Rock the Bayou Preview: Bret Michaels Talks About Wrecking His Ferrari, C.C. DeVille, the "Bang Bus" and More

Anyone who’s been paying attention may have picked up on this, but we’re kinda big fans of glam-metal bad-asses Poison. Ever since we were kids, we’ve dreamed of being on tour with them. Imagine Thor standing atop of gigantic mountain of beautiful betties he’s just bedded, rocking out on a solid diamond guitar that periodically shoots flaming lightning bolts into the sky. That’s what we imagine a Wednesday afternoon is like hanging out with Poison.

So when we learned Michaels was going to be in Houston for the Rock The Bayou festival - he closes out the whole shebang Monday evening - you can bet your sweet ass we made an interview happen. We dished about RTB, C.C. Deville "guitar!"), Michaels' "Bang Bus," and even admitted our fan-boy love for Poison. He was truly a class act the entire time, and a surprisingly nice guy. (Although he could have ended every sentence with, “…you douche” and we wouldn’t have cared.)

Look what the cat dragged in...

Houston Press: So you’re coming into town for the Rock The Bayou festival. Can you talk about what people can expect when they come out for that show?

Bret Michaels: For that show, I’m bringing in everything I can. The pyro for the show itself is gonna look amazing, but most importantly it’s the songs. As a solo artist I’ll still be playing all the Poison songs. Opening the show is Twisted Sister and Jackyl and a ton of great bands. It’s just gonna be a real strong night.

I’d like to think that some of the guys in the other bands are friends of mine so maybe we could pick one fun cover song that we could all close with for the audience. You know, with maybe Dee Snider, the guys from KISS, the guys from Jackyl. Maybe all come out and just do something together.

HP: If five of you all are out there, we vote you guys perform “Hangin' Tough.” Now, let’s just get this out of the way. Doing this job, we get to interview a lot of musicians, but we’re in total fan-boy mode right now. Growing up, we were totally rocking Poison. We got into this huge fight with our mom over the cover of Open Up And Say… Ahhh. We can’t even count how many times we tried to get a girl to make out with us by singing “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”

BM: [laughs] I love that. That’s awesome. Listen, can I say something to you to be completely straight honest?

HP: Dude, you’re Bret Michaels, you can do whatever you want.

B: I love doing an interview with someone who’s honest. I would rather do this because part of liking music is being a fan. I take that as a great thing, not a bad thing.

HP: Dope. So some then lets do some questions are kinda, more fan-ish than reporter-ish. Somewhere around '94 or '95, you got into that car accident where you smashed your Ferrari. Why exactly did you crash? We and our friends had our theories, one involved a mermaid, another involved this gigantic sword. What was the real reason?

Chris Penn 1965-2006
BM: I was at the Rainbow Bar and Grill and, God rest his soul, I was actually partying with Chris Penn, Sean Penn’s brother. We had went out, we had a good time, and we got invited to an afterparty. All of us drove there separately, you know. I don’t even think it was like a Friday, it was like a Tuesday night or something. This girl that was a friend of all of ours invited us to a party that was in Burbank; it was a pretty good distance driving through the hills and the canyons.

And I remember, honestly, I was just hauling ass and lost control of the car. That’s pretty much it. And, just, thank God that I didn’t hurt anyone but myself. That was the first question out of my mouth to the police when I woke up, “Did I hurt anyone?” You gotta remember, at this point I had broken my ribs, I was missing teeth, it wasn’t a pleasant picture. I wasn’t out there trying to be an idiot, we were just out there kinda racing, having fun and I just lost control of the car.

(Note: Herein lies the difference between Bret Michaels and us. The last time we were in a car accident it was also a Tuesday, but we crashed an Isuzu Rodeo because we were reaching for a Combo – those little cheesy pretzel snacks - that had fallen into the passenger seat. Bret Michaels and smashes up a Ferrari while going to party with Chris Penn. Friggin' a, man.)

HP: How often do you bust [Poison guitarist and Michaels' occasional sparring partner] CC Deville’s balls that he was on Surreal Life? We mean, he had Sherman Hemsley and Florence Henderson, and you did Rock Of Love with Playboy models and porn stars.

BM: [laughs] I never - let me say this, CC and me are tighter now then we’ve ever been. Now, remember, me and him have had a few knock-down-drag-'em-outs. But we are tighter now then ever. As much as I can have fun, that’s just not me to bust people’s balls. I’d rather be friends than have him in a funk.

HP: You’re a better person than us. You’ve got Rock Of Love 3 coming up, and that’s gonna be on a bus or something, right? We assume it’s going to be very similar to Bang Bus.

B: [laughs] It’s actually called [the] Rock Of Love Bus...

HP: That’s appropriate.

Last season on Rock of Love...

B: We’ll actually be filming at the Bayou festival. It is gonna be a good night. A lot of that footage that we shoot will probably end up on Rock Of Love; at least snippets of it. I want to make sure to let all the fans know that night to be rowdy because they’re gonna be on the TV. That comes out in January.

HP: Dope. Anything you want to make sure that we don’t miss?

B: Most importantly, let the fans know thank you for 22 years of being able to do what I love to do. And I promise them that the closing night, Labor Day night, that Bayou is the place to be because I’m gonna make it a party; rain, sunshine, snow, whatever it is. It is going to be a party. Barring an act of God (see here), I’m bringing a rock and roll extravaganza that will be worth everything for them to come out and see. - Shea Serrano

Keep up with Mr. "Rock of Love" at and Poison at

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Shea Serrano