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Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story


Jon Bon Jovi celebrates his band’s 40th anniversary with an expansive new documentary


Four decades after forming the iconic rock band Bon Jovi, the boys from Jersey — frontman Jon Bon Jovi, former guitarist Richie Sambora, current guitarist Phil X, keyboard player David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres and bassist Hugh McDonald — look back on the long road taken. The four-part documentary series from director Gotham Chopra charts their meteoric rise, bringing the story all the way up to the present day, where their lead singer is struggling with a potentially career-ending health problem. Here, the Grammy-winning singer discusses the impetus to reflect on the past, and what the future holds for Bon Jovi.

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story on Disney+. Pictured: Jon Bon Jovi onstage at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pennsylvania in February 2013.
© 2013 David Bergman/

What made you want to do the documentary, and show the lows, as well as the highs?

Because this is the band’s 40th anniversary, I wanted to document what had happened in my past with a vision on what is the future. One thing we agreed upon, on day one, was that this was not going to be a puff piece. I wasn’t going to stamp my feet and say, “I have final say.” Gotham was the director. This had to tell the truth and have all the warts that go with it.

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story on Disney+. Pictured: David Bryan has played keyboards for Bon Jovi since the band’s inception.
2010 David Bergman for

Why was Gotham the choice for the film?

He was my first and only choice. I had seen Man in the Arena, and there was something about it that I thought was very unique. I had asked for an opportunity to meet, knowing that he had never done music before. But I always say that Bon Jovi is the power of we, and that it takes a team. If I am the quarterback, I know that I couldn’t complete anything without somebody blocking for me, somebody there to catch the ball. He was the guy, based on Man in the Arena, and then, as we talked, I felt good. As we worked, I felt great.

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story on Disney+. Pictured: Longtime Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres.
2010 David Bergman for

How did you land on Thank You, Goodnight as a title?

The thing that I say at the end of every night is, “Thank you and have a good night.” You know, travel into the darkness, knowing that there was light shining tonight. But the ambiguity of the title is also, “What does the future hold for me and for my band?” That’s a health-related question and, although I’m making great strides, we faced something that I didn’ t expect, which is my vocal cord surgery. Although I’m doing very well and sang for my first time in public just the other night, when we shot this there was no definitive answer. And if I can’t go out and do two-and-a-half hours a night, four nights a week . . . “Thank you, goodnight.”

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story on Disney+. Pictured: Jon Bon Jovi at the O2 Arena in London in 2010.
Courtesy of Hulu

One of the strengths of your band is that you guys have never been messy.  Whatever differences you had, you handled things in-house. What was it like ripping off the band-aid and having everybody talk about the issues that you did incur?    

There are moments of other guys’ truths that are in the film because I wasn’t going to ask for them to be cut out — because it’s not a puff piece, you have to accept that.  I think that makes the bonds deeper. Being able to truly speak the truth without fear of repercussion or bruised egos, it makes you appreciate it more — after any initial sting, you know? There were some punches in the nose. I was like, “Wow, that stung.” Or that Alec [John Such, the band’s original bassist], unfortunately, wasn’t interviewed. His passing was hard on all of us because it was the first time we faced mortality. One of us passed. These are all things that come with growing up in public. We just thank you for noticing, but we absolutely always dealt with our own issues internally, and that was the end of that.

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story on Disney+. Pictured: Bon Jovi bass player Hugh McDonald.

One of the interesting things is watching you wrestle with the idea that you can get out there and do that show, like a 25-year-old, but “I’m the age that I am and I want to be the best version of this.”?

Yeah. It’s not been easy. Because the parallel story — and now I’m ready to talk about it — is this vocal surgery. I pride myself on having been a true vocalist. I’ve studied the craft for 40 years. I’m not a stylist who just barks and howls. So when God was taking away my ability, I couldn’t understand why. One of my cords was literally atrophying. Your vocal cords are supposed to look parallel, but the strong one was pushing the weak one aside, and I wasn’t singing well. So, my craft was being taken from me. It made no sense. Fortunately, I found a surgeon who was able to do this really cutting-edge implant to build the [weak] cord back up. It’s still in the process. But nonetheless, and I say in the latter episodes, “If I just had my tools back.” The rest of it I can deal with. I can write you a song; I can perform as well as anybody. But I need to get my tools back.

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story on Disney+. Pictured: Guitarist Phil X officially joined Bon Jovi in 2016.

When you sing now, do think, “I remember when we wrote this”?

It’s not oftentimes that you go back and listen to your own records. When you’re done with it, you’re done with it. I’m not going to go back and sit with the first five albums. But there are moments that I sit there and go, “I’m really proud of the catalog,” you know? It stands up. I think I’ve gotten better as a singer throughout the course of my career, from when I was a young man to that mid-2000s. I, by happenstance, saw on Instagram the Oscars when I did “Blaze of Glory.” My recollection of that performance was, “Eh, it’s OK.” I heard it the other day, and I said, “Holy s***, we were good.” (Laughter.) I mean, I was like, “That kid was really good.” So I was pleased to see that, you know? All I can tell you now is that my hope is that I’m going to be the best version of me in 2024.

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story on Disney+. Pictured: Guitarist Richie Sambora, who left the band in 2013.

Was yours a life well spent or a misplaced youth?

I’m proud of who and what I am at this juncture in my life. Regrets, I’ve had very few. And I was lucky enough to have a dream and be able to pursue it, and I still am pursuing it. So I think it’s been a life well spent thus far, but it’s a work in progress.

Did you ever dream this big?

No. Not in my wildest, craziest dreams.

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, streaming on Disney+

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