“I had been producing Don, and I got a call from Jon Bon Jovi – the last thing I expected. He liked the stuff I’d done with Don, and I guess he’d asked Jimmy Iovine about me. Jon told me that he wanted to do a solo album, but it was kind of a clandestine thing, music from Young Guns II, a totally crappy movie. But this is what he wanted to do and how he wanted to get his feet wet as a solo artist. Talking to him on the phone, I thought, ‘I like this guy.’
“He sent me a demo of the songs, and they were really good. Also, I thought that I could learn from him. He knew stuff I didn’t ‘cause he was coming from a completely different place from me musically. I wasn’t a fan of heavy metal, hard rock or hair bands, and I can’t say that I was a fan of Bon Jovi, either. I liked Livin’ On A Prayer, as we all did, but the rest of it I could’ve lived without. But I thought that this could be fun and different.
“Jon had Jeff Beck – Jeff had agreed to play on the album – and that was a big deal for him because he was a huge fan. Jeff had suggested his own band, but I didn’t think they’d be right for the record; I thought we’d be better off with guys who played pop-rock. My first call went to Kenny Aronoff, whom I didn’t even know, but I just had a feeling he’d be right. Then I called Randy Jackson – I’d done a lot of sessions with him, and I knew he was great. I also knew that once Jon took a look at Randy, he’d go, ‘This is my guy.’ Randy was big, he had a square haircut, and he had a vibe like no one else. He could walk into a room and just light it up, as well as being such a badass bass player.
“I called Ben Tench, who was dubious. Ben isn’t the kind of guy who goes, ‘Sure, what time?’ He wants to know what the music is, who else is involved – he’s not a session guy you just call for dates. Money isn’t enough for him; it’s gotta be for real, from the heart. But I convinced him that the songs were really good, and I told him, ‘Look, it’s Waddy, it’s Randy Jackson and Kenny. This will be fun, I guarantee it.’ So I convinced him, and he loved it. He had an absolute ball. We all did, including Jon.
“I spent a week in the studio with Jeff Beck doing overdubs on his solos. It was beyond hilarious. He’s Jeff Beck! He’s beyond legendary. I learned a lot by watching how he manipulated his guitar. He’s always changing things – his pickups, his tones, his volume. He’s always using the whammy bar; it’s just a whole different way of playing. And his thumb – he’s got this huge thumbnail. You could open up soup cans with it.
“I think that Jon wanted to expand what he was about. I think he wanted to work with guys who were taken more seriously perhaps than Bon Jovi were at the time. They were certainly taken seriously by their fans – in the music world, they were huge. He wanted to find out what it would be like to play with guys he wasn’t in a band with; he wanted to work with the elite troops, which is what we were. The guys who played on this record were the best musicians in Los Angeles.”