The Central New Jersey Home News from New Brunswick, New Jersey on May 14, 2000 · 73
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The Central New Jersey Home News from New Brunswick, New Jersey · 73

New Brunswick, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 14, 2000
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PA0E08 SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2000 Home News Tribune MARQUEE By KELLY-JANE COTTER STAFF WRITER The Colts Neck home of Alec John Such is like a museum. Each room of the enormous house on Laird Road holds a well-kept collection, often reflecting the 14 years Such spent as bassist for Bon Jovi. In a spare bedroom behind the laundry room, some 50 bass guitars stand at attention a pink paisley guitar, an emerald green guitar, a translucent guitar, a guitar shaped like a '50s-style Chevy, even a basic black number that Such used before he was famous. Memorabilia from Bon Jovi's arena days in the '80s, including posters, photos, tour jackets trophies and about 100 gold and platinum records, are on display in the living room. Amplifiers nearly fill the garage. .The collections go beyond rock 'n' roll paraphernalia. Rare and commemorative coins are piled like a pirate's treasure. Among other things, Such owns antique Siamese and Russian jewelry, comic books, sculptures by Erte and D.H. Chipari, a dozen guns and art by Peter Max and South Amboy-based artist Wayne Turback. And everything must go. "I made my money during the era of 'He who dies with the most toys wins,' " Such said. "That's how the '80s were. But you grow out of that, you really do." On Saturday, Such will put nearly everything he owns on the auction block. "This is not a distress sale," said Stephan J. Miranti, the auctioneer in charge of the sale and a friend of Such. "He's not broke." ,, Still, many people would shudder at the thought of strangers clambering through their yard in search of a bargain, even if it's a garage sale, let alone an estate auction. Miranti knows that many people associate auctions with bad news, which is why, during a visit to Such's house, he emphasized several times that the musician is not in financial trouble. The very term "estate auction" smacks of death or bankruptcy and loneliness. "I always thought I'd have kids," Such said. "That's half the reason I bought all this stuff. But you can't predict or control what happens to you." Such lives alone in his lavishly furnished house, which has two master bedrooms, several smaller bedrooms and a phenomenal finished basement with a blackjack - table, a pool table, slot machines from Las Vegas casinoes, video games and a wet bar modeled after the one on "Cheers." "I used to have some good parties here," he said. He has been divorced for 17 years, but is on good terms with his ex-wife, who has "custody" of their 19-year-old cat, Tiffany. He dotes on his other cat, Max. When Such couldn't fmd Max, who was roaming somewhere on the property, he handed a bullhorn to Muranti and asked him to call the cat so a photographer could take a picture of Such with his cat. Muranti made a few half-hearted calls through the bullhorn from the deck, never venturing into the yard, before returning to the living room. "He hates my cat," Such said, still scanning the yard from a window. "I love my pets, but some people aren't animal people." On a tour of the house which will be included in the auction via sealed bids Muranti pointed out the big-ticket items such as the 11-foot chandelier that dangles in the foyer. "I paid $20,000 for that," Such said, moving briskly past the chandelier to point out a shelf of photos: an autographed photo of "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, a picture of Such posing with Vice Give your kids a suEHftusi' to resneRifocsr. KH"JIIhIR Swimming Volleyball Tennis Sports Basketball Fitness Fun Games Obstacle Course Fun Songs & More Racquet Ball Whisk your kids into an action packed summer at Camp Kidsports where there are many exciting programs presented each week by our professional, qualified, fun loving Kidsports teachers: Camp Kidsports features our innovative Kidsports equipment and The Club's state-of-the-art facilities. Call now for enrollment. Space is limited. 