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Jon Bon Jovi: ‘There were times in my career when things were deeply dark’

The 58-year-old rock legend laid bare the ups and downs of being one of the world’s biggest stars in The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self. 

Jon Bon Jovi has laid bare the ups and downs of being one of the world’s biggest rockstars in The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self

The 58-year-old music legend opened up to Jane Graham about the support his parents gave him, the joy and trepidation of parenthood, and how he’s fixing hunger and homelessness in the US through his Soul Foundation.

But there have also been “dark” times in his career, he said, especially while facing the stresses of non-stop touring.

“When I hit that dark period a couple of times throughout my career, losing people along the way, there were times it was deeply dark, and deeply hurtful and I wouldn’t wish that on myself, ever,” he said. 

“But it’s a part of life. You come through it. It doesn’t make you feel good. But it makes sense. You know, there’s reasons why people get off the ride. And it’s probably so that you can continue on that journey.” 

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Jon has previously spoken about long-time band member Richie Sambora, who left Bon Jovi in 2013. In September he said there’s not a day when he doesn’t wish “Richie had his life together and was still in the band”

He also told The Big Issue he looked back fondly on his “rollercoaster” career. But even after selling more than 100 million albums, he couldn’t choose just one moment if he had to encourage his teenage self. 

“You have to have successes, and you have to have doubt, and you have to have failure, and you have to have tears that you shed so that when you come through it you can honestly say, now I understand,” he said. 

“If it all happens early and quickly there’s probably not the same appreciation. You could be like a firecracker, just have a big quick pop and it’s over. Or the ebb and flow of a real honest-to-god career with all of its pain and joy. I’d rather have that.” 

Jon recently co-founded three ‘soul’ kitchens in his native New Jersey with his wife Dorothea Hurley. They have a simple and inspiring recipe.

There are no prices on the menu, and they operate a ‘pay-it-forward’ model. This means customers who can afford to pay more cover the cost of those struggling to feed themselves. 

Jon added that apart from being on stage, he was at his happiest when serving up food. 

“The greatest joy that I get, when I’m not in the midst of being Jon Bon Jovi on some stage, is when we spend a day at one of the soul kitchens,” he said. 

“Because you leave there and you know that you’ve really truly done good. You leave feeling a sense of accomplishment on the day. And it’s really, really satisfying. It’s just glorious.”

Read more from Jon Bon Jovi and find out about his soul kitchen project in this week’s Big Issue, available through our online shop and from your local vendor now

Bon Jovi’s new album 2020, a soundtrack to our turbulent, changing times, is out now on Island

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