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Bon Jovi going strong, three decades on

JBJovi performs concert Madrid June 27 2013.  |  Getty Images

Jon Bon Jovi performs in concert in Madrid on June 27, 2013. | Getty Images

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7:30 p.m. July 12

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Jon Bon Jovi and his eponymous band scored their first hit, “Runaway,” 30 years ago. Now, shortly before his umpteeth visit to Chicago, where he’ll once again perform at Soldier Field, the New Jersey-born rocker called from a tour stop in Manchester, England, to talk about music, running, the status of his daughter Stephanie Rose (she overdosed on heroin last November and was subsequently arrested) and more. Bon Jovi’s new album, “What About Now?,” was released in March.

Question:Where’s the farthest-flung place you’ve played?

Jon Bon Jovi: I’ve gone so far away from home that I’m already on my way back. As far as one can go. From Africa to New Zealand. The furthest northeastern ports of Canada out in St. John. I think the only place that I’ve not been, that I can think of, is Israel. I just haven’t had the chance.

Q.How does traveling affect your workout regimen?

JBJ: Hotel gyms. Or you’re out on the street — if you’re lucky enough to get a run outside. And I’ve run plenty. I’ve run many a mile in a lot of exotic locales, from the wilds of South Africa to the streets of Tokyo, and all over Australia to Manhattan. I’ve run Lake Michigan so many miles, so many times — summer, winter. You go from the hotel down to the waterfront and just go.

Q. Running is a good way to see things.

JBJ: But I get lost. Thank God I’m not Christopher Columbus, because we would have never discovered America [laughs]. When you’re in a foreign country and you can’t speak the language, you’ve just screwed yourself.

Q. What’s the dynamic between you and Richie Sambora now? There’s been a lot of smack talk between you two in the media.

JBJ: I have to give the same answer, because it’s a personal issue he’s working through. There was no fight. It certainly isn’t about a fight or money or anything to do with that. And his place on the plane is waiting for him when he’s worked through these issues. The dynamic certainly hasn’t changed [with him] from the perspective of me, [drummer] Tico [Torres] or [keyboard player] David [Bryan]. So once he works his way through this stuff, he’s welcome back. In the meantime, we couldn’t not go to work because of it. It’s not fair to me, it’s not fair to the band [and] it’s not fair to the crew or to the fans.

Q. Are any of your kids [he has four] going into the rock business?

JBJ: You find it in your own time. I would certainly encourage it, but I wasn’t going to force it upon any of them. My daughter [Stephanie] likes to do art and things, but she’s not pursuing the arts. And now my eldest son [Jesse] is going away to college this fall, but it’ll be for the opposite of [music]. He’s going to Notre Dame. And I’m going to Notre Dame!

Q. Your daughter is doing OK?

JBJ: She’s great. She’s incredibly fantastic, wonderful, thank God. She’s whole and she’s healthy. You know, these things happen, and they happen to a lot of people, and I was surprised. But she’s great.

Q. Your voice sounds in good shape. You haven’t developed nodes or anything?

JBJ: No! No, no, no, no, no. Please, don’t curse me. I’m not a bad guy. Ooh, Jesus, no. No, man. Thank the Lord, the chords—knock on wood—have been fantastic. Great shape.

Q. You must know how to take care of them after all these years.

JBJ: I’m pretty neurotic.

Q. What’s your regimen?

JBJ: Like an athlete, you have to warm up and warm down. That’s very important. And you’ve got to stay hydrated. I tell my doctor that I should get the lab coat. I’m an associate doctor at this point.

Q. Is touring getting tougher on you physically?

JBJ: It’s pretty taxing physically, so I have to work really hard to keep Humpty-Dumpty’s pieces together. But that’s just my physical being. I was talking to a friend of mine and he said, “Why are you doing three-hour shows?” And I said, “I couldn’t imagine doing a 75-minute or a 90-minute show. I wouldn’t know how to do that. Unfortunately, we grew up in the shadow of Southside [Johnny] and Bruce [Springsteen], and those guys that did these marathons. So I learned to want to do that. And now, that’s what my audience is accustomed to, that’s what I like to do and I have a catalogue that can hold up to that. So you have to push yourself every night and be the athlete who’s ready for that.

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