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Poison - Thieves or Geniuses?

Sometimes, you hear or read stories that just seem a little to absurd to be true. You hear the same tale told time and time again, and it seems as if it is more folklore than fact.

For years, I have read various people online state that "Poison stole their stage show from Kix." To be honest, I never quite believed it, but the story was that Poison used to open for Kix before relocating to Los Angeles, and that when they moved, they essentially incorporated the Kix stage show into their own. It seemed a little bit too much of a stretch for me. I mean, a stage show is a stage show, as far as I was concerned, and I just thought that some bands put more energy into their shows than others. But then something happened last month...I saw Kix live.

I had never seen Kix live before, but they were on the M3 bill, and based upon all the hype I had heard about their live performances, I made sure I was in my seat when they started. I was amazed at what I saw! From the choreographed moves placed perfectly into the songs, to the funky walk that Steve Whiteman does across the stage, to the confetti-filled balloons at the end of the show... I felt like I was watching the "I Want Action" video, but with a different song playing! The resemblance was uncanny and it really made me wonder if the stories I have read over the past few years were just stories... or if there was some fact behind them.

I cannot expressly say this is true, but would it shock anyone to think that the guys in Poison are not 100% creative geniuses? I do give Poison credit, as they are (and were) extremely hard workers and they do put on a great show. Poison made it big and they continue to force some form of relevance in today's changed music scene. That said, I cannot get the recurring thought out of my head, "Did Poison become successful musicians based upon someone else's tried and tested stage show?"

Do any readers know more about this, or have I just been too influenced on random online posts by misinformed people? Help a brother out and leave a comment.

Kix, live in 1989

Poison live in 1991

Reader Comments (24)

Too influenced. To think that any artist is truly original, at this point is crazy. I have heard several artists, legends even, claim that their act is a combination of this influence or that influence. Are there similarities? Probably. And, I bet if you see enough live shows, you could make the claim that they ripped off someone else. Is every band that uses pyro ripping off the first band that used it? I like Kix & Poison & have seen both bands live(Kix-once, Poison-over a dozen), & I can say that I have seen some similarities, but I have seen some in a lot of "glam" bands that I have seen live. It is what it is.
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGEO II
The key is the fact that Poison used to open for Kix. Having seen Kix way too many times now (not that I don't love 'em to death), I can say that they were one of the first to have that "state of emergency" kind of stage show, starting back when they debuted their first album.

One thing nobody has ever been able to replicate is original Kix bassist and svengali, Donny Purnell's (speaking of geniuses) stage moves. Look at all the Kix vids before he split. The man is the frickin' Glam Metal equivalent to Taz the Tasmanian Devil from Merry Melodies cartoons.

Still, I gotta hand it to Poison. They stole from the best...
New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Cheap Trick (C.C. fully admits plundering Cheap Trick songs), Kix, Crue, etc.

But you gotta hand it to 'em, "Look What The Cat Dragged In" is a Glam Metal classic that towers over most. It's their "Rocks", if you will, though hardly in the same league as that Aerosmith classic. Wait, did I just name another Poison influence?

In Poison's defense, though, they really did mix up a lot of influences with their own spin to come up with something totally fresh with "Look What The Cat Dragged In". And that, my friends, is the story of Rock'n'Roll!

I just wish they'd try and top themselves. Like Crue, they never really topped that first record. It sure would be nice for both bands to do so. H*ll, Aerosmith was never able to top Rocks, either, for that matter.

I joke, but I do kinda wish Brett and the boyz would go off to Headley Grange or Nelcote (hahaha!!!) or somewhere and get down to the business of writing and rehearsing a real Rock album.

p.s. You can go ahead and credit Purnell from Kix for Poison's stage act along with most L.A. bands post '82. You can bet there will be a lot of shoegazing veteran L.A. Boyz attending that much anticipated L.A. gig at House of Blues in L.A. (Kix's first appearance in L.A. in 20 years!) Guilty as charged!

