Bon Jovi docuseries allows peek at band’s private history

By Thomson Reuters Apr 17, 2024 | 4:59 PM

By Hanna Rantala

LONDON (Reuters) – Rockers Bon Jovi open up about their 40-year career in the new docuseries “Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story”.

In the four-part show, archival footage and personal videos and photos are intertwined with present-day interviews and scenes of the group embarking on their 2022 tour. It documents the American band’s rise in the early 1980s and the sharp learning curve they faced as they progressed from playing Jersey Shore clubs to stadiums around the world.

“We didn’t want to create a vanity piece here. It’s been a hell of a journey. With any true career, especially when you’re talking about 40 years, there’s going to be the peaks and the valleys. And we wanted to be honest about it,” frontman Jon Bon Jovi said at the series’ premiere in London on Wednesday.

“It’s us pulling the curtain back on the band, individually and collectively,” added keyboardist David Bryan.

In contrast to their heady days, the show also lets audiences in on more vulnerable moments, including Jon Bon Jovi’s struggles with his singing due to a condition known as vocal fold atrophy.

“He (Jon) was thinking initially of just like this retrospective, looking back at the 40 years. I started to notice that something was going on with his voice. And I thought, ‘That’s interesting. Let’s follow that,'” director Gotham Chopra, who is known for his documentaries about elite athletes, said.

“It ultimately ended up as a four-part series that tracks, of course, the 40-year odyssey, but also really this journey he’s been on for the last two years to get back onto the stage.”

Chopra and his team interviewed the band members, including former guitarist Richie Sambora, and their managers and collaborators from over the years, and combed through vast amounts of footage.

“Jon is a hoarder, as I’ve learned. He had collected stuff. There was also just tons of media archive. These guys exploded in the ’80s, and the rise of MTV, VH1, there was just so much material,” said Chopra.

“For us to see it, it was awesome. And the amount of stuff we did was awe-inspiring and I’m like, ‘Well, that’s why we’re tired,'” said Bryan of watching the series.

Jon Bon Jovi said he was happy with the outcome.

“I think that the legacy matters. We were always very proud of what we were doing. And we wanted to be remembered in a certain way and we’ve worked for that.”

Four decades on, Bon Jovi still has a lot to give, the 62-year-old singer said. The group’s 16th studio album, “Forever,” will be out in June.

“I think it’s the best record we’ve made in 20 years,” he said, adding he was not thinking about touring – for now.

“One day at a time. Let’s just enjoy tonight and get the album out and work towards getting back out there.”

“Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story” premieres on Disney+ in the UK and on Hulu in the United States on April 26.

(Reporting by Hanna Rantala in London; Editing by Matthew Lewis)