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‘Never Say Goodbye’ to the Bon Jovi Band Members — See Them Then and Now

The “Runaway” rock stars recall living on a prayer in their new Hulu series.

Jon Bon Jovi has left the building. Not quite, but the rocker recently revealed in Hulu’s four-part docuseries Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story that he will step away from the spotlight once he feels his ability to perform has been compromised.

“If I can’t be the very best I can be, I’m out,” Bon Jovi notes. “I’m not here to drag down the legacy, I’m not here for the ‘Where are they now?’ tour … I’m not ever gonna be the Fat Elvis. That ain’t happening!”

He and his band’s meteoric rise in the 80s is documented in the series, which includes some other A-list Jersey boys who helped Bon Jovi out in their early years. “The first demo I got of Jon’s was a good song,” shares Bruce Springsteen, who adds, “I mean, Jon’s great talent is these big, powerful pop rock choruses that just demand to be sung by, you know, 20,000 people in an arena.”

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Bon Jovi band members
Bon Jovi (1985) Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music / Contributor

After early success with 1984’s “Runaway,” Bon Jovi fully exploded onto the scene with 1986’s Slippery When Wet and its hits “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and “Wanted Dead or Alive,” as well as their popular prom theme for the 80s, “Never Say Goodbye.” Later hits like “Bad Medicine,” “I’ll Be There for You,” “This Ain’t a Love Song,” and “It’s My Life” further earned Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres, Alec John Such, and the rest of the Bon Jovi band members legions of fans all over the world, and they’ve sold more than 130 million records over the past 40 years.

Though they’ve had their share of friction throughout the years, Bon Jovi and Sambora — who’s no longer in the band — are forever bonded by their 2009 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“Jon and I touched the planet with those songs. You realize that you were warriors that love each other, watched each other’s backs, told each other the truth,” Sambora says in the Hulu series, adding, “If anybody doesn’t think that we were Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jimmy [Page] and Robert [Plant], any way you wanna slice it — come on!” 

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Bon Jovi band members
Bon Jovi at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction (2018) Kevin Mazur / Contributor / Getty

They and the rest of the band also entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. “No stupid rock and roll attitude, just humble and gracious,” Howard Stern, who inducted them, noted on the occasion. “Whenever I would see them over the years, even with multi-platinum success, they each had a smile on their face in a welcoming way. An appreciation for their craft and their fans. In addition to music, their charity work feeding the homeless and helping the American Red Cross, lending a hand to the Special Olympics; that’s a rare humility and I love them for that. Great group. Iconic band.”

Still, the shock jock couldn’t resist taking a jab at the band’s leader, quipping that Bon Jovi was “the man who singlehandedly destroyed most of the ozone layer in the 80s with Aqua Net hairspray.”

Though the Bon Jovi band members might not have as much hair as they used to, the Grammy winners are still going strong, and their new album Forever, comes out June 7. Its first single, “Legendary,” heads up an album that’s “a return to joy,” Bon Jovi, shares. “From the writing, through the recording process, this is turn-up-the-volume, feel-good Bon Jovi.” Count us in! As we all wait for the full album to be released, take some time to catch up with the Bon Jovi band members, below.

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Jon Bon Jovi: Bon Jovi band members

Jon Bon Jovi
1980/2024 Richard E. Aaron / Contributor / Getty // Theo Wargo / Staff / Getty

Jersey’s John Bongiovi was the son of a barber and former Playboy bunny (“Oh God, did I have the stories and the pictures,” he once told Larry King) who formed his first band at 14. With other musical groups — including John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones — he’d go on to play in local clubs while working at The Power Station recording studio, where he was able to record his first song, a novelty Star Wars-themed tune.

By 1983, he’d formed Bon Jovi with David Bryan, Alec John Such, Tico Torres, and Richie Sambora and their debut album dropped in 1984, going on to release 15 others to date with their 16th, Forever, coming in June 2024.

