Bret Michaels’ Life Is ‘Part Roses, Part Thorns’


July 8, 2008

He will rock you.

Bret Michaels, the pouty-lipped, bandanna-loving, flaxen-haired musician, promises to do just that on Thursday at the Rocklahoma music festival, which features such decibel-busting acts as Sebastian Bach, Dokken, LA Guns, Lynch Mob and Tesla.

“People are ready. They want to hear rock again; they want to go out and party and have fun,” Michaels says. “You want to go to a summer concert and not watch a band staring at its shoes for six hours and complaining. I think people want to hear rock. Everything is cyclical.”

Michaels has been around for two decades, thanks to such super-charged hits as Talk Dirty to Me and Something to Believe In with his hairspray-loving brethren in Poison. But he has seen his brand of music shunted aside and mocked in favor of grunge, hip-hop and melodic statement rock, so Michaels enjoys what he has. And he doesn’t agonize too much over what he doesn’t.

“My life is part humor, part roses, part thorns. I’ll come off the stage at Texas Stadium (and) I’m a rock god,” he says. “And then, an hour and a half later, I’m throwing a football and waiting for a cheeseburger from a truck stop at Carl’s Corner, alongside a freeway. That is the balance in life.”

Offstage, Michaels is making noise with his aptly titled solo album Rock My World. Released June 3, it’s perched at No. 30 on Billboard’s Top Independent albums chart after peaking at No. 4.

The disc arrived hot on the heels of Michaels’ buzzed-about VH1 dating show, Rock of Love, which featured two seasons of scantily clad, fork-tongued ladies with names like Kristy Joe and Destiney vying for the rocker’s heart. The lucky winner? Ambre Lake, whom Michaels is still dating. “Everything turned out good so far,” he says.

Michaels, 45, is wary of being lopped into The Surreal Life/Celebrity Rehab/The Two Coreys reality has-been cesspool. “I don’t want to be a reality retro star,” he says. “The reality show is a part of the continuation of my career. If they wouldn’t have allowed music to be a part of it, I wouldn’t have done it. I thought it would open up a brand-new audience for the music.”

Mission accomplished. Not only did Michaels’ album chart respectably, thanks partly to the show featuring his tunes, but the former Poison frontman also has become a love guru of sorts for men nationwide. Guys on the street high-five him and ask him about Daisy de la Hoya, Rock of Love’s pint-sized, tattooed drama queen who lived with her ex-boyfriend while pursuing Michaels on the show.

Sadly, there are no plans for a third Rock of Love season, an idea that wouldn’t work anyway since Michaels is now taken. He’d like to do a reality show on his life on the road, saying it would be far more colorful than any mud bowl –Rock of Love’s memorable ladies-only football match — VH1 could cook up.

Unlike so many tortured and pensive musicians working today, Michaels is resoundingly cheerful. He happily flips through photos of his two young daughters, Raine, 8, and Jorja, 3, and playfully denies that his tote is a man-purse. His blond locks, he says, are “80% my hair and maybe 20% of the finest extensions Europe has to offer. Is that fair?” And when he was running late for his interview, he called to apologize and to determine, via telephone, if he and the reporter would vibe.

“I have a method to my madness. I’m pretty intuitive,” Michaels says.

Michaels prides himself on his longevity in a business that isn’t kind to aging acts unless they’re called U2.

He and Poison have been kicking around all these years because “we’ve kept our publishing. We own all of our touring.”

“I never give away power of attorney,” Michaels says.

“I sign checks for all the road crews. That’s not the fun part, but it’s also the reason we’ve been successful for 20 years. Everyone wants to go to the party and the red carpet, but my life is 90% the work. My icing on the cake is the hour, hour and a half I play on stage.”

Courtesy of