Hugh John McDonald (born December 28, 1950) is an American musician who is best known for his session work and for being the current bass guitarist of the American rock band Bon Jovi, whom he joined as an unofficial member in November 1994, not becoming an official member until 2016. He made his recording debut as a session musician for The Deirdre Wilson Tabac self-titled album in 1969. Before joining Bon Jovi he was the bass guitarist for the David Bromberg Band, touring extensively worldwide and playing on many Bromberg albums. He has played with many other artists, both live and in the studio, and has recorded with Willie Nelson, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Steve Goodman, Ringo Starr, Lita Ford, Michael Bolton, Cher, Alice Cooper, Ricky Martin, Michael Bublé, Bret Michaels, others and did a few dates during the Shania Twain, the Woman in Me TV tour.
He has worked with Bon Jovi in the studio since its inception and has been their bass guitarist since original bass guitarist Alec John Such’s departure after Cross Road was released in 1994, but was still regarded as an ‘unofficial’ member of Bon Jovi until 2016. At the time he was an unofficial member, McDonald was left out of most publicity shoots and album covers but does appear in some of the bands promo videos. The band members say they agreed never to officially replace Alec John Such. However, in 2016, McDonald became an official member along with guitarist Phil X. Regardless, his work with the band earned him a 1995 Metal Edge Readers’ Choice Award for “Best Bassist” (tying with White Zombie’s Sean Yseult).
McDonald was one of the studio musicians that recorded Bon Jovi’s original first demo for the song “Runaway”. When the song became a local hit, Jon Bon Jovi assembled his band without McDonald. He has also appeared on Jon Bon Jovi’s solo album Destination Anywhere and was part of Jon’s backing group, The Big Dogs.
In 2004, McDonald married Kelli, a horse trainer and jewelry designer. They reside near Park City, Utah.
With Alice Cooper
- Studio albums
- Trash (1989)
- Hey Stoopid (1991)
- Compilation albums
- Classicks (1995)
- Francisco Brugal (1995)
With Bon Jovi