p.s.s.t. What's really potentially great, is that Kix's upcoming show could have an influence on a bunch of L.A. upstarts and really trigger more real Glam Metal Rock'n'Roll bands to hit the scene out there.
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Ally...EVERYONE back in those days stole from KIX. When they guys played their reunion show at (can't remember which festival, outside of the usual MD shows) M3 or Rocklahoma (again...too lazy to google) people were blown away by KIX's performance. They captured the attention of everyone in the audience. I had some pics sent to me from the stage courtesy of a certain rocker's bandmate, I made the comment to him..."is every band there waiting to steal something NEW from Kix AGAIN?!?!" His respone, "we made a career out of that" One day I will say WHICH band(s) that I spoke to that day, but for now...just KNOW it happened. There is a DIFFERENCE between influence and blatant identity theft. LMAO.
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Lou
I do see the similarities.. but again, who's to say where it started ? I will say though, KIX continues to BRING IT to this very day. I've yet to be disappointed in a show !
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdamnp78
@Lou - I didn't write this one, my pal Brian did (see byline). [I've seen Kix lots of times]. My opinion on this one stay silent, ha! But...go ahead and email that band you mention in your comment, ROTFL!

- Allyson
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson
Allyson...Silent! Just kiddin.
I have also heard this rumor before, and years ago, I even heard Steve W., or Kix, slam, Poison. I also heard that they have spoken and made up. Who knows.
I agree with Metalboy...I think Poison made it there own style and used other groups' influences. I would not say that they stole it. KIX is way more talented than Poison, but Poison went balls out and hit it at the right time. Love both bands
As long as I am entertained and having fun, I dont really care.
Actually...Steel Panther probably puts on the best show of both bands, and they are copying all.
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian L
Wow, watching the videos posted on this page, I am just blown away by how weak Poison's Bret Michaels really was (voice and stage presence), back in the day. Yes they totally stole Kix' stage show, yes Kix was better in every way, much better apparently, yes Kix still rocks today with the same energy level as back then. Those guys are amazing and didn't lose a beat.
To be fair: Three things Poison have right was to have more catchy mainstream songs with annoyingly catchy hooks, and Bret Michaels was "cuter" in his magazine Pin-ups. Plus the move from PA to Hollywood was the right move. Kix should have gotten the hell out of Baltimore in those Hollywood Glam heydays.
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBV-Fan
Musically, sure you could say "influenced" but performance...they STOLE. From Steve's beret and glasses to the party like stage and Steve's stage moves...come on, RIP OFF. They did it on another level though. Let's face it, Poison was a chick magnet band, right, wrong or indiffernt, Kix never was and that was Kix's downfall. The proof is in the for song Kix was above Poison, but Poison just hit on ALL cylinders. I stand by my "THEFT" statement and I am a DIE HARD Poison fan LOL. But Poison wasn't the ONLY band that ripped off Kix either. Think real hard kiddies, there are several other bands out there that did it on a bigger AND smaller scale.
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Lou
Don't know about Poison & Kix - but Axl ripped off his stage moves from Richard Black (Shark Island), Happens all the time I would guess, just some get caught!
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTony
Poison even stole their name from Kix' song Poison, one of the earliest Kix songs on the first record. And that's the truth.
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIda Lee
Was that Kixson with a weak singer in the second video? Bret's voice must have got stronger the more hair he lost. Like both bands quite a lot, but have to say there's more than a hint of copying going on. Also, for those from the Baltimore/Hammerjacks area - they can attest to the colors that KIX used along with the purple - oh yeah, it was the same lime green Poison copied - I mean used. To each his own. Both great in their own right. ROCK ON and Happy 4th.
July 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMEWIZEMGIC
Great comments, all!

p.s. Sweet Lou, how 'bout a little story from one of your countless Glam Metal adventures you could put up in the comments section of Al's "Musical Serendipity" post? C'mon, Lou, tell us one, man. And anyone else? I can see why Al might defer but how 'bout the rest of you Glam Metal Kidz?! C'mon, give us a scoop!
July 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!

I have a story that involves Lita Ford and I would post it but I have money you would not bother to read it. It is time to come out of the closet big boy.

Your apparent need to brag about hanging out with ex-strippers...etc in your M3 review just proves you have some issues in that area. You need to understand that it is ok to be different with your life here on bringbackglam. We support all of the members on here regardless of which way they swing. Ok?
July 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBillie Bad Ass
Lol! Funny, I always thought that Poison stole their early stage show from Van Halen! :D Bret was totally channeling David Lee Roth in 1986!

