Bret Michaels to perform in Green Bay next month
By Kris Leonhardt
Poison Rocker Bret Michaels is a sports fanatic who loves football, but his choice of teams might surprise you.
“I was born in Pittsburgh, so I was born into the black and gold, or black and yellow. And so when I was a kid, I had several helmets. The two I had were the Steelers and the Green Bay Packers because they both were ‘Smash Mouth’ football. They were cold weather teams, Smash Mouth football; what I consider just great. Great teams that I love to watch play and that’s how I became a fan, and then I became much more of a fan of the whole Green Bay Area when I played there and we kicked off every one of the Poison or Bret Michaels tours. We were always there in Brown County arena,” Michaels said in an interview for City Pages.
“I love the people the hospitality, their energy, their ability to have ‘Nothin’ But a Good Time.’ That it just made it even better.”
Michaels says that he plans to work another trip to a Packers game into his touring schedule.
“I’ve been to many Packers games. It takes a little maneuvering, even when you’re playing there. I’m going back to when Magic Don was up there and singing ‘Every Rose’ for Sports Illustrated all the way up through Brett (Favre). I just did that big Rams-Packers opening with Brian Baumgartner and Aaron Rodgers when he was there before he went to the Jets this year,” he said.
The making of a party
And his tour schedule will bring him as close to Green Bay as he can get, as he closes out the summer Sept. 8 with a ‘Parti-Gras’ bash at Capital Credit Union Park.
Joining Michaels for the bash is Dee Snider, Twisted Sister lead singer; Lou Gramm, of Foreigner: and Steve Augeri, of Journey fame.
“It’s an absolute honoring of all of the hits, Michaels said.
“It’s an incredible night.
“Green Bay is going to be no exception. We’re, we’re coming to play a night of what may be the biggest night of hits ever played together when you’ve got Foreigner, Journey, Twisted Sister and Poison all the originals coming up and singing it’s going to be great.”
The night’s song list will feature Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “I Wanna Rock” and “Stay Hungry:” Foreigner hits “Jukebox Hero,” “Hot Blooded” and “I Wanna Know What Love Is;” and Journey “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Separate Ways” and “Any Way You Want It.”
At the heart of it all, Michael’s will perform some of Poison’s best-known songs, including “Nothin’ But a Good Time,” “Talk Dirty to Me” and what many consider the quintessential ‘80s — “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”
An exact emotion
Michaels said the fact that it resonates with fans makes its success bittersweet.
“I wrote this song out of real heartbreak,” he said.
“(I was) young; I was in love at the time. She’s a wonderful human, but also at that time, I was in a struggling, struggling Poison. We’re out touring the world in a mini Winnebago, trying to open for Ratt and different bands. So, ‘the Rose’ was that I was out living my life and my career, but it was also tough in my personal life and that’s the balance. It’s always what makes an artist both happy and bittersweet. It’s a little of both and it’s just such an amazing feeling that the song is still rocking and relevant and relatable.
“The best words I could say is fans related to it, and it became their song in many ways for different reasons. But when you’re writing it, you don’t know that.
“Literally, as I was writing that song I was sitting in the back of a mini Winnebago that we were driving ourselves around in.
“It was never meant to be a hit. You know, they weren’t going to release the single, and I went back to Los Angeles and said you have to release this for my soul. Like forget about anything else, it’s helping me deal with the heartbreak; and they put it out and it became one of our biggest, if not biggest, hit singles.”
That raw emotion also hit hard in one of Poison’s other hit songs, “Something to Believe In.”
“My very good friend, best friend; he was also our head of security. His name was Kimo, and he passed away over Christmas. And I knew when the phone call came in late that night. I’d been with him for almost a year, every day up to that point. We took our Christmas break, and I’ll never forget this. We were out on the “Open Up and Say Ahh!” tour, and I’ll never forget music saved my life.
“The toughest songs to write are party songs. The ones that become the most relatable, but the ones that are the most focused are from heartbreak, losing somebody, because you have an exact emotion. “So when people say ‘oh, it’s a party song that must have been easiest to write.’ No, here’s why. I’m in the middle of having a great time. I don’t want to sit down and write a song. You’re like I’m partying and having a good time. But the ones that break your heart, the ones that come from loss and the tough moments in your life are such an exact emotion that they’re very pinpointed when you write them, which makes them easier to write, but painful to write.
“Something to Believe in, Every Rose, I Won’t Forget You, even the one I wrote with my daughter, Unbroken, those are the ones that are very poignant and very direct emotion.”
An adventurous spirit
Michaels has had his share of struggles to serve as inspiration.
“My life has been an absoluty incredible journey of highs and lows, and I just keep this unbroken warrior spirit so when stuff goes bad — let me tell you it’s not easy —but for some reason in my blood. By the grace of God, good medical attention and great family and friends, I’m resilient and come back and it makes me tougher. I’m not saying it’s easy when you’re going through a life-threatening brain hemorrhage or those things. I don’t ask for them; but if they happen, I just use them should I survive them, I use them to be something that makes me really appreciate life and my gratitude for great family, great friends and great fans,” he explained.
The gratitude falls heavily on his two daughters, Raine Elizabeth, and Jorja Bleu, which he hopes to instill that same gratitude and zest for life.
“I am an outdoorsman, an adventurer,” Michaels stated.
“If you ask them right now, if you had to pick up the phone and say ‘Did your dad used to call things when you were young an adventure?’ … Whether that was, you know, taking the four-wheeler out and discovering stuff in the desert or, you know, whatever we would do, I just want them to be able to treat people great. I want them to understand and know love and gratitude and hope that the legacy that we’re able to leave behind is to go out there and truly attempt to live your life to the fullest.”
And while Michaels is grateful for his longevity in the music business, he said that he can’t see himself doing anything else.
“I am as excited about playing music today as I was the day I started,” he said.
“This would always be the dream and my favorite song — one of them ever — is by Luke Combs. I’m a big country fan. [The song] is called “Doin’ This.” And I always said, if I wasn’t doing this, I’d be doing this. So I would be in a cover band and probably be a long-haul trucker because I love to drive.
But, fortunately for Green Bay area fans, Michaels is still doing it and in a big way this September.
“I am such a big fan of Green Bay and the fans. I consider them family and friends,” he stated.
“This show is going to be incredible, just hit after hit. It’ll be the no-bathroom-break tour. It’s going to be so many hits that they won’t know what to do.”
The concert will be held Sept. 8 at Capital Credit Union Park in Green Bay. For more information, visit https://epicgreenbay.com/upcoming-events.