11 Top 40 Hits
Poison exploded out of the LA club scene and onto the national stage in 1986. After years of paying their dues, the controversial glam metal punks, whose stage show was hailed by one critic "as the Sex Pistols meets Kiss on acid", could not be ignored. Combining streetwise, catchy songs which lead vocalist Bret Michaels called "the soundtrack to our lives" and a strong video image, helped to make their 1986 independent debut album, Look What The Cat Dragged In a multi-platinum Top Ten smash. Soon Capitol Records came calling, however Poison refused to subdue any of its music or image to fit into the mainstream. They stuck to their guns. Poison’s outrageous image and attitude caused as many people to hate the band as fans who loved them. There was no middle-of- the-road attitude with this band. With the MTV and radio success of the singles "Cry Tough," "Talk Dirty To Me," "I Want Action," "I Won't Forget You," and an opening act slot on the Ratt tour, Poison had become a household name by the summer of '87. Poison was, and still is, one of the few bands who, because of constant touring and having over the top, no-holds-barred stage shows, has formed one of the most loyal fans bases in the world, allowing them to tour arenas for the last 16 years, as many of their peers fell by the wayside.
In 1988, Poison released their second album, Open Up And Say...Ahh!, which was originally slated to be produced by Paul Stanley of Kiss, but due to scheduling conflicts, the band worked with legendary producer Tom Werman instead. The record quickly went platinum and its first single, "Nothin' But A Good Time" raced up both the MTV and Billboard charts. The band hit the road opening for David Lee Roth, but by that summer, it became obvious that they were capable of selling out arenas on their own. They soon found themselves as headliners with three more hit singles: "Fallen Angel," "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" (their first #1 single), "Your Mamma Don't Dance" and an album that would ultimately go on to sell eight million copies worldwide, and were featured in Time Magazine alongside Metallica as one of the largest grossing touring acts of that era.
They kicked off the 90's with the release of their
third album, Flesh And Blood, and once again embarked on another World
Tour. Flesh & Blood
reached #2 on the charts, and went multi-platinum, and spawning three
more gold singles ("Unskinny Bop", "Ride the Wind" and
the mega-hit, "Something To Believe In"). But cracks in the
band's foundation were already beginning to surface. Rock 'n' roll's
excesses, and tension between Bret and C.C., were threatening to tear
the band apart. A fist fight broke out between Bret and C.C. in New Orleans.
The conflict continued, making for an "infamous" appearance
on 1991's MTV Music Awards, where Bret and C.C. slugged it out backstage
C.C. departed the band that night. It became clear to everyone that things were about to change. However, Capitol Records continued with the release of the double live CD, Swallow This Live in early 1992, despite the fact the band had no guitar player.
Guitarist Richie Kotzen was recruited to replace C.C., and in 1993 at the height of the "grunge" movement, Poison racked up yet another Top 20 gold album and successful World Tour with the release of Native Tongue. After personal situations arose, however, Kotzen was summarily dismissed from the band.
In 1994, guitarist Blues Saraceno came on board to record the album
Crack A Smile. But a severe car wreck would change things when vocalist Bret Michaels lost control of his Ferrari in May of 1994, suffering a broken nose and upper jawbone, broken ribs and fingers and the loss of four front teeth. The accident put the production of Crack A Smile on hold. In 1995, upon Michaels' recovery, the band continued with the recording of Crack A Smile. But due to a shift in the Capitol Records staff, the label chose to put the album on the back burner and instead decided to prepare a Poison Greatest Hits record with two cuts from Crack A Smile as bonus tracks. Poison’s future became uncertain.
During this down period the Poison vocalist remained in the spotlight.
Bret Michaels and good friend Charlie Sheen formed a movie production
company, Sheen/Michaels Entertainment, in which Bret wrote, directed,
and starred in several of their film productions, and his stormy relationship
with Pamela Anderson and the ensuing sex tape scandal
kept things interesting.
In 1996, Capitol Records released Poison's Greatest
Hits. Even though the band had been out of the spotlight for a couple
of years, the record went Platinum, proving the loyalty of Poison’s
fans and the overwhelming demand for the original lineup to get back
together and hit the road,
but Michaels and DeVille had still not patched things up.
Michaels continued creatively moving forward with the critically acclaimed film and soundtrack, A Letter From Death Row and special guest appearances in Sony Pictures' In God’s Hands, CBS' hit comedy Yes Dear, action series Martial Law, the Miramax film No Code Of Conduct and Showtime's The Chris Isaak Show. Rikki and C.C. also spent time working their own projects: Rikki with his Glitter For Your Soul record, his own clothing line, comic books and animal rights work with the Last Chance For Animals organization; and later C.C. toured and released a record with his band, Samantha 7.
As the band members continued to stay busy, unknown to Bret, Bobby Dall and C.C. had been talking about C.C. returning to the band, and a phone call in late 1998 would see the impossible come true…DeVille and Michaels spoke, made up, and in the summer of 1999, the original four members hit the road for the first time together in eight years. And in true Poison tradition, the stage show was a spectacle.
The Greatest Hits tour proved to be a monster success. They kicked off the tour at Pine Knob Amphitheater in Detroit to a sold out crowd of 18,000. The rest of the tour proved to be just as successful, drawing an average of 12,000 fans each night. Their VH1 "Behind The Music" episode was seen by over five million viewers that summer, and suddenly the band began popping up on various other television programs all over the country.
2000 finally brought the release of the Crack A Smile record as well as Power To The People, a live album featuring five new studio tracks. Proving that the 1999 Greatest Hits tour was no fluke, the Power To The People tour was also a major success.
Firmly re-established as a major box office draw, Poison made it three hot summers in a row in 2001 when their "Glam Slam Metal Jam" tour also filled arenas and amphitheatres coast to coast. They also released the successful Greatest Hits DVD to coincide with "Metal Jam" tour.
The "Glam Slam Metal Jam" came to a halt,
however, three weeks short
of its completion. Bassist Bobby Dall was rushed by ambulance to Omaha's University Of Nebraska Medical Center where he underwent emergency surgery on his back from an injury suffered while performing onstage. A neurosurgeon replaced several discs in Dall's spine and said
that at least six months of rehab and recovery would be necessary.
Poison hit the road in 2002 in support of their new
studio album, Hollyweird, which included the first single, a cover
of The Who's "Squeeze
Box." The tour was presented by VH1 Classic and Best Buy Music.
2003 will see the band present another huge summer tour. Poison promises this will be their biggest, best stage spectacle to date, thus, adding more pages to their already incredible rock 'n' roll success story.