Saturday, March 05, 2011
"My Blind Date with Birthday Boy Jon Bon Jovi" (as told to Rock Turtleneck by Lena Roy)
Friend and neighbor Lena Roy has a certain aura of epic greatness about her and for a while it was a mystery. Perhaps it was because she is the author of a best-selling young-adult novel Edges. Or maybe it was because she is the granddaughter of A Wrinkle in Time author Madeline L’Engle. All good guesses, all flat wrong.
It turns out that many years ago, Lena went on a blind date with none other than Jon Bon Jovi, who turns a hair-metal hunkalicious 49 today. Recently, on her engaging blog lenaroy.com, Lena recounted her blind date with the poor man's Springsteen in 1985, when Jon was making the artistic leap from “Runaway” to “Livin’ on a Prayer.” She was gracious enough to share it once again with Rock Turtleneck. Take it away, Lena!
My Blind Date with Jon Bon Jovi
by Lena Roy
It was the end of 1985. My pal Jodi needed to bring a "friend" on her date with the lead guitarist from a metal hair band in New Jersey, because he was also bringing a "friend" - the singer for the band. Would I step in?
Groan. Hair-Metal bands were so not my thing, but it was Jodi - she was older and cooler, and she could have asked anybody else, but she asked me, and I was just a senior in high school. It was right before Christmas vacation and I was flying out the next night to see my parents in San Francisco. I lived at the YWCA in Greenwich Village and they had a curfew, so she said that I could sleep over at her house in the East 20's.
Jodi was 23 - a Wall Street broker by day, and a hair-sprayed Mohawk diva by night. We had met the year before at Danceteria, both of us attracted to this idea of a double life: the good girl/bad girl. I don't know why I didn't think metal was cool, but I didn't. And I don't think I even asked the name of the band because I wouldn't have known anyway.
We went to a party in Chelsea to meet the guys. I wore a black vintage flapper dress that I had bought at Unique Boutique, my red hair sprayed into a flat-top, pale face, red lipstick. Jodi had sprayed her hair into a mohawk, and looked like a dominatrix.
I was nervous walking into the party, I must admit. Everybody was so much older than me! There was no mistaking them - two tall skinny dudes in black leather pants and tremendously big hair. Jodi's date (who went on to become Richie Sambora) had black hair, and mine sported the dirty blonde shag that became famous in the '80's. Jon put me right at ease. He was warm person, and didn't feel the need to put on any act. We didn't stay at the party very long - they wanted to go to the hot new club - The Palladium.
I remember thinking to myself that their band must be pretty successful because they splurged on lots of champagne. Jodi and her date separated themselves from us and Jon and I talked the whole evening. We didn't even dance - just found a quiet corner. I don't think I'd ever talked to a boy that much before! He had just seen The Young Sherlock Holmes and loved it. Perhaps that is my strongest memory . . . just a really nice, down to earth guy.
We all went back to Jodi's in the middle of the night and I felt safe with Jon - we just cuddled - and I got on the plane to see my family in San Francisco. Of course, all that week I thought about Jon 24/7. Maybe we would go out again!
In January I ran into him at Danceteria, with another girl on his arm - but the look he gave me was so sweet and apologetic, I forgave him instantly. It wasn't meant to be - I was only a senior in high school, and I started dating the lead guitarist for a ska band, which was mush more my style of music, really. At some point that year - 1986 - I was watching MTV and a video came on - "Livin' On a Prayer." Could that be? No! I reached for the phone and called Jodi - were those guys we went out with - were they Bon Jovi? She laughed and said yes.
HB & TCB, JBJ!
Buy Lena Roy's book Edges on Amazon:
And remember, 100,000,000 Bon Jovi fans can't be wrong: