By Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
Poison has long been considered the greatest glam or hair band of the ‘80s, but the group is more than that. It is a great rock ‘n roll band.
Poison released its newest CD “Poison’d!” this week. The disc is full of great classic hits recorded in true Poison fashion, including songs originally recorded by David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, The Cars, Sweet, KISS, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and more.
The band will embark on a 50 city tour of the United States this summer in support of the its first album of new material since 2002. Ratt, featuring original members Stephen Pearcy, Warren Demartini and Bobby Blotzer, will join Poison on tour for the first time since 1999.
The opening act was originally slated to include White Lion, which has since been replaced with Vains of Jenna because of legal issues.
Poison vocalist Bret Michaels has been a busy man. He has just finished filming his new reality show, “Rock of Love with Bret Michaels” for VH-1 and took a break from recording commentary for the show to talk about the new album and upcoming tour.
“First off, I want to say I really wanted to go in and record an album of new, original material,” Michaels said during a telephone interview. “The band and I talked about this, but Bobby (Dall) looked at me and said he knew I was doing my new show for VH-1, and some solo stuff and that we wouldn’t have enough time. He said let’s redo some of the stuff we played as a cover band when we first started out. We wanted to just go in the studio and have fun and we did.”
The album includes both new and previously recorded tracks by Poison. Previously released songs include “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss, from the “Less than Zero” soundtrack; “Squeeze Box” by The Who, from the Poison album, “Hollyweird;” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance” from Poison’s sophomore release, “Open Up and Say...Ahh!”
New tunes include “Little Willy” by Sweet, “Suffragette City” by David Bowie, “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band, “What I Like About You” by The Romantics and “Just What I Needed” by The Cars.
“Our first good argument this album was about what songs we were going to cover,” Michaels said. “I wanted to cover songs by Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and a bunch of others but the other guys said we should find some songs that haven’t been covered a million times. So each guy kind of spearheaded the songs he chose.”
One song selected by Michaels was “Little Willy” by Sweet.
“The very first concert I ever saw was Sweet opening for Foghat many years ago,” Michaels said laughing. “I don’t want to say how long, but it was long enough. I still remember hearing them play that song.”
The band has already shot the video for the song, “What I Like About You,” which Michaels described as “very comical and off the wall," and is scheduled to perform the song on national television Thursday (June 7th) on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Choosing songs for the new album led to a friendly disagreement within the band, and Michaels expects the same when choosing a set list for the upcoming tour.
“Choosing songs for the set list is what Bobby and I got into a fight about last year,” Michaels said about the fracas which erupted on stage in Atlanta between Dall and himself in the midst of the 2006 tour. “It started the night before when we were picking songs for the show and continued when we were on stage.”
Michaels said the fight happened because “we both still care about the music” and that the pair quickly made amends the next day.
The new tour begins June 13 in Greenville, South Carolina, with long time friends in Ratt supporting the group.
“The very first arena tour we did was with Ratt,” Michaels said. “Our first night was in Beaumont, Texas back in 1986. Anyway, we had heard singer Stephen Pearcy might be rejoining the band, but we didn’t really know what was going on with those guys. So, we made a few calls, and now we’re going on tour together.”
Although the focus is on Poison, the new album and approaching summer tour, Michaels is also preparing to enter the world of reality television in July with the VH-1 premiere of “Rock of Love with Bret Michaels.”
The show is described as “Michaels search for a woman who can keep up with his rock ‘n roll lifestyle and not become jealous of his one true passion,” which is performing.
“It is definitely one of the most interesting, strange, bizarre, craziest things I have ever done,” he said. “I was real hesitant at first about doing the show, but they reassured me about some things. I told them I wanted it to be real and it is. They have included stuff from my every day life in it, like workouts to my diabetes. They just filmed me being me.”
Without giving away any juicy details about the 10 episode series, Michaels said the soon to be hit show has a little bit of everything.
“It’s funny at times, and it’s sad at times,” Michaels said. “There is a lingerie mud football game, a motocross, broken bones and more.”
Michaels, like any person, has had his share of positive and negative relationships, but many have ended not so well because of his profession.
“When you are away for a long time on tour, it just causes a lot of tension and friction in a relationship,” he said. “It’s almost like rock ‘n roll is my mistress. I like being on the road, seeing the fans and having fun. You’ve got to make time to make a relationship work.”
Poison’s 50 city trek begins June 13 in South Carolina and concludes Sept. 1 in Florida and most likely is performing at a venue near you.
Visit www.poisonweb.com or www.myspace.com/poison for up to date news and tour information.
Reach this reporter at 409-883-3571, Ext. 2619 or firstname.lastname@example.org