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Poison at DTE, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Poison has been having “Nothin’ But a Good Time” for quite awhile now.

The glammy hard rock quartet formed 35 years ago in central Pennsylvania and it’s been 30 since the release of its hit-laden multi-platinum “Open Up and Say...Ahh!” Ranked No. 1 on VH1’s list of Top 5 Hair Bands of the 80s, Poison has sold more than 45 million albums worldwide, launching eight Top 20 singles -- including the No. 1 ballad “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.”

The group has been an on-and-off proposition since the 90s and hasn’t released a new album in 11 years. But it has more than enough hits to keep hitting the road -- last year with Def Leppard and this year with Cheap Trick, making sure the “Good Time” goes on...

• This year marks the second in a row that the original Poison lineup has hit the road together, with frontman Bret Michaels hopes is a harbinger of good things to come. “For me making music is always about the right time,” Michaels, 55, says by phone. “We had a great time last year on the Def Leppard tour. All of us are getting along great. The shows last year sounded good. It was a blast, but more than anything that chemistry and the energy was right, so we’re back again this year.”

• But Michaels knows better than to take this period of interpersonal detente for granted. “It’s always been 95 percent great, but for some reason when Poison goes bad on that five percent, it goes ugly bad. It’s not, like, a disagreement; It’s a fistfight. It’s knock-down, drag-out. It just goes from super awesome to super ugly quickly. But that’s also the same energy that, when it’s working, we run around on stage like it’s our first show and we still have that passion. I think in the long run it’s actually a great thing.”

• The 35-year anniversary comes a something of a surprise to Michaels and his bandmates. “It feels like 35 minutes. I would say I’m a little more streetwise than I was when I first started. But you have to remember we were one of the very few independent bands to break big, to hold on to our publishing and everything. Early on we bet on ourselves and made what I thought were some pretty smart moves, but it only matters if you’re still getting to do it 30 or 35 years later -- which we are. And it’s still exciting for me to do this.”

• Michaels is hopeful that we’ll be hearing some new Poison music, and hopefully soon. “I say a (new) Poison song. I think if I went into the studio and just had a really, really great, in-your-face, straight-up ‘Nothin’ But a Good Time’ or ‘Talk Dirty To Me,’ just went in and have fun, that would be unbelievably great. A meaningful ballad would be amazing, but I’d love to start it off with getting in there and having a great, modern production on just a good, classic rocker. I think it will happen and maybe see the light of day next year.

• Michaels still has a variety of his own concerns going as well, including solo music, his Bret’s Life Rocks Foundation charity, a Bret’s Classic Acoustic Songs and Stories concert series that will launch this fall and a line of lifestyle products, including candles and other items. “I’ve always have this side of me that is creative, and then a lot of people -- and I mean a LOT of people -- they come and they’ve got great ideas. But what happens is your career with Poison takes up a humungous, large amount of time touring; With ‘Open Up and Say...Ahh!’ we stayed on the road for a year and a half and it just didn’t leave time for anything else. But now with the new world we live in and the digital capabilities you can experiment with stuff and put it out there, and sometimes it’s awesome and it takes off and other times it’s...let’s call it lesser success -- I tried it, I’m proud of it, it doesn’t resonate so you move on to other stuff.”

If You Go:

• Poison, Cheap Trick and Pop Evil

• 7 p.m. Friday, June 8.

• DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

• Tickets are $39.50-$125 pavilion, $25 lawn with a $75 lawn four-pack.

• Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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