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An Open Letter to Bret Michaels From a Dedicated Fan

Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 12:02AM by Registered CommenterAllyson B. Crawford | Comments26 Comments

Dear Bret,

Did you know that you front one of my all-time favorite bands? When I saw Poison's video for "Fallen Angel" on MTV when I was, oh, nine or so, that did it - I was a Glam fan for life. And Poison's other videos never disappointed! I still love them all. That's why this letter is hard for me.

I suspect, Bret, you are getting some bad information. Someone (cough, Donald Trump, cough) is telling you to constant grab headlines - and not for being the bad boy rocker we all love. No, it's for just being...I don't know...famous?

Look, I get fame. Man, we live in a world of 24/7 chaos. The hottest thing one day is nothing the next. What captures headlines one day is relegated to the back page the next...if it is even covered at all. And you have to be "all-platform" famous now. It is freaking insane, I know. It is hard to stay on top of Twitter, Facebook, TV and People magazine. Plus, you've got all those reality shows. Kids today know you from your TV stints more than your music. I think that is a little sad.

Free will means, dear Bret, you can do absolutely whatever you want. I pretty much support you fully but the lawsuit against the Tony Awards is a bit much, no? I'm no doctor and I never claimed to be very smart either, but I suspect the fact that you never showed up for dress rehearsal has something to do with the fact that a piece of staging whacked you on the head. Did that hard whack cause your subarachnoid hemorrhage? Well, again, I'm no doctor so I have no clue. But if you hadn't been doing a solo gig and had practiced with the rest of Poison instead, you probably wouldn't have gotten hurt.

Is this summer's jaunt with Motley Crue really Poison's farewell tour? I've heard that rumored a few places. Word on the street is that you are not interested in making new music with Poison. I think that sucks, but again, free will. But I think when push comes to shove, you identify yourself as a musician: not an actor, a celeb-reality star or whatever. And really, wouldn't you want to leave a complete legacy with a final album of new material? After all, 25 years at any one job is amazing - but when you're talking about a rock band, forget about it - you and I both know how hard it is for bands to stay together five years let alone 25.

Here's the big question: does it matter if your name fades from the headlines for a few months while you work on a new Poison record? Would Rolling Stone care about a new Poison record? Probably not but your die hard fans would - and they put you in that mansion before all the TV shows and pitchman deals came along.

That is all.

Signed,

The Glam Mistress.

XXOOXX


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Reader Comments (26)

Hear! Hear!

Make this a petition, Al, and I'll be among the first to sign it!
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Kudos Ally!
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
I understand your feelings and completely agree with you about the point that he should focus on building his fame off of his music rather than celebrity/reality tv persona. Doing a couple reality tv-shows isn't bad (someone who has been able to balance both is Sebastian Bach, though Celebrity Fit Club was dreadful), but in my opinion Bret has taken it to far... The idea that most people know him from Celebrity Apprentice and Rock of Love cements that fact.

With that being said, Bret IS releasing new music. I don't like his habit of repackaging a couple solo songs on every single one of his solo albums, but I really do enjoy his last couple CDs and am looking forward to his next one. From the outside, it looks like Poison is no longer a creative situation---and that's OK. Would I love another Look What The Cat Dragged In, Flesh And Blood, Native Tongue, or Hollywierd? Absolutely. But maybe, just maybe, the members of Poison are at a different place in their lives than they were 25 years ago... and I respect that. As a musician myself, songwriters and bandmates come and go. I would rather Poison not release any new music than do a half-assed, poorly-written album.
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBlaine
And would Bret have been so popular if he hadn't been in a band called Poison, I think not.
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlooksthatkill
I actually half-pie agree with Blaine here. And I've loved Poison probably more than it's possible for anyone to love anything. For at least ten years of my life, every day was all about Poison. My devotion to that band has undoubtedly bordered on scary.

Will it be sad to never see another Flesh & Blood or Open Up...? Sure. But I've had a great time with Poison and they've given me a lot. Even if they never give me anything else, that doesn't change what they've already given. I just don't understand why people feel so personally betrayed by Bret, or feel that they should be telling him what to do with his career. His work is his business, and I don't think he owes me a goddamn thing.

Nothing.

Let me say that again... Nothing.

