Celebs Who Can't Stand Bon Jovi

Launching like a rocket straight out of New Jersey, Bon Jovi's meteoric rise to the top of the rock charts began in 1984 with the release of the band's self-titled debut album. Led by charismatic frontman Jon Bon Jovi (a stage name derived by his real surname, Bongiovi), Bon Jovi ruled rock radio during the latter half of the 1980s, cranking out an impressive string of hits such as "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Living on a Prayer," and "It's My Life," to name just a few.

Bon Jovi underwent a lineup change when longtime guitarist Richie Sambora abruptly quit the band in 2013, leading to a long-lasting rift with the other members of the band. Meanwhile, Bon Jovi (both the singer and the band he's fronted for decades) returned to the spotlight in 2024 with the release of a new album — "Forever" — and "Thank You, Good Night," a four-part documentary streaming on Hulu. In that documentary, Bon Jovi gets candid about the band's uncertain future following surgery he underwent on his damaged vocal cords, which has allowed him the ability to sing, but not go on tour.

And while Bon Jovi is beloved by fans, the band — and, for that matter, its frontman — hasn't won over everyone. For proof, read on to discover the list of celebs who can't stand Bon Jovi.

Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner blocked Bon Jovi from getting into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Jann Wenner co-founded Rolling Stone in 1967; after selling the magazine in 2017, he remained actively involved with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, of which he is also a co-founder. In fact, Wenner was removed from the board in 2023 following ham-handed comments he made to The New York Times explaining that the absence of women and people of color in his book about rock music icons, "Masters," was because he felt women and Black artists weren't as articulate as the white men he'd chosen to interview. 

While on the board of the Hall of Fame, Wenner reportedly had a large influence on which artists were tapped for induction. Appearing on "The Howard Stern Show" in 2016, Bon Jovi frontman Jon Bon Jovi complained about not being one of them. As Ultimate Classic Rock reported, he revealed he'd had a "big falling-out" with the powers that be, singling out one board member who'd "made it their personal mission to f*** with me."

While Bon Jovi didn't mention Wenner by name, Wenner essentially outed himself as the culprit when interviewed for his 2017 biography, "Sticky Fingers." In an excerpt published by The Atlantic, Wenner confirmed his belief that Bon Jovi wasn't worthy of being in the Hall of Fame. "I don't think he's that important," Wenner sniffed. "What does Bon Jovi mean in the history of music? Nothing."

Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl both dissed Bon Jovi

When Nirvana exploded on the music scene in the early 1990s, the so-called grunge rock produced by the three-piece band and others that followed in their wake shoved Bon Jovi and similar "hair metal" outfits of the 1980s off the charts. Jon Bon Jovi, however, wasn't a fan of the emerging genre. "Jon makes no claim, makes no bones about not getting the grunge movement," rock journalist Lonn Friend told Treble Clef. "He's told me this personally."

For Nirvana, that feeling was apparently mutual. In a vintage interview, drummer Dave Grohl — who would go on to even greater success with Foo Fighters — shared an anecdote. "We did a photo shoot with someone for the cover of a magazine, and he was telling us the story of how Bon Jovi came in with a flannel shirt on and said, 'Make me look like Nirvana,'" Grohl recalled. "If Bon Jovi wants to look like us, you know something is wrong." Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain couldn't help but offer his two cents. "That's pretty flattering," Cobain remarked. "It just proves he's a desperate, untalented piece of s***."

In 1995, the year after Cobain's death, Bon Jovi mocked grunge in the music video for his band's single, "Something for the Pain," which featured doppelgängers of such grunge icons as Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Hole singer (and Cobain's widow) Courtney Love, and Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland.

The Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan dismissed Bon Jovi's music as 'formulaic'

The Smashing Pumpkins may have emerged from the same grunge wave that made stars of such bands as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but the music of frontman/leader Billy Corgan has never been that easily categorizable. Still, the songs produced by Smashing Pumpkins are a world away from the rock anthems that took Bon Jovi to the top of the charts during the group's 1980s heyday. 