634-5000 585 main Street, . TANYA BREENStaff Photographer "I made my money during the era of 'He who dies with the most toys wins,' " says Alec John Such, right, who grew up in Perth Amboy and now lives in Colts Neck. "That's how the '80s were. But you grow out of that, you really do." Above, a look at Such in his rock-'n-roll hair days with Bon Jovi. President Al Gore ("Even though I can't stand his politics," Such said), several of Such's nieces and one of his mother, Helen, in Italy. "I don't know where in Italy that was taken but it was while we were on tour," Such said. "My mother would come with us on tour so she could travel everywhere. She wasn't too pleased when I retired." Such's father died a long time ago and Such seems very close to and protective of his mother. Examples of her needlework hang throughout the house, an odd juxtaposition with the other art work. A tattoo on Such's left shoulder replicates a needlepoint picture of a wizard made by his mom. "Of course, I'm saving all her work," he said. He's also saving a cimbalom, a Hungarian instrument similar to a dulcimer, handmade by his paternal grandfather and played by his father. Of his own musical career, he only wants to save photos he took of the band on various tours and a trophy awarded by the T.J. Martell Foundation, honoring the band's work with autistic children. Among the oddities up for auction are a hand-held chrome ice maker from about 1900, a miniature Singer sewing machine from about the same time, a telephone from 1936, a cash register from 1930, a miniature player saxophone (which operates with a roll, like a player piano) and a coin-operated "Flash Gordon Rocket Ship" children's ride from 1951. He also is selling several classic cars. "Yeah, it makes me sad to see some of this stuff go," Such said, as he drove his sleek, 1953 MG through his rural neighborhood. The car, one of several for sale, is a beauty and Such takes delight in its pristine condition. On a sunny afternoon's drive, he turned on the windshield wipers as if demonstrating a parlor trick, smiling as the old-fashioned blades stretched and retracted like the legs of a cricket. The two-passenger car sped past the horse farms and mansions that make Colts Neck so pretty and prestigious and so elegantly silent. Such, who grew up in a tight-knit Hungarian neighborhood in Perth Amboy, bought his house in Colts Neck in 1988. "Colts Neck is nice," he said, Woodbridge 634-5000 The spoils of rock W "but there's nothing to do. There's no activity. You don't see people anywhere. I would just come home and do nothing. I even got into the habit of cooking for myself and I don't want to do that. I want to go out to eat, I want to get out and meet people." Such itches for mobility and action. This part of his personality was sorely tested within a year after he retired from Bon Jovi in 1994. Such said a drunk driver smashed into his car in Marlboro, shattering Such's hip. Recovery was agonizing, physically and mentally. "It took them an hour to get me out of the car," Such recalled. "I was on my back for six months after surgery. It was about the worst thing to happen to me in my life." Five years later, he occasionally needs to walk with a cane. The size of his house, with all its stairs, has become unmanageable. "I want to sell all this and buy a new motor home and a boat and just go traveling," he said. "I don't miss being in a band; I don't want any of that. I want to meet people and if they don't believe I was in Bon Jovi, I won't care. I don't think I've picked up a guitar since I left the band. I don't have callouses on my fingers anymore. I'd bleed if I played now." Bon Jovi the band is undispu-tedly led by Jon Bon Jovi, the singer and front man who grew up in working-class Sayreville and now lives in a riverfront estate in the most plush section of Middle-town. (The rest of the band also maintained ties to New Jersey Tico Torres, the drummer, lives in Colts Neck; Richie Sambora, guitarist, and David Bryan, keyboardist, also have homes in the area). But Alec John Such played a key role in forming Bon Jovi the band. Such and Sambora played together in an earlier band called Message; Such and Torres traveled in the same circles. In the early '80s, Such managed the Hunka Bunka Ballroom in Sayreville, then known as the Jernee Mill Inn. He booked Jon Bon Jovi & The Wild Ones and saw potential. He brought Sambora and Torres into the fold; Bon Jovi brought Wffltoffl&'s "Sitae ES jj Find out on ' Sunday, iiaf 21 in our biggest Classified section ever. You could win to your favorite stores! -About I VouJV m. wiiiiinijiiiii.l.i,.ii...i, iuiiii inM..,iiiiliF)ili ...lim ,m .i' p'v. 1 i;. i',i".i!Nn. . - - AM" " ' '"" .' , ', .