Being a world-famous rock star may seem like a dream job, but the pressure to come up with more and more hits can feel insurmountable. Luckily, for the members of tribute band Bad Medicine, they can just sit back and reap the rewards of Bon Jovi’s hard work.
“I’m not promoting Bon Jovi,” says lead vocalist and founder Steve Sage. “I’m doing what he used to be able to do — just go out there, jump around and have some fun.”
Though Bad Medicine have been performing the songs of Bon Jovi for more than ten years now, Sage’s admiration goes back much further.
“When his first song came out, a local radio station kept playing it over and over,” he explains. “I was attached to his sound. I could really relate to the heartbreaks, the girlfriends; I was really able to attach myself to the emotions of his songs.”
Sage’s connection with Bon Jovi’s music isn’t only skin deep, though you may not be able to discern that by looking at him. The frontman bares a striking resemblance to the original, especially when he’s “in character.”
“A few years ago,” he recalls. “Some girls ran up to me screaming ‘Can we have your autograph, Jon?’”
Being a consummate professional, he naturally obliged. “I just wrote, ‘I’m Not Jon’,” he laughs.
When it comes to song preference, says Sage, “They’re all my favorite.” However, sometimes personal favorites have to take a back seat to the crowd pleasers.
“I’ll basically do stuff from all the albums,” he explains. “But not as much of the new stuff. Not as many people know (the new stuff).”
The band’s goal, he says, is to ensure that everyone, “even the 90-year-old grandmother in the back,” is having a good time with songs they recognize.
For their shows, Bad Medicine focuses on the more rocking songs from Bon Jovi’s three decade career, with tunes such as “Living on a Prayer” and “Runaway” lighting up the set.
“I try to keep it up tempo,” he says, “I want to keep the crowd moving. I don’t want a lull.”
In addition to the rocking numbers, though, a few ballads are also peppered throughout the evening. “I love doing ‘Keep the Faith’ and ‘Blaze of Glory,’” to name a few.
One important factor, which Sage stresses emphatically, is “We’re not Bon Jovi. We can’t do what he does — we’re just hired to put on a good show.”
Members: Steve Sage: vocals, Paul Morris: keyboards, Joey Anderson: drums, Rob DiMartino: bass, Todd Lee: guitar.
Coming Up: Bad Medicine will perform the music of Bon Jovi at Boogie Nights, inside the Tropicana Casino & Resort Saturday, Oct. 5. Doors open at 10 p.m., and a $20 ticket includes admission into the nightclub.