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If there’s one thing to be said about rock and roller, philanthropist, father and lead singer of the band Poison, Bret Michaels, he’s diverse. Slated to perform at the Calvert Marine Museum’s PNC Pavilion May 27, Michaels called from Scotsdale, Az., excited about a lot of things. He’d already appeared on VH1’s “Rock of Love” and emerged the winner on Donald Trump’s “Apprentice.” He’d just made national news after a lawsuit settlement over an incident at the 2009 Tony Awards when a piece of the set struck him in the head (resulting in a brain hemorrhage Michaels said nearly killed him). Glad to have that behind him, Michaels is releasing a new solo album, “Get Your Rock On,” brimming with music icons from every genre, including Loretta Lynn on “Every Rose Has its Thorn.” He is also launching a new line of pet supplies, Bret Michaels Pets Rock Collection (everything from beds to chew toys) with Pet Smart June 18. On this day, however, he was in Scottsdale celebrating his daughter’s birthday.
“I’m a rock dad,” he admitted. “Here’s the thing, I have two beautiful daughters,12 and 7, both born in May. The thing that’s tough for me is the flying. But if you don’t fly in my situation, without it I wouldn’t be able to do it. You have to make an effort to make it work. I love being a dad and being home for birthdays. A lot of time I’m on the road for 10 days then back home for three. We’re flying out late this evening for West Virginia, then I’m in Indianapolis playing a big concert for the Diabetes Foundation, then we’re in Michigan after that, straight through to Atlanta.”
Michaels, who grew up in Harrisburg, Pa., learned he had diabetes at age 6 and over time learned to control the disease. He is an advocate for diabetes awareness, raising money through his concerts to help send kids with the disease to camp.
“It’s absolutely a very silent killer, a devastating disease,” Michaels said. “I’ve lost friends younger than I was. We encourage people to go to the web site [www.bretmichaels.com]. We reach out after our shows and a big portion of what we donate sends kids to camp, to whatever diabetes camp costs, so they can learn to manage it. We do the best we can.”
Michaels said he a great time recording his new CD with “everyone I’ve ever had a great relationship with,” including the likes of Lynard Skynard, Blackfoot, Jimmy Buffett, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Phil Collins, def leppard, Ace Frehley of KISS, Joe Perry and the aforementioned Lynn.
“The easy part was talking about it,” he noted. “The hard part was dealing with everyone’s schedules. ‘Oh, Joe Perry can be in Los Angeles Thanksgiving Day.’ Scheduling was hard. Jamming was fun.”
Michaels will be a very busy fellow this summer, mixing a def leppard/Poison tour with solo shows. Opening up for Michaels May 27 will be a regional favorite One Louder. They will perform 80s rock covers beginning at 6:30 p.m. On stage at 7:30 p.m. will be one of the D.C.’s most sought after metal bands, Driven Livid.
Then Michaels will take the stage.
“I’ve been playing guitar my whole life, 26 year professionally and many more years below starting musician level,” he laughed. “I love it. I have a great time. I’m still as passionate today as when I started. The solo stuff is 90 percent of my career.”
He calls his solo concerts a “party mix.”
“All Poison hits with some new stuff, some cover stuff, that’s what a rock concert should be,” he said.
Bret Michaels - “Get Your Rock On”
Where: Calvert Marine Museum PNC Pavillion, 14200 Solomons Island Road, Solomons
When: 6:30 p.m. May 27
Admission: $30-$50Contact: calvertmarinemuseum.ticketforce.com