Wednesday, April 8, 2009
The next couple of weeks at Jon’s house picked up speed.
With the help of new vocal coach, Katie Agresta, Jon learned to pace himself with his voice and not overwork his instrument.
“Small goals first, bigger goals later.” Katie told him during their first lesson.
She knew how eager he was to get back on the road.
In between a brief hiatus between the Slippery and New Jersey CD’s, Jon had built a studio in his basement that he and the band usually used for demos.
It was there where he and Katie worked daily on his voice. During this time also, Jon was learning more and more about his own personal limitations.
Despite the tattoo he wore proudly on his shoulder. Jon was fully aware he was not Superman. If he wanted to come back and do all of this correctly, he needed to become more patient with himself and let his body heal in its own way.
Working on the small goals as Katie wanted, Jon began with scales. Painful as it was for his voice, by the time he mastered it a couple of weeks later, people were noticeably pleased with the difference.
Since Giants wasn’t going to happen right away, Obie delayed the "safety" issue into letting the press know that since everyone had come to terms the Giants show date would be moved to the end of the summer. That would give Jon two more months to ready himself and make his voice even stronger.
Trina kept herself busy with the Jersey Club scene, interviewing legends Southside Johnny and the Ashbury Jukes to even landing an impromptu interview with a “certain” E Street Band member after he visited Jon one night for dinner.
Doc came down to see Jon’s progress and to also finally meet the newest employee of Bon Jovi team, Kendall. He was pleased with the way both of them were improving. Especially Kendall.
When Doc visited, Jon began to feel an enormous strain between the two of them. No longer feeling like a valued partner who was running the course of his destiny, he felt as if he was simply a product of a machine where Doc no longer saw him as the person he was, but a thing where he could get as much money as possible for as long as it took.
Jon primarily trained with Katie in the morning, followed by a workout for ninety minutes. He then would usually jog with Trina introducing her to the sights and sounds of his neighborhood.
By the time they came back, the two usually shared some breakfast with Toby followed by spending as much time with the little boy as possible.
Jon loved indulging Toby with his love for dirt bikes and football. He never felt so relaxed during his time off. Ever.
He enjoyed his time with Trina and Toby so much that he felt himself at times racing through his vocal therapy just to be with the two of them for the rest of the day.
Jon and Trina did try to find Toby’s parents, but to their dismay, found out that his parents had abandoned him. Jon contacted Child Protective Services about becoming a foster parent to Toby, but because of his profession and until his lifestyle calmed a bit, CPS denied him.
Slamming down the phone receiver. Jon yelled. “What the fuck?”
Trina walked by the office. She peered through the door looking curious after hearing the crash of the phone against the desk. She asked
“Whoa, what’s wrong?”
Jon was angry. He raked his hands through his long brown mane and placed one of his hands underneath his chin. He motioned for her to come in.
“Shut the door.” He commanded.
She came in and shut the door as he asked. She sat in the chair across from him. His blue eyes were dark with rage.
“Jon, what’s wrong?” Trina asked. She had never seen him that way before.
“They won’t let me be Toby’s foster parent.” He told her.
Jon eyes were filled with disappointment. “They said it was my rock star lifestyle. They didn’t think it would be the best environment for a child.”
Trina was in shock. “What? They’ve never been here. How the hell would they know?”
Jon nodded. “I know. That’s what I asked the witch. And then she said.' We know. We read Page Six.' I’m like, half of that isn’t even true. Why don’t you just come and see what I do day in and day out? She’s like. 'Oh Mr. Bon Jovi, it’s not necessary. We do sympathize with you, however the roving nature of your profession is not a stable environment for an eleven year old. Perhaps when you’re not so much in the spotlight, we will be reconsider'….I hung up on her after that.”
“I don’t blame you. I’m dying to know now what is a stable environment? Him being used a punching bag? Or looking for his next meal in a trash dumpster?” Trina asked sarcastically. She hit his desk in anger. “Damn it!”
“I’m beyond pissed!” Jon said.
“Beyond pissed about what?” Juanita asked opening up the door. She walked in with a cup of steaming tea. She placed it on his desk.
“I made you that ginger tea for your voice that Katie recommended you have.”
“Thanks Juanita.” Jon said as he took a sip.
“Why are you beyond pissed? For once I didn’t do anything.” Juanita teased.
“They won’t let me become a foster parent to Toby.” Jon told her.
Looking surprised. Juanita asked. “Why?”
“My rock star lifestyle is too unstable according to CPS.”
Juanita laughed. “Do they know you?”
Trina laughed at loud at Juanita’s delivery of the words. Jon looked at both women blankly. They quickly erased the smiles from their faces.
Juanita sighed. “Thank god that CPS is coming here to interview me tomorrow then. Because I’ll them about themselves.”
Jon and Trina looked at each other wondering what Juanita was talking about.
“Wait a minute, they’re coming here tomorrow?” Jon asked.
Juanita told him. “Yes, I’m being interviewed to be that child’s foster parent.”
Trina smiled. Juanita winked at Jon. He was relieved. He walked over to her and hugged his longtime assistant/surrogate mother. He planted a cheek on her cheek.
