Bret Michaels: Every Rose Has It’s….

Don’t fancy yours much…

Former Poison frontman, 2010 Celebrity Apprentice winner and standard bearer for international women’s rights Bret Michaels has announced he is releasing a star-studded new album in September.

Having apparently tired of being reality TV‘s most compelling spokesperson for feminism in his show Bret Michael’s Lick My Love Pump Rock of Love it’s good to see him getting back to the music.

In 1986 Poison’s debut album Look What The Cat Dragged In… came fully formed and larger than life, supported by a rave KKKKK review from Kerrang! editor Geoff Barton. A quick trip to Shades Records in Soho secured a copy as the band attended a signing in the tiny shop, all hairspray and smiles.

It was the LP cover more than anything that drew attention to itself.

I showed it to a friend, and told him I had discovered a new all-female metal band. “Which one do you fancy the most?” I asked innocently, waiting for him to fall into my trap.

“Well she’s a bit rough” he ventured cautiously, sensing a trap. “Top left looks like a bloke”. He looked more closely at the picture of CC De Ville, and then at Bret Michaels. Bret (I think, or was it Rikki Rocket?) was winking seductively, but my friend preferred blondes. “She’s the best of the four” he declared pointing out CC.

As I triumphantly revealed they were all blokes, he rolled his eyes skywards, annoyed at himself for falling for such an obvious trick.

I was such an idiot when I was younger…

Album opener Cry Tough gave way to some almost forgettably trashy songs that increasingly fell over each other in their race to reach the end of the record. It was a triumph. Recorded cheaply, sounding great. With songs like Play Dirty you could tell this wasn’t just a bunch of posh boys putting on an act. The riff to the title track is as heavy as anything you’ll hear by an LA band. They looked fun too: the video to Talk Dirty To Me showed the band rolling about and swinging guitars around their necks. We were easily pleased in those days.

The song Blame It On You is highly (and unintentionally) amusing. A lament to a girl who perhaps is a little more chaste than Bret Michaels is used to, (which isn’t, I suspect, setting the bar very high) it appears to contains the immortal line “I can’t get no nookie”. Perhaps one of the quaintest phrases you’ll ever hear on a rock record. Sadly I must rule out a nod to Roger De Courcy’s ventriloquist bear. (It seems doubtful that particular 1970’s UK pop culture reference ever reached Pennsylvania, but I’m happy to be corrected on that one: it’d make the line even better).

Experts consider it unlikely that Roger De Courcey and Nookie Bear ever played a major part in Bret Michael’s life…

The whole make up and hair was slightly puzzling. It wasn’t like Bowie or Bolan, who dressed androgynously to shock and confuse. Poison were not seeking to confuse the establishment. It was clear that they dressed that way because American girls loved that look, evidenced by the tales of debauchery in their interviews. What was puzzling to me was why girls found that look so appealing. Or, to my teenage self, more like why that was more appealing than the way I looked. If men dressing up in their mums clothes with shaggy permed mullets wearing make up were more successful than I was with women, what hope was there?!

In retrospect, the answer to why a girl would be more attracted to a rock star with freedom, wealth, good looks and success than a skinny shy UK teenager with bad hair who lived with his parents and had a surprisingly sarcastic manner was always staring me pretty hard in the face.

Poison deservedly went on to greater commercial success with their next two albums. Every Rose Has It’s Thorn was a US #1. They even bothered the Top Twenty in the UK with Unskinny Bop. However they never made an artistic statement as great as the one that ended with the song Let Me Go To The Show and the immortal lines shouted by an old bloke: “You heard your mother – turn that s- off!”

Bret Michaels and Friends: Get Your Rock On is released in September and features collaborations with Michaels and Loretta Lynn, Joe Perry (who play on a reworking of the Poison hit “Every Rose Has Its Thorn“) Jimmy Buffett, Lil Jon, Michael Anthony, Ace Frehley, and members of .38 Special, Skynyrd and Blackfoot.

Record #76: Poison – Look What The Cat Dragged In


9 responses to “Bret Michaels: Every Rose Has It’s….”

  1. topfivevinyl Avatar

    This Week’s Sign That the Apocalypse is Truly Upon Us. The only thing that would make this release any scarier would be for The Donald to be involved.


  2. 80smetalman Avatar

    My sister once said that Poison wore more make up than she did, I believe this to be true. Do like the album, especially that famous line at the end of “Le t Me Go To the Show”


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      It was the eighties. Even the girls troweled on the make up in those days


  3. kblumenau Avatar

    Nothing says dodgy quite like a reworking of an old hit.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Unless you are Def Leppard, when it’s…
      Nothing says “dispute with the record company” like re-recording your old hits…


  4. Mark Anstee Avatar

    didn’t CC DeVille win some “worst guitarist in the world” accolade at the time? the record they did with the guy who replaced him may have witnessed a sharp rise in the quality of the guitar licks but it was a bloody awful album.
    confession: i recently picked up Warrant’s first album on vinyl for £1 (i paid them not vice versa) and it’s actually not that bad.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      You’re right – I’m sure I remember something along those lines. It’s interesting to me that, from the comments here at least that no-one’s prepared to admit to being a massive Poison fan!
      PS. Think of this like confession: by owning up to liking your criminal records, you can win forgiveness…even for Cherry Pie…


      1. 80smetalman Avatar

        Nah, Mick Mars is still the worst guitar player in my opinion


      2. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

        OK – I will give this some thought and write about this topic soon! Anyone else want to nominate before I draw up a short list?!


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