In my (insignificant) opinion: there were a million bands who looked and dressed and danced like this in the 1980s. I'm sure that they were all influencing one another - either consciously or subconsciously. To say who started what is next to impossible. That video has Steve Whiteman picking up his mic stand and spinning around. Did he steal that off Axl Rose? Oh wait, I'm pretty sure that Axl stole that move off Steven Tyler! And so on and so forth...
July 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKiki Chrome

Billie Boy!

Yee-haw! Ride 'em, cowboy!

The only issue I have is that I take issue with your comments. Don't let a serious case of Hopeless Glam Metal Guitar Hero Worship fool you.

Sounds like you are the one with the issues, Kidd.

And if your comments stem from my remarks regarding ex-strippers, I love 'em! Even dated a few, both retired and fully employed.

Now I exlusively date organic chix only from the local farmers market and if you thought the competition was fierce in a strip club, check out the farmer's market.

But, as you said, we support people of all issues on Bring Back Glam, so...

Tell us your story! Why would I tell people to put up their comments about "Music Serendipity" over there on Al's previous post on her clever topic, if I wasn't gonna read it?

Random encounters with Rock Stars... How cool.

If you are an ex-stripper, I apologize for any misplaced misconception on your part about my comments. If you read carefully, I say nothing derogatory about them. In fact, I'm hopefully in lust (er... um... love) with most that I meet. What's with your negativity and personal attacks, sheeeez!

And if indeed, you are an ex-stripper, surely you must have some Random Rockstar Moments you might care to share with us!

p.s. Kiki! Good point about Kix and the others being influenced by Van Halen. Interestingly, I think David Lee Roth's and Axl's stage show were influenced by Jim Dandy of Black Oak Arkansas from the 70's (check out the US #1 hit, "Jim Dandy" on YouTube and see for yourself). Though probably not the originator (Jagger is probably the closest to being the originator), Dandy's the one, I believe, who perfected the whole "state-of-emergency", "run-around-with-your-head-cut -off" school of stage shtick. And as far as Whiteman stealing from Axl... naw... Steve was struttin' the Stage a lot sooner than Axl... years sooner... But stealing that move from Tyler who stole it from Jagger and/or David Johansen from The Dolls... Probably. Hey, Kiki! Tell us a new story over on Al's earlier post, "Musical Serendipity"!

p.s.s.t. Stay tuned for "M3 Metal Maelstrom, Part III" or whatever I called it over on Al's now ancient M3 Review Post, where I will come out of the Metal Mausoleum (judging from how long it might take me to get around to doing it, that's probably where I'll be coming from... Should have it within the next few days, but right now, I'm busy sewing my Lita Ford costume and trying to get it finished in time for Halloween...
July 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Hold up- there are people out there that would consider Poison as creative geniuses? And Kix is still doing the same stage show as Poison's I Want Action video that was released circa 1987 that copied what Kix was doing circa 1984?
July 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWill
Right you are, Will. I saw Kix open for Cheap Trick in like '82 or something off their (Kix) first album and these guys were so hyperspeed jumpin' around, they looked like they were getting electrocuted, particularly original bassist, Purnell, the GENIUS behind Kix and their stage choreography, too, and who, unfortunately, parted ways with the band several years ago.
July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Oh, and that Cheap Trick show Kix opened for was at the U.S. Naval Academy. It was hilarious to watch the Midshipmen's hats get figuratively blown off their collective heads at that show, twice actually. First Kix and then Cheap Trick!
July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
My brutha, Ace Steele's, girlfriend was friends with KIX cuz she was from Maryland and she played us audio tapes of their shows. If you're familiar with KIX you probably know that during "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" Stevie does this rap about a chick...."I'm not a b-a-a-d person, I bathe...sure, I've got blue arms but, so what!" and at the end of it she told us, he jumps on top of a bag of balloons filled with confetti to simulate the chick.

Well, not long after that Poison played the Troubadour in L.A. Brett did this rap about a chick he banged which was VERY similar to Stevie's rap and guess what he did at the end of it??? And that's just the most blatant example!!!!
sour grapes.....I'm from Harrisburg, and was around during the pre-poison days...met Rikki in the summer of 1983, through Donnie Purnel's girlfriend,Mindy...Kix and a new wave band called "the Sharks" were the top draw in the area, They were the big fish in this small town. Paris (pre-poison) were considered a joke. well, the jokes on us all, they had the balls to split for California rather than stay and be a club band.
August 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commentervinni

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