Minus Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi rides into Salt Lake City on Wednesday

Music • Band touring behind new album "What About Now."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation operates a restaurant in Red Bank, New Jersey, that has no set prices. Customers donate what they want for their meal and if they are unable to pay they can volunteer in exchange for food.

Utahns might find that concept familiar.

Singer Jon Bon Jovi — whose band will perform at EnergySolutions Arena on Wednesday, April 17 — said he first got the idea for his JBJ Kitchen several years ago after seeing a national news report about the One World Cafe in Salt Lake City, the country's first "pay what you can" restaurant.

Bon Jovi's wife, Dorothea Hurley, traveled to Salt Lake City to see how One World Cafe — which unfortunately closed in 2012 — operated and to meet with its directors.

"That's where the basis of Soul Kitchen came from," the 51-year-old singer said.

That's not the band's only Utah tie — bass player Hugh McDonald calls Park City home when the band isn't on tour.

Sambora saga • Of course, the biggest news surrounding the band's "Because We Can" tour is last week's surprise departure of founding member and guitarist Richie Sambora.

TMZ reported immediately after the departure that Sambora left over money and respect issues.

But Bon Jovi told the Austin American-Statesman, "Don't believe what you read on TMZ because it's the furthest thing from the truth."

During a telephone interview with The Tribune , conducted two days after Sambora's departure, Bon Jovi said there have been times during the band's long career when members didn't get along and needed a break from one another.

"There was a time after [the 'New Jersey' tour that ended in 1990] that we were burned out. We were wise enough in our exhaustion [to use] outside interests to fuel the band," he said, adding "I hope we don't run into that," after this tour.

Phil X has replaced Sambora for the rest of tour, something he did in 2011 when Sambora entered rehab.

World tour • The band began its current world tour in February to promote its 12th studio album "What About Now," that offers messages about the state of the nation and the world. The tour takes its name "Because We Can" from the first single, which includes the chorus-ending lines "I ain't a soldier but I'm here to take a stand because we can."

While he appreciates political anthems from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Midnight Oil, Bon Jovi said "I don't utilize the stage as a soapbox. People see me to entertain, not to [preach]."

What the new albums celebrates, he said, is the idea of "We." He added: "That's the social conscience."

Bon Jovi said the stage design of the new tour is "really minimal," but when you watch YouTube of previous shows, you know he is understating. There are more than 90 high-speed moving elements, and for the first time, the lighting and video production teams will direct all of the automated effects while simultaneously controlling the lights and video. At the same time, a motion control system monitors the production, which also includes 50 moving lighting structures and hexagons, for safety.

The priority, however, is still the music.

"I've always said if you can't rely on the songs, it doesn't matter how many dancing girls you have," Bon Jovi said, adding that it's his job to make sure that people don't go and get a beer when the band starts playing new songs.


Twitter: @davidburger —

Bon Jovi in SLC

When • Wednesday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m.

Where • EnergySolutions Arena, 301 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $16.50 to $472 at SmithsTix —

Tour by the numbers:

4,500,000 • number of pixels of video projection

1,000,000 • dollars spent on the 10 video projectors used on the hexagon projection wall

698,000 • total watts the sound system can generate

240,000 • brightness of the hexagon wall projection screen in lumens

32,000 • potential square feet that the hexagon wall can expand to while displaying video content (largest projection screen in the world)

8,460 • feet or aircraft cable used to fly the moving lights and flying hexagon wall

350 • number of wheels on the tour buses and trucks used to transport production and crew

84 • number of touring crew members (with 80 added in each city)

7 • number of guitars Jon uses on tour, including three acoustic and four electric guitars

0 • number of strings Jon breaks during one show