Bret Michaels on the Foo Fighters, Being the Susan Lucci of Rock and Roll, and Drealism
Though many artists do too much dreaming and other people too much pragmatic thinking, Michael notes, "I dream stuff up big and then I try to go for it." Given his recent laundry list of endeavors, he's definitely gone for it, and all the way.
We've seen a lot of former Poison frontman Bret Michaels over the past few years. With his show Rock of Love, we uncovered a personal side to the rock star, both good and not so good, depending on who's in the room.
Around the time he suffered a horrifying brain hemorrhage in 2010 that almost killed him, the rock star, it seems, turned away from the silicone honeys and toward the hearth-light of home. Besides settling down and focusing more on his two daughters, Michaels is intent upon building what appears to be an empire.
A list of his newest projects include: a new line of digital greeting cards, a line for Pet Smart and one with Dean Guitars, a partnership with Reader's Digest, and even the creation of a Snapple drink called Trop-a-Rocka tea. That last one is very neat.
The digital greeting cards are a video message one person buys for another that includes a personalized greeting from Michaels. "We just started what's called DIG, Digital Instant Gratification. It's sort of the Polaroid of the new millennium." Many are dedicated to those in the troops serving overseas.
One of Michaels' greatest challenges has been that he's been diabetic since the age of six. "I still do four shots a day and right now I'm up to about ten blood tests a day. Forty-two years of my life I've spent taking injections of some sort."
He started the Bret Michaels Life Rocks Foundation, gives to other charities dedicated to the chronic illness, and also spends his own money to send kids to camp. "Young kids get diagnosed and they think their life is over. They read all of these horrific things that can happen. I said it's the opposite. Sometimes it's unfortunate, but that's the hand you're dealt. You have to learn to adapt and make it great. I try to teach them the great quality of life they can have being a diabetic." He added thoughtfully, "What isn't a challenge? Half of the battle is mind over matter."
When he tours alone, he doesn't leave out the Poison hits, but he offers his own twist to each. He intersperses the older songs with classic rock covers and solo work. The crowds are multi-generational and he calls the shows "a party."
A Big Foo Fighters fan, he really related to Dave Grohl's Grammy speech. Of his and Grohl's style, he says "I don't want to say old school, I'll say real school." During shows, he pointed out, "I still go on a stage, I have no in-ears, I still use the monitors. I've got no click track, no Pro Tools. There's nothing going on but our band playing. It's truly a raw experience."
Creating music on the spot makes it special. "It's always a different show. Anything can happen, and I think that's what makes rock and roll fly by the seat of your pants." But he doesn't judge other artists who use the help of technology. "I realize that a lot of pop art is more about the visual than the music. And it's not a disrespect, but a lot of their show is pre-programmed, and I get it because they're doing dance moves. A lot of audiences love that." But when it comes to rock and roll and country, he firmly believes it should be kept real.
Michaels headlined the The Grammy Foundation's live music kick-off party. Even though he hasn't snagged a Grammy yet, "Eventually, it's coming," he joked, "I'm the Susan Lucci of rock and roll."
That's not all Michaels has been up to. He's got a line with Pet Smart called the Pets Rock collection. They approached him about the project. "They know I love pets, they're based out of Scottsdale, Arizona where I'm from." Apparently, it's a huge success. Michaels is a big animal lover. His first pet was a German shepherd he named Parcus Aurilicus. "I've got like a zillion Polaroid pictures of me in the worst bell bottom pants ever, hugging my big German shepherd dog." Since then, he moved on to a guinea pig, a garden snake, and now he owns horses and other dogs, "You name it, I've got it."
He's very appreciative of those who have supported him along the way. When breaking out to do solo work, he found a partner in the Hard Rock casinos. "Much love and respect to the Seminole Indian tribe, who's taken a lot of chances on me, and we've had much success over the years at the Hard Rock venues," he says.
It's also Michaels who takes a lot of chances, and drealist that he is, he's made life a busy and rewarding one for himself and many others.
Catch Bret Michaels at Hard Rock Live (One Seminole Way, Hollywood) on Saturday, February 18. For tickets visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.
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