"I'm a self-proclaimed drealist. I may have invented this word, I'm not
sure," says Bret Michaels, "But I'm a dreamer and a realist. I'm the kind of guy that I dream
stuff up big and then I try to go for it."
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.
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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.
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.
them is something close to Michaels' heart, though he says, "In
no way, shape or form am I going out promoting a warmonger; that's
not my thing." Rather, he notes, "I'm just extremely grateful to our
troops and the
sacrifices they make." His entire family has served at some point or
another, including his father and cousin Bobby who goes on the road with
him and has two Purple Hearts from Vietnam.
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."
months ago, Bret performed with Poison who opened for Motley Crue. He's now
touring solo. He enjoys both playing with the band and alone. "I love
them both." he assured. "I am extremely
thankful. We all grew up as friends. We've had a long and great career
together." Even through ups and downs, "We all respect each other and
have a great time."
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
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
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
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."
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.