The first time that I met Jon Bon Jovi was March 1984 at Dallas radio station Q102. At that time he had a new album with one song as a calling card,”Runaway”, and was really young, unsophisticated, with a bad perm. But there was an enthusiasm and desire about this guy with the quick winning smile: this kid really wanted a shot on my Dallas afternoon radio show, “just 10 minutes, I promise, that’s all I ask.” How could I say no? Jon impressed me enough during the brief interview that I stopped by the nightclub that cold Monday evening to catch his band Bon Jovi on my way home. Counting the bartender and waitress, there were no more than 20 of us that witnessed this New Jersey band’s first performance in Dallas.
A scant 18 months later Bon Jovi would be back, but the venue and crowd would prove to be considerably larger: the 1985 Texxas Jam in the Cotton Bowl in front of 70,000 opening for Deep Purple, Scorpions, and Ted Nugent. The day before the event, Jon Bon Jovi joined me once again live on the radio for an interview about their 2nd album, 7800 Degrees F. Afterward I invited him to join me for a John Waite concert that evening followed by a private party, and Jon agreed to come provided that I could swing by his hotel and pick up his girlfriend plus Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres. So when I arrived with my guest in the hotel lobby, Jon simply introduced her as “Diane “, and all five of us piled into my ’64 Chevy Impala.The John Waite concert was outdoors on a typically very warm Texas summer night, so after the performance while waiting for Waite to clean up before accompanying us to the party, I found myself with a number of guests sitting in the inky darkness under some trees at several wooden picnic tables. I inquired of my guest, who was sitting next to me, where Jon Bon Jovi and his girlfriend had gone. When she replied that she didn’t know, I remarked out loud,”Can you remember what he said her name was?” Suddenly a figure who had apparently been lying down unseen in the darkness on the picnic table bench directly across from us sat bolt upright and exclaimed in righteous indignation, “ It’s Diane !“ With that she strode off into the darkness.
So meekly I played chauffeur, delivering Jon Bon Jovi, girlfriend Diane, Tico Torres, along with singer John Waite to record promoter Ronnie Raphael’s annual Texxas Jam party, all the while hoping that some of the other guests, including Alice Cooper, would help the highly-annoyed Diane forget my social gaff.
The following week I complimented record promoter Ronnie Raphael for the impressive turnout of rock stars at his party. “ And movie stars, too, “ Ronnie beamed proudly. “Movie stars?“ I asked,” Sorry , I don’t follow you. “ Completely baffled by my response, Ronnie insists, “ But you brought her!”
I still have no idea who he means or what he’s talking about.
“ Jon Bon Jovi’s girlfriend, Diane Lane. You brought her, right ?“ he says emphatically.
And then it hit me . I had put Academy Award nominee Diane Lane in the backseat of my 1964 Impala with bad air-conditioning, and then proceeded to forget her name, making absolutely certain that she was fully aware of that fact. So do you think that asking Ms. Lane to write the forward to my memoirs is probably a long shot? -Redbeard