Trouble in Joviland: the dark underbelly of being a Bon Jovi fan

Back in 2009 I wrote an article for Examiner.com entitled, Love’s The Only Rule for Bon Jovi fans

It was written during the early virgin days of The Circle Tour, when the fan base was all aflutter and dizzy with pre-orgasmic euphoria over Jersey’s Finest putting out a new CD and heading out on yet another tour of the universe.

The article detailed how wonderful Bon Jovi fans are: dedicated, loyal, and adoring to all things pertaining to the band; active and supportive of the charities each band member gets involved with; and endearingly helpful to fellow fans from every corner of the globe.

dark3

There were stories of fans buying tickets to a show for another fan who was unemployed and couldn’t afford to go; and there were countless authoresses of fan fiction who kept the fantasy flames burning brightly with well-written, intimate and deeply detailed stories of mirth and mayhem with Jon and Richie that would make the old Penthouse Forum letters look like Romper Room in comparison.

Indeed, warm fuzzies were the order of the day for JoviNation, that universal fan sect of Bon Jovi fans that delighted in posting concert footage on YouTube within hours of a show; or the social networking orgy of photo-trading that connects U.S. fans to their counterparts in places like Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, and Israel.

Then rather unexpectedly, a funny thing happened on the way to critical Bon Jovi articles. 

dark2

A darker, sinister, irrational component to the fan base reared its’ ugly head in response to a critical word here or a differing opinion there.  Suddenly love being the only rule went out the window and was replaced with, “How dare you?  I’m gonna keel you sucka!”

Seriously. 

A critical article about a new single from the Greatest Hits Collection,—What Do You Got?— resulted in death threats and all manner of public denigration and disrespect of the writer on Twitter and Facebook, as well as a slanderous orgy of irate posts in various and sundry fan covens on the JBJ Backstage Fan Club discussion boards.dark4

In July, 2012, another reviewer for Miami New Times gave Jon Bon Jovi and the Kings of Suburbia Show at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino a poorly written and lousy review; yet fan reaction was nothing short of lynch-mob mentality. 

Little wonder the reviewer wasn’t burned in effigy outside New Meadowlands Stadium while Blood On Blood blared from the loudspeakers.

Then there’s the time I compared Richie Sambora’s blonde moment in the fall of 2012 to channeling Lady Gaga which subsequently unleashed the hounds of hell from whence one knows not how or why they came. 

And now since the unexpected departure of the Tall Slim Duke from the band for ‘personal reasons’ this past April, a double-yellow line has been drawn betwixt the Jon Bon fans on one side and the Sambora Aficionados on the other.

Each side thinks their favorite is right, and their position the only one.

dark5

It’s a fan network that will accept and coddle you as long as what you have to say about Bon Jovi meets their approval; and if it doesn’t, there is a cliquish core that will do everything in their power to try to besmirch your reputation by bad-mouthing you to anyone who will lend a tin ear.

It doesn’t just happen to chroniclers of the band like yours truly.  It also happens mano a mano, fan to fan.

Which brings us simply to what is expected of the writer and the fan:  the writer is for the most part expected to be objective. 

Implicit in this responsibility is using their taste and knowledge of the band, its’ history and current circumstances to report on, and offer perspective on the issue at hand. 

Any good writer that doesn’t pork someone off in the process isn’t worth the iPad they type on, but the fact remains, the job is to feature something that is well-written, interesting, and thought-provoking.

Which brings us to the part many fans have a problem with: truth.

After three years writing about Bon Jovi, it is easy to come to the conclusion that the entire band could show up on stage, drop trou, and deposit gold-plated turds on the middle of center stage, flip-off the crowd and walk off stage and….

…the entire audience would go berserk, as though they had just witnessed an amputee walk on water.

dark1

That’s fine! 

Enthusiasm and passion are great, and no doubt the band appreciates the blind loyalty and adulation or they wouldn’t be putting out new material and leaving their families and friends for months at a time to perform for us if they didn’t. 

But here’s the news flash to Bon Jovi fans—and fans of any entertainers for that matter:

Just because you’re a fan doesn’t give you the right to take issue with and verbally or otherwise harass or abuse a fan whose tastes and opinions differ from your own. 

If indeed you consider yourself a card-carrying member of Bon Jovi’s Church of Rock N Roll, then you would do well to accept other fans warts and all in the same manner that you accept Jon, Richie, David, and Tico.

Music, like art, is an intensely personal experience; yet the passions that arise as a result of blind allegiance can dull or distort the senses and compel one into fits of behavior that the performer’s themselves would find pathetic and deplorable. 

Indeed, if Love’s The Only Rule, then some Bon Jovi fans need to get that creed tattooed on their foreheads, to go along with the Bon Jovi tats on their arms.

Be sure to find and follow Glenn Osrin on Twitter   @wizardofosrin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: