Poison is an American Glam Metal band formed in 1983 in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. The band’s most successful lineup consists of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Bret Michaels, drummer Rikki Rockett, lead guitarist and backing vocalist CC DeVille, and bassist Bobby Dall.
They have sold more than 40 million records worldwide, with more than 20 million in the USA alone. The band has also placed ten singles in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, including six Top 10 singles and the #1 Hot 100 single, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”

In the 2000s, with the original lineup back, the band found new popularity after their successful comeback tour in 1999. The band toured in overcrowded stadiums and arenas almost every year in the 2000s. The band members have released several solo albums and starred in successful reality TV shows. After 25 years, the band continues to record and tour.

Since their debut in 1986, they have released nine studio albums, four live albums, and five compilations and have charted 28 singles on the radio.

The beginning (1983-1986)

The band was formed in 1983, consisting of lead singer Bret Michaels, guitarist Matt Smith, bassist Bobby Dall, and drummer Rikki Rockett. Michaels and Rockett first came together to form a band called The Spectres in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA and recruited Matt Smith and Bobby Dall, forming the band Paris. After playing mostly covers of rock songs in local bars, they finally moved to Los Angeles on March 6, 1984, and changed the band’s name to “Poison”.

Fame (1986-1992)

CC DeVille at Moondance Jam, 2008
Poison promoted itself along the Sunset Trip in Hollywood, moving from a road band to playing in famous local clubs.
During this period, the band’s manager negotiated a deal in which a West Hollywood club, The Troubador, would pay for shows. At this point, Matt Smith, who had just become a father and was worried about the band’s future, abandoned the project and returned home to Pennsylvania. The band held auditions to hire a replacement, ending up with three possible candidates: Slash, who would later join Guns N’ Roses; Steve Silva, who played in The Joe Perry Project, along with Joe Perry, legendary Aerosmith guitarist; and a New York guitarist named C.C. DeVille.
Although Michaels and Dall initially disliked DeVille, the band ultimately agreed that he was the best choice due to his costume and stage presence.

Michaels, Dall, Rockett and DeVille signed with the independent label Enigma Records in 1986 for approximately $30,000.
Their debut album, “Look What the Cat Dragged In”, was released on August 2, 1986.
It originally included just one single, “Cry Tough”, but the album achieved unexpected success and subsequently scored three other hits on the charts: “Talk Dirty To Me” (composed by DeVille and played by him when auditioning to be a member of the band), “I Want Action” (which to this day is an absolute classic in all show setlists), and “I Won’t Forget You” ( dedicated to the families of members who remained in Pennsylvania). The album became the best-selling in the history of Enigma Records. With heavy rotation on MTV, the debut album earned the band tours with fellow Glam Metal artists such as Ratt, Cinderella, and Quiet Riot, as well as an appearance at the “Texxas Jam” in Dallas, USA. Sales of the album have already reached four million copies.

In 1987, the band recorded a cover of Kiss’ Rock And Roll All Nite for the Less Than Zero soundtrack.

Poison’s live DVD “Live, Raw & Uncut” was released on July 15, 2008. It sold around two thousand and four hundred copies in the first week after release, debuting at number 8 on the “Top Music Videos” charts. “. Also in 2008, a version of the DVD “Seven Days Live” was released on CD.

In 2009, Bret Michaels starred in the third season of “Rock of Love”, titled “Rock of Love Bus”, featuring a music video taken from previous seasons for the new single “Driven (Rock Mix)”. A Poison box set was also released, consisting of 3 CDs of songs from the period 1986-2000. On January 14, 2009,
Bret Michaels has revealed plans to join fellow rockers Def Leppard and Cheap Trick for a summer tour in 2009, ending a brief feud between the two bands. In an interview, Joe Elliot stated that he rejected the “Glam Metal band” label for Def Leppard since, according to him, bands of this style would be without content, valuing the visuals more than the music.
Bret Michaels, offended by the fact that Poison was one of the pioneering bands of the style criticized by Elliot, retorted by accusing Elliot of lip-syncing live. With this joint tour, the differences seemed to be settled.

On July 7, 2009, Poison made a special appearance at the “63rd Tony Awards”, performing “Nothin’ But A Good Time” with the cast of “Rock of Ages”, who performed the song during the performance. Upon leaving the stage, Bret Michaels was hit in the head by a piece of scenery and was thrown to the ground, unconscious. He had a fractured nose and a cut lip, requiring three stitches.

On July 23, 2009, Poison pulled out of their 2009 summer tour.

In 2012, Poison and Def Leppard performed at the Rock of Ages tour named after their 1983 song and after the 2012 motion picture of the same name, where both bands’ songs played a central role. Michaels also resumed his “Get Your Rock On” solo tour, named after his then-latest single.

The band members went their separate ways after completing the Rock of Ages tour. Joint projects did not go beyond their announcements. Michaels continued touring and played almost exclusively Poison’s single releases with his solo band. He released Jammin’ with Friends featuring re-recorded alternate versions of Poison and Michaels solo tracks on June 25, 2013, peaking at #80 on the Billboard 200. In June 2014, Rockett co-founded the band Devil City Angels. DeVille, Dall and Rockett performed together without Michaels as a live band dubbed The Special Guests in the summer of 2015.
Brandon Gibbs accompanied them on vocals. At the end of 2015, drummer Rockett was diagnosed with oral cavity cancer, and joint projects had to be put on hold because of the necessary treatment.

In 2017, Poison went on a co-headlining tour with Def Leppard and special guest Tesla throughout the spring and summer and coincided with limited headline acts throughout the US and Canada celebrating their recent 30th anniversary. The Nothing But a Good Time Tour, with opening acts Cheap Trick and Pop Evil, started May 18 and ended July 1 of the following year.

In 2019, Michaels announced his autobiography to be released in 2020 titled Unbroken: My Life in Pictures & Stories to coincide with his single release “Unbroken”. It was initially set to be titled Roses & Thorns when Michaels first started working on the project and was set to be released in 2010, but it kept being pushed back to include more content.
In May 2020, Bret Michaels: Auto-Scrap-biography Volume 1: My Life in Pictures & Stories was released as the first in a series of trilogies.

Poison toured North America as an opening act for Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard with Joan Jett for The Stadium Tour from June 16 to September 9, 2022. The tour was originally scheduled for the summer of 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the tour, Michaels doubted that the band would record another album but hoped that they would write and record another song that evoked their hits from their heyday.

Band members
Current members
Bret Michaels – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica (1983–present)
Rikki Rockett – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1983–present)
Bobby Dall – bass, piano, backing vocals (1983–present)
C.C. DeVille – lead guitar, backing vocals, occasional lead vocals (1985–1991, 1996–present)[26]

Former members
Matt Smith – lead guitar, backing vocals (1983–1985)
Richie Kotzen – lead guitar, keyboards, piano, mandolin, dobro, backing vocals (1991–1993)
Blues Saraceno – lead guitar, keyboards, piano, backing vocals (1993–1996)[26]

Studio albums
Look What the Cat Dragged In (1986)
Open Up and Say… Ahh! (1988)
Flesh & Blood (1990)
Native Tongue (1993)
Crack a Smile… and More! (2000)
Hollyweird (2002)
Poison’d! (2007)