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Jon Bon Jovi Talks Bruce Springsteen, Early ‘Star Wars’ Recording and New Music

Four decades into a career which has had its ups, downs, health problems, and bandmates bail, Jon Bon Jovi hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for storytelling.

On Wednesday (April 10), the Rock Hall-inducted Bon Jovi band leader made the long haul to Los Angeles for a long overdue chat on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Just weeks out from the release on Hulu of the documentary Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, there was a lot of ground to cover. Bon Jovi was in the mood to go all the way back, with several anecdotes that you couldn’t make up, and give a glimpse into the future of Bon Jovi.

In one of the stranger recollections, the New Jersey icon told of a first-up meeting with Michael Jackson at the late singer’s hotel in Tokyo. Connections were made, all went well and figuring they were now besties, Bon Jovi invited MJ downstairs to the band’s room. The King of Pop didn’t come, but he did send Bubbles the chimp as his representative. “Bubbles comes down and wreaks havoc. Bubbles parties like a rock star. Bubbles showed up, he hung hard,” was how Bon Jovi remembers it. For how long did the primate swing with the band? Long enough for hotel management to threaten to expel the lot of them.

Playing the role of a raconteur taking a trip down memory lane, Bon Jovi recounts his first recording, earning $183 to play R2-D2 singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on a Star Wars Christmas album.

The singer also confirmed his buddy routine with fellow Jersey legend Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi’s high-school hero. They take long drives. “No radio, no phones no body, we’ll go for 100 miles where the two of us can lock the doors and go for a ride and talk, and catchup,” he says. There’s been sightings, word is out. Though Bovi Jovi remarks that he’s still waiting for a cop to pull them over and get the shock of his or her life.

The rocker also explained how he did his own promo for the band’s first hit “Runaway” by putting the record in the hands of hungry disc jockeys; finding a novel solution when 500,000 copies of the original, risqué artwork for Slippery When Wet, the first of the band’s six leaders on the Billboard 200, were destroyed (“it worked for Back In Black. Let’s just give then a black album cover,” he explains, noting it was his finger that wrote out the words); his obsession with collecting; and how he got his hands on his first guitar, buying it back this year from a guy from the neighborhood.

With the old axe in his hands, Bon Jovi wrote the song “I’m In Love With My First Guitar,” which will appear on the group’s next, 16th studio album, Forever, due out June 7. “This new record is about finding joy in simple things like that,” he explains.

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All four episodes of Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story will stream from April 26, retelling the Bon Jovi story with personal videos, unreleased early demos, original lyrics, and never-before-seen photos, according to Hulu.

Watch the late-night interview below.

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