Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.
BON JOVI frontman Jon Bon Jovi spoke about his recent vocal challenges during a Q&A session at the Pollstar Live! conference this week, where he was honored with the “Milestone” award commemorating his band’s 40th anniversary.
The 62-year-old musician, not widely recognized for his technical vocal prowess, faced harsh criticism for his performances during BON JOVI’s 2022 U.S. tour. The tour was in promotion of the album “2020,” which debuted in October of the same year.
“I’ve recently made my vocal issues public, but I underwent major reconstructive surgery on my vocal cords, which was a completely new experience for me,” Jon revealed at Pollstar Live! when questioned about his vocal challenges. “It’s been quite a tough journey, but I found a doctor in Philadelphia who performed a procedure called medialization. This involved pushing the paralyzed vocal fold to the middle, allowing the functioning vocal fold to close properly and restore normal vocal function and swallowing ability.”
“One of my vocal cords had actually atrophied, which is not a common occurrence. While some people develop nodules or experience issues due to deviated septums, I never had any such problems. The only thing that’s ever been up my nose has been my finger,” he joked. “Over the past decade, it’s been incredibly difficult dealing with something beyond my control. The stronger vocal cord was essentially overpowering the weaker one. To address this, a plastic implant was inserted almost two years ago. I’ve been undergoing extensive rehabilitation since then, and I’m very close to full recovery.”
“Friday night at the MusiCares ‘Person Of The Year’ gala marked my first live performance in two years. The new record is completed, and now I’m focused on returning to my regular routine of performing two and a half hours a night, four nights a week, before hitting the road again. I have complete confidence in my doctor.”
When asked about BON JOVI’s future plans, including the release of the upcoming Hulu docuseries titled “Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story,” Jon emphasized the importance of his health and recovery. He stated, “My health has been the primary focus, and I’m well on the path to recovery. If I can’t perform at my best, then I’d rather step away. The documentary we’re releasing addresses all of this—it’s titled ‘Thank You, Goodnight’ for a reason. We’ll assess the situation from there. However, we have this amazing four-part documentary to celebrate our 40th anniversary, along with a new record that I’m extremely excited about. I hope to be able to perform and celebrate this time around because I’m genuinely thrilled by it. But if I can’t meet the standards I’m accustomed to, then there’s no harm in that.”
Regarding reviews of BON JOVI’s April 3, 2022 concert at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Ross Raihala of the Pioneer Press criticized Jon’s vocals, describing them as “shockingly poor” and noting his struggles throughout the show. Raihala mentioned difficulties not only with older songs, which the band now plays in a lower key, but also with newer material, suggesting it felt as if Jon had forgotten how to sing.
Théoden Janes of The Charlotte Observer offered a somewhat more lenient assessment of Jon’s voice at the concert on April 8, 2022, at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Janes observed moments where Jon seemed to struggle to find the right notes, particularly during certain songs like “The Radio Saved My Life Tonight” and “You Give Love A Bad Name.” Janes noted instances where Jon’s vocals lacked punch and coherence, mentioning challenges with staying on key and maintaining breath control.
In his review for the Omaha World-Herald, Kevin Coffey observed that Jon Bon Jovi’s voice, once known for its heft and ability to carry choruses of songs like “Livin’ On a Prayer” and “It’s My Life,” now sounded thin and lacking in tone. Coffey noted that Jon struggled to hit the notes, but he was fortunate to have the support of six additional musicians with considerable vocal abilities to compensate.
Despite recent vocal challenges, BON JOVI has cemented its status as global rock royalty since its formation in 1983. The band’s accolades include induction into both the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. With over 130 million albums sold worldwide, a vast catalog of hit anthems, and a touring history that spans more than four decades, performing in over 50 countries for more than 35 million fans, BON JOVI remains a quintessential rock and roll powerhouse.
“2020,” released via Island Records, was once again co-produced by John Shanks and Jon Bon Jovi. The album featured the entire BON JOVI touring band, including keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, bassist Hugh McDonald, guitarist Phil X, percussionist Everett Bradley, and guitarist John Shanks.