Away from the group, Jon’s contributed a song for the soundtrack to 1990s’ Young Guns II film called “Blaze of Glory,” which anchored his first of two solo records. The tune won a Golden Globe and earned an Oscar nomination. He’s also produced other artists on his own label, Jambco Records. In addition to being a founder of a team in the Arena Football League and trying to become a part-owner of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, he’s done his fair share of acting, appearing in such films as Moonlight and Valentino, U-571, and Pay It Forward.

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Jon Bon Jovi performing
Jon Bon Jovi (1996) Independent News and Media / Contributor / Getty

In 2006 he founded The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which helps fund programs that aim “to break the cycle of hunger, poverty and homelessness.” The foundation’s JBJ Soul Kitchens are community restaurants that serve those in need. His charitable efforts helped him to be named 2024’s MusicCares Person of the Year, and his tribute concert earlier this year found the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Shania Twain, Jelly Roll, Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar, and more singing his praises.

The avid runner and tennis played battled some vocal problems in 2022 that led him to try everything from acupuncture to laser treatments and, ultimately, vocal surgery. While his voice has been recovering slowly but surely since then, he told Mix 104.1, a radio station in Boston, that it may prevent a tour in support of his band’s new album out in June.

“It is my desire to do a tour,” he said, “[but] my need, want, desire is to be able to do two-and-a-half hours a night, four nights a week for months on end. And so I’m working towards that goal.”

The singer and Dorothea Hurley, his wife since 1989, have four children, Stephanie, 30, Jesse, 29, Jake, 21, and Romeo, 20, and he shared with People that all but Romeo are currently engaged, so there will be lots of weddings — though hopefully no “Runaway” brides — in Bon Jovi’s future.

Richie Sambora

Richie Sambora
1985/2023 Midori Tsukagoshi/Shinko Music / Contributor / Getty // Corine Solberg / Contributor / Getty

Bon Jovi’s lead guitarist was born in the same town as its band leader, Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He started playing the accordion as a boy before turning to the guitar at age 12, inspired by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, and others. Sambora eventually released an independent record with another band in 1982, and played with a couple others before teaming up with Bon Jovi in 1983.

On his own, he released three solo albums between 1991 and 2012, but he also struggled publicly with substance abuse issues and dependencies on alcohol and pain killers through the years, doing stints in rehab in both 2007 and 2011. He eventually left Bon Jovi abruptly in 2013, citing personal reasons and wanting to spend more time with his daughter Ava, whom he had in 1997 with Heather Locklear, his wife from 1994 to 2007.

In the new Hulu documentary, though, Sambora also hints about not feeling fully wanted or needed by Jon in the band at the time. Jon, meanwhile, talks about the hurt he felt upon Sambora’s departure, and how it changed the band’s shows forever. “The true magic of our live performance was when [Richie and I] sang together… that was our unique spot,” Jon says. “It was as identifiable as any great combination that made one and one three. And I don’t think that’s been replaced, no.”

Man and woman play guitars on stage
Richie Sambora and Orianthi of RSO (2017) Daniel Knighton / Contributor / Getty

Around 2018, Sambora began a personal and professional partnership with Australian guitarist Orianthi, and they performed as a duo called RSO. “We love each other and we still do, everything’s cool but it’s a difficult thing when you work together and you live together, you’re in the public eye and all that stuff’s going on,” Orianthi told Classic Rock magazine in 2020 of their collaboration.  

A supporter of many charities through the years, the guitarist launched his own You Can Go Home fundraising project in 2009 to benefit his hometown and those in need who live in the area. He also recently played on the title track of Dolly Parton’s 2023 Rockstar album, and competed on Britain’s version of The Masked Singer, making it all the way to the semifinals disguised as the Jacket Potato.

On May 1, he released a brand-new single titled “I Pray,” the first of four tracks he’s rolling out over the coming month. “I’m at that point in my life where I am truly happy and a big part of that joy comes from writing songs and making music,” Sambora notes. “There’s a tremendous freedom with these songs because I don’t have to think about charting #1 or what’s happening on the radio but I still put the same craftsmanship, care and love into it as I did with Slippery When Wet or New Jersey, and I hope they bring a similar happiness to those that choose to listen and push play on streaming services.”

