Bon Jovi’s in town this week and although I won’t be attending the concert all the hype on the radio has given me flashbacks to #48 on my “about me” list.
The year was 1988 (ouch - yes, I know I'm dating myself. It was that long ago); the tour was Bon Jovi’s first “Slippery When Wet” ; and, the job was also my first outside of college.
As a Housekeeping Floor Manager for Hyatt Hotels I was responsible for the upper 4 floors that included the VIP/concierge floor. In my 13 months of employment I had seen it all (cake on the ceiling, amorous couples under the piano in the lobby bar, chewing tobacco covered walls, etc) and met many musicians in the process (Patti Smith of the Pretenders, Barry Manilow*, John Cougar Mellencamp – before he dropped the middle name, David Bowie) but my most favorite encounter on the 24th floor was by far Bon Jovi.
For three days these guys stayed on my floor and constantly surprised me for they were not like any other hair bands (Twisted Sister, White Snake both come to mind) that I had dealt with before. There were no groupies on the floor, no loud out of control parties at night and the security crew and band manager treated the staff with respect. Instead the band in their off hours played golf, hung out in private lounge and practiced guitar, and enjoyed after hours basketball games in the health club – definitely not what I had expected.
So when the manager informed me that the band would be leaving at noon I threw the company policy of “no autograph soliciting” to the wind and hurried downstairs to the hotel gift shop to get a card for my little sister’s birthday.
“Jon, would guys mind signing a birthday card for my little sister? She’s a huge fan and is turning 16 next week”
“No, problem” was the reply. “What’s her name?”
“Jennifer, but please address it to Gubba, g-u-b-b-a”
The band got a huge kick out of her nickname and not only all signed the card, but gave me several other parting gifts for a birthday carepackage as well.
Four days later I received a frantic call from Jennifer who was screaming and hyperventelating all at the same time. “Was this really signed by Bon Jovi?” “Yup!” “Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!”
It was definitely one of the best surprises I have ever given anyone... and to this day I’m sure she still has the card. :)
BTW: I have two smaller stories related to Bon Jovi’s stay that year. One involves entering Jon’s room while he was in the shower to deliver fresh towels – the stream was coming out a half open bathroom door and the other involves nearly being run over by a scantly clad (he was only wearing boxers) Richie Sambora in the hallway. I’ll let your imaginations run with both those images, but all I can say is that I have always regretted never opening that bathroom door. :)
* Barry Manilow was the strangest and insisted on having all the windows in his suite covered with tinfoil.
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