Alec John Such, the former bassist for Bon Jovi, passed away at 70 over the weekend, Bon Jovi announced Sunday. Although the family or the band did not share a cause of death, the band played tribute to him on social media.
“We are heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of our dear friend Alec John Such,” the band wrote on Twitter Sunday. “He was an original.”
Born in Yonkers, New York, on November 14, 1951, Alec John Such was one of the founding members of Bon Jovi. He played bass for the band from its formation in 1983 until he left the group in 1994. Alec was an essential part of the band’s early sound and helped propel them to stardom with hits like “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.”
During his time with the band, his bass lines helped sell tens of millions of records for Bon Jovi, including 12 million for their third album, 1988’s “Slippery When Wet.”
At the time, John Such cited “burnout” as one of his reasons for leaving the band. The band also felt the loss of John Such as well, with Bon Jovi saying in 1994 that it felt the same as Bill Wyman’s departure from The Rolling Stones.
“They just grew in different directions. It’s understandable … just because I want to continue making records doesn’t mean everyone else has to,” Bon Jovi said.
He was replaced by bassist Hugh McDonald after his departure, although McDonald didn’t become an official band member until 2016. However, John Such did briefly reunite with Bon Jovi when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Alec John Such’s role in the formation of Bon Jovi
John Such’s role in the early formation of Bon Jovi can’t be understated. A veteran of the thriving New Jersey rock scene of the 1970s and 1980s, he managed what was then the Hunka Bunka Ballroom in Sayreville and played the bass for several bands, including Queen tribute band Phantom’s Opera, Sambora, and the Message.
It was at Hunka Bunka where John Such booked a new band called Jon Bon Jovi & The Wild Ones, headlined by a promising young musician from Perth Amboy named John Bongiovi.
In the early 1980s, Bongiovi and John Such would bring together the founding members of Bon Jovi: Bongiovi changed his name to Bon Jovi and brought along former Atlantic City Expressway keyboardist David Bryan, while John Such tapped drummer Tico Torres and guitarist Richie Sambora.
And as they say, the rest is history.
John Such’s age did present a problem for the band: While David, Jon, Tico, and Richie were all in the early part of their 20s when Bon Jovi first started, John Such was 31.
“The record company used to lie about my age,” he told The Asbury Park Press in 2000. “I was 31 when I joined. I was a good 10 years older than the rest of the band. My sister eventually got really mad because the papers would describe her as my older sister when really she was younger.”
Bon Jovi at a crossroads after recent tour performances
While John Such hasn’t toured with Bon Jovi in years, the news of his passing comes at a difficult time for the band. With its 15-city spring tour over, concern over the band’s recent performances has reached critical mass on social media.
Videos of several of the tour dates showed Jon Bon Jovi often either out of time with his bandmates or out of key altogether — a long way away from his signature powerful lead vocals.
The last tour date was on April 30 in Nashville, and no further dates have been posted for the remainder of the concert season.