Bon Jovi’s Longtime Team Member Paul Korzilius on Rock Hall Induction, Jersey Nation

Bon Jovi
Jesus Aranguren / Invision / AP
– Bon Jovi
“Art Basel,” Faena Theater, Miami Beach, Fla.

When Bon Jovi is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at tonight’s 33rd annual ceremony, which this year is being held at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, the band’s longtime associate Paul Korzilius will be front and center.  For 31 years, he’s been an integral part of the band’s Rock-Hall-worthy career which includes selling over 120 million records and generating hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of an illustrious touring career that continues to this day. In fact, over the the last 36 months, the group has averaged more than $1.5 million gross per show, according to Pollstar Boxoffice Data.
The band’s veritable Jack of All Trades bristles when asked for his title, saying he’s “done every job there is in the book.” This includes production manager, tour manager and manager but at this point the band is not “big on titles – we just go out and get the job done.” 
And that’s what Korzilius has done for over four decades on tours with Queen, Cheap Trick, Cher, Scorpions, Skid Row and the Alarm among others. Currently with duel jobs, he is also svp of the Arena Alliance run by Oak View Group (Pollstar’s parent company). Even with all his experience, when asked what Bon Jovi’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame means to him, he puts it all on the table. “It absolutely means everything.”
Paul Korzilius – Paul Korzilius
Pollstar: Are you in Cleveland?
Paul Korzilius: I am. It’s fantastic. Rehearsals were this afternoon, which went really well. They’ve got a great production crew together. [Producer/director] Alex Coletti and his team have really put together a beautiful looking show. They do all the shows, but typically they’re done at Barclays (Center in Brooklyn) and every once in a while they do go to Cleveland. 
How is Cleveland’s Public Auditorium? 
It’s a nice building, built in 1922. It’s been renovated, and it’s close to the Rock Hall. It’s been refurbished to its original state, so the building’s in fantastic shape. In fact, as a kid I grew up in Cleveland, and that’s where I saw all my music. That’s where Belkin Productions put on all their shows and it was great, so it’s great to be back.
You’re from Cleveland?
First through 12th grade. I’m not native, but I definitely grew up here. Yep.
So that’s where your rock and roll spirit comes from? 
I wouldn’t doubt it. If you grew up in northeast Ohio, it’s either sports or music. There’s not much else going on here.
What’s the band been doing? 
There’s a new wing on the Rock Hall that just opened up last week. It’s the Inductees Wing, and after rehearsals today, the band went over there to do a ribbon cutting for that new wing. Then last night we had a private tour of the museum. It’s quite spectacular. It’s really, really an amazing place to go visit to understand and enjoy all music.
How long have you been with the band?
Thirty-one years. I started in February 1987, on the “Slippery When Wet” tour.
What were you doing when you first started with them?
Production manager is where I started and worked my way up to management.
They were pretty huge at that point in 1987?
Once that needle hit “Livin’ On A Prayer” on Slippery When Wet their lives would change forever. They really had just grown to the point where they were now an arena act and they needed extra people to help them out and I was one of the people that was brought on to help with that.
Where did you work before then?
I graduated college in ’76, went on the road with Queen for three years and then I jumped to Cheap Trick and from there to Billy Squier  and from there to The Alarm and from there to … It goes on and on.
What does this mean to you now that Bon Jovi are getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after all the work and time and years you’ve poured into them?
It absolutely means everything. You know, these guys are hardworking, they’re intelligent, they are determined, they are amazing and they are the best at what they do.
What are some of your milestones that you’ll look back on with pride after over 31 years with them? 
You know, you work with this band, you get exposed to a lot with their political activism or being involved in Arena Football League teams or whether you’re at some of the … well, unfortunately after 9/11 happened,  Bon Jovi was a key fundraiser for that post-event. They did the big event in New York at Madison Square Garden and Los Angeles and they did some in New Jersey. You know, their ability to do good or help out, those are probably the biggest moments, because they’re not normal. They’re not what you’re going to run into, but it’s great when all of us in the music business respond like that and really help others, help our brothers, help our sisters. It’s what we really do in the music business. 
How do those initiatives come up and how do they happen? 
You know, it’s really Jon. He’s the founder, along with David [Bryan ] and Tico [Torres] and Richie [Sambora] and Alec [John Such]. But you know, he’s the leader of the band, and he’s the quarterback of the team. He’s the captain of the ship and everybody are members of that team or members of that crew that run that ship around the world. You need a quarterback, otherwise you’re not going to be able to win any football game.
So you have Richie coming back and Alec here, right?
Yep. Alec John Such is back in action. He retired back in ’94 or  ’95, and he looks fantastic. He’s healthy. It’s great to see him, and he’s always been one of the funniest guys on earth and it was great to have him there. And Richie has joined us as well for this big moment. The band’s going to be performing at the show tomorrow. They’ll be with the touring band that’s out now. Seven plus Richie, plus Alec will be nine. Great musicians on stage. I believe it’s going to be four amazing songs.
Is there an all-star jam at the end of the whole thing? 
You know, that’s up to the director, and I guess maybe who’s on the bill, who’s playing. There isn’t any talk of it this year, and I’m not really sure why. You’d have to ask Alex [Colletti].
Has there been a phalanx of media trying to get interviews and doing what we’re doing here basically?
Yes. And it is going to be on HBO May 5th. We have pretty good media attendance. You know, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located here and they did open up the new wing. It’s not that often it’s in Cleveland. I think Sirius XM is broadcasting from here. I know they are, because David Bryan did an interview with them. It’s a big media event, for sure.
Are you finding a lot of Bon Jovi fans here. Is New Jersey showing in the house?
They’re actually sneaking into the house. They’ve already been in the building without tickets or without passes or anything, but they got in, so there you go.
Are you kidding?
That’s a Jersey fan.
So Jersey nation is out in force? 
Without a doubt. The whole Bon Jovi nation’s here from around the world.

You being with them this long, did you come to understand what the Jersey thing is about and the power the band has on the state and the spirit of Jersey? 
That spirit is a worldwide spirit. It works everywhere. There’s a New Jersey in Australia. There’s a Jersey in Europe. There’s a Jersey in England. That feeling is everywhere. It’s amazing.
Bon Jovi sold an astounding 120 million records over 35 years. That’s crazy.
Well, that’s a lot of records, a lot of tickets, lot of shows.
What’s the biggest show you did with them? 
You know, Rock in Rio fall of ’17 they had the biggest crowd they’ve ever had, over 100,000 people.
Oh my God. And was Jersey in Rio?