Rich Bozzett

Sex, Drugs and Bon Jovi

Published by SDP

Aug 26, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Recently, I received an email that boasted of a book written by the former tour manager for Bon Jovi. Now normally, Bon Jovi would not be the type of artist that Under the Radar would cover, but given our recently published Wasted on the Youth issue, this particular email piqued some interest. Bon Jovi was one of the bands that I grew up on. I can remember singing "Bad Medicine" at youth soccer practices, but I digress. So in the spirit of reminiscence, I dug into Bozzett's tale. Bozzett, by his own estimation, was integral to the success of Bon Jovi, helping the band from its early New Jersey club days through its massive Slippery When Wet mainstream success. His book does feature many pictures of those old big-hair days, when pop metal ruled the airwaves, and many of the photographs place Bozzett right in the midst of the action, negotiating, making phone calls, or palling around with the guys.

The big "news" surrounding the book is Bozzett's revelations on how drugs and sleaze were also part of the band's early days, and the book features a few raunchy pictures of Jon Bon Jovi with some half-naked girls to prove this point. The pictures were kept under wraps until now and their current publication supposedly puts a significant dent in Bon Jovi's wholesome image. The first problem with this is that anyone in his or her right mind would never imagine that Bon Jovi (or any rock band of the '80s) functioned without some level of groupie madness and foreign substance. The second problem here is the book itself. Reading it reminds of when, as a young boy, I would go to the library and get out a book on my favorite football player. You remember those large-type, mass produced paperbacks that managed give some information while really only skimming the surface of its subject matter?

Bozzett definitley has a story to tell here, but he doesn't know how to effectively tell it. To say that the book is poorly written is an understatement; a co-writer could have made the difference between sleazy cash-in and some coherent (and interesting) rags-to-riches tale. Bozzett's narrative skips from topic to topic while offering surface analysis and such brilliantly written foreshadowing as "...only there was a turd in the punchbowl." Of course, Bozzett has an axe to grind. He was fired by the band after withholding the aforementioned raunchy photos (which he did to try to gain leverage and get paid for the work he did for the band). But publishing this book 20-some years later makes little sense. Sabotaging its own tall tale by lazy production makes even less. (

Author rating: 2/10

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Average reader rating: 4/10


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March 23rd 2012

I just finished this book, and while I agree it’s not the most polished piece of work, I thought it was still an interesting read. It was cool to read about the band’s early days from a different point of view, especially from someone who worked with the them as closely as he did. I don’t think this was a cash-in since half the proceeds are going to the Unsung Heroes’ Foundation. This guy and many others have just as much of a past with this band as the band members themselves. Everyone has a story, and this book is a guy sharing his, and since it contains some previously unknown details about one of the biggest rock bands in the world, he was able to get it published and put on the market for people to actually read. And honestly, after reading about what happened to him, I think he deserves to have someone hear his side of the tale.