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Bret Michaels Speaks About His New Solo CD, Songs of Life

Susan Salva
Staff Writer
Bret Michaels

Photo By: Nitin Vadukul #1002

The quintessential singer/songwriter Bret Michaels and lead vocalist of the multi-platinum rock band Poison is set to release his new solo CD, Songs of Life, on his own Poor Boy Records this week. The release will coincide with the same date of his two-year-old daughter Raine's birthday.

This CD, written and produced by Bret Michaels, Cliff Calabro and co-produced by Jeremy Rubolino, is his first full-length enhanced solo CD that exemplifies the multifaceted features of Bret Michaels. A seasoned musician, Michaels, 40, is ready to be taken seriously with this new record. This rugged rock star has matured and become a compassionate, adoring father.

"Being a father is another awesome addition to my life. This is the first time that I really understood unconditional love. Being a father adds not only a new purpose, but it has some challenges too," said Michaels.

"Raine," a power ballad and the first single to be released from the CD teams Michaels with alternative folk vocalist Edwin McCain. The song is currently being played on many major radio stations, but locally the song is getting airplay on KOCP, the Octopus in Ventura County, Southern California. While Michaels spoke to Spence, the afternoon ride home DJ on KOCP he shared some of his thoughts of the longevity of both himself and the band:

"One thing that holds true over time is that if you write great music and you've lived it, you've been through both the ups and downs and sideways, it shows in your music. For that, you have great fans that stick with you for a long time."

Michaels who writes his songs primarily for himself hopes those fans he's garnered over nearly two decades can relate to the songs on his new CD, Songs of Life.

For example, he states, "I wrote the lyrics to "Raine" within the first month after she was born. To me this song is both a rose and a thorn. I love my daughter so much, but I literally left [her] less than two weeks after she was born. I was on the road with Poison for six months on the "Power to the People Tour." It was a really bittersweet moment in my life, cause I wanted to be with my daughter, but I also wanted to go out and play music, which is what I love to do. And, it is my livelihood. I wrote the song about my daughter, but it can really be about anybody. People relate to this song because we've all missed people [in our lives]," asserts Michaels.

When I discussed the song "Raine" with Michaels on a phoned interview from his home in Vancouver, Canada, I shared with him how much emotion was packed into that song. Basically, I told him that I actually broke down and cried. It really touched me. The song and its raw emotionalism stirred me. The music is very gut wrenching, honest and real. "Raine" is probably one of the greatest songs Michaels has written to date; it proves his intrinsic talent as a musician. Other great songs include, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Something to Believe In."

Michaels segues into another aspect of his life when he reveals his thoughts behind the song "One More Day." "I wrote the song after 9/11. That day changed my life forever. I wrote this not only from my perspective, but also the perspective of a father who lost his life with a child on the way, and asked God to grant him one more day to spend with his family. I dedicated this song to the victims and their families who suffered in this horrible tragedy and to those of us who survived and bonded together to show our strength."

Michaels based this song on his own personal experiences as he has done with each track on the CD. His father was a Navy veteran who served in the Korean conflict, his uncle Nick was killed in World War II, and his cousin Bobby, a marine, was wounded in Viet Nam.

Michaels himself has survived 34 years of insulin-dependant diabetes, a high speed Ferrari wreck, a Harley Davidson crash rendering him unconscious, and surviving nearly 20 years of partying on the road with Poison. The picture book included with the "Songs of Life" CD, depicts Michaels personal photos including the never before seen photo of him after the Ferrari car crash.

To help him deal with his personal life he relies on what he calls the four "M's". "I use the four M's for me to succeed ~ Mind, Music, Muscle and Motocross over matter. I use those four things to keep me motivated. I love motocross. I love sports in general. But I enjoy going out and working out, which is the muscle," he explains. This personal philosophy helps him cope with his diabetes, his thorn, and the normal stress in his daily life.

