When Bret Michaels walked into our CBS-5, Phoenix studios for an on-camera interview, he shook each of our hands, making us feel special, like we were the celebrities. As soon as I made contact with his drop-dead-gorgeous blue eyes, I knew why the rock star makes nearly every girl swoon–he was kind, endearing, and totally intriguing. That’s when I decided to approach the A-lister, persuasively asking for a one-on-one interview so I could do a write-up on the man who calls Arizona home. He graciously accepted my request, and I promised him our phone interview would not exceed ten minutes.
Our scheduled phone interview was for a Sunday evening, and when the clock struck 8pm, my phone rang. I answered my cell as normal: This is Nadine, I said, and the response was simple, as if it were an old friend: Hey Nadine, it’s Bret. (First name basis–woo hoo!) And so began our conversation…the promised 10 minutes turned into nearly an hour.
First-name-basis Bret was on the road. He had just finished a concert in Pittsburgh, and was heading to Minneapolis for another performance. In addition to talking to me, Bret was watching the Steelers game–he’s an avid fan, having grown up in Pennsylvania. Going from city-to-city is nothing out of the norm to Bret, as he spends nearly nine months a year doing concerts around the world. However, when he’s not rocking the crowd, Bret finds peace at his North Scottsdale pimp pad.
Yep, his house sits on a couple acres. There, you’ll find his ranch equipped with dogs, cats, and horses. He loves taking pictures of his pets, in addition to the Arizona wildlife that frequents his property. (Bret made sure to mention javelinas, coyotes, and snakes.) The ranch sits next to his go-kart track; he finds his chi riding bikes and motorcycles, especially his Harley.
Back in 1997, Bret shot a movie with Charlie and Martin Sheen in Arizona: “No Code of Conduct for Miramax Dimension.” He instantly fell in love with the Desert Southwest, ultimately deciding to call the Valley home. In the mid 2000s, Bret bought his North Scottsdale property, and so began his happily-ever-after in AZ.
But before becoming a father, philanthropist, TV star, and Arizona resident, Bret rose to fame as the frontman of Poison.
At 17-years old, Bret and his band drove out to California, determined to reach stardom and success. Since their start, the band has released eight studio albums and four live albums and have sold over 30 million records worldwide. Poison has charted ten singles in the Top 40 on Billboard’s Hot 100, including the number-one single, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.” I asked Bret if he gets tired of playing that song over and over and his response was that of a true rock star.
“I sing it at every concert,” he said, “and I enjoy it every time, especially because the crowd knows every word.”
It’s been 25 years since Poison debuted, and they’re still recording music, performing together, and selling out crowds.
Bret takes pride in writing his songs. He says he devises lyrics based on personal experience–that it’s easier to write about the absolute toughest moments of his life, like heart break or death of a loved one. He’s constantly creating new songs to enhance his solo career. His most recent solo album, “Custom Built,” was released in 2010. It topped the charts, reaching #1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock list.
In addition to music, Bret fills his time starring on reality TV. I’m sure you affiliate the rock star with “Rock of Love,” Bret’s televised dating endeavors. In fact, the three seasons consisted of about 20 women competing to become Bret’s girlfriend. He didn’t necessarily do it to find a Mrs. Michaels; Bret says the show was all in good fun, and he had a lot of good fun doing it. However, I couldn’t resist asking Bret what he looks for in a woman. He told me beautiful eyes are an instant key to his heart, and after that cosmic physical attraction, there has to be an incredible foundation of friendship. He describes a perfect partner as a “ying” to his “yang.”
Bret’s impressive television resume continues; did you catch his family-oriented 2010 docu-series “Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It” on VH1? Bret also starred on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice 3;” in fact, he won, thanks to his Trop-A-Rocka Snapple drink. He’s returning to Trump’s show in 2013, but next time around, he’ll be sitting with the Donald. Yeah, I’ll definitely be tuning in.
And in spring 2013, Bret will relive his childhood on the Travel Channel. See, our Arizona rock star grew up camping with his sisters–that’s why he wanted to host “Rock my RV,” a show dedicated to custom-building recreational vehicles. The program will follow families as they create their dream RVs thanks to our friend, Bret Michaels.
Bret’s also a philanthropist, totally eager to spread Diabetes awareness. Mr. Michaels is a lifelong diabetic, giving himself, on average, five shots a day. His foundation, Life Rocks, raises money to find a cure.
“It’s a dollar in, dollar out foundation,” Bret says, “I want to help people learn to live with and manage the disease.”
His philanthropic spirit doesn’t stop there. In March 2011, he performed at Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night in Arizona, supporting those suffering from Parkinson’s. Michaels was so touched by the event that he donated $20,000 of his own money to the Muhammad Ali Foundation. Michaels took on the role of fundraiser as well, raising more than $200,000 for the Barrow Brain Tumor Foundation, with a star-studded dinner in his own home. He is also a supporter of Scottsdale’s Camelot Therapeutic Ranch. Camelot provides free services to adults and children with disabilities.
Ok, I must admit. By this time of our conversation, I became head-over-heels over Bret Michaels. So far, our interview was thorough, thoughtful, and a ton of fun. To make him even more swoon-worthy, Bret mentioned he recently released an accessory/clothing line at PetsMart. Oh boy, I just love a man who loves pampering his pups.
Throughout his entire life, Bret has owned a handful of dogs. His breeds of choice are huskies and shepherds; right now, he has two dogs: Diesel and Phoenix. (He says they are his loving protectors.) PetsMart employees literally come out to his Arizona properties, and along with Bret, they come up with edgy, unique, and affordable ideas for purchase. Should your pooch be interested in Bret Michaels-inspired collars, clothes, and beds, seek out his “Pets Rock” Collection.
Speaking of dogs, out of pure curiosity, I asked Bret what his first job was, and he said it was with Purina, loading pet food. His second job was being a bus boy, followed up a fry cook at Bob’s Big Boy. Just some fun, useless Bret factoids for you.
Obviously stardom was always in Bret’s blood…he great up playing the harmonica, piano, and guitar. His road to fame was fantastic, but like anyone, Bret faced ups and downs.
“Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to do what you want to do,” Bret told me. Who would have thought this rocker had such soul.
Bret’s a proud dad of two beautiful daughters: Raine Elizabeth is twelve, and Jorja Blue is seven. He doesn’t claim to be a very good disciplinary, but he surely raved about being a fun father. He loves taking the girls to Cracker Jax, a Scottsdale fun park consisting of miniature golf, go-kart tracks, and an arcade.
During our conversation, Bret made sure to mention Kristi, his daughters’ mother. I sincerely admired the man who spoke highly of her wonderful mothering skills; in addition to their civil, easy-going relationship, despite being unmarried to one another.
It was refreshing to hear, considering many Hollywood broken relationships seem cruel and hostile.
I thought it fitting to ask Bret about his holiday memories, considering Christmas is around the corner. I just loved his answer when questioning him about his best gift ever.
“When I was a kid, I got my first Steelers uniform that came in a