It's a long way off, but Jon Bon Jovi is already hatching plans for August, after he and his band wrap up touring in support of their 2009 album, "The Circle," and a "Greatest Hits" set that comes out Nov. 9.
"I'm going to sit on a beach for August, which is usually what I do, and come September figure out what's next," Bon Jovi tells Billboard.com. Some possibilities? "A smaller-sounding solo record and/or focus more on the philanthropy and sports ownerships," he says. "I don't see any acting in the immediate future. It'll be out of the political cycles, and there's nothing else I wish I could do. I'm not a coulda, shoulda, woulda kind of guy. If I wanted to do it, I tried it, so it's not like I have any hidden desire to become a chef or anything."
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If he does take the solo album route, Bon Jovi -- who went it alone on the 1990 soundtrack for "Blaze of Glory -- Young Guns II" and on 1997's "Destination Anywhere" -- predicts he'll go for "a lyric-driven, acoustic-sounding kind of thing with piano, a couple guitars, a B3 (organ) and a violin. I do these solo things oftentimes for charity, and I enjoy the atmosphere because it really gives the singer a chance to sing. You're not competing with the loud amps. So I could see myself doing a singer's type of a record. We'll see."
Before that, however, comes quite a bit of Bon Jovi group activity. The "Greatest Hits" album comes out in two different configurations -- a standard 16-song single disc and a two-disc "Greatest Hits -- Ultimate Collection," with five new songs spread across the various domestic and international editions. The project was first broached to follow 2007's "Lost Highway," but was pushed back when Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora came up with a batch of topical new songs for "The Circle."
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"While we're in the midst of 'The Circle' tour, this 'Greatest Hits' made the most sense," Bon Jovi explains, "because the tour's going to continue through the summer of next year. For those who have just found the band in this rather prolific decade, this is a great introduction, and for the fan who's been there the last three decades, this is everything you've ever known and then five new songs. So I feel like they're getting value added, too."
Bon Jovi says two of the new songs, the single "What Do You Got?" and "This Is Love, This Is Life," were started during "The Circle" sessions but didn't fit the album and were finished for "Greatest Hits," along with "This Our House," an MP3 download premium for those pre-ordering the album. The other two, "No Apologies" and "The More Things Change," were written specifically for the compilation.
He says he was surprised that "What Do You Got?" got the nod to be the first single. "I said, 'If anyone wants to pick a single, you tell me. What do I know?' " recalls Bon Jovi, who favored "No Apologies." "That was the one that floated to the top, and I was taken aback because it was the (last) of the five I would've picked. But people have really been relating to the lyric, and seemingly for...radio, it's a hit."
Bon Jovi has a number of appearances and events lined up in conjunction with the release of "Greatest Hits." On Nov. 7, the group will perform at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Madrid, where it will receive the inaugural Global Icon Award. The next night will see the premiere of "One Night Only," a concert film from May's opening run at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, at 750 movie theaters worldwide. They'll appear Nov. 9 on CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman," along with a webcast concert that will stream on the show's website and Vevo.com, followed by a monthlong run that includes the "Today" show, A&E's "Private Sessions," the American Music Awards, "Ellen," "Larry King Live" and "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute."
Bon Jovi resumes "The Circle" tour on Nov. 30 in Tokyo and hits Australia and New Zealand before a six-leg North American leg starts in February. The band then wraps things up in Europe during June and July, including a show at the Hard Rock Calling festival on June 25 in London's Hyde Park.