Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, Bret Michaels...

Here, fresh of the Poughkeepsie Journal's Web site is my complete story of Bret Michaels and tomorrow's show here in town. Enjoy!

Bret Michaels ready to rock city Friday

By Sean T. McMann
Poughkeepsie Journal

Two decades ago, Bret Michaels sang about needing “Nothin’ But a Good Time.”

That’s exactly what he plans on having Friday night.

That’s when Poison’s lead singer brings his “Rock of Love” solo tour to Poughkeepsie’s Mid-Hudson Civic Center.

“We really make it so it really flows,” Michaels, who melds Poison hits, his own solo songs and popular covers into his current gigs, told the Journal earlier this week. “People leave there saying, ‘Now that was a rock show!’”

One of the founding members of Poison back in 1983, Michaels has sold more than 25 million records — both with the group and his solo releases. In all, Michaels has wracked up 15 Top 40 hits including everything from “Talk Dirty to Me” and the aforementioned “Nothin’ But a Good Time” to slower-paced songs such as “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “Something to Believe In.”

Local fans, he said, can expect a mix of old and new, all performed with the exuberance that made him famous with Poison.

“It’s a full-on, big production,” 44-year-old Michaels said. “I really put my time and effort into making sure it sounds great.”

It’s that dedication to his craft that’s made Danielle Fleming a longtime fan.

“His music is great because not only does it sound amazing, but he has a song for all emotions,” said Fleming, who will travel from her home in Mahopac, Putnam County, to see Friday’s show. “Whether I am feeling sad or excited, I can always find a Poison (or) Bret Michaels song to help me cry if I need to or to get me pumped up. I also feel that I can relate to many of Bret’s songs about love and having ‘a good time.’”

Such a connection with his fans is what Michaels credits for his most recent success: reality-TV star.

Now in its second season, VH1’s “Rock of Love” — think of it as “The Bachelor” for the rock ’n’ roll set — has brought a new wave of fans into the Bret Michaels fold.

The success of the show, though, didn’t shock the man in the middle of the “Rock of Love” women.

“I’m more happy and excited than surprised,” Michaels said. “We’ve always had good generations of really loyal fans.”

Taped in a Beverly Hills mansion — which Michaels is quick to point out is not his; the production leases the house — the rock icon picks his choice of a new girlfriend from 25 hopefuls.

“I think the popularity of the show is due to three things,” Michaels explained. “First, I thank the fans for supporting the show. Then I thank the girls for being real. And then, it’s just allowing me to be myself.”

Michaels, though, isn’t the only one in front of the camera nowadays.

In addition to entertaining the immediate audience in front of him, Michaels and his crew videotape each show on his current tour to share with fans around the world. Certain clips from Friday’s show, for example, will be broadcast to U.S. service members overseas — “I’m a strong supporter of the troops,” he said — while others will make their way to the “VSpot” portion of VH1’s Web site.

“They’re going to look good rocking on TV,” Michaels said of the Poughkeepsie audience.

While the newfound TV stardom may come and go, the music is the lifeblood of Michaels.

Whether playing before 15,000-plus fans in Orlando recently or smaller arenas such as the civic center, Michaels said as soon as the first notes of “Talk Dirty to Me” are played to open the show, he’s giving his fans all he’s got.

“I’m still passionate about what I do,” Michaels said. “When I’m out on stage, I’m not going through the motions.”

Publicity pics above taken by Nancy Mazzei, courtesy of

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