That's also true of Smashing Pumpkins' approach in the studio, something that Corgan elaborated on in detail during a 2017 interview with the Daily Beast.  According to Corgan, his focus has always been on creating albums consisting of a cohesive collection of songs that are each part of a greater whole, not focusing on creating hit singles like, he said, Bon Jovi did. "That's where the juice of artistic joy is," Corgan explained.

Bon Jovi had famously worked with Canadian producer Bruce Fairbairn, who was behind their most popular singles and who had created similarly radio-friendly hits for Aerosmith. "If it was about being formulaic in a Bon Jovi sense, you hire somebody who's a really smart producer, spend the money," Corgan critiqued. "You s*** out that one hit song, and you're back on top. But we don't come from that. We want the whole starship: the full album, the full experience."

Bon Jovi is still scarred from his NFL battle with Donald Trump

In 2014, Jon Bon Jovi became interested in buying the Buffalo Bills. He wasn't alone, with future president Donald Trump also vying to purchase the NFL team. In the midst of that competition, an apparent grassroots effort emerged opposing the rocker potentially purchasing the team. New York magazine reported that Buffalo bars, restaurants, and radio stations became "Bon Jovi-free zones," fueled by false rumors he was moving the team to Toronto. Bon Jovi's dreams of becoming an NFL owner were eventually scuttled, while Trump's bid was never taken seriously.

In 2017, Michael Caputo, who went on to become Trump's political adviser and a controversial member of his presidential administration, confirmed to Associated Press that Trump was behind it all. "Mr. Trump was convinced that the community wouldn't stand for a move," Caputo confessed. "So he sent me off to try to organize something with local fans to get that rolling."

In a 2021 interview with The Guardian, Bon Jovi ruefully looked back on being targeted by Trump. "I was really shocked at the depths [Trump] went to," he said. "He wasn't even qualified to buy the team, because you have to submit your tax returns, and he never filed the paperwork. Instead, he did this dark shadow assassination thing, hoping to buy the team at a bargain basement price. But I just couldn't understand how this misinformation was being put out there. It was seriously scarring."

Howard Stern feuded with Bon Jovi for a time in the 1980s

When Bon Jovi finally was welcomed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, Jon Bon Jovi personally tapped legendary radio host Howard Stern to induct the band. That made perfect sense, given the long history Stern has had with Bon Jovi over the decades.

That relationship, however, hasn't always been smooth sailing. There was a brief period when Stern — who'd been a Bon Jovi booster pretty much since its inception — went after the band for what he perceived as disloyalty. As Stern wrote in his memoir, "Private Parts," the band had been promoting its album, "Slippery When Wet," on other radio stations while avoiding Stern's show. "I was mad because we were the only show to promote Bon Jovi when they were nobodies," Stern wrote, via Ultimate Classic Rock

Stern retaliated by calling up Bon Jovi at home — on the air, of course — and refused to buy the rocker's claim that the record company forced his hand after the other stations threatened to not play the album's songs if he appeared on Stern's show. "I knew this was bulls***, and I teased him for kowtowing to the record execs. I renamed him Jon Bon Phoney," Stern shared. "Jon sounded really contrite and offered to come over to my house, wash the car and babysit my kids for restitution." They ultimately made up — no car-washing or babysitting required.

Skid Row's Sebastian Bach had serious beef with Bon Jovi

Skid Row, led by frontman Sebastian Bach, received their big break by opening for Bon Jovi on the band's 1989 tour. As a quid pro quo, however, the band was pushed into signing a publishing deal with Jon Bon Jovi, who made a fortune when Skid Row's debut album went platinum five times over. "Jon was, like, 'We'll take you on tour, but if you guys make it big,' then he gets a cut of it," Bach recalled while being interviewed for ArtScenics TV. "So I was bitter about that for awhile ... "

Skid Row's success not only enriched Bon Jovi, but also apparently annoyed him, straining relations between the bands. As Bach wrote in his memoir, "18 and Life on Skid Row," (excerpted by the New York Post), he was at one point "summoned into Jon's room, [where Bon Jovi] stared me down and said the words, 'I'll f***ing own you.'" As the tour progressed, tensions escalated, manifesting in pranks. After members of Bon Jovi's road crew dumped cold milk on Bach just as he was heading onstage, he responded by openly mocking Bon Jovi onstage, resulting in a massive brawl between the bands and their crews.

