. While his talent might not have shone through at an early age, the work ethic was something to be proud of.
"What I got from my parents was the ability to make the dream reality," he added. "[E]ven if you truly weren't any good at your craft, if you believed you were, you could work on it. As I got older I realized that was a great gift that I got from my folks. They truly believed in the John Kennedy mantra of going to the moon. 'Yeah, of course you can go to the moon. Just go, Johnny.' And there I went."
Now a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Jon says his ambition was a double-edged sword in some ways, because he hasn't often slowed down to "look around and enjoy" his accomplishments.
"I was always so focused on the next step, then the next and the next, that it cost me a lot of great memories. And it caused a lot of sleepless nights that weren't warranted. It's my biggest regret. The one think I would tell my younger self is, 'Enjoy it more, relax. It's gonna have ups and downs but keep the faith.'"
Bon Jovi, the band, just celebrated the released of its 15th studio album, 2020, with the free 'On A Night Like This,' documentary concert film, which you can watch on the band's official Facebook page.
Photo: Getty Images