For what it's worth, I laughed loud and long at Rock of Love. I think that was the point. I have always enjoyed Bret's self-aware and self-deprecating sense of humor. I also enjoyed his spin on Celebrity Apprentice, and I think he showed another side of himself that surprised a lot of people. He's a very driven man, and the sort of guy who will sometimes fight an apparently unwinnable fight out of sheer spite. I've always respected that side of him. Granted, I live in New Zealand, where I DON'T get to see him on my TV every ten minutes, hocking Diet Snapple or Pantene. I have taken to roundly ignoring his Twitter feed, as it's pretty much all advertising and nothing really interesting. I don't want to see celebrity adverts at the best of times. But that doesn't mean I dislike the man or the choices that he's made, and that doesn't mean that I feel betrayed.

Once more: he owes me nothing.

I DO believe it's unfair to pretend that the friction within Poison is entirely one-sided. It's easy to blame Bret as "the one who abandoned his friends in search of more celebrity"... but don't forget that three of the guys in Poison have solo records and solo projects, and the venom that has developed between Bret and Bobby has made things particularly difficult these last few years. From what I have seen and heard, Bret looks like more of the target than the bully... but these are only perceptions from the outside, and I can't claim to know what really goes on between those four guys... and Bret is cool enough not to voice his side of it either. What I can say is that I think Bret has put a lot of energy into Poison over his lifetime (as they all have), and he shouldn't feel he has to be ashamed of being successful outside of Poison too. This was not a contract where one person's success must be spread evenly between the bandmates, or not obtained at all... and I suspect that he would be resented even if he DID share his success with the others, because they are all talented in their own rights. Is it fair that he does so well as a solo artist (selling more than the others and often garnering more attention than Poison)? No. But that's life, and he's a good-looking, charming guy who works well on camera. Paint me surprised.

As for the Tony Awards thing... frankly I'm curious as to why it took him this long to sue. I wrote about it at the time, pointing out how angry I was that it had happened in the first place. I work around flys and moving scenery on a regular basis, and I know the protocols. There's genuinely no excuse for injuring a performer like that. If he didn't turn up to dress rehearsal, you still inform him that there is moving scenery and when it will drop. If he "missed his mark" (as the Tonys claimed, trying to blame him for what happened), you don't give the "go" call on the drop until the performer is clear. Performers onstage literally can't see the stuff above them - the light obscures it. They also can't hear (or often see) the Stage Manager, unless he can go direct through the monitors to them. As the band weren't actually singing, there were no monitors. In that situation it is ABSOLUTELY the Stage Manager's responsibility to make sure that everyone is safe and clear before flying scenery. You can call the performer whatever name you want (and you can yell at them later for messing up their cues and not being where they were meant to be), but it is never their fault if you hit them like that. And that's exactly the sort of accident that we're all meant to try and avoid, because you can easily kill people that way. Could Bret have avoided the injury if he'd turned up to rehearsal (although I'd hard that the moving scenery was never discussed at rehearsal anyway)? Probably. Does that give them a right to whack him on the face with a fast-moving piece of metal? Nope. It was an unbelievably amateur technical mistake, and entirely the fault of the Stage Manager (or whoever was filling that role within the TV crew).

So why are we mad at Bret again? Oh, right... because we gave him his mansion and all we got in return were 25 awesome years of music.

Sorry, but I just can't get pissed at him about that. He earned my money.
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKiki Chrome
well done... he might not owe us anything, but it would be nice if he at least tried to show us some respect.
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMartell
Thank you, Allyson, for saying what we've all been thinking! :)
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Sixx
Oh, I disagree with Kiki, I think Brett does owe us fans alot. We're the ones who put POISON on top. You don't throw the fans out the window just because you want to be a TV star (which I must add, I no longer waste my time watching). Don't care for the "solo" gig either, but don't have a problem with it IF he would still stay with the band and put out some new music, not the endless repackaging of "greatest hits" that we've seen. Come on Brett, iron out your problems with the band, dump the crazy lawsuits and TV BS that you're into and get back on the road. There are a lot of us who will support you again.
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterold sarge
I'm with Kiki. To say that Brett, or anyone for that matters, owes us anything is ridiculous. Buying someone's record and going to a few shows doesn't make that person a slave. Just like no one here owes them anything either: no one is forcing you to see them the next time they come around, and no one is forcing you to buy their latest greatest hits package.

I love Poison. They are one of my favorite bands from that era & Open Up is probably in my top 10 albums of all time. But I'm also a realist. So much of what made them great was the era they came from. Talk Dirty to Me or Nothin' But a Good Time would probably not be hits if released today.

