There was ZERO recollection of hearing Bon Jovi in my childhood. My dad was a classic rocker and by the time they hit the scene, he moved towards the classic bands doing soft rock. My other musical influence, my brother Todd, was into grunge or metal (whatever you want to call that early ’90s stuff).
During the late ’90s and early ’00s, VH1 had a thing going where they would showcase old videos and/or highlight previous acts. This was a combination of the I Love the (insert decade) specials or Behind the Music documentaries. I was in the discovery phase and sampled all types of genres and artists. Napster was a thing (for a few years), so a poor high school kid had easy access to any music – without the worry of blowing his allowance.
This has to be where Bon Jovi was discovered.
Eric Hersey Senior Year Contrarian
Bon Jovi released Crush in 2000 and Bounce in 2002. Although I think Crush was the better album, they must have been playing a lot of Bon Jovi in 2002 – from all albums. I took a liking to his music – newer and especially classic. In 2002, most of the senior boys and girls were listening to 50-cent and rap artists. I took the contrarian approach and adapted Bon Jovi from the ’80s as my go-to music. This fit right in line with my love for Journey and Boston (both adapted during senior year).
Tech Prep and Video Projects
There are some videos out there (who knows where) that prove my love for hair metal. Martins Ferry High School had a 3rd and 4th-period video tech prep class. This seemed like a fun class. You play on Adobe Premiere, shoot videos, but most of the time listen to music in the A/V room.
During football season, the tech prep class always made a video promoting the Martins Ferry vs. Bellaire game. As a collaborative effort, the idea to make a John Carpenter Halloween spoof came up. I ended up directing the majority of the project and had the most pull when it came to having music included. You better believe you heard some “Shot Through the Heart” as a car raced off.
Not only did I use Bon Jovi for clips in the student film, but I also had “It’s My Life” as my theme song for my weekly segments on the school news. One of the digital artists created a nice Flash graphic of me as my intro. I don’t have any of these videos in my possession, but I would love to see if it exists somewhere in the universe.
Blow and Torn Jeans
My good friend Matt McCabe had us watch the movie Blow, starring Johnny Depp, one Saturday morning. The soundtrack was great – but more importantly – I loved the long-hair look of Johnny Depp. I remember Matty growing out of his hair because of this movie. I also stopped going to the barber. Matty ended up cutting his hair, where I let it grow. By senior year, I had long hair and acquired my ‘look’.
Jon Bon Jovi, at this time, had longer hair but not hair metal style. This was the look I ended up going for. My girlfriend (now my wife) would flat iron my hair and even convinced me to get blonde highlights. The goal was to look like 2002 Jon Bon Jovi. Of course, the only thing that remotely looked like him was the hair.
To add to my ‘personal style’, I had a friend that was on the wealthier end. His parents would buy him designer jeans and expensive clothes. He, on the other hand, would sell them to his friends for cash. He monkied around with design by shredding up some jeans. I always thought they looked great and spent some of my money on his custom hand-me-down clothing.
By the end of senior year, I was the only one rocking long hair and shredded jeans.
There are very few moments in life where I actually sang ‘solo’ in front of people. Lauren and I met in the summer of 2002. I will save the entire dramatic story for another day, but it would be safe to say that Bon Jovi was the soundtrack of our early relationship.
We sat on her steps and she asked if I would sing her a song. I was full of piss and vinegar then, so I actually did. Even though I don’t have a singing voice, I tried “Born to Be My Baby”. She still brings it up to this day.
Not sure if it was a good memory or she is still haunted by my inability to hit high notes (or carry a tune).