Jon Bon Jovi opens third Soul Kitchen restaurant at Rutgers-Newark on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.
Asbury Park Press
Get set for a show with worldwide appeal from the living rooms of New Jersey.
Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Bennett, Halsey, SZA, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock and more will appear from their homes on the Jersey 4 Jersey special on Wednesday, April 22.
“I think the world knows the talent that’s on this little lineup,” Bon Jovi told the USA TODAY Network. “Where it’s SZA, Halsey or Charlie (Puth) as the new guys, certainly Tony and Bruce speak for themselves, and I’ve been around the block a few times, too. The world knows Jersey, but this time we did get specific” to the state’s needs.
Funds raised by the hourlong broadcast, which will be shown on multiple platforms, will go toward the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, founded by New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy to help state organizations get resources to vulnerable communities across New Jersey.
“You wonder how many of these restaurants will open again?” Bon Jovi said. “Can the bars on the Shore survive without a season of residents coming down to the boardwalk? Not that this fund will raise a billion dollars, but the effort will be there, and people will know they were there for each other.”
Whoopi Goldberg, Danny DeVito, Kelly Ripa, Chelsea Handler and Saquon Barkley will take part. Gov. Phil Murphy and Tammy Murphy will host. Joel Gallen, who produced the iHeart Living Room Concert Benefit for Fox, is the producer.
The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund was launched March 24 with a video featuring Bon Jovi, Springsteen, Stewart, DeVito and more Jersey celebs. The state has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. The 71,030 confirmed cases in New Jersey as of Wednesday is the second-most in the country, as are the 3,156 fatalities.
“These are our people, and in these times of need, we all come together,” Bon Jovi said.
The outbreak has affected his band and his family. Son Jake Bongiovi, 17, is “100%” recovered from a COVID-19 scare, and Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan and percussionist Everett Bradley are recovering from the virus.
“Everett had it bad,” Bon Jovi said. “He’s about 85% on the road to recovery.”
Bryan’s road to recovery has been more than a month. His wife, Lexi Quaas, was diagnosed with the coronavirus but was asymptomatic.
“He had it hard, but I’ve spoken to him this week, and he sounds so much better,” Bon Jovi said. The two have known each other since they were teenagers.
Chicagoans took to the windows and rooftops to sing Bon Jovi’s classic “Livin’ on a Prayer” as a sign of solidarity while Illinois is in a “stay at home” order during the coronavirus outbreak.
Bon Jovi asked fans for help writing a verse of a new song about the outbreak, “Do What You Can,” that was partially premiered March 22 on Bon Jovi’s social media sites.
Fans were asked to video themselves singing their verse, then post it to the Bon Jovi social media sites with the #DoWhatYouCan hashtag.
He’s up to his elbows in dishpan water at his Soul Kitchen restaurant in Red Bank these days. The Soul Kitchens in Red Bank and Toms River are closed for on-premises dining, but takeout is available for the “in-need community” only.
The spots are normally staffed by volunteers, but that’s not an option during the outbreak.
“I’ll be at the kitchen today,” Bon Jovi said. “I’m there every day we’re open. I’m the dishwasher, that’s we do, that’s what (wife) Dorothea does. We’re happy and proud to be able to have the opportunity to give back. We’ve done it for so long. The Red Bank restaurant has been there for 10 years.”
The economic uncertainly has the Soul Kitchen busy, Bon Jovi said.
“It’s the out-of-work restaurant worker, it’s the out-of-work retail worker who never thought they were going to be in dire straits and asking for a meal and wanting to volunteer, which as you know is the model of the Soul Kitchen,” Bon Jovi said. “But we just say well take a rain check on that and see you the next time because the volunteering opportunities aren’t there. So we’re just here to provide meals for our neighbors, and they’ll come back when they can.
“They’re very appreciative because we’re there for them.”
Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA TODAY Network – New Jersey. His multiple awards include recognition for stories on Bruce Springsteen and “Jersey Shore.” Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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