Interview – Tico Torres of Bon Jovi

Out of the Garden State of New Jersey, Bon Jovi are one of the most recognized and successful Rock-n-Roll bands of all-time. Originally consisting of Jon Bon Jovi (vocals), David Bryan (keyboards), Richie Sambora (guitar), the late Alec John Such (bass), and of course, Tico Torres (drums), Bon Jovi has sold more than 120 million records worldwide. Still rocking forty plus years later, Bon Jovi’s core remains strong with Jon, Bryan, and Torres keeping the foundation. Torres, an exceptional drummer known as The Hitman, is a dynamic individual who is much more than just a musician. 

Beloved by fans and his contemporaries in the music world, Torres is a seasoned player who is also an artist as well as an entrepreneur who owns a fashion line for babies called Rock Star Baby. Always looking to keep busy and thinking of others, he recently teamed up with Def Leppard’s Rick Allen and his wife Lauren Monroe with their Raven Drum Foundation. A foundation formed over two decades ago, the main purpose is to assist veterans, first responders and those who have experienced trauma, in 2022 they have their second annual “12 Drummers Drumming” Veterans Day Auction. A special collaboration of various famous drummers, complimenting the recording is the unique auction event of various autographed items, plus original art from Tico Torres himself. Set to conclude on Monday, December 12th, it is the perfect time of season to get a special gift, but most importantly, donate to those in need. Gracious to be a part of it all, Torres recently took the time to chat about the band of brothers known as Bon Jovi, his love for art, and this worthy, charitable auction.  

Cryptic Rock – You have been involved professionally in Rock-n-Roll for well over four decades. In that time, you have built an amazing career as a very important part of Bon Jovi behind the drums, have become a hall of famer, plus much more. Briefly tell us, how would you describe your incredible journey in music?

Tico Torres – An incredible journey indeed! To do something you love and grew up with, plus get paid for it, is truly remarkable! 

I first played a snare drum in 1967. In 1968, I surprisingly got thrown into a situation with some friends of mine who had a 16-piece band. The drummer Johnny stepped out to get drumsticks… but showtime was at 8:00 PM sharp… so I grabbed half a drumstick and a pair of pliers from his trap case, jumped on the kit, and played three soul songs until he returned. The next day, I borrowed a drum kit from a friend and started a 3-piece band. 

I loved Jazz and R&B; it felt natural. So being in NYC, I hung in all the Jazz clubs, hawking the best in the business, therefore translating it into my style and music. I was always learning my craft on the streets; it was evident this was my calling… then it began!

Bon Jovi (1984) Album Cover / Mercury Records
Slippery When Wet Album Cover / Mercury Records

Cryptic Rock – And here we are today. Many would agree your experience played a very important part in a then young band like Bon Jovi. Your career is really extensive and compelling. Not only have you remained a part of Bon Jovi since 1983, but you have also collaborated with a list of other artists, including studio work. What do you attribute the band’s longevity to? 

Tico Torres – Yes, 15 years later came Bon Jovi… a band of brothers for the next 40 years. What can I say, besides being a sexless marriage, it’s a unique situation because in no time we learned each other’s musical thoughts and feel. Therefore, it made our conversation with music, which is now second nature. Our mantra was always to try someone’s idea no matter what it is; this keeps the creative juices flowing.

Cryptic Rock – The unified approach of the band has no doubt led to their unprecedented success. Beyond music you have also donated your time to various charities through the years. Speaking of which, you are a part of “12 Drummers Drumming” Veterans Day Auction. How did this come about for you?

Tico Torres – Well, Rick and Lauren are long-time friends. Hell, we were very young when we first met and have bonded a great friendship through the years. 

Original art by Tico Torres being auctioned off

Cryptic Rock – It is great to hear you could team up with friends like this! Beyond you are joined forces with everyone from Rick Allen to The Police’s Stewart Copeland, your artwork is also being auctioned off this year to raise money for veterans in need. What inspired you to start painting and what can you tell us about the pieces being auctioned off?

Tico Torres – I started painting and sculpting when I was 6 years old. I guess you can say art is my way of creating on my own. I’ve been blessed to show all over the world and had a gallery in Soho, NYC, then two galleries of my own in Palm Beach, FL too. 

The lithos for this auction were hand pulled by me, on S2 machines in NYC. It’s an edition of 300, called “The Sound of Music” and “All That Jazz.” I hope these raise a lot for all the wonderful service men and women in need this Christmas! 

For items up for auction (Ending December 12, 2022):

For more on Raven Drum Foundation: | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

For more on 12 Drummers Drumming: 

For more on Bon Jovi: | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

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