David Bryan: Bon Jovi band members

David Bryan
1987/2024 Icon and Image / Contributor / Getty // Karwai Tang / Contributor / Getty

The Bon Jovi band members keyboardist, who was also born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, grew up the son of a musical father, and he played trumpet, violin, viola, and clarinet. He also excelled at the piano and keyboard since the age of 7, around the time he started more than a decade’s worth of lessons with Juilliard school professor Emery Hack. 

In addition to his success with Bon Jovi, of which he was a founding member, Bryan has also released three solo albums, worked on some of Richie Sambora’s solo efforts, and collaborated with jazz singer Curtis Stigers. Most notably, Bryan and his songwriting partner Joe DiPietro won a Tony for Best Original Score for their 2009 Broadway musical Memphis, and the duo also partnered on Diana, about Princess Diana’s turbulent trials while married to the man who’d become King Charles III. Though the latter had a brief live run due to COVID, it was filmed for a streaming special for Netflix.

David Bryan playing piano
David Bryan (1995) Brian Rasic / Contributor / Getty

“Broadway used to be my moonlighting job. Now I have two day jobs,” Bryan recently told The Detroit Jewish News. “That’s OK. It’s not a competition between the two for me. It’s music. It’s collaborative, whether it’s the band or whether it’s me working with Joe. I’ve been able to spend my life doing what I love most. It’s a blessing; it really is.”

Bryan and his wife, Lexi Quaas, share twins Colton and Gabrielle, as well as another daughter named Tyger Lily.

Tico Torres

Tico Torres
1987/2024 Icon and Image / Contributor / Getty // Karwai Tang / Contributor / Getty

Born Hector Juan Samuel Torres in New York City, the future drummer moved to New Jersey with his Cuban-immigrant parents as a child, which is how he eventually hooked up with his bandmates. The jazz aficionado had a string of prior band and studio recording experience (including with acts such as Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks, Chuck Berry and Pat Benatar) before drumming with T. Roth and Another Pretty Face, a glam rock band, in the late 70s, which led to him eventually teaming up with Bon Jovi in 1983.

Torres, nicknamed “The Hitman,” is also an accomplished artist whose paintings have been shown for decades. Around 2013, he founded a luxury baby line inspired by his son Hector, whom Torres had with third wife Maria Alejandra in 2004. The line, Rock Star Baby, offered clothing for newborns up to kids who are 8 years old, along with accessories for feeding and interiors. “I found that there was a need for cool clothes for kids. My slogan is ‘every baby is a star,’ so I treat every baby like a star,” he told the Irish Independent.

Tico Torres
Tico Torres (2024)Jo Hale / Contributor / Getty

In the 2009 documentary Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful, Torres revealed his private struggles with addictions in the past. “I was killing myself with drinking years ago. I was the kind of person who wouldn’t drink for months and then just load off two bottles,” he shared, and he entered counseling to get a control on it.

Torres, now 70, is an avid golfer and he’s become close pals with fellow 80s star Huey Lewis over the years. “Every year we play in an event called the Alfred Dunhill Cup in Scotland,” Lewis posted on Facebook last year, sharing that the two often sit in and jam with the band at the event when they can. “Tico’s a great guy. His heart’s in the right place,” Lewis added, though he couldn’t help quipping, “He’s from New Jersey. He sounds like one of the Sopranos. ‘How you doin?’”

Alec John Such: Bon Jovi band members

Alec John Such
1987/1994 Jo Hale / Contributor / Getty // Mick Hutson / Contributor / Getty

Bon Jovi’s original bassist was born in Yonkers, New York, and played in some New Jersey bands (Phantom’s Opera with Tico Torres and Message with Richie Sambora) during the early 80s. He was also the manager of Sayreville’s Hunka Bunka Ballroom and booked one of Jon Bon Jovi’s earlier groups to play there. When Bon Jovi officially formed in 1983, Such was brought onboard.

