This epic arrived eight weeks before my 18th birthday. I was the music critic at The Baltimore Evening Sun and it was one of the early CDs that came via the Polygram publicist, who really liked me because I had interviewed Paul Stanley and Geddy Lee and a bunch of others by this point.
Bon Jovi actually opened a show for .38 Special at the Spectrum in Philly a few weeks after the release of “Slippery When Wet” and I turned down a chance to interview Jon Bon Jovi that night but wound up writing several pieces about giving love a bad name over the years. Three months later they came to the Baltimore Civic Center to open for Cinderella and were becoming the biggest band on MTV.
I’ve interviewed Bon Jovi a few times – there’s an epic 45 minute chat in the BuyAToyota Audio Vault from the “New Jersey” tour – he toured me backstage for an hour before a show at the Capital Centre and I actually shared a dessert with him at the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami and talked some football.
I’m a big fan of what he does and the class that he has shown at every turn in his life.
And almost everything he’s ever done since making this big, bombastic, testosterone epic in Vancouver has involved the heart and soul that is captured in this masterpiece.
I distinctly remember the first time I ever heard “Living On a Prayer” on my CD player and thought it was one of the greatest things I ever heard. I listened to it over and over again before most people had ever heard it once. I got this CD very early – a few weeks before it was in the record stores. Producer Bruce Fairbairn was a genius. And even though I believe every track on Slippery has held up well, I think “Without Love” is the best track on the album and I still love “I’d Die For You.”
Honestly, I still love them all – even when I hear the hits far, far too much. Especially at New England Patriots games but, thankfully, that’s all over now in Foxborough.
And if you’d ever sat at Joe Louis Arena and watched the Red Wings take to the ice to “Raise Your Hands,” then you’ve known what it’s like to be alive.
I had Desmond Child on my show a few years ago because he penned the classic tracks on this album and most of the best Kiss stuff as well. The only thing better than listening to this music is talking about the legend of how it was all created.
I had Tico Torres on my show at the Super Bowl in San Diego in 2003.
One day, I’d love to talk to Bon Jovi again. I admire him.
And he’s still doing great things, even during the pandemic.