The future rock star was then just an aspiring teenage musician working at the Power Station, an acclaimed recording studio in New York, run by his cousin, Tony Bongiovi.
“They eventually paid me 50 bucks to be the gofer,” Bon Jovi recalled on the Rockonteurs podcast, adding that having studio access allowed him to work on his burgeoning songwriting. “If it was a weekend or late, late, late night I could go in and they would just keep a tally and said basically if you ever make it, you gotta pay us back.”
Besides access to a studio and equipment, the job brought Bon Jovi face to face with some of the biggest names in music.
“No one believes what I saw,” the rocker declared, looking back on his famous run ins. Among the most memorable, his chance meeting with the Rolling Stones.
“I had a band and we were rehearsing a few blocks away,” Bon Jovi recalled. “[I was] getting out of a cab, counting out my change to pay the cabbie … and the Stones got out of whatever car it was they were getting out of. The Stones!”
As luck would have it, Bon Jovi wasn’t the only person who spotted the English rockers. “At the same time [as the Stones were] going into the studio, a photographer jumps out of a trash bin and paparazzi, starts taking pictures.”
It was at that point that Bon Jovi and his friends stepped in and tried to shoo the photographer away. “The photographer’s screaming, ‘Mick, Mick, Mick, Mick, give us a picture!’ I swear to you, [Jagger] grabs me and these kids and he says, ‘Here’s my new band, the Frogs.’ And we took a fucking picture.”
The encounter cemented what Bon Jovi referred to as the “greatest lesson” he learned while working at the studio. “The bigger the star, the nicer the person. It was the guy that you don’t hear about today who was not cool. The Stones were cool.”
Sadly, Bon Jovi never saw the developed image of he and his fellow Frogs, despite attempts to track down the photographer. Still, he takes joy in recounting the experience.
“That picture exits.”