Jon Bon Jovi has told Sky News it is “criminal” that more than 200,000 people have died with coronavirus in the US.
The rock frontman, who has been inspired to make new music during the pandemic, said the COVID-19 lockdown for him has been an opportunity to press “the reset button”, but that “we can’t forget” the terrible impact the crisis has had on those less fortunate.
In an interview with Sky News’ Kay Burley, Bon Jovi gave his thoughts on the handling of the crisis in America, as well as wearing a mask – saying it is a “fashion accessory”, not a “sacrifice”.
He also spoke about the death of George Floyd and the upcoming US election.
“Those who lost their jobs or lost their health or lost their lives, they were affected in a dramatic way and we can’t forget that,” he said. “In America, we’ve lost 200,000 people and counting. It’s criminal.”
Bon Jovi told Burley he does not want “to just point fingers of blame” when it comes to the handling of the coronaviruscrisis in the US, “because it seems too easy”.
However, he said instructions for the public had been unclear – and that “the needle was moving”.
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He continued: “‘Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. Travel, don’t travel. Total lockdown, don’t lockdown’ – to a point where, in our country, when they left it up to the 50 states to determine what mandates and what weren’t, it’s just too many cooks in the kitchen.
“And then it got to a place where we’re politicising a mask. That’s wrong. If a mask was going to stop the spread, if for nothing else than respect of your neighbour and your friend – you have a little piece of cloth on your nose, it’s not a big deal, it’s not a great sacrifice.
“It’s not the sacrifice that your relations and mine made 60 years ago in a war, that was sacrifice. Wearing a mask is a fashion accessory. You know? I mean, it’s not that hard.”
The singer said he feels good about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as the race for the White House enters its final stages.
“He’s an experienced man of the world, who, as our [former] vice president and a senator from the state of Delaware has served the country for probably close to 50 years now.”
The star said he had spoken to Mr Biden recently during a Zoom fundraiser and “found him to be engaging and on topic and caring”.
He added: “The American public’s got a tough decision… because the future of the country and its reflection on the world rely on it.”
However, the singer avoided answering when asked how he feels about four more years of Donald Trump as president.
After almost 40 years in the rock business, Bon Jovi have sold more than 100 million records.
Their latest album, 2020, will be released on Friday. Originally scheduled for earlier this year, it was pushed back due to the pandemic – and now features two extra songs, American Reckoning and Do What You Can, inspired by events during the crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“With this whole album I was witness to history, and that’s my position,” he said. “I’m not taking sides, I just feel like I’m a reporter.
“When I came up with the album title 2020 it was really meant to be tongue in cheek… but as events started to unfold and I started to really focus on that writing, one thing led to another and I said, ‘no, this is now a snapshot of my life and the history that I witnessed’.
“So whether I lived it or read it or watched it, these are the events that unfolded.”
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Speaking about the death of George Floyd, he said: “I saw the videotape that the rest of the world saw…
“If that didn’t move you, I just question your sense of humanity. And the way for me to express myself best is through song.”
Well known for his philanthropic work, he spent the initial quarantine weeks helping feed those in need at his JBJ Soul Kitchen Community Restaurant in New Jersey.
Calling himself the “hall-of-fame dishwasher” at the restaurant, Jon was captured on camera by his wife getting to work.
The star said he had tried to make time for himself and others over the past few months. “It doesn’t take a hell of a lot to call a friend,” he said.
Just before lockdown, Bon Jovi met Prince Harry at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London to record a charity single for the duke’s Invictus Games.
However, he said he had not been in touch since the move to California with Meghan and baby Archie.
“He and I were actually slated to do something here in New York that had been postponed and then rescheduled and now postponed yet again, so who knows if it will ever happen at this point,” he said.
Another thing that has been postponed is the band’s world tour.
“When the world opens up again, who knows when that might be?” he replied, when asked when it will happen. “There’s going to be a glut of entertainers who were on the road, who intended to be on the road… there’s going to be a big old bottleneck.
“I don’t anticipate even with a vaccine that it’s just going to be snap of a finger and everybody goes back to work.”
Bon Jovi’s new album, 2020, is out on Friday 2 October