Misnomer: ‘Sex, Drugs & Bon Jovi’
“Sex, Drugs & Bon Jovi” is an interesting look into the rock lifestyle, but it’s a bit of a misnomer. With a name like that, you’d expect the book to delve into all kinds of juicy secrets about Bon Jovi.Instead, as told by tour manager Rich Bozzett, it’s more of a defense against how Bon Jovi only used drugs – amphetamines and downers like Valium specifically – because he “had to,” being it was the one way to deliver the energetic concerts he wanted to, to his fans. While other band members did cocaine, Bozzett and Jovi were busy being musicians – and taking care of the details of that business (giving interviews, etc.) before, after and during shows. The book actually has more information on Mtley Cre’s drug use than Jovi or his band’s.Bozzett spends a lot of time talking about how he was an innocent pawn in a huge international drug trade – how, the first time, he was a willing participant, but after getting stranded on an island with a load of coke and pot, he wanted out. Only problem: A man named Doc was a big player in both dope and bands, and he was Bozzett’s in to Jovi and the life. But sometimes, “Sex Drugs & Bon Jovi” reads more like a court defense clearing Bozzett’s name, rather than a biography on Jovi. That said, it’s a very interesting account of Bozzett’s life in the band and around drug smugglin; it’s just not Jovi.Bozzett also takes care to protect Jovi’s reputation in such things as sex, particularly during Jovi’s days with Dorothea, a woman he seemed to love very much. Bozzett goes so far to say that when Jovi acquired crabs in Japan, he could have gotten it from a “public bath house, or too close social contact with all the fashion models constantly traveling to Japan to appear in Japanese advertising who were always scrambling to take pictures with him.” Nowhere does he hint it could have been from sexual contact. In fact, about the biggest display of sex in this book comes in the form of press shots with several naked women posing with Jovi and the band. Bozzett lets readers know Jovi just posed, so I’m not sure where the sex in the title came from.Bozzett’s book would have done better as an autobiography, because on that account, it’s great. Though he was close to Jovi, he “tells” more than he “shows,” or illustrates Jovi’s personality, so after more than 100 pages, about all I knew about Jovi was: He’s committed to fans, obviously sexy from the many pictures (which are very fun) that Bozzett includes, and gets paid a ton more than the band, and doesn’t seem to think much of it.An example of Bozzett telling, rather than illustrating (or painting a picture of Jovi) comes on page 151, where he writes: “Jon aspires to be Superman, the guy who does it all. But he’s constantly haunted by the fact that other songwriters, his management, band and support staff played a big role in getting him where he got. It’s almost as though he will always need to see himself as being more than Jon Bon Jovi to be satisfied with being Jon Bon Jovi.” It’s one of the more insightful passages, but I would prefer to have guessed that through Bozzett’s exposition.However, Bozzett’s book, overall, is worth the read, because his own story is quite captivating, and he gives some idea of Jovi’s life on the road. At times, Bozzett hits the nail on the head, like when he sums up his career as tour manager on page 8: “It’s a little like being the principal of a middle school where they serve beer.”
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