POISON: rockstars, believe it or not

Date January 30, 1987 / 1149 reads

Circus Magazine (Jan 30, 1987)
by Daina Darzin
Scans by Bob Mattingly

When [your album gets included] in the Columbia House Records and Tapes One Cent Club,that's when you know yo've made it" quips Poison lead vocalist Bret Michaels. By that or any other standard by which rock stardom is measured. Poison have arrived.

Their debut album. Look What the Cat Dragged In, recently went platinum and Top 10. At press time, the single "Talk Dirty To Me" had cracked the Billboard Top 40, and the band's opening slot with Ratt enabled them to play major arenas around the U.S. Poison's climb to the top has been so quick that it still seems a bit unreal to Michaels. "It's like a race." he muses. "You always train to win, but when you do win. you're surprised"

Still Michaels insists the transition from L.A. club gigs to big-time touring has been fairly smooth; he partially credits Poison's good relationship with the members of Ratt. "They're fun guys, and that makes the tour so much better." he says enthusiastically "There's no tension, so both bands can go out and put on a great show".

And what has he learned from this first exposure to the major leagues? "Use a rubber and check I.D." Bret laughs?and adds a more serious tale of life on the road that implies it's important to watch your health in other areas as well. "I'm a diabetic." Bret reveals, and [when we were playing Madison Square Garden in New York] I also had the flu. We did the show, but by the end, my blood sugar was way low. Halfway through our last song, things started to get blurry. I walked off stage and went into insuline shock and woke up in an ambulance going to the hospital. Usually [being a diabetic] is not a problem, 'cause I take really good care of myself, but that was scary.

Despite this incident, Michaels counts the band's appearance at the legendary Garden as one of the high points of the Ratt tour, which ended in late April. Some European dates were next for Poison, followed by the recording of their second album. And somewhere along the line, the band members will have to do some house-hunting, having given up the place they were all renting in the Hollywood Hills. Although separate accommodations are probably in order from now on. Michaels thinks the band's communal living arrangement taught them how to interact when on the road. "The good thing about it is, I know whvn Bobby wants to party, I know when Rikki wants to sleep, I know when this guy's gotta take a shit, and I know when I'm getting on someone's nerves. So when Poison goes out on the road, it's not four guys who don't know each other."

Poison's next opportunity to test out their amicable-touring theory will come this summer. "We're going to do some stadium dates, the Texas Jam, stuff like that," Bret explains. By then, the reality of the group's success will probably have sunk in completely. "We're the opening act, okay? And we haven't had one kid sitting in their chair, they're up front going fucking crazy." Bret recalls. "One show, in Muskegan, Michigan, I had to look round and say, "Wait a second, are you sure it's we you're looking at? You sure David Lee Roth ain't standing behind me? They're cheering for us?" And I looked around and there was just the four of us - and I knew we were famous.