Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Project Reach: An app to help the homeless

There seems to be an app for pretty much everything these days... Why not one to help homeless vets? Jon Bon Jovi, whose philanthropic credits include the Soul Foundation, Soul Kitchen and White House Council, has launched a contest calling for the development of precisely such an app:
Bon Jovi, along with Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and W. Scott Gould, deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs, unveiled a contest Monday called Project Reach, which calls for the development of a user-friendly application that provides real-time information about the availability of shelters, meals and care for homeless vets.

“We'll access veterans to — in instant and real time — medical, food, shelter and social services via the Internet and what a better way to do that than through the innovative minds of the technology community,” said Bon Jovi, speaking on the conference call from his Soul Kitchen restaurant on Monmouth Street in Red Bank.

The contest calls for techies to find an easy-to-use, mobile and Web app to connect users to service providers and real-time information about resources for the homeless and others in need.

The contest is using Monmouth County as its proving ground, and the first five entries that meet requirements will receive a $10,000 cash prize and the opportunity to test their app at Soul Kitchen.

The winning entry receives a $25,000.
Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Another side to The Circle

This is a guest post by Jag Lall about an album that has had somewhat mixed reviews among Bon Jovi fans since its release in 2009. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Throughout Bon Jovi’s career there have always been songs which harked to a wider socially conscious level (‘Keep the Faith’, ‘Dry County’, ‘All I Want Is Everything’); however the torn side which they so effortlessly displayed in the Keep the Faith and These Days albums has only surfaced sparingly in recent years. Compared to several previous efforts The Circle has darker tones and socially conscious subject matter sweeping right across the record. There seems to be a real acceptance of the band to show their emotions of hurt and longing far more readily. Also, there is a sense of realism, maturity and perspective running right through the album where even upbeat anthems such as ‘We Weren’t Born to Follow’ proclaim not to give up but also don’t live in some fantasy either.

‘I’ve learned to pray but it’s too late now’

From the bleak angst of ‘Bullet’ to the inner look of ‘Thorn in my Side’, Bon Jovi created The Circle as almost a scrapbook of the world they see and feel. ’Bullet’s chorus questions faith in humanity ‘God are you listening or have You just given up?’ The song makes us look at ourselves, have we as a humanity pulled the trigger and spilt blood so many times that even God has had enough? The anger and puzzlement also comes out in the line ‘How can someone take a life in the name of God and say it’s right’. The song’s lyrics carry a feeling of hopelessness and being unable to comprehend the endless bloodshed which engulfs society today. In contrast, ‘Happy Now’ shows a more hopeful slant, no doubt bloomed from Jon’s involvement with President Obama but ‘When we were Beautiful’ is a social and political postcard from the era of where Jon longs the world to get back to. The lyrics paint a very deliberate picture of a muddled reality soaked in doubt, ‘Am I blessed or am I cursed cos the way we are ain’t the way we were’. Lyrically the track delves deeper than most on the album and takes the listener on a journey of yearning, despair and reflection.

‘If somebody sent you an angel to save you, what would you tell him to turn him away’

The sense of longing continues and is felt in ‘Superman Tonight’. Masked by soaring guitars the song is tinged with a sense of pain of not being able to pull someone out of their darkness. The Superman logo has become part of Jon’s identity but here he uses that strength as a wishful hope because he realises that there is no Superman, no ultimate hero or saviour. The narration has a feel of defeat and of not being strong enough to save those most dear to them which is a far cry from the anthemic power ballads of ‘I’ll Be There For You’ and ‘In These Arms’. The lyrical spike of hurt and loss only truly came to the fore when the band performed this acoustically on the The Circle/Greatest Hits tour where the song’s words elevated above the studio version.
The sense of identifying one’s limitations bounces right across the album. In ‘Work for the Working Man’ the poignant lyric ‘I only know what I know how to do’ is a heart wrenching line because it manages to convey both a sense of pride and helplessness. The undercurrent of realism and limitations occurs in ‘Fast Cars’ too, ‘How can I defend let’s live for now but not then’. It’s a song where Jon and Richie try to find a sense of personal freedom while dealing with life’s failings and hardships without pretending to make believe.

‘You leave it all on the table if lose or you win’

Although the likes of ‘Work for the Working Man’ and ‘Bullet’ are sources of social commentary, the band’s more personal emotions come to the fore in ‘Learn to Love’. Here, the song touches on the subject of mortality which shows flashes of Bon Jovi’s willingness to display emotional vulnerability and ultimately, acceptance. ‘Learn to Love’ deals with finding that resolution in our own actions and having the willingness to let go of the regret of our past mistakes so that we can find compassion and forgiveness for who we are and for the tracks that we have laid. Whilst the chorus is penned as ‘you gotta learn to love the world your living in’, the ‘world’ is your own heart and soul, that lyric points itself directly to the listener, learn to love who you are. In many ways this song best reflects where mentally the band are right now as swashbuckling enthusiasm and wide eyed wonder has blended into resolution, contentment and drive. The band rarely touches the subject of life and death but it’s this extra layer in their song writing which is untapped. It has been touched upon by Jon himself that the These Days record contained many songs which were too personal to play live and showed his fragility and thus prefer not to perform such cuts such as ‘Hard Letting You Go’, ‘Something to Believe In’. However on The Circle/GH tour the band performed more songs from that album than the past few tours combined. Perhaps this is a sign that Bon Jovi are becoming more comfortable and willing to bare their soul and heartache on stage.

There is no denying that The Circle is a social glimpse of the murky times we live in; economic crisis to wars and revolutions but underneath that subject matter lays a light that shines on the personal growth of a band who have learned to love and live with who they are, albeit with a thorn in their side.

