For Bon Jovi, the time is now

Jersey rockers coming to home of rock ’n’ roll

By John Benson

Even though rock act Bon Jovi is celebrating its 30th year together, the band members don’t have to look far not to feel old.

“We’re musicians, and we love to play and make music,” said keyboardist David Bryan in a recent band conference call with the media. “And with every album, we get better; and with every tour, we get better. And it’s fun. We just keep going. Really, The Rolling Stones are the gate, so I guess we’ve got till 70-something. We’ve got another couple years there, and we just keep going on.”

Going strong is what the New Jersey band has planned for 2013. Not only does the group’s 12th studio effort, “What About Now,” drop in two weeks, but the outfit is doing something it never did in the past, which is touring in support of an unreleased album. Bryan, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Tico Torres return to Northeast Ohio for a show Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.

As for the new effort, Sambora described the album as covering different sounds compared to its 2009 album “The Circle,” which returned the band to more of a rock motif after its successful dalliance with the country-music-tinged 2007 album “Lost Highway.”

Lyrically, Sambora said the new album was written around universal themes the group witnessed traveling around the globe in recent years.

“In our particular fashion, just having a very optimistic outlook in the songs is always very important,” Sambora said. “Even a song like the first single, ‘Because We Can,’ is a song of inclusion. Also, if you can help somebody, you should try to do it because you can. And sometimes it takes a village, and that’s because we can.”

Fans can get a sneak peak of “What About Now” with its soccer-mom friendly lead single as well as from the group’s current set, which features plenty of new material. However, old-school followers hoping for a return to the hard-rock “You Give Love a Bad Name” sound will be disappointed.

Then again, those folks attending a Bon Jovi show looking for ’80s tunes are probably older and can use the new songs to visit the bathroom. Sambora said the band holds no ill will to those concertgoers who, well, can’t wait.

“A lot of times, it depends on their age,” Sambora said, laughing. “Some people gotta go more often than others. Can’t blame ’em.”

Speaking of waiting, that’s a familiar feeling regarding Bon Jovi and its possible induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group with more than 100 million albums sold, not to mention having “seen a million faces and rocked them all,” has been eligible for a few years. So what gives?

“It’s nice to be in the company of so many great groups,” Torres said. “There’s a long list of great bands that need to go in there, and there’s only a few that can go in every year. So it’s an ongoing thing, but you don’t lose sleep over it.”

Quipped Sambora, “I don’t know — I’d like to hope that we’re in there before we’re dead.”

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