Jason Morey may not have a lot in common with Jon Bon Jovi — well, other than the fact that they are both talented musicians — but when it comes down to their mannerisms and semblance, even the full-fringed shagginess of their hair, it’s uncanny. And hundreds of people have definitely taken notice.
“My hair hasn’t always looked the way it does but just before I put the band together, I would get asked a lot by people if I was Jon Bon Jovi. It made me go, ‘OK, we should do something with this.’ That had to be before 2000 when I started getting asked that a lot,” Morey said.
Morey, who is the founder and lead vocalist of Slippery When Wet – The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute Band, has been singing since he was old enough to walk, taking much joy in musicals as a child — West Side Story was one of his favorites.
But it wasn’t until he was mistaken for the New Jersey rock icon by comedian Dave Chappelle that he decided to look at music as a possible career path.
“I was at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando (Fla.) and I could tell he was making eye contact with me. And at the end of the show, this guy walked up to me and said, ‘Dave would like to meet you. Would you like to meet Dave?’” Morey laughed.
“So I’m standing backstage to get on this elevator to go to the green room to meet him and he’s got two huge bodyguards that are in front of me. One of them turns around to me as we’re walking into the elevator and says, ‘Man, I grew up on your music.’ And I said, ‘Well, you might have me confused for somebody else.’”
Turns out, Chappelle was a guest on the Howard Stern Show two weeks prior, along with Bon Jovi, and had passed the band’s frontman briefly while heading out on stage, Morey explained.
“He didn’t get a chance to speak with him, so when he saw me, he thought it’d be great to finally meet (Jon Bon Jovi). I told the bodyguards I wasn’t him but I still ended up getting to meet (Chappelle). After that, I walked away saying this is a sign,” Morey said.
By 2003, Morey, along with bandmates Anthony Cappolino on guitar, Jimmi Botsford on bass, and John Martin on drums, came together to create Slippery When Wet, dotingly named after Bon Jovi’s third studio album.
Over the course of their 13-year career, Morey said the tribute band has performed more than 1,200 shows at different locales across the country. On Tuesday, Slippery When Wet will be making a stop in Brunswick as they continue their nationwide tour.
They will perform at 7 p.m. at The Ritz Theatre, 1530 Newcastle St., Brunswick. Tickets are $60 for VIP and include a meet and greet, and general admission is $40. For every ticket sold, $10 will be donated to No Kill Glynn County.
Touching on all eras of the band’s 30-plus years in the entertainment business, Morey said Slippery When Wet doesn’t stick to one album’s playlist.
“We do modern shows but from all eras, starting with the 1980s all the way up to their latest records. We pepper in live albums with fan favorite-type tracks,” Morey said, adding that they typically perform 24 songs during their two-hour sets.
“We take our shows seriously and mimic them as much as possible. I think of it as providing a Bon Jovi show on a lower scale at a much more affordable price. There’s not a lot of things in their show that (audience members) can’t see in ours.”
Even though Morey tends to shy away from all things Bon Jovi once he steps out from behind the mic, he is still amazed at how passionate the band’s fans are even today.
“I’m not going to lie. When ‘Living On a Prayer’ comes on in the car, I change it. But you can’t deny the reaction that people get when they hear it ... and that’s what I love. The interaction with the crowd is amazing and it’s just great to have that connection,” he said.
“Hopefully, the Bon Jovi fans come out and this brings them back to childhood days, maybe even the first time they saw the band.”
Slippery When Wet is the only Bon Jovi-authorized tribute band in the world.