Photo: Bret Michaels. Source: Heavy.com
Odds are, everyone has heard the name Bret Michaels, especially if they were born in the late 70's and early 80's. For those who haven't heard of him, Bret Michaels is an American musician better known for his role as frontman and vocalist for the popular glam metal band, Poison. Born in 1963, Michaels spent most of his life practicing the musical trade and sharpening his skills so that, someday, he could take the world by storm. Before Poison, though, he began his musical career with his band Paris in 1983, alongside drummer Rikki Rockett. After a year of composing, rehearsing, and building a reputation, the band moved to Los Angeles in 1984, where it was renamed to Poison, and carved its way through the city’s glam metal scene.
Poison went on to become one of the most influential glam metal bands of the Hard Rock in the 80’s, with hugely successful albums such as ‘Open Up and Say… Ahh!’, which sold more than 8 million copies around the world, or ‘Flesh & Blood’, with over 7 million album sales. As a soloist, Michaels recorded his first album, ‘A Letter From Death Row’, in 1998, which also functioned as the soundtrack for the eponymous movie. Throughout his solo career, he has released 5 albums, of which the most recent, ‘Rock My World’, has been the most successful. Today, Michaels is considered among the top heavy metal vocalists in the world. Rolling Stone has positioned his vocal prowess in the #40 position in their top 100 heavy metal vocalists list.
Besides tearing up the stage as a musician, Michaels is also an entertainer when it comes to other media outlets. In the turn of the century, alongside his massive success as a part of Poison, Michaels also starred in shows like ‘Rock of Love’ that has, for 3 long seasons, been received with very positive impressions by both fans and critics alike, and has opened up a new platform for avid fans to rock out with Michaels and Poison. Throughout his entire career, he has made appearances in numerous reality shows across several TV networks, as well as made cameos and small acting roles in both movies and TV shows, especially in those belonging to the MTV and VH1 networks.
However, in stark contrast with the hectic lifestyles and pacing that these rock stars show to the media, Bret was not always the poster boy of health that most fans and followers thought he was. In fact, Michaels was a chronic smoker which, alongside his ongoing condition as a diabetic, would set the stage for a near-fatal accident the singer would eventually suffer. His condition dropped to critical levels in 2010, when Michaels was transferred to the hospital with a massive headache that, upon further examination, was revealed to be due to a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage.
The singer was interred in critical condition; a situation that was progressively improving through the assistance of the medical staff. As the rest of the band and crew members awaited the results, doctors and staff were still apprehensive to reveal developments, as Michaels’ condition as a smoker and diabetes patient was working against him despite the singer’s attempts at improving his health.
After almost 2 months of hospitalization, Michaels was finally released from the hospital with a (relatively) clean bill of health, though he was instructed to take it easy as he still needed to finish healing from the near-lethal brain hemorrhage that almost took his life a few months back. Nevertheless, the rock star was quick to get back on the horse, as less than a month later, he made his first live appearance after the accident on the hit reality show American Idol, where he performed Poison’s classic song, ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’, alongside finalist Casey James. Shortly afterward, he sat down with Oprah to discuss the event that almost took his life.
Bret Michaels' as an advocate
As someone who has struggled with the chronic disease for most of his life, Bret has grown to be quite a philanthropist, regularly investing significant sums of money to the research of a cure for diabetes.
Just last year, the Poison frontman recorded an adaptation of ‘Jingle Bells’, which marked Michaels’ first attempt at arranging and releasing a holiday-themed song. The track itself is chock-full of the lively spirit, upbeat grooves, and energetic vibes that the artist’s creations are already known for, in what we would consider as one of the greatest adaptations of the hugely-popular Christmas song. Despite his adjustments and arrangements, Michaels conserved the original spirit of the song, while still managing to create a mostly-unique piece to the joy of fans everywhere.
As the avid philanthropist he is, Bret is donating a portion of the proceeds from his song to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in hopes of aiding the institution’s research of a cure for diabetes. Furthermore, the rock star is also aiming to raise money to support several relief foundations through the annual fundraiser hosted by his charity, the Life Rocks Foundation. This group regularly provides funding and donations to organizations such as Hurricane Harvey Relief, The American Red Cross, military charities and JDRF, to name a few.
Through his lifelong condition as a diabetes patient, and his near-death brain hemorrhage, Bret has become intimate with the concept of his own mortality, and has opted to spend a considerable amount of time (and funds) giving back to the world. Throughout his entire career, he has been constantly hosting fundraisers and directing donations to further research on diabetes, as well as to provide support for other relief and aid organizations around the world.
His philanthropist lifestyle was fully realized with the creation of his Life Rocks Foundation, through which he funnels his funds and efforts to war veterans, women’s shelters, and animal shelters, among other noble causes. Through his donations, the legendary vocalist and Poison frontman is aiming to make the world a better place.