The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins Reacts to Jon Bon Jovi’s Vocals: “It Sounds Like He Needs Some Kind of Therapy”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The Darkness singer Justin Hawkins weighed in on Jon Bon Jovi’s vocal performances during Bon Jovi’s recent U.S. tour in support of the band’s album 2020

Hawkins reacted to Jon Bon Jovi’s vocals on a recent episode of his YouTube series Justin Hawkins Rides Again after watching several fan-posted videos of performances from the Bon Jovi tour.

“My career is not as long as Jon Bon Jovi’s, and not as big as well,” said Hawkins. “Even at the level that we’ve experienced, if you’re in a situation like that and you can’t deliver the goods and you can’t give your audience what they deserve, that’s horrible. It’s a horrible feeling, and you don’t enjoy touring in that condition. You just wanna go home.”

Hawkins added that he suspects Bon Jovi feels the same way but “there must be a huge machine around Bon Jovi that stops him from being able to pull the plug on it,” which he said should happen.” He added, “I’m not talking about pull the plug forever.”

Several recent reviews of the shows have also been harsh on the Bon Jovi frontman’s vocals, including the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minnesota, which called his vocals “shockingly poor.”

“It sounds like he needs some kind of therapy,” said Hawkins. “It doesn’t sound like it’s a polyp or some sort of lump on his vocal cords [because] that would be more unpredictable. He would be hitting the notes and then it would squeak off and it would do something unexpected—you know that sort of sound when you’re entering puberty and your voice becomes unpredictable. Sometimes when you have a growth or a lump on your vocal cords… unexpected things happen to your voice.”

He added, “Even if you’re an experienced singer and you can just hold a note, it will squeak off when you’re not expecting it, and it’s very hard to sing around those things, but that’s not what’s happening here. This sounds like he’s super tired. Everything’s [tuned] down, but he’s still… You have to sing a lot with an adjusted key like that to find the sort of muscle memory in your vocal cords anyway, but he’s struggling with that, not because it’s low; it’s just ’cause he’s tired.”

The Darkness singer admitted that he’s not a doctor, and while it doesn’t sound like damage, Bon Jovi may need some vocal therapy.

“I’m not a doctor but I’ve experienced voice problems before,” said Hawkins, “and to hold a note with it being off-key suggests some pitching issues that might be to do with hearing as well.”

Hawkins called Bon Jovi a great singer and said it saddened him to watch the recent performances. “It’s not fun to watch this and it isn’t fun to regard one of the greats,” added Hawkins, who said he would recommend canceling the tour, so Bon Jovi could receive some medical attention. 

Bon Jovi’s 15-date tour called “Bon Jovi 2022 Tour,” marked the band’s first run of shows since the pandemic, and concluded on April 30 in Nashville. When the band’s 2020 summer tour was canceled due to the onset of COVID-19, Jon Bon Jovi, 60, continued performing benefits, promotional shows, and live streams throughout the pandemic. In October Jon Bon Jovi canceled his appearance at a Miami Beach concert after testing positive for COVID-19.

“He’s a great singer — he always has been — but this sounds like something is eating away at him from the inside,” said Hawkins. “It saddens me to see it. I’m sure we’re all disappointed.”

Photo: Simon Emmett

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