How do you rate The Circle?

About the Blogger:
Jag Lall is an artist and storyteller of social commentary and positive change. Involved in peace, interfaith and tolerance projects in all sorts of mediums, Jag Lall works on a wide range of media ranging from paintings, book covers to storyboards and music. You can find out more information on his website: www.jaglallart.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy 29th birthday, Bon Jovi...

I don't always keep track of these things but several of my social media connections have informed me that Bon Jovi was formed on this day 29 years ago with Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, Tico "the Hitman" Torres, Alec John Such and Dave "The Snake" Sabo of Skid Row fame. Richie Sambora obviously replaced Snake soon after (and Hugh McDonald effectively replaced Alec in the 90s, or 80s depending on who you talk to) and the rest, as they say, is history.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sambora / Bon Jovi expectations?

Recent Richie Sambora tweets on his upcoming album:
Peeps are asking about my realese date..... Prob late July. Maybe some live dates right after on into early fall...
1:52 PM - 29 Feb 12 via Twitter for iPad

Lotta peeps askin bout my record. Should be pretty much done by the end of the month. Did a mix today. 3 songs done.
1:13 PM - 3 Mar 12 via Twitter for iPhone

The principle theme of the record is the ups and downs of my life over the past decade. What I've learned and observed.
2:32 AM - 7 Mar 12 via Twitter for iPhone

I wanna thank everyone for all the ideas for the title ideas... I got one. I'll tell ya's when I get it all solidified.
10:30 AM - 7 Mar 12 via Twitter for iPad

Desmond Child has also posted some photos on his Facebook page saying he is writing with Jon and Richie on the next Bon Jovi album.

What are you expecting or hoping for from the band's next album and Richie's solo work?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy birthday, Jon!

Jon Bon Jovi turns the big "Hawaii Five-O" (50 years old) today.

You all knew the "Just Older" reference was coming so I'll just leave you with a little video.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

JBJ headlining Tiger Jam

JBJ and Friends are headlining Tiger Jam this year... press release below:
On Saturday, April 28, internationally acclaimed rock 'n' roll front man Jon Bon Jovi will take the stage at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas to headline Tiger Jam 2012, a charity concert hosted by Tiger Woods, benefiting the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Continuing Tiger Jam's tradition of unforgettable concerts, Jon Bon Jovi and friends will provide fans with a spectacular performance while helping to raise money for the college-access programs of the Foundation.

Singer and songwriter David Cook, who rose to fame after winning the seventh season of American Idol, will open for Jon Bon Jovi on the Tiger Jam stage.

"It's truly an honor to have Jon headline Tiger Jam," event host Tiger Woods said. "Over the years, he's never hesitated to lend his time and talents to my Foundation, and I'm so grateful for that."

Jon and Tiger have a long philanthropic history that dates back to 2003 when Bon Jovi first performed at Tiger Jam. Bon Jovi then played Tiger Jam again in 2007 and this year, Jon Bon Jovi and friends will perform at the Mandalay Bay Events Center for the first time. Jon has also been very supportive of the AT&T National while it was held in Philadelphia. The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation was a tournament beneficiary in 2010 and 2011.

In true Las Vegas style, Tiger Jam 2012 will include a VIP reception at House of Blues, featuring gourmet fare and spirits and exclusive live and silent auctions filled with one-of-a-kind luxury items. Following the dinner and auctions, the celebration will progress to the Mandalay Bay Events Center stage, where Woods will introduce Jon Bon Jovi and friends as they take the stage to deliver a rocking performance to Tiger Jammers.

Concert tickets starting at $70, not including applicable service charges, go on sale Saturday, March 3, at 10 a.m. PT, and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations (select Smith's Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Mandalay Bay at (877) 632-7400 or Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also will be available for purchase at MandalayBay.com or Ticketmaster.com. For more information on 2012 Tiger Jam Sponsorship opportunities or to attend the dinner and auction, please call (949) 725-3003.

About Tiger Jam and the Tiger Woods Foundation: Since its creation in 1998, Tiger Jam has raised more than $13 million for programs of the Tiger Woods Foundation through its sold-out performances and one-of-a-kind auction items. At the Tiger Woods Foundation, we believe every child deserves a shot at college. Designed to break through a culture of low expectations, our college-access programs reach underserved youth in all stages of academic life. For scholars in grades 5-12, the Tiger Woods Learning Centers provide hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering and math coupled with college preparation workshops to create a unique environment focused on college and careers. The Earl Woods Scholarship Program is an unparalleled network providing admissions counseling, college scholarships, dedicated mentors, specialized internships and vital workshops. Receiving individualized support, our bright young scholars are succeeding at prestigious universities such as Georgetown, USC, UC Berkeley, UCLA and Harvard.

About Jon Bon Jovi: Jon Bon Jovi is the Chairman of The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which establishes programs and partnerships that aim to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness "one Soul at a time." To date, Jon Bon Jovi and the Soul Foundation have provided affordable housing for hundreds of low-income individuals and families. In December 2010, President Obama appointed Jon Bon Jovi to the White House Council for Community Solutions. The Council's focus on at-risk youth is an issue with critical near-term and long-term consequences for our nation's health and economic strength.

Musically, Jon Bon Jovi has set the bar for nearly three decades as one of the world's most successful musicians. Globally, Jon's Grammy winning band Bon Jovi have sold over 130 million albums, consistently delivered #1 albums and Top Ten hits and performed more than 2,600 concerts in over 50 countries for upwards of 34 million fans.