Recently I posted that music industry gadfly Bob Lefsetz has recently discovered mainstream country radio on satellite radio. And heâ€™s been posting them a big sloppy one ever since (Ooooo little Big Town , how like a poor manâ€™s Fleetwood Mac you are!),but heâ€™s dead on in his latest post about Bon Joviâ€™s recent excursion to the wrong side of the cultural tracks, put on some $1000. boots and tried their hand at country music. Bad idea!
Bon Jovi has had a much longer shelf-life than most of their big-haired brethren (hear that Poison?!) and it helps that Jon Bon Jovi has aged well enough that middle age women all over the nation want to still jump his bones. But good ass genes does not good music make.
Bon Jovi has been brilliant at keeping himself on the public eye. How many times have they played the Today show in the last few years? I bet it rivals Steve Martinâ€™s record for hosting SNL (14). But just like with genes, exposure does not a great band make.
So now Bon Jovi goes where other metal bands have gone before. â€, Warrantâ€™s â€œUncle Tomâ€™s Cabinâ€ and Poisonâ€™s â€œSomething to Believe Inâ€ both were pop-metal forays into Southern-fried sounds and it succeeded about well as might think. If you suck at metal why wouldnâ€™t you suck at country?
The mistake that these bands make is looking at the money and demographics of mainstream country and calculating that itâ€™s a smart business decision. Business, not passion. When Michael Ness of Social Distortion covers Ring Of Fire itâ€™s not because he thinks â€œThere sure are a lot of Cash fans that will buy this.â€ He does it because he respects what Johnny did and HAS to pay tribute.
Will I listen to Bob Jovi new release â€œLost Highwayâ€? Probably not, Iâ€™ve heard it before. Pop-country is like mosquitoes in Nashville. Everywhere and sucking.