News Segment


June 15, 2006

Good thing prototypical hair-metal band Poison decided to hit the road to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Guitarist C.C. DeVille, who lost his driver’s license last year and is fresh out of rehab, can hitch a ride on the tour bus all summer long.

“I’m pretty much growin’ up when it comes to driving fast,” he said last week from Los Angeles. “I had some awful accidents.”

DeVille (real name Bruce Anthony Johannesson), 44, and the rest of Poison — lead singer Bret Michaels, bassist Bobby Dall and drummer Rikki Rockett — will headline the third annual Waterstock Rock on Saturday at Water Works Park.

Michaels and his solo band performed at last year’s Waterstock.

Perhaps it’s only fitting, then, that the original lineup of the “Nothin’ But a Good Time” band returns for what is looking disturbingly like an annual fixture event in Des Moines, a tribute to the aerosol-enhanced era of glammed-up Sunset Strip rock before Seattle grunge wiped the slate clean.

Organizer Willie Glosser predicts a crowd of more than 7,000 Saturday. Long-discussed plans for a full-blown concert series based on Waterstock haven’t materialized, but other promoters will follow this summer with their own fests in the same park: the Big Country Bash on June 25 and Summer Jam on July 23.

DeVille, meanwhile, was on display most recently in the low-rent VH1 reality TV show “The Surreal Life” — “one of the best things” he’s ever done, according to the lovably loony guitarist.

“I had just come out of rehab and it put me through tests,” DeVille said. “It took the alcohol and all the excuses out of the quotient.”

He describes himself as an addictive personality with no “off switch” who today does need more than a good time.

“I have a very big spiritual place in my life now,” DeVille confessed. “I don’t like to label any religion, but I do believe that I’m put on this Earth for a reason. You have free will, but the goal is to do God’s will as opposed to your own will, and sometimes my own will is easier but it’s never right.”

When God talks to DeVille, he doesn’t talk dirty. It’s subtle.

In the guitarist’s always-colorful parlance, God is “that little voice that you hear in your head that says, ‘I know you didn’t get charged for that carton of eggs, but just tell the checkout guy that he missed it.’ “

More wisdom from this hair metal survivor:

Q: Are you going to get glammed up for the stage this summer, the makeup and everything?
A: When I was younger and I put the makeup on I might be able to pass for an ugly girl. Now I just look like Phyllis Diller. … Makeup honestly in retrospect probably was never a good idea. But as you get older it becomes very obvious that it is not a good idea at all if you’re a man. … Maybe a face-lift, maybe go to the gym. Stay off the makeup, take it from me.

Q: Can you believe that Poison has lasted 20 years?
A: If I knew I was gonna be alive this long, I woulda took better care of myself. Honestly, I had no idea that Poison would be still going. It really is a miracle. … I’ve been clean and sober now for nine months.

Q: So can you behave on tour this summer?
A: I think where it’s scary is after the show when you have this false exaltation, where it’s four guys in the band and it’s really a celebration about the music, and it’s a celebration about the music being a soundtrack to other people’s lives. It’s not that they love us, it’s that they remember who they were dating, their first car or whatever when they hear our songs. So we get this false sense of almost supernatural things. And if you’re not careful, you stumble into that and then you do feel like you don’t want to let go of that moment.

Q: How are your guitar chops these days?
A: My playing is really, really good this year because I got my license taken away and I can’t drive for 12 months. … The byproduct of that is the guitar has since become a very good friend of mine.

Q: How are you and Bret getting along?
A: With 20 years comes a lot of maturity as well as getting healthier, and we’re realizing that the dynamic of Bret and I is really a major catalyst for what Poison is.

Courtesy of