Bret Michaels, front man of Poison and native of the greater Pittsburgh area, will be performing at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in Warrendale, PA on November 18th. With Poison, Michaels has sold over 30 million records worldwide and enjoyed top-ten status with the hit singles, “Talk Dirty to Me,” “Nothin’ but a Good Time,” “Unskinny Bop,” “Something to Believe In” and the chart topping, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”
Michaels took time a few days before the show to answer several questions from Retropulse Music.
Special Thanks to Jergel’s Rhythm Grille.
Question 1: How has being from the greater Pittsburgh area influenced your musical style?
Michaels: Well, Pittsburgh obviously was a blue collar town when I was growing up, and those kinds of towns lend themselves to the birth of the best raw rock and roll. I’m a story-telling song writer and that’s the kind of thing that comes from a town like mine. John Mellencamp, Bon Jovi, and I all come from those humble roots and it shines through in the music. It has meaning and substance. Even when I’m singing something as tongue and cheek as Unskinny Bop, there was a story behind it and an inspiration about what was happening around me at the time. I believe that comes from the folk rock influence of story and song writing that emerges from hard working people in a town like Pittsburgh.
Question 2: Having one of the most successful careers as a front man, what do you attribute your success to as you have been able to reinvent yourself without having to sacrifice your personal identity as an artist?
Michaels: I actually believe the answer is right in your question. The last thing I’ll ever do is fake it, so I’m never gonna sacrifice my identity; what you see is what you get with me. It’s the people who don’t appear to change or evolve that are faking it. Times change, we grow older, we change our minds about things, and as long as I’m true to myself, it shines through. Life is a work in progress, and I’ve been fortunate enough to show the world my progress for over 25 years. In 1986 the me you saw was the me I was then. I’m proud of that. It certainly isn’t who I am today, but it helped me get to where I am today. If you don’t reinvent yourself, whether you’re a celebrity or not, the world will reinvent itself and eventually leave you behind. I have been very fortunate to grow and still strike a nerve with people and keep them interested in what I am about.
Question 3: What has music come to mean to you after all these years?
Michaels: Music is and always will be my life. It’s medicine. It’s therapy. It’s party time! To this day I get excited when I like a new song. I play it over and over again like we all did when we got new records as kids. I still get excited to make new music. I am constantly writing and recording new ideas. When I got sick a few years ago, music, and of course the prayers from my family, fans and friends, got me through it all. Music is everything.
Question 4: What aspect of life has given you the most meaning?
Michaels: The birth of my daughters. When you have children it all clicks and something new suddenly just makes sense. They give me a reason to live, a reason to fight when I was sick, and the happiness of family when I’m home with them.
Question 5: For those young musicians just starting out, what advice would you offer to them that you wish someone would have told you when you were young?
Michaels: My world back then was very different. I would just say DO NOT GIVE UP if you really believe, DON’T FAKE IT, and push forward every day. The world is different now and the power is in the hands of the artist way more than it ever was. With the tools given to beginners today, you have the ability to become a star right out of your basement on your own terms. Just stick to your guns.