-; mmm$u - "'- . " " nii t " J ' 'V., ' j ' " " i i : I . f !, j- , ..;' 'I . II . r 4 f ' ' ' : p:' -tv :;( . x : Mill ' 1 -"S?9 )i; ;j David Bryan, with whom he had played in a band called Atlantic City Expressway. The rest, as they say, is history. Bon Jovi became the most successful of the many "hair bands" of the '80s that bridged the gap between pop and heavy metal. The band's 1986 album on PolygramMercury, "Slippery When Wet," sold in the multi-millions and earned Bon Jovi an international following, especially in Asia, that has not abated. Commercial success continued with "New Jersey" in 1988, "Keep the Faith" in 1992 and the greatest-hits album "Cross Road" in 1994. Bon Jovi survived the dominance of modern rock in the early '90s and now seems poised for another comeback. The band's album, "Crush," is due for release June 13. Bon Jovi will begin its world tour in July in Japan, followed by dates in Europe in August and September. The band played a sold-out preview gig last month at Tradewinds in Sea Bright. Meanwhile, Jon Bon Jovi played a supporting role in the hit thriller "U-571." He has even regained his status as a teen idol no small feat for a 38-year-old father of two in the era of boy groups with young women calling area radio stations to request his songs, describing him as a "hottie." One of the band's early publicity photos available at the auction features "Teen Beat"-style snip Home News ItUBUNE Your local news first I ! M.'.U ! J I i'l i U800) 777-3455 1 ji roll pets of biography about each musician on the back: "Known as the wild one in the group, Alec enjoys his cars and motorcycles when he's not on tour." "The record company used to lie about my age," Such said. "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." The age difference has since caught up with Such and his former bandmates. Such, now 48, said it was the main reason he left the band in 1994. "When I was 43, I started to get burned out," he said. "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." Bon Jovi then took a cue from The Rolling Stones and brought in Hugh McDonald as a hired gun, rather than as a bandmate. "There's no ill feeling on mine or the band's part," Bon Jovi said at the time, "and as far as I'm concerned, Alec was the only bass player who was part of Bon Jovi." There are signs of hurt feelings on Such's part. When asked about his bandmates' reactions to his retirement, Such said, "I think Jon didn't care because he didn't have to pay a percentage to the new guy. He does care about those things." Custom designed for you FREE Smart Features r 5martVae& Automated, energy-officiant cleaning for your entire pool, SmartSaverr Pushbutton control save Hme & up to 75 on utilities, SmarfPuro Natural water purification virtually eliminates chlorine use. . 'Offer good only for new customers & for contracts written & tigned between 5700 & 6300. Ong, coupon must be presented at time of initial visit wfilue Haven consultant & prior to contract signing. Offer may not be combined with any other offerpromp. 1 per customer. 1 Not surprisingly, Such said he did not like the 1995 Bon Jovi album "These Days," which was the first one made without him. Time and distance have mellowed whatever friction existed between Such and Jon Bon Jovi. "I keep in touch with everyone but Jon," Such said. "We had a few little rifts between us, but when I heard this new record, I wanted to call him. I think it's really good." After the auction, Such said he plans to start traveling. But he does not plan to abandon New Jersey. He's keeping his second home in Waretown and he bought his mother a house in Brick. "When you first make a lot of money, you spend a lot," he said. "Then you go through that 'Am I good enough to be making all this money?' and 'Do I deserve it?' phase." "I think I'm past all the pitfalls," he said. "At one time, I needed to see those platinum records on the wall to prove my worth. I don't anymore." The public auction of the estate of Bon Jovi bassist Alec John Such begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at 29 Laird Road, Colts Neck. Previews are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, noon to 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday. For more information, call (732) 708-0948. Have Blue Haven build your new custom pool and spa, and get a FREE bonus your choke of selected Smart Features that make poolcare easier and more affordable than ever before. FREE GIANT COLOR CATALOGPOOL GUIDE For a copy, call or visit our website. 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