Hoping for them to go back to the studio and put together another great album is a bit like hoping for lightning to strike the same place twice. It's possible, but exceptionally unlikely. They've already put out a handful of albums since Flesh & Blood, and none have done well. What makes anyone think that a new album would suddenly rocket them up the charts again? They already spend their summers playing to sold out sheds around the US, playing great songs that people love.

If their hearts are in it and they've got some great new songs, I'd love for them to make a new album. But if they just feel that they need to add some new songs to their catalog for their old fans, then I'd really rather they don't.
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
Wow Ally,

You nailed it. I totally agree with you. I was so disappointed at Brett after seeing his solo tour this summer. Big Letdown.

I discovered Poison in 1986 in Long Beach CA. KNAC 105.5 and felt like I was there from the begining and yes I am selfish I do not want to accept that time has went by and all that great music is in the past. I guess as pathetic as it is I want it to be 1986 again when metal ruled the world..

We had to suffer through the self destruction of GnR and I believe that Poison as a group has the talent to put out great music... Just look at RATT what an awesome album they put out last year and at the same time you can also say the RATT camp has relationship issues.

It is Poison's opportunity to waste or take advantage of but I wish they would just put out some kick ass music.
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShawn
A new album in 2011 would just hurt Poison's legacy. They don't have the same passion and hunger that they had 25 years ago. The album would certainly be a commercial flop because nobody buys albums anymore and there is no outlet for the bands from the 80's trying to find a new audience. Not to mention that Bret's solo material is awful. I dont hear any new Motley, scorps, ratt, maiden, or priest on any radio. Add to that the fact that the fans who go to the shows only want to hear the hits that they grew up on. Any new songs is a mad dash for beer and bathroom. No new music from Pouson. Change the set list or ride off into the sunset.
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWill
And by Pouson I mean Poison. Stupid auto correct
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWill
I don't think anyone expects a new Poison CD to rocket up the charts. It would be nice to hear something new though. Let's face it Bret has no interest in making new Poison music. It will be the same boring set list until they retire.
The thing I am tired of is all this publicity at any cost for Bret. This brain injury that was no where near as serious as it was made out to be. It won't be long and he will pimp out his kids on VH-1 to stay in the spotlight. Another good band ruined by an egomaniac singer.
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher
Kiki!

Huh-uh-lo-oh!

You don't strike me as someone who easily settles for less.

Your unconditional devotion to Michaels is really quite fascinating!

Snap out of it!

Al is not saying he owes us anything!

Nobody is pissed at him! Just disappointed.

I for one, believe he owes it to himself, after all he has been through, to at least attempt a stab at legitimacy. He and the boys should pack off to Montreaux or Headley Grange or somewhere the way Zeppelin or The Stones used to do to focus on creating new material with the idea of doing something beyond just delivering a half-assed, by the numbers album.

It requires a serious endeavor. It takes time, blood, sweat, tears and the desire to set the bar higher for oneself and then deliver the goods at the end. I'm not saying it shouldn't be fun, nor should the end result not be, but Poison has got to commit to the idea of delivering the best album of their career.

Michaels surely has something to say, considering all he's been through. One would think the fairly recent chain of events in his life, combined with his survival through several near death experiences culminating in his self professed spiritual awakening, might lead to a clever song lyric or two.

But he shouldn't relegate his recent inspiration to his stupid and cheap Country Rock solo career. He's got something big to say and he should say it big... and that means saying it with Poison! The fact that they haven't put out an album's worth of new material in so long only makes the opportunity more momentous.

Hey, if Poison worked their collective as*es off but still weren't quite able to hit the top mark yet, and, instead, were to land somewhere in the middle, at least they would come out with a pretty decent album -- something they could still be really proud of.

We all saw the results The Stones came up with when demonstrating what can happen if you crank out an album in 2 weeks with no real effort -- the abysmal "A Bigger Bang".

But think of the possibilities for Poison. Alas, if only Bret and the boys could think of the possibilities themselves. They could put out a well rounded, thoughtful album that plays to their strong suits -- pure, adulterated Rock'n'Roll and Rock'n'Roll.

A legit new Poison album would be Michael's bid to reverse years of damage he's done to himself artistically from putting out substandard solo fair. His seemingly unquenchable penchant for mailing in thoroughly mediocre hick balladry and "country-rock/pop" year after year just screams of flagrant uninspired cash grabbing.

