BON JOVI - Photographer Mark "Weissguy" Weiss Tells The Story Behind Slippery When Wet Album Cover; Bid Now To Own The Photos That Made History
December 29, 2017, 6 months ago
Bon Jovi has released 13 studio albums and has sold more than 130 million records worldwide and performed more than 2,700 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 34 million fans. Bon Jovi will be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on April 14th, 2018. Sign up now for a chance to win this FREE 17×22 photo of Bon Jovi signed by photographer Mark Weiss. One lucky member of the Rock Scene Auctions e-list.
World renowned Photographer Mark "Weissguy" Weiss talks about the making of the infamous Slippery When Wet album cover: "In January, 1986 Bon Jovi went to Little Mountain Studios in Vancouver to start work on their third record. I was asked to brainstorm ideas for the album cover. The name they gave me to work with was Wanted Dead Or Alive. The idea was to show the five of them as the Bon Jovi “gang,” and have the WANTED poster tacked to the wall where they were “hiding out".”
Weiss continues: "Once in Vancouver I scouted locations while the guys were finishing recording with producer Bruce Fairbairn. I found an old abandoned building to use as a background for the shoot. This would be their “hideout,” and we’d have the WANTED poster hanging in the background. We spent hours in this old abandoned barn shooting individuals and band photos for the cover. The band and management wasn't sold on the cowboy idea and was still brainstorming for others."
"The guys came home after finishing the album, the album title was changed to Slippery When Wet inspired by the #5. A strip club in Vancouver near where they were recording. The idea was to do a photo by the beach and get some girls posing with cut out shirts with the new title of the album on it. Jon lived right across the street from the beach in Bradley Beach, New Jersey, where we did the shoot. All the guys came with their cars, motorcycles and girls. We needed a few more girls so I walked across the street and pulled a few more. My assistant Danny took a walk with Tico across the street and came back with just what the Dr. ordered. An Italian hot girl named Angela. We found her – this was going to be the girl on the cover. Then I got some soap and water and started having a car wash party. The photo ended up in the sleeve of the album."
"The album was done. The label had 200,000 copies printed up in her cut up Slippery When Wet custom t-shirt. Everything was ready to go. But this was 1986, and the PMRC was in full swing. Record stores were threatening the labels to ease up on the explicit content and imagery or they wouldn’t sell the records. Polygram Records knew they had a smash album on their hands, and they didn’t want to jeopardize that success. So we went back to the drawing board to come up with another cover."
"Jon came to my studio in New York shortly after the news that we had to come up with a new cover. He just said to me, “Garbage bag. Spray bottle.” I propped up the bag and sprayed it, then Jon wrote the words Slippery When Wet. “That’s it, there’s the cover.” He didn’t even wait to see the Polaroid. The next day I delivered the photo, and the rest is history."
"I went early in order to check out the opening act—I figured if a band was supporting ZZ Top at the Garden they must be on the rise. Onstage, the singer looked familiar. Then I remembered hearing the band’s song, “Runaway,” on the radio on the way in to Manhattan. They were called Bon Jovi, and they had won a radio contest to open the show. I got to the photo pit just in time to take a few pics as they were finishing up their set. Later on, I realized I had shot Jon Bon Jovi just out of highschool in his old band, The Rest, a few years earlier."
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(Pictured at top - Photographer Mark Weiss and Jon Bon Jovi during the album cover shoot.)