By Felicia Naoum
He has been partying hard for decades on stage. At first glance, some may see him as a hardcore rocker. But Bret Michaels doesn’t stop there. In fact, the greatest thing I learned about him is how much he loves his daughters, his true Rock of Loves. But with hits like “Raine” and “Jorja Bleu,” I already had a feeling he did. He has recorded songs in their name, and his most recent, dedicated to his youngest daughter, Jorja Bleu, bleeds heart and motivation to conquer dreams, fearlessly. In this Rockstar’s world, it’s all about his daughters… and then some.
“Jorja is my youngest daughter, and we have shared such an incredible bond just like I have with my oldest daughter, Raine. When I wrote “Raine,” it was my first experience being a father and a lot of that song expressed the joy of being a first-time father and my vision of what a father-daughter relationship would be like,” said Michaels.
With “Jorja Bleu” his vision went from first-time father to preparing his daughter for essentially, the fight of life, and how to come out on the other end. Michaels even used his own experiences as motivation in writing this song.
“With “Jorja Bleu,” he adds, it’s more about encouraging her to fight for what she wants out of life and to use my trials and ups and downs as a beacon of light and inspiration…”
And Michaels is one who knows first-hand about not only fighting for what you want out of life, as he is a successful solo musician, the forever front man of the legendary rock band, Poison, and reality television star who won ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ but fighting for your life as well. In 2010, Michaels, a life-long diabetic, suffered a brain hemorrhage that almost took him down – but not quite. In fact, his resilience to continue is an attribute we may not be aware the rocker possesses.
“When I survived the brain hemorrhage a few years ago, many people thought I’d slow down or even encouraged me to take a break. [They] may have been shocked to see that I literally hit the stage the day the doctors said I could.”
Michaels was fearless with an undying love for the road and music that no illness will ever dictate.
“To me, that tragedy didn’t scare me in the way that people expected. What it did say to me was “’Wow, this really can end in a blink of an eye. There are so many things I haven’t done and that I better get to.’”
Michaels sings this same message: that it really can all be gone in the blink of an eye, to his daughter, Jorja Bleu in her song. So, friends, let’s take note from this legendary rocker. He’s been there, done that and still going strong. His mentality is sure that of a winner. No matter how many thorns seem to hit Michaels, he refuses to be a victim.
Michaels goes on to reference a song that you may also not expect a glamourous rocker to reference. He’s full of the unexpected. Even Bret Michaels has a little country in him.
And he said, Tim McGraw’s, “Live Like You Were Dying…”
“It’s like the Tim McGraw song…I was inspired to live like your dying,” admitted Michaels.
There is a depth to this rocker that goes far beyond rock ‘n’ roll, pretty women and parties on stage. As a diabetic, he is humble and giving back in so many ways. And he wants fans to know that diabetes doesn’t stop him, and it shouldn’t stop you either. “The biggest thing I always tell everyone is that you can, without a doubt, live your life to the fullest.” Michaels explains that diabetes never stood in his way and he leads a very active lifestyle, especially with his bandmates. On off days, everyone plays tackle football.
“So, my biggest advice: don’t let anyone talk you into believing you have to step back and let life pass you by. You can do anything you want to.”
I would take his advice because Michaels really does anything he wants to. He successfully led Poison back-in-the-day, succeeds as a solo artist and even cultivated his own foundation – Life Rocks Foundation.
This rocker knows how to give back. He credits the beginning of his giving heart to his mother who started a diabetic youth camp in his home state of Pennsylvania when he was a kid. Leading by example, the famous rocker never forgot those who struggle just like him. “Giving back or helping has always been a part of my life.” And, his charitable deeds go beyond diabetes work.
“Even though diabetes is my cause, I have always tried to be involved with and help animals, animal shelters, soldiers, veterans, and many other causes, too…” With all the foundations that Michaels loves to help, he came up with his Life Rocks Foundation as an ode to his various passions. He describes it as a dollar in, dollar out foundation that raises money from food drives and even meet and greets. The special thing about Life Rocks is that Michaels makes certain that the very town Life Rocks raises the money in, receives the money. “We make sure the money we raise goes back into the towns we raise it in; helping people in those towns and communities,” he confirms.
There really doesn’t seem to be any thorns in Bret Michaels himself. A rock legend that still speaks positively about Poison albeit being a successful solo artist. In fact, he reminisces a bit about his early days with the band. It wasn’t pretty. So, maybe there were just a few thorns… in the early days of Poison. “Poison has a lot of history, and we are all brothers who slept in the back of a dry cleaners together, starving, while we worked on making our mark in the music industry.”
And even with the passage of time, and not always growing together, Michaels will never speak ill of the people who helped him make that musical mark in the world. “No matter how different we have become, what different paths we take, or any fights we have, we will always know that we got there together,” continued Michaels.
Michaels takes the time to credit each bandmate, or should I say family member as he calls them. Pete and Rob have been touring with him for almost 15 years, he said. He also mentioned Mike, who has been with him many years and his current bass player, Eric Brittingham, originally from Cinderella.
As for a Poison reunion? There is certainly hope for one according to Michaels. “As far as making music, currently Poison isn’t touring together, but when the time is right we will, and it will be magic as it always is.”
In the meantime, though, Michaels can’t stop creating, and well, he won’t stop. I told you he is resilient. He has studios in every place one can think of: his tour bus, plane and Arizona ranch. Why so many studios in so many places? Well, Michaels would go crazy without the ability to create. He said specifically, “I’m constantly working on ideas; creativity doesn’t stop, or I’d probably go crazy!”
And of all the Bret Michaels creation, I asked him to choose one favorite song that he recorded. He said it was impossible as they all have special meaning, but he did mention one – “Nothin’ But A Good Time” – which he said is “laced with inspiration from personal experiences.”
Of course, the odes to his daughters are extremely significant as he did hone in on those. His most recent release is one just in time for well, nothing but a good holiday perhaps. It’s a traditional holiday song but so much more with Bret Michaels all over it – it’s Jingle Bells but Bret Michaels style.
For literally “Nothin’ But A Good Time,” see Bret Michaels at Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park December 29th and maybe after that, you’ll see him back on reality television as he said, “I have some great show ideas, just keep an eye out!”