Jon Bon Jovi is obsessed with Benjamin Franklin

Jon Bon Jovi says he has never had a mullet.  (Emily Shur)
Jon Bon Jovi says he has never had a mullet. (Emily Shur)


The rock star talks about making peace with aging, New Jersey pride and the new Hulu docuseries about his band.

Before he was a world-famous rock star, Jon Bon Jovi was a kid in Sayreville, N.J., playing in bands with his friends. That evolution, from opening at local clubs to fronting Bon Jovi, is chronicled in a new four-part Hulu docuseries, “Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story," about the musician’s life and career.

“You’ve heard that old story about people saying that their life flashes before them just before they die," said Bon Jovi, 62. “I had the benefit of seeing my life flash before me, and hopefully I’m not going to die anytime soon."

The band has always been like a family, Bon Jovi said. “Even if we were going through growing pains, there was always, ‘You may say something bad about me, but if somebody else says something bad about you, I’m going to beat his ass,’" he said. “We feel that way about past and present members. I would defend them [all] to the hilt." Alec John Such, who played bass guitar, left the band in 1994 and died in 2022, and Richie Sambora left Bon Jovi in 2011. The band currently includes keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, guitarists Phil X and John Shanks, and bass guitarist Hugh McDonald.

Bon Jovi lives in Palm Beach, Fla., and New Jersey with his wife, Dorothea Hurley. The couple have four children, Stephanie, 30, Jesse, 29, Jake, 21, and Romeo Bongiovi, 20. Here, he discusses the rest stop in New Jersey named for him and debunks a myth about his hair in the ’80s.

What time do you get up on Mondays, and what’s the first thing you do after waking up?

I’m up by 7 at the latest. I like Mondays. I feel like they’re a fresh start, and they’re either my forgiveness for the weekend sins or a jumping-off point. Usually [the first thing] is get a cup of coffee, turn on a news outlet and get ready for my workout.

What does your workout look like?

It’s been a lot of tennis. The last three years I’ve been playing like it’s my job. I stink. My goal is to someday be in a handicapped seniors division where the prize is the little tag that hangs on the rearview mirror for the parking space near the front door.

How do you like your coffee and breakfast?

Coffee is the breakfast, just a little splash of milk and a big tall mug.

What do you do for grooming and skin care?

Zero routine. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m a 62-year-old man. My hair has gone gray, and I haven’t altered my appearance with any of those newfangled things. I’m comfortable in my own shoes.

“Thank You, Goodnight" chronicles your vocal-cord surgery. Was it hard to be that vulnerable on camera? Why did you want to share it with your fans?

It’s never been hard for me or us to be vulnerable. But there wasn’t a platform to share those things on. We’ve been through hurt throughout the decades, and there was loss and growing pains and coming to terms with success or divorces or death, band members dying or band members leaving. I think all of those things can be on the table in today’s day and age. And if there’s anything that I’m proud of it’s that I’m not afraid to be emotional.

What else are you most proud of, looking back?

That I’m still here.

One of the most fun parts of watching the docuseries is seeing all your hair transformations over the years. How much maintenance and time did perfecting the mullet take back in the ’80s?

I never had a mullet.

Let the record be set straight.

I had a big old Q-Tip of a head, but I haven’t had a mullet. There was a lot of hair, and that is a part of my penance.

How does it feel to have a rest stop in New Jersey named after you?

You know, like George Washington slept everywhere. This is going to sound a little disgusting: I’ve peed everywhere. From the man who’s overly hydrated, when they said, “We’re going to name the rest stop after you," I laughed. I said, “I think that’s a great idea." I think it’s hysterical. But actually, when you’re in the company of Frank Sinatra and Vince Lombardi and Alexander Hamilton…It’s actually a very New Jersey thing. We’re often surrounded by backhanded compliments. That’s what New Jersey is—we are a shadow of New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. We had to work very hard, and we carry that with us where we go.

As a rock star who didn’t do many drugs or much drinking, do you have any vices?

I live for sugar and wine. Those are my only two vices I’ve ever had. Between wine and cookies, I’m pretty easy.

What do you like to splurge on?

I’ll buy a house, and if that house has a hose that they left in the garden, I say, “We don’t need to buy a new hose, that hose is perfectly fine." And my friends or my wife will laugh at me because that hose has three holes in it. I’m frugal in some ways, and I’m stupidly extravagant in others. I don’t buy myself things, but I’ll buy you anything that you could ever hope for.

What music do you listen to when you want to relax?

There’s a treasure trove of music and streaming services. I love finding an artist and then going on, you know, Nathaniel Rateliff radio. I think that, with new artists, we’re in a good place. Zach Bryan is great, Noah Kahan is great, Inhaler is a great rock band. Olivia Rodrigo is a great pop artist with something to say.

What’s the secret to a happy marriage?

For me, it’s just a mutual-admiration society. I’m just excited to be with my wife every day. There’s no kind of rules or restrictions. You’re just writing the playbook on a daily basis.

What have you been reading lately?

I’m reading a Ben Franklin biography for the second time. I have some kind of spiritual connection to Ben Franklin. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but my admiration for him is so deep. Without him, I don’t know if this [American] experiment would be what it is today. He wasn’t the president, but his influence was huge.

You know his picture on the $100 bill? I own the painting. I was one of a couple of contributors to refurbishing his gravestone. I know far too much about this man. I’ve been to where he lived in England, for God’s sake. I’ve been all through Philadelphia, of course. He just astounds me with everything that he thought of and did and imagined. For some reason, I’m crazy about Ben Franklin.

What’s a piece of advice you’ve gotten that’s guided you?

Be true to who you are. And be smart enough to know what you don’t know.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Write to Lane Florsheim at

Jon Bon Jovi Is Obsessed With Benjamin Franklin
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Jon Bon Jovi Is Obsessed With Benjamin Franklin
Jon Bon Jovi Is Obsessed With Benjamin Franklin
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Jon Bon Jovi Is Obsessed With Benjamin Franklin
Jon Bon Jovi Is Obsessed With Benjamin Franklin
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Jon Bon Jovi Is Obsessed With Benjamin Franklin
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