Due to friction with Jon Bon Jovi in 1994, Such announced he’d no longer record and only tour with the band, but he was eventually let go that same year, keeping himself behind the scenes in the music world after his departure. He was present, however, when the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. “When Jon Bon Jovi called me up and asked me to be in his band many years ago, I soon realized how serious he was and he had a vision that he wanted to bring us to,” he said at the time. “And I am only too happy to have been a part of that vision.”

Two men on stage
Jon Bon Jovi and Alec John Such (1987) Richard E. Aaron / Contributor / Getty

Sadly, the bassist died from natural causes on June 5, 2022, at the age of 70. “We are heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of our dear friend Alec John Such. He was an original,” Jon Bon Jovi posted at the time. “As a founding member of Bon Jovi, Alec was integral to the formation of the band. To be honest, we found our way to each other thru him — He was a childhood friend of Tico and brought Richie to see us perform. Alec was always wild and full of life. Today those special memories bring a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. We’ll miss him dearly.”

Phil X

Phil X
2013/2024 Michael Chang / Contributor / Getty // Rick Kern / Contributor / Getty

After Richie Sambora stepped away from the band in 2013 during their Because We Can tour, Canadian guitarist Phil X (short for Phil Xenidis) stepped in, officially becoming a member in 2016. He boasts a long list of credits to his name, including prior work with Avril Lavigne, Rob Zombie, Kelly Clarkson, Alice Cooper, Chris Cornell, and more through the years.

He also performs with his own trio called The Drills and was featured in the 2016 documentary Hired Gun, which puts the music world’s session musicians front and center in the spotlight. The 58-year-old is married to his wife of 10 years, Lindy Green, and they share two children, one of whom had a birthday during the Nashville recording of Bon Jovi’s latest album.

“[My son] said, ‘That’s OK dad, I’m used to it,’” the guitarist told the NTTFG Podcast. “[So] I called Jon and said, ‘Hey bub, I can’t miss my son’s 10th. That’s like a year — that’s a landmark.’ He said, ‘Yeah man, that’s totally cool. You go home for a couple of days and be with your kids, and see me when you get back.’ It’s pretty amazing. He’s a family guy, a father of four, so he gets it.”

The new album, due June 7, promises some great guitar parts for the fans. “Jon’s really excited about the record. I think the whole band is super excited about this record,” he recently told the Kenny Aronoff Sessions podcast. “I don’t think the guitars [were] loud enough on the last couple of Bon Jovi records. And I think…the guitars are in the right space [on this one].… I want [listeners] to feel the guitars. Because it’s Bon Jovi, right? It’s a rock record.”

Hugh McDonald: Bon Jovi band members

Hugh McDonald
1995/2024 Stephane Cardinale – Corbis / Contributor / Getty // Rick Kern / Contributor / Getty

Even before Alec John Such left Bon Jovi in 1994, bassist Hugh McDonald had been playing with the band on their studio albums. But once Such stepped away, the Philadelphia-born musician started publicly filling in for him, and by 2016, McDonald become an official member of the band.

“Jon and I never spoke about it, and all of a sudden I was a member,” McDonald recalled to the Deseret News. “Nothing has changed — there’s no different treatment. They’ve always treated me as a member. It’s not like I’ve gotta go on the bus when they fly.… I was the ghost in the machine for years, and now I’m not a ghost anymore. I actually show up. If I look in the mirror, my reflection is there.”

Prior to joining Bon Jovi, he’d played in the David Bromberg Band, as well as for artists such as Willie Nelson, Ringo Star, Lita Ford, Cher, Alice Cooper, Ricky Martin, Poison, and Michael Bublé, among others.

McDonald, 73, is married to his second wife Kelli, whose jewelry line Saintly Edge “has been worn and favored by Richie Sambora, Jon Bon Jovi, Chris Daughtry and her beloved husband, Bon Jovi bassist Hugh McDonald,” according to its website.

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