His overexposure really is a sad comment on his willingness to appear to be doing anything for a buck. I liken him to a former World Heavyweight Champion Fighter who shamelessly reduces himself needlessly to a career in Professional Wrestling...

Brett Michaels -- a once Genuine Contender takes the easy way out for the easy money, more than happily becoming a laughable one dimensional parody of himself.

Michaels has transgressed into nothing more than a CLOWN COWBOY! His whole Pop Persona has now become permanently altered by a random moment in 1988 -- a flashback to a cheesy cliche vision most likely accidentally stumbled upon not long before the cameras rolled on the video shoot of "Every Rose Has It's Thorn".

His is a cartoonish persona storyboarded for Middle American, lowest common denominator, mass consumption, the genesis of which can easily be retraced to that one singular moment in 1988.

"THE Image of Brett Michaels" has been calculatedly cultivated over the last several years and permanently recast, actually, MISCAST, from that moment 23 years ago when a video director randomly instructed one of his cadre of stylists to put a bandana around Bret's neck and place a straw cowboy hat on his head before indelibly committing the whole Godawful hickified thing to celluloid.

This singular crystalline moment captured on film has provided Michaels an image to continue honing to the point of self-parody over the last several years -- an image of edgeless middle of the road hicksterism.

It's time for Michaels to bring back his original Glam Metal self. Bret, put away your present day Good Ol' Boy persona that inevitably turns Poison into a biker band and away from the original self styled Glam Metal band it's always been intended to be.

I'm not sayin' to don the vintage spandex and leather duds from the 80's time capsule buried in your backyard, but there's other ways to hold a wig in place besides pinning it inside a cowboy hat.

Dubrow (RIP) wore one with pride. So can you!

It's time to ROCK! There may not be time to put together a whole album of new stuff before the big Poison Dolls Crue Tour, but you could try out one or two new numbers on the live audiences. Especially if they're worthy of debuting.

If only Bret had the same epiphany many of us did when he was stricken with his potentially lethal brain aneurism. In the midst of holding a virtual vigil here on BBG!, many of us began voicing collectively that Michaels should have planned to round up the boys to begin writing and rehearsing again.

As soon as he felt up to it, they should have entered the studio collectively, in earnest, to record a meaningful new album of all original fresh material.

But it's never too late...

What could be better?! What if Poison defied the odds and actually debuted a new song or two opening for Crue this Summer? And what if those songs were as good or better than any of their other material from the past?

Why is that such an impossible task? After all, we are asking it of dudes who have done it many times before. What the h*ll?! Bring in the pro's to co-write, if you have to -- just do it!

Go for it, Bret! Even if you fail, you would be going out attempting to up the ante, instead of simply rehashing the rehash.

p.s. Kiki, you and I DO agree on something... Unquestionably, Bret should sue The Tonys for gross negligence. What the h*ll took him so long? -- except that he may have been shrewd to let the media frenzy surrounding the incident die down before taking legal action. One really does have to wonder, as Al addresses, if his brain aneurism was triggered by the head injury he sustained during The Tonys telecast? It seems like a no brainer to me, no pun intended.
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
First, I like any article that casts Donald Trump in a bad light. Second, by no means ma I am big Poison fan. I never saw them until the reunion tour and the only CD I bought was Crack A Smile out of curiosity more than anything. When Bret played Bash on the Bayou, Houston's attempt at a Rocklahoma thing, he played the last day. He bombed and it was basically bunch of bad covers and him talking about his show. Since then that's all I have noticed from him. TV has taken precedence over music. That would fine but it seems way more embarrassing than the clothes we wore in the 80's.
While Poison releasing a CD now would not mean big success, you never now. Crue had a hit a couple of years ago and all the band could do is try. If they can spend months together on the road, I do not see why they could not record. If they do not want to I think they should just say so.
For someone as hard as a worker as Bret is, this just seems like the easy way.
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterscott whitt
BTW! Shawn makes a great point!

Who says Poison can't put out a great album.

Look at RATT! Look at WHITESNAKE! Look at what CRUE put out or what they could have put out, if Nikki threw a couple more of his ditties on it, along with Vince's Desmond Child penned "Promise Me", as the album closer!

Will! Bryon! I keep trying to emphasize to you guys, it's not solely about chart hits and album sales, it's about artistic integrity.

No one's saying they expect airplay or chart toppers. It's about the challenge of making a new record and the chance to make a new statement.