Bach and Bon Jovi eventually buried the hatchet when they randomly bumped into each other in 2006. While feelings may remain mixed, ultimately, Bach holds no grudges. "Jon took a chance on me and our band," he wrote. "I will always be indebted to him for that."

Roger Waters slammed Bon Jovi in an open letter

Best known as singer and songwriter for Pink Floyd until his fractious split with the other members of the band, Roger Waters has become a somewhat controversial figure in rock for his stance on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Waters, in fact, called for a creative boycott in 2013, encouraging other artists to not perform in Israel. That led him to target Bon Jovi in 2015, when the band announced plans for a concert in Tel Aviv. Interviewed by Israeli publication "Yediot Aharonot," Jon Bon Jovi expressed his thrill at playing in Israel for the first time, and confirmed he was aware of Waters' boycott. "Yes, I heard about that but it doesn't interest me," Bon Jovi said, as reported by Israel21c. "I told my managers to give one simple answer: That I'm coming to Israel and I'm excited to come."

That prompted Waters to write an open letter to Bon Jovi, which was published by Salon. "So the die is cast, you are determined to proceed with your gig in Tel Aviv ... You are making your stand," Waters wrote, accusing Bon Jovi of supporting atrocities committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians. "To stand by silent and indifferent is the greatest crime of all," his letter concluded. 

Bon Jovi responded onstage in Tel Aviv, as reported The Jerusalem Post, when he introduced "We Don't Run" by suggesting it "should be the fight song for Tel Aviv."

Bon Jovi incurred the wrath of The Replacements' Paul Westerberg

The Replacements certainly never became as big as Bon Jovi, but the Minneapolis-based band became revered by rock critics during the late 1980s and early '90s. That was exemplified with the band's prominence on the cover of Musician magazine, heralded as "the last, best band of the '80s." Bon Jovi, of course, sat at the other end of the spectrum, selling zillions of albums and performing at huge venues while being generally dismissed by music journalists. 

Jon Bon Jovi was subsequently interviewed by that very same publication. The ultra-competitive rocker was clearly irked with the mag's characterization of The Replacements, and hit back. "'The Last Great Band of the' 80s.' Yeah, right," Bon Jovi scoffed in his conversation for Musician, as reported by Ultimate Classic Rock. "I never heard of these guys, but I guess you're an artist if you're on the cover of Musician magazine."

According to rock journalist Bob Mehr, he'd spoken with The Replacements' frontman, Paul Westerberg, about Bon Jovi's diss. As he wrote via Instagram, Westerberg offered a scathing response. "How many critical raves has he had?" Westerberg asked Mehr. "Sure, I might trade bank accounts, but I wouldn't want [his] pants," he finished, seemingly critiquing Bon Jovi's artistic merits. Mehr also wrote that he'd had occasion to interview Bon Jovi more recently — more than a quarter-century later — and asked if he remembered his verbal scuffle with The Replacements. "He didn't," Mehr wrote, "or acted like he didn't."

Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong declared Bon Jovi the worst band he'd ever shared a stage with

Known for hard-thrashing, punk-inspired hits such as "American Idiot," Green Day has stood the test of time, maintaining their place within the spectrum of the hugely competitive music business for decades. At one point, the three-piece band was part of the bill for a star-studded 1994 charity concert at Madison Square Garden, where Bon Jovi was also one of the acts.

