VHS Archives #55: One of the best interviews with Bret Michaels of Poison that you’ll find (1993)

“Richie takes a little getting used to.  He’s a strange cat.” — Bret Michaels

In 1991, a new cable access show catering to metalheads hit the local airwaves:  The Metal Mike show, with host Mike Coughlin.  Since MuchMusic’s Power 30 was declining in quality, there was a vacuum for another good metal show.

Check out this terrific interview with Poison frontman Bret Michaels in 1993.  The band had parted with C.C. Deville and were re-emerging the middle of the grunge era with Native Tongue. Today it’s considered to be their best album, but nobody cared in ’93.

Metal Mike eases Bret in comfortably but then hits him up with a tough question:  what really happened with C.C. Deville?  And Bret doesn’t hold back.  Fist fights, drugs and alcohol all came into play, and the trainwreck MTV Awards appearance all contributed.

They move on to finding Richie Kotzen.  Pay attention and notice that the fit seems awkward.  The clues were there.  “He sometimes can be kinda weird,” says Bret of his new bandmate.  There was no question of the man’s chops, however, nor his stage presence.  Check it out.




      1. Was joining Poison a lateral career move in 1993? Seems like that would be a bad decision with grunge in full takeover mode. I guess it was a step up in popularity from his solo stuff (and a significant pay raise).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think it was a smart move, in terms of making a step and getting some name recognition. The proof is his next solo album was his first on a major label.


        1. I think technically speaking this is a Richie Kotzen album with Poison as guests. He wrote it, played most of it. It’s more his style which I prefer to Poison who can’t really play.


  1. Mike, I love your site, been reading it for years, and you are, of course, entitled to your opinion. But you are out in a limb claiming there’s little question on this point. I did a cursory glance at reviews of Native Tongue from other sites and did not find one that claimed it as their best album or even a particularly good one.

    Poison never amounted to much artistically, but at it’s best, it was a light metal party band. When they stuck to that, they were pretty decent and listenable. And when they deviated into bluesy, serious music, they became nothing more but than a sub-standard imitation of a hundred bands who did bluesy music much better than Kotzen-era Poison did.


      1. I thought it was a really interesting interview Mike, for what its worth. I just thought it would be more fun to make a joke about the Richie wife situation. Definitely one of the more forthcoming interviews from Bret.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wait until you see the Rikki Rockett interview from the same period. You know what was REALLY going on.

          In the meantime I’m going to do a Poison albums ranked post to further that discussion, with Native Tongue at the top.


  2. I was never a huge Poison fan but I think they were ok at doing their thing. Nice little pop songs disguised as hard rock.

    But this record is a different beast. First off, at least half the record are made of Kotzen-songs which is quite easy to hear, especially if you listen to the records he made on his own after leaving Poison. Native Tongue sounds like a Richie Kotzen record with Bret Michaels singing and I guess that’s why I love it so much.

    Second, I’m pretty sure that neither Bobby Dall or Rikki Rockett plays on most songs here. The rhythm section here is way too tight and groovy and neither of them played that well on anything Poison did before or after this album.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here’s the thing. With a little work, even I could play a CC solo.

      With Richie in the band these guys were elevated to another musical level. Kind of like when the Crue got a real singer. This album is Poison’s version of Motley 94. It’s a step into a much bigger world.


  3. I guess at the end of the day the difference of opinion boils down to the fact that I just don’t rate Kotzen’s music all that highly. Can he write a catchy memorable hook or melody? Because whatever their merits instrumentally, Poison sure could.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think he can when that’s the mood and direction he’s going for. His instrumental stuff is eclectic but very hooky. His vocal stuff too. Dream of a New Day is pretty killer!

      I hope you check out the Poison list…I really enjoyed listening to the songs and working on it. It was a lot of fun.


    2. Well, Kotzen has released lots of solo records post Poison which are not instrumental, Kotzen sings himself. Some of them are in the Native Tongue style and some a re more blues-oriented. And sure, the hooks are everywhere and most of his records do contain lots of catchy melodies. But if you’re not a fan of Kotzen’s records I understand why you’re not into Native Tongue.


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