With a full time staff Bret Michaels website, www.bretmichaels.com manages to be one of the most hit rock websites averaging nearly 3,000 unique visitors on a daily basis. It is also one of the only fan clubs to offer backstage passes to all members to meet the vocalist at select shows.

Michaels directed and shot the first video to the first single himself, "Raine" which is currently featured on VH-1 and VH-1 Classic. The video was filmed in ten different locations across the country. "My favorite shot is the open city street on Hollywood and Vine at four o'clock in the morning in the pouring rain. We had the street wet down anyway and then it started pouring rain. The camera is circling around me. I'm walking in the middle of the city streets and there's not a soul. It was almost as if Hollywood had shut down and I was the only soul left alive [laughs]. It looks like it is almost surreal."

The most profound moment in the video occurs when Michaels is on stage with his daughter Raine. "She was on stage with me at sound check in San Diego. I brought her up and I played "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," and she sang it back to me. She was singing along as I played my guitar. I'm going "Oh My God,' this is my flesh and blood. That was one of the finest moments of my life," he said.

In the video Michaels uses his own personal family footage. "I wanted to have something that I could look back at and be proud of. I wanted a video that hit home with me. I hope fans can relate to it. A true artist, when they make something they make it for themselves. To be successful, you hope that other people relate to what you do," says Michaels.

Michaels will relinquish the famous twelve-string guitar that he used to play, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." On May 31, 2003 he will play the guitar for the last time and then donate the guitar to be inducted into the Rock and roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. There he will hand over the signature guitar to curator Jim Henke. "Every Rose truly has its thorn," states Michaels. "It's beyond awesome to be asked to be part of rock and roll history, but letting go of this guitar is hard to do. It's like saying goodbye to a best friend that got me through some tough times. But I told my guitar, she's going to a better place."*

After the induction, Michaels will remain at the Hall of Fame to do a rare in store signing of his solo CD, Songs of Life, and immediately following the signing, will catch up with Poison who perform that night at Cleveland's Blossom Music Center.*

The guitar may be retired, but Poison is still going strong. In fact, they will be touring the "Harder, Louder, Faster Tour," which has Michaels at the helm, and the rest of the band will be performing across the U.S. Check the www.PoisonWeb.com for the latest tour updates. Just click on the touring link to find out when the band will be in your hometown. The opening acts will include Skid Row and Vince Neil.

When asked about the present set list for the Poison tour Michaels stated, "This year we are truly going to mix it up. For the first time ever we're adding songs from Native Tongue and Crack A Smile. We're going to do songs from all nine albums. We're going to add "Ride the Wind" and "I Won't Forget You," which people have been asking for years. We love performing. When you come to a Poison show we are throwing just one big party on that stage. We always have surprise guests. It's a huge party."

After the success of the Poison Tour, which begins in May through September, Michaels will embark on his solo tour of Songs of Life, from October through December in small intimate theater houses.

In addition, VH-1 is sponsoring a Bret Michaels contest entitled "Party Like A Rockstar With Bret Michaels In A 'Songs Of Life' Sweepstakes". The winner will flyaway to a surprise location and see Bret Michaels live in concert. Not only that, but the winner and a guest will hang out with Bret Michaels and party like a true rock star. They will jam in the tour bus and rage backstage. The winner will also be a VIP guest of Bret's all the way. The prizes includes: Roundtrip airfare and transportation to hotel for winner and a guest, two (2) night hotel accommodations, two (2) concert tickets.**

With Bret Michaels's candor, integrity and compassion it is evident that throughout all of the songs on the Songs of Life, CD were truly inspired by Michaels and represents his conviction to the craft of his music on his own terms. With this new CD, Michaels is free to create music without the fear of the repercussions from critics or other musicians. He is operating on his own accord. Michaels has been able to make the shift from '80s Glam Band frontman and has developed into a talented, effective storyteller.

*"Information Courtesy of Michaels Entertainment Group" and Michaels Entertainment Group @ http://www.bretmichaels.com.

**Information is courtesy of VH-1

Susan Salva is a Staff Writer. Contact her at susan@rockzone.com.

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