Mike McCarthy of RockNet.com
conducted an interview with Bret Michaels. A few excerpts follow below:
BRET: I think [Crack a Smile] it's a great record. I mean, we got done with "Native Tongue" and had a really great tour other than Richie just being a disaster. On a personal level. He's a good guitar player, but the chemistry just wasn't ever there at all. Then I had a car wreck in May of '94 and C.C. called me. I had been in the hospital for a little bit and we started talking. He was still in need of some serious rehabilitation at that time, but he said, if you guys give me a year or two, I'd love to come back. In the meantime, he said, I think Blues is a great guitar player. He really liked Blues a lot. It was real simple. He was like, listen, if it works out with Blues, do a record with him and then I'll come back and hopefully we can work together on the next one if I can get healthy. And he did. But I thought Blues did a great job on "Crack A Smile."
MIKE: The big mystery then is how come "Crack A Smile" kept getting delayed and now Capitol is releasing a Greatest Hits album instead?
BRET: Things kept getting pushed back for us. We set up the tour and everything. We just planned on going back out and started setting it up. This was last summer. We had started to put together the whole summer tour and everything, putting together bands. All of a sudden they called and told us it would be released in May of last year. We were like, OK, cool. Then they said, listen, we're gonna hold back. And they held back like six months. Finally, they just said, we're gonna release a Greatest Hits instead and release "Crack A Smile" after. We said, well, if that's the case we've got C.C. back in the band now and we don't really see the point. It's hard to explain to the fans, or people who listen to music, but the music business end of it is that a lot of times the bands go in and work hard and . . . We spent six months of writing and recording with Blues. All of it just went to one guy at the record company saying, nah, we'll put it out later. There's six months of work. You just literally worked for nothing. But we've always been a survivor band. Everyone knows that. When they said they were pushing it back for the summer, that's when I left and went down to Nashville and did my film. My solo record and stuff.
MIKE: You obviously have a good work ethic and a lot of drive to be able to do that as opposed to sitting around and lamenting about the label.
BRET: I wanted off Capitol. They owed me. I had a very large solo deal there. I just would rather not take Capitol's money and be able to go to another label that really wants to put out an artist like myself. In other words, I'm not gonna try and fool anybody and become this alternative artist to fit the times. I think I would not only lose my fans, but I don't think anybody would have any respect for that. I wouldn't. I can only play what I like to play and what makes me feel excited to play, the way I write. So, that was it, man. I went down there and took one of the screenplays I had written. And I collected all my solo recordings I've done since like `86. All my little tapes. Everything that I put down. I picked out music I really felt good about.
MIKE: And now that C.C. is back in the band and time continues to pass, you're much more inclined to make and release a new album with him then you would be to release "Crack A Smile?"
BRET: Yeah. And that's honestly really going to be up to Capitol because they own the masters now. It sounds really weird, but we have no say so on our own record, which is really a screwed thing. That's just the way it is. Back in the day when our lawyers were making our Enigma deal and stuff we didn't know any better. We were just kids, twenty one years old or whatever. Those are things you signed back when you didn't know any better.
MIKE: That said, how involved, if at all, was the band allowed to be in putting together the Greatest Hits album?
BRET: I can say this truthfully, I have no bitter feelings toward Capitol. We had a great relationship there. They always let us do our own thing. We always had. So, I got very involved in it because I felt the need to write liner notes. I wanted to write stuff about those songs because, realistically, whether me and Capitol fight, there's still people buying the music. They're the ones I don't want to rip off when they get the record. I went in and wrote a bunch of liner notes saying, when we were writing "Something To Believe In," this is how we felt, and when I wrote it I was in the bedroom of my mom's house home for Christmas. "Every Rose," I wrote here and this is what I was feeling. I just broke the songs down and had quite a bit of involvement on the record.
MIKE: Were you able to select any of the songs that are on it?
BRET: Well, Capitol just took all of the hits, basically, starting with "Cry Tough." It's like "Cry Tough," "I Want Action," and "I Won't Forget You" then it goes into "Talk Dirty To Me" and starts from there with "Nothin' But A Good Time," "Fallen Angel," and "Every Rose." They just kind of picked all the songs that were hits off of each album.
MIKE: There are two new tracks from the "Crack A Smile" sessions on there, "Sexual Thing" and "Lay Your Body Down." Are either of those going to be released as a single to promote the album?
BRET: No. Capitol, as a record company, really hasn't put together a big promotional plan for the Greatest Hits record. Again, that's another argument. I think, you know, here I am trying, I go in there and bust my butt to do the thing right, and they haven't put together a whole lot. They didn't put out money for a video or a single. So, I'm just letting people know it's out there. I think it's an awesome album. That's about the best you can do, you know?
MIKE: Will there be some sort of reunion tour to coincide with it?
BRET: The band would like to do a really special show in Los Angeles and put together a one off show at The House Of Blues and that's it. I'll go out on the road to promote the solo record and then we'll go back in and record. Look for a Poison record in late `97, early `98.
MIKE: Do you have a deal for the next Poison album yet?
BRET: As of right now, we're still on Capitol. What we're trying to do is take that deal and move right over to another label. Offers have come in. Depending on what Capitol and the lawyers do, we'll probably just switch over to a Warners or an MCA. Or a Curb or a Red Ant, one of the new up and coming big labels.
MIKE: Do you have a message for all those confused Poison fans out there?
BRET: If they're confused, we're twice as confused. As far as what went on with Capitol? I can't make a decision for them. Capitol has made some strange decisions in the past couple years as far as our band goes and it was as mind-blowing to us as it was to the fans waiting to get the record. I can tell you my solo album will be out in April/May. As for Poison, we're looking at the Greatest Hits November 26 and then we're going to start recording with C.C. He's back in and me and him have been together like five times now, writing some great stuff. You can look for that in early `98. More than anything, you have to remember, a career--I don't care if you're a musician, baseball player, actor, or whatever--has ups and downs. You have to stay in the game. That's all there is to it. I'm not a give up person.