Besides, trust me, RATT still made SOMETHING on that album.

And by putting out such terrific new albums, RATT and the others experience a new empowering sense of relevance along with some level of redemption.

Now they are no longer viewed solely as legacy acts the way Poison is for not releasing any new material in so long.

Old Sarge got it right!
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Comic Book Guy: Last night's Itchy & Scratchy was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured that I was on internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.

Bart Simpson: Hey, I know it wasn't great, but what right do you have to complain?

Comic Book Guy: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.

Bart Simpson: What? They've given you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? I mean, if anything, you owe them.

Comic Book Guy: Worst episode ever.
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKiki Chrome
And MetalBoy, please don't patronize me.

That's not "unconditional devotion" talking, that's just a realistic acknowledgment of the fact that Bret Michaels is a human being and not my personal property. I would say the same about any performer, and I couldn't give a toss whether they see that as "devotion" or not. I got over the whole "I bought your records and now you should do what I say" fan delusion a long time ago. I wish I could say that I don't understand why people are disappointed in Bret, but the fact is I DO understand it. I just disagree with it. When I walked down that line myself, I didn't like the person I became. Why criticize what someone else does with their career? It does not affect me one iota.

For the record, I will not be buying the new Poison greatest hits collection. Why would I? But that doesn't mean I'm mad at them.

For the record, I also wouldn't care if Bret took those millions I "gave" him, shaved his head, called himself Bobo and learned to play the accordion! That wouldn't take away the good times I had with Poison, nor would it mean that I had to pretend to like accordion music. I don't have to buy everything that Bret Michaels touches, but I also don't have a right to tell him how to live his life. If that means that I'm not a "real fan"... fine. I couldn't care less whether I'm seen as a fan or not.

I bought his albums and got an album in return. I bought his tickets and got a concert in return. That was the end of the exchange. There is no ongoing contract between me and Bret that says, on account of buying those tickets, he needs to do what I want until I say he can stop.

And why do so many people seem to assume that he is getting bad advice from "handlers" and isn't make these image or career choices for himself and based upon the whim of his own conscience? He's a grown man, and he certainly never struck me as dumb.
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKiki Chrome
Yeah ! Great letter ! Bret, please come back like we love you, like you love yourself for sure !
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjln_sk8
Once again...i'm a bit behind on commenting on a BBG blog. Interesting comments, some I agree, some I don't, some I'm just in the middle......I'll support Poison till there is no more Poison, I don't even care about the fact that there is no more new music coming from the band. that ship has sailed and we all know it.... I just wish they would play more existing tunes live that they pretend people don't want to hear about (aka "the non hits")! I'll have to get over that though b/c it'll NEVER happen! I'll still go see them live every chance I get.

Speaking of poison tunes....I will vent and say i'm sick of Bret's solo band putting out rehashed Poison songs on solo records. Seriously, if i hear one more version of STBI or Every Rose I will scream.....Why does Bret think this is necessary? He is perfectly capable of writing decent songs!

And as far as Bret goes...Yes, I may be a superfan, but I'm just completely exhausted with his constant need to be in the media spotlight at this point! Its his decision to do what he wants, its my choice to just stop paying attention. He's just NOW suing the Tony Awards for an incident that happened almost two years ago. Timing is very interesting....but whatever! If he makes some more $$$, then his battle was worth it (i guess). If he's just doing it to keep his name in the papers than shame on him! But whatever, his choice to do what he wants, I'll just stop paying attention....I still think the fact that he was too busy playing somewhere else to get to rehearsal is a very valid point!

He's on ryan seacrest's radio show? WHY? Ryan seacrest radio shows are on pop music channels that don't even play POISON? Or was he on to talk about this lawsuit? WHY is this necessary? Yet again, WHO CARES, I won't listen to it. I just look the other way and say Bret, I'll see ya on stage, where it matters!

I'd like to add that I'm glad to see the constant charity work that he is involved with and getting honored for. As exhausting as he can be in the media, he is taking his fame and fortune and doing some great work with it (hell, he has ppl paying $1,000 to meet him on his bus so you know he's making serious $$$$). Get it while its hot!!


SIDEBAR: Ally, that's funny you mention Fallen Angel. OMG, I remember seeing that video when I was 12 and wanting to be Susie Hatton SOOOO flipping bad! HAHA. makes me laugh now!
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKari

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