Interviewed by Kerrang! in 2012 (via NME), Green Day singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong was asked to identify the best and worst bands he'd ever shared a stage with. "The best is probably The Hives, they're a great live band," Armstrong said, before singling out the worst. "Oh boy, I have to go with Bon Jovi."

Later that same year, Richie Sambora — who was still Bon Jovi's guitarist at the time — was asked to respond to Armstrong's diss during an interview with Rolling Stone. "I have no idea what happened with that, I actually don't recall them opening for us," Sambora said with a laugh. "Either I was incapacitated at that point or I just don't remember it. I'm sorry he had such a bad time."

Metallica's James Hetfield thinks Jon Bon Jovi is 'so pretentious'

Bon Jovi's unique brand of pop-infused rock is worlds apart from the ear-splitting sounds of Metallica, known for such hard-thrashing metal classics as "Master of Puppets," "Enter Sandman," and "Seek and Destroy." Given the significant differences between the two bands' musical styles, it should come as no surprise that Metallica singer/guitarist James Hetfield isn't a fan of Bon Jovi — neither the band, nor its frontman. 

He made that clear during a wide-ranging interview with Kerrang!, in which he offered his opinions on such diverse topics as religion, hunting, and, as it turned out, Jon Bon Jovi. "He's just so pretentious," Hetfield told the magazine of his fellow rocker. "F***, just looking at his picture there's something not right, something so fooling about it. He's pulling the wool over a few folks' eyes, it seems to me. His Versace ad, the movie star ... God, I can't take it!"

Guns 'N' Roses' Axl Rose dissed Bon Jovi onstage

Back in 1987, the members of Guns N' Roses were staying in a Chicago hotel when the band's lead singer, Axl Rose, got into a brawl in the hotel's lobby and wound up getting arrested. The following night, he addressed the incident onstage when the band opened for Alice Cooper. In an extended rant to concertgoers, he described encountering a group of men wearing suits. "First off, this guy grabs me and calls me Bon Jovi," Rose told the crowd, which he punctuated with, "Bon Jovi can suck my d***!"

Nearly two decades later, Jon Bon Jovi indicated that he had similar feelings about Rose. Interviewed by the New York Post in 2006, Bon Jovi revealed his jealousy over the media attention being heaped on Rose at the time. "You know what pisses me off? I was reading this British rock magazine this month and there was a story about Axl Rose and the $13 million Guns N' Roses record that was never made," Bon Jovi said, as reported by Blabbermouth. "That motherf***er hasn't made a record in 13 years and he gets all that attention. You know what I've done in 13 years? A lot. But they have continued to write about the freak show aspect of him. Because he's a recluse. That makes him interesting, right?"

Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx has been hot and cold about Bon Jovi

Back in the 1980s heyday of hair metal, Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx and Jon Bon Jovi were pals. In the band's memoir, "The Dirt," Sixx recalled taking Bon Jovi with him to visit a brothel in Germany. That friendship, however, appears to have become strained over the years — judging by some of Sixx's comments, at least.

For example, a fan who attended a Mötley Crüe concert in 2002 recounted some onstage banter from Sixx. Writing on a Bon Jovi fan page, the fan — who claimed to have been wearing a Bon Jovi sweatshirt to the show — recalled Sixx encouraging concertgoers to take their seats by dissing Bon Jovi. "Everybody sit down for a minute," Sixx reportedly told the audience. "Come on, pretend you're at a Bon Jovi concert." 

Sixx's opinion hadn't changed a whole lot by 2011, when he shared a photo of a Billboard interview via X (then known as Twitter), featuring a quote from Jon Bon Jovi. "My peer group aspired to be on the cover of Circus magazine," Bon Jovi stated in the magazine interview. "I aspired to be on the cover of Time. There was much more I wanted to do in the world than just be a guy in a rock band." Sixx offered his opinion on that quote when he wrote (via blog Blame It On The Love, as Sixx has since deleted his social media accounts), "What a pompous a**hole."