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BON JOVI LOOKS TO THE FUTURE - AND PATH WILL LEAD TO UTAH

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Call New Jersey rock king Bon Jovi anything you want, but remember the band is a pioneer.

Not only was it one of the first U.S. bands to play Moscow during the hard rock/metal movement of the late 1980s, but it also became the first U.S. band to release an album there. This year the band became the first hard rock band ever to play India, Malaysia and Singapore.In addition, Bon Jovi played three shows at London's Wembley Stadium - with Van Halen as the opening guest - and, in turn, opened for the Rolling Stones in Paris.

Bon Jovi's new album "These Days" debuted at No. 9 on Billboard's Top 200, and the first single, "This Ain't a Love Song," peaked at No. 15. The band's last album, a greatest hits collection called "Crossroads" peaked at No. 8 and sold more than 2 million copies.

Keyboardist David Bryan, who has been with the band since its inception in 1983, said all those things were the result of looking to the future.

"It all winds down to not settling for the past," said Bryan during a phone call from Montreal. "It's really just us trying to get better at what we do."

Bon Jovi - consisting of Bryan, guitarist Richie Sambora, drummer Tico Torres, new bassist Hugh McDonald (who played on "These Days" and was the session player for the band's 1983 debut hit "Runaway") and singer Jon Bon Jovi - will stop for one night at the Wolf Mountain amphitheater, Sunday, Aug. 22. The tunes begin at 7 p.m.

"We've just finished one leg of the tour," Bryan said of the gruelling travel itinerary. "We played 32 countries in three months. We'll be in America for about two months before heading off to South America; then Australia and New Zealand. That's pretty much the whole planet."

To be a world traveling musician was always a dream for Bryan ever since he began tapping out tunes on the piano at age 7.

"I was classically trained from the start," said Bryan, who went by David Rashbaum on Bon Jovi's first self-titled album. "I learned and played a lot of Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart. As I grew up, I saw the Beatles on TV. I remember seeing clips of Elvis from that Ed Sullivan show and it really interested me."

Though Bryan played in high school bands with singer Bon Jovi, his first love was classical. He even planned to attend Juilliard School of Music to further hone his skill.

"I had auditioned for Juilliard and was planning to go when Jon called up and said we had a recording contract," recalled Bryan. "I jumped at it and it became the course for success."

Since its formation, Bon Jovi (the band), has released eight albums and one greatest hits compilation. In addition, the three songwriting members - Bon Jovi (the singer), Sambora and Bryan, released individual solo albums. "Blaze of Glory: Music Inspired by the Film `Young Guns II' " was Bon Jovi's project; "Stranger in this Town" was Sambora's and Bryan recently finished his collection of instrumental, acoustic and classical tunes earlier this year and called it "On a Full Moon." (Torres, meanwhile, took to painting and sculpting).

"That's one thing about Bon Jovi," stated Bryan. "We can individually do things like this and still keep intact. It's a journey. It's our way of starting to stretch out without breaking up. I mean usually when someone in a band puts out a solo album, the band says, `It's time to break up.' That's not the case here. During those projects, we learn new things through different experiences and are able to bring them back to the band."

In addition to the solo project, Bryan also wrote a song for Curtis Stiger's new album, "Time Was," composed the scores to the movie "Netherworld" and an HBO film "Conflict of Interest."

"During all those solo ideas, it would have been so obvious for me to do a rock album, but I decided to go toward instrumentals," he explained. " `Full Moon' starts off with solo piano and gains progression on each of the tracks. It really shows a different side of me."

Still, the sides of Bryan that do come out in a Bon Jovi composition are very much a part of him as they are the band.

"We paint pictures with music," he said, describing the mood setting arrangements he plays during live shows. "Actually the job of all musicians is to create a mood and say words with music."

This year the music means a little more to Bryan, as it does to the whole band. Bryan just became a father of twins; Bon Jovi's wife, Dorthea, gave birth to their second child; Sambora married actress Heather Locklear and Torres asked model Eva Herzigova to marry him. (She said, "yes").

"That makes it all the more harder to leave on tour," said Bryan. "But they do fly out and tour with us. I feel a little more proud when I walk onto that stage. It feels like a dream. And if it ain't, please, don't wake me up."