“Living on a Prayer”, “Dead or Alive”, “Blaze of Glory”…I can still hear Bon Jovi’s greatest hits playing in my head. And I still remember being within spittin’ distance of Jon when he commanded the concert stage in Toronto so many years ago. Fortunately we can re-live those glory days thanks to an Ontario group who pays tribute to the band with an uncanny resemblance (both looks and sound) – Bon Jovi Forever. The band is part of a 5-group concert performing on September 16th in Oshawa when Sunrise Concerts presents the 1st Annual Durham Rock Tribute Festival (see below for details & tkt info).I recently spoke with Bon Jovi Forever frontman Baz Littlerock who shared his thoughts on performing for fans as the original legendary band.
What first inspired you to sing and perform like Bon Jovi? I have been a Bon Jovi fan since the Slippery When Wet album came out. It was never my goal to sound like Bon Jovi or do a Bon Jovi tribute band, but as years went on, I constantly would get compared to him vocally even though we did no Bon Jovi songs. In fact, we were doing Maiden, Ozzy, White Zombie (LOL) and people would say “Do you know who you sound like?” So when my son was born, I wanted to be a part of his life and not tour the world so I thought I would start a tribute band and since everyone said I sounded like Bon Jovi it was an easy decision.What has been the weirdest, wildest or most memorable gig you’ve played? Since 2000, there have been many Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, James Bay, Quebec and New Brunswick tours – so many, but the one that sticks out was in the summer of 2016 when we performed at Q107’s Canada Day festival picnic in Toronto and it was an amazing night! The whole crowd – I’m guessing 10,000 or maybe more – were all into it and we had such a great night! But there have been so many great shows over the years that it’s hard to pick just one.
Was rock your first passion or were you a closet disco lover? Umm, well my dad was all about The Beatles and my mom loved Elvis and Kenny Rogers so I heard a lot of that. The first album I ever bought was Michael Jackson’s Thriller then Huey Lewis’ Sports. I was asked to do a Motley Crue lip-sync band (with all the big hair) where we could pretend to play all the instruments so we made our costumes and instruments – it was awesome. I was hooked so I bought a real guitar and all the Motley albums and have been a rocker ever since.
What keeps you (and the band) on the road and performing for the fans? The fans mostly. The only time you’re thinking about money is when you booking the show. Once you’re on stage playing there is a “love making” that happens between the band and the audience when you get both parties ready to have a good time, there is honestly – nothing feels better. Its probably a lot like golf – it’s not always your best game every time but when you do have that great shot, you always want that feeling again so you’re constantly chasing that experience.Have you ever met any of the Bon Jovi band members, and if so, what was your first comment/question to them? No, but I have met their new guitarist Phil X – just none of the original line up. If I did meet them I would just say thanks for all the great music they’ve given us – different genres like country to pop to metal and beautiful ballads because as a singer, it allows for a good vocal work out: one minute you’re belting out “Living on a Prayer” and the next you can lay back and sing a song like “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”.
Apart from the September 16th gig in Oshawa, what other shows have you booked in the coming months…any Christmas or NYE concerts we should mark in our calendars? We have a ton of great shows coming up including Belleville for New Years. You can check our upcoming dates by logging on to www.bonjoviforever.ca or our Facebook (just type in Bon Jovi Forever Tribute Band to find us).
If you’re a fan of great rock or blues, you’ll love the line-up: Thunderstruck (AC/DC), Southern Fried (Skynyrd & Allmans), Bad to the Bone (Thorogood), the SRV Experience (Stevie Ray Vaughan) and Bon Jovi Forever. MC is the incomparable, award-winning comedian Kenny Robinson.
Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival
Saturday Sept, 16th (doors open 5pm)
General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa
Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca $45 pp (valid until Sept.5) then $65 pp