Jon Bon Jovi recalled his ‘biggest mistake’ in a recent interview for The Big Issue’s ‘Letter to My Younger Self’ series – including his ‘terrible’ performance the first time his parents saw him play.

“The first talent show my parents came to see me play I was so terrible they wanted to crawl under their seats with embarrassment,” Bon Jovi, 58, said.

“But they saw my passion and my commitment. So when I was just 17 they let me play in bars till closing time and they always said, ‘Well, at least we knew where you were’.”

He said he would get home at one or two in the morning and would still be in school by 8am.

“[My parents] just said, ‘Show up on time for school, that’s your responsibility… but pursue your dream’.”

The result of his parents support completely paid off.

“They never once said you can’t go to the bar. They knew I wasn’t going there to fuck around. I was going there to do the job,” he said.


“By the time I was 20 I had written ‘Runaway’ and it was on the radio and by the time I was 21 I had a record deal. So there wasn’t the need for my parents to have a sit down with their 35-year-old son who was still playing in a bar in Santa Barbara saying, ‘I’m gonna make it’.”

His biggest mistake?

“…that I didn’t take enough time to stop and look around and enjoy it,” Jon admitted.

“I was always so focused on the next step, then the next and the next, that it cost me a lot of great memories. And it caused a lot of sleepless nights that weren’t warranted. It’s my biggest regret.

“The one thing I would tell the younger self is, ‘Enjoy it more, relax. It’s gonna have ups and downs but keep the faith.’”

The Big Issue

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