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Alec John Such, Bon Jovi’s First Bassist, Dies at 70

A former booker at a Sayreville, New Jersey club, he brought guitarist Richie Sambora to see the band in its early days.

Alec John Such Dies: Founding Bon

Bassist Alec John Such, a founding member of Bon Jovi, has died at the age of 70, Jon Bon Jovi announced on social media today. A cause of death is as yet unknown.

“We are heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of our dear friend Alec John Such,” Bon Jovi posted. “He was an original. As a founding member of Bon Jovi, Alec was integral to the formation of the band. … To be honest, we found our way to each other thru him — He was a childhood friend of Tico [Torres] and brought Richie [Sambora] to see us perform. Alec was always wild and full of life. Today these special memories bring a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. We will miss him dearly.”

Born in Yonkers, New York on November 14, 1951, John Such played in an earlier band with Sambora, the Message, before ultimately joining Bon Jovi. In the early 1980s, John Such was the manager of what was then the Hunka Bunka Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey. It was there where he booked Jon Bon Jovi & the Wild Ones, seeing the potential of a young musician with a mission.

John Such brought Torres and Sambora into the band, while Bon Jovi brought in his childhood friend David Bryan, who had been a part of an earlier band, Atlantic City Expressway. The band’s third album, “Slippery When Wet,” would end up selling 12 million copies and its follow-up, 1988’s “New Jersey,” scored even more hit songs.

“The record company used to lie about my age,” John Such 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.”

John Such remained in the band before his departure in 1994. He was replaced by bassist Hugh McDonald, who became an official member of the band in 2016.

“When I was 43, I started to get burned out,” he said in that interview. “It felt like work, and I didn’t want to work. The reason I got into a band to begin with is because I didn’t want to work.”

At the time in 1994, Bon Jovi compared Such’s departure to that of Bill Wyman 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.

When the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, John Such was reunited with the group and gave an eloquent speech.

“When Jon Bon Jovi called me up and asked me to be in his band many years ago, I soon realized how serious he was and he had a vision that he wanted to bring us to, and I am too happy to have been a part of that vision,” he said.

He continued: “These guys are the best. We had so many great times together and we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for those guys. Love them to death and always will.”

The band shared the clip of his speech along with a montage of John Such set to his signature song, “Blood on Blood,” a song on which he would occasionally take the lead vocal role at live shows.