I’m not even going to try to aim for journalistic objectivity on this one— I love Bret Michaels. Love him, love him, love him. I love him as a solo artist, as the frontman of legendary hair metal band Poison, and as a reality TV star. I even own a bottle of his Roses & Thorns cologne and I wear it regularly, even though it makes my partner sneeze. So when it was announced that Michaels was going to be playing Toledo as part of Promedica’s Summer Concert Series, I immediately begged the editor for dibs on interviewing the man. It took almost a month, but I was able to secure an email interview with Michaels, who will be performing at Promenade Park on Friday, June 7. And while he’s here, he’s going to try to get to Tony Packo’s and sign a hot dog bun.
I own a bottle of your cologne and it smells great. How involved were you with putting together the scent for Roses & Thorns?
I was involved in every step of the way. It actually took a very long time because I wanted to make it perfect. We went through several revisions. I had an idea in my head and the entire team was great, really focused on seeing my vision through. It was an awesome experience.
Have you ever been to Toledo before? If not, you need to eat at Tony Packo’s and sign one of their hot dog buns!
I certainly have! Both with Poison and my solo band. I have had 30 years of record-breaking, sold out shows and Ohio has always been amazing to me. I’m very fortunate to have such great fans and friends all over the state. I have a lifetime of great parties and memories in Toledo. I’d love to try Tony Packo’s and sign a bun.
Your latest song “Unbroken” is awesome. What was it like co-writing a song with your 13-year old daughter Jorja?
Thank you so much. Jorja is so much like me — full of creative energy and it was awesome to work with her. She had a clear vision of what she wanted to say and we were both going through some personal stuff at the same time that reflects in the lyrics. We were family, friends, and bandmates all at once. It was such a great and unforgettable experience for us both.
How do your kids react when they see old pictures of you back in the ’80s Sunset Strip days?
They think it’s great. You know, that generation is really into retro T-shirts and culture. They totally get it; they love where I came from, but also very much understand that is not who I am today. They have been here with me through all the other projects — the reality TV, solo career, philanthropy, product development, and entrepreneur stuff. I think it’s important they see that there is an evolution and that my legacy isn’t just that era of my life.
Do the rest of the guys in Poison ever get irritated with you having a solo career?
We are brothers. The struggles that we went through together created an unbreakable bond and we all support each other in our other endeavors. Rikki (Rockett) has done several solo projects, so has C.C. (DeVille). We support each other in everything we do.
What was it like working with the great Loretta Lynn? Did she cook for you at all? Jack White says her chicken and dumplings are to die for.
Loretta is amazing and we were friends before we worked together. It was very organic, it wasn’t put together by agents or labels. In fact, she invited me and my solo band to Thanksgiving dinner one year, which is where we got the idea (to do a song). So to answer the other question, yes, she cooked for us and it was amazing. She is a spectacular woman.
My favorite Poison album is also one of the bands most overlooked — “Crack A Smile.” I’ve never heard any of those songs performed live. How do you feel about that album?
I love “Crack A Smile.” Thanks so much, I’m glad you like it. You know, I think there is a lot of great material on that record, but it didn’t exactly have the Poison sound and feel that the fans today come to see and hear. So as far as why we don’t perform those songs live, our fans pay their hard earned money and it’s more than just ticket cost. Gas, hotels, parking, babysitters, dinner, drinks…going to a concert these days is a lot more than just showing up with your ticket. I believe you have to give the fans exactly what they want, which is why we stick to what we do in our set list.
Final question: Say you’re putting together a playlist for a party. What 10 songs have to be on there for it to be a TRUE Bret Michaels party?
- Sweet Home Alabama — Lynyrd Skynyrd
- A Little Less Conversation — Elvis Presley
- Forget You –CeeLo Green
- Walk This Way — Aerosmith
- Chicken Fried — Zac Brown Band
- Uptown Funk — Bruno Mars
- Hard To Handle — Black Crowes
- Pour Some Sugar On Me — Def Leppard
- Thunderstruck — AC/DC
- What I Got — Sublime
Bret Michaels will be performing on Friday, June 7 at Promenade Park. Doors at 5 p.m. $15 (pre-sale), $20 (day-off), $45 (VIP). For more information, visit promenadeconcerts.com