“Thank you.” he told her.
“Thank you Jonny. It’s been years since I’ve raised a little boy. To get a second chance and still let him be here with you where he’s comfortable and settled, makes me happy... To no end.” Juanita squealed.
“He’s such a great kid.” Jon told her.
“And one day. You’re going to be a great father. I’ve never seen you feel this way about someone since-” Juanita looked at Trina.
Trina looked at Jon with an amused smirk.
“Since the Giants won the playoffs!” Jon teased. Trina rolled her eyes. “Oh God!” she told him.
“God nothing. God is Giants! They will win the Bowl this year. You’ll see.”
“Do I have to?” Trina joked.
“Yep. If its only once. It’ll be fun. Get seats on the field…”
“Get tackled by some guy named Tiny.” Trina teased.
“Meet Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor.” Jon chimed in.
“Get tackled by some guy named Tiny.” Trina retorted.
Jon walked over to Trina’s chair. He bent down to meet her. He played with her hair.
“I’ll protect you from Tiny.” Jon reassured her.
Jesting, she replied with a wink to Juanita. “Who’s going to protect me from you?”
“Me? No worries.” Jon replied.
Trina began to smooth back his hair. She also began to tip his head playfully back and forth. Jon looked at her strangely as did Juanita.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
“Checking to see why the halo no longer fits.” She told him.
Jon turned red. Juanita let out a huge belly laugh.
“Oh Trina! Girl, I knew you had it in you!” Juanita continued as she walked out the door.
“Trying to see why the halo doesn’t fit.” Jon mumbled as he got up.
Trina continued to laugh as they sat in Jon’s office.
Richie and Kendall were in New York City that same afternoon at the Polygram Records headquarters.
They were nervously awaiting news on Richie’s demo.
Richie was silent as he waited outside of Alain Levy’s office. He had spent a couple of hours explaining to the president of Polygram the origins of every song he presented.
Alain, just as passionate as Richie’s counterpart Jon, loved each song and had to for business reasons, question him on every choice. He knew that Richie poured his heart and soul into this solo effort, but as fulfilling for Richie personally this was, this also had to be marketable for Polygram. Just like any Bon Jovi CD would and could be.
Richie agreed. Although it’s a departure from Bon Jovi, he felt that his talents and writing could more than hold its own.
Alain respected that. He wanted to listen to the tape once more and then decide if Richie should record this particular CD or try again with other material.
Doc was in the room as well. He was very proud of Richie. The demo was good. Very good. He knew that if anyone could break out from Bon Jovi with a solo effort, it’d be Richie.
As much as Doc loved Jon’s business sense, Richie to him was the better singer while Jon was the better showman.
For Doc, each one had their own strengths and weaknesses. Doc just hoped that Polygram wouldn’t use their talents to pit one against the other.
Richie tried to peek through the door to see what was happening while Kendall calmly leafed through a magazine.
“See anything?” She asked while never taking her eyes off her magazine.
Richie tried to peer through but was unsuccessful. He walked back and sat next to her.
“Nothing. The two of them are both sitting there and not saying a word.”
“Maybe no news is good news Rich.” Kendall told him.
“Maybe no news is that I need to go back to the drawing board.” He said.
“Richie, that demo is good. What’s the worst that will happen? You’ll take a song or two out and add in probably one that you and them will probably end up liking better.” Kendall reassured him. She put the magazine down next to her.
“They don’t hate it.” Richie said questioning himself.
“No they don’t. It’s really good.” Kendall said holding his hand in attempt to calm his nerves.
“Doc better be sticking up for me.”
Kendall looked concerned. “You think he wouldn’t?”
Richie shrugged. “I don’t know. Jon’s feeling as if he’s some product instead of a human being when he’s around lately. I don’t want to end up feeling the same way about him. Doc’s been good to all of us.”
“It’s a business Rich. Doc for now has to look at it this way. I’m sure he loves Jon. In fact, I know he does because he told me, but there’s advance money that was promised and contracts that were signed and everyone’s on edge about that. Bon Jovi is a brand. Think of it like Coke or Pepsi. Why? Because Jon and Doc touted it that way to promoters to fill the seats. They’re excellent businessmen. It was a good thing they did in a way. Jon’s probably regretting it now because he planned too many dates and with his voice… He knows Doc is pressuring him to get better to fulfill the dates because of the contracts. Not saying that Doc’s attitude is right…But as a employee. I kind of get it.” She said.
Richie couldn’t get mad at her because he understood from a business standpoint as an employee where she was coming from and that’s where her opinion was coming from. He was impressed with how much she had learned about the music business in such a short time.
Just as Richie whispered “Thank you.” to Kendall. Alain and Doc opened the door.
Alain came out beaming at Richie.
“Hey man. C’mon in. Got some things to talk to you about.” the President of the label said to him grinning from ear to ear.
“Yeah?” Richie said.
“Definitely.” Alain said as Doc clapped his hands in excitement.
Alain acknowledged Kendall and Doc waved at her.
Kendall smiled. Richie did it. He was going to have his first solo effort. Nothing could be better.
Posted by Shelly at 4/08/2009