Day 20: New Jersey

After my random act of arson the night before, I managed to bed down in a church which kept open all night in Harlem. Pews are not all that comfortable, but it was the rude awakening I got the next morning from the choir which really set me off in a bad mood. Nevertheless, as I ran from the horrid sounds of God being praised in songs (what kind of god would allow this) I counted my blessings. I had managed to down a couple of beers the night before (not gin but it would do), managed to put a call to Miami and was not wanted for anything as far as I knew.

Then I saw a New York Times and knew differently.


It struck me that maybe my time in New York was coming to an end. I smelled a wee bit of melted vinyl, still had the same clothes on that Simone could ID and my photo was on the front cover of a newspaper. Time to cross a state line, I thought, hitching a lift in a truck heading for the greener pastures of New Jersey. From there I would head south, but not before putting in one more phonecall to try and get hold of Crispian. I needed to change some clothes, get some money and leave America if possible. New Jersey was a start, but not much of one.

BON JOVI – New Jersey

Everyone in New Jersey works in a factory. It must be the case. What do I base this deduction on?
a) The fact that characters in songs by Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen set in New Jersey always work in factories
b) The music made by bands from New Jersey are so bloody awful that it can only be produced by people with severe hearing damage caused by the kind of heavy machinery you would find in a factory.

New Jersey by Bon Jovi is typical of an album by a New Jersey band. Chocked full of one dimensional cliched blue collar workers, and guitar riffs that went out with Lynard Skinnard (only perpetuated by his brother Richard Skinnard on Radio One at the time). This filth was peddled to the British public by Jonathon King in his woefully mistitled Entertainment USA program. King was rightly sent to prison for this.

But what of Jon Bon Jovi and the band he must have spend ages thinking of a name for (see also Van Halen)? What of this world striding album, which filled stadiums everywhere, just asking to be carpet bombed? Well it have a distinctive cover, being grey writing on a grey background which should have suggest how dull its tunes really were. The big hit from it was probably Bad Medicine, which should also have been titled Bloody Awful Song. JBJ’s cowboy fetish kicked in around here as well, which was amusing considering if any cowboy had hair like his they would have been run out of town. And New Jersey has a very minor history of cowboy action.

That said I always saw this album as a call to arms to me way back in 1989. It opens with Lay Your Hands On Me, after all. Which if I ever had a chance to do no amount of medicine, good or bad, would fix Jon Bon Jovi’s poodle haired pretty boy face.