Bon Jovi becomes the first-ever band to be interviewed on Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio" Monday, Nov. 16, as part of a unique "Artist in Residence" partnership with NBC Universal. The episode features live performances, and host James Lipton says Bon Jovi is a good fit for his show because "our students study acting, writing, directing, dance and singing."
Prior to the taping, Jon Bon Jovi discussed his experience as an actor, why he quit acting and why he chose this approach to market the band's new album, "The Circle."
Q: Your acting has been described as relaxed and understated, which is the opposite of what you project as a rock star. Did you intentionally go for more understated roles?
A: When I was acting, I thought how to take things to different places, yeah, for sure. I think there probably was a conscious intent not to be obvious. I think that with what we do musically, it can be very understated, like with some of the performances that we'll do tonight (on "Inside the Actors Studio"). But the anthemic stuff of ours is grandiose, let's say that. It was written for stadiums, it performs well at stadiums.
Q: You did play yourself briefly on "The West Wing" and "Las Vegas." Would you ever take on a role like Rick Springfield's in " Californication," where he's playing a much wilder version of his current self?
A: I'm not familiar with it, but I was going out of my way not to have anything to do with my day job while I was acting, especially writing music for movies I was in, so that nobody confused the two. If you think about "Vegas," I was there to promote the Arena Football League and they were broadcasting the games on NBC, so there was that synergy and that's why I did the show. With "West Wing," because I lost twice as a Democrat, I had to win. After losing twice, I had to do anything to be on the winning side.
Q: Is the audition process the reason you quit acting, as was reported?
A: It sucks. I don't know how a working actor not a movie star, but a working actor has to tolerate that s.... It's not that I mind the process; I love preparing for it. To clarify what I said, it's not the audition I'm quite confident and comfortable it's being prejudged before you got in the room. "He's too tall, he's too short, he's too recognizable, he's not recognizable." It's those things that, if I had thought that about what I did musically, I wouldn't be here. The humility that acting gave me is a good reason why I am here today.But what I meant by the audition process was the silliness you're an island, you don't have a band around you, you don't have the camaraderie, you don't have the collaborative effort, you don't have a job when that job is done. You're typecast in one way or another. Or the shallow, phony Hollywood bulls... the people and game are not worth my time. I have better things to do with my life.
Q: There's been a little bit of a mixed reaction to this whole Artist in Residence concept. Is it true that you approached NBC about it?
A: It was Jack's (Rovner) idea, my manager. And when you're gearing up to do a record you try to do something different, whatever "different" is going to be. And you think about fragmented radio and you go, "Well, that doesn't really mean a lot." You can't go to a record store the way I did when I was a kid and look through vinyl; the experience of buying records is lost on this generation. So now you're sitting there going, "I worked so hard on making this record, and how do I get it out there?" And he says, "Forget Top 40 radio. Why don't we think about Top 40 television?" We're not thinking videos here, even that medium is lost, it's gone. Thank God we sell tickets because there's nothing else left about what it is that I do from my youth.So we approached NBC and they were very receptive right off the bat. They said you can't get too crazy in your thinking and we won't be afraid to ask. Case in point, this ("Inside the Actors Studio"). So when you think that I got up this morning at 7 o'clock and was with Brian Williams walking through Newark in one of my philanthropic things, and tonight I'm here the jury's out for me, too, but right now, I'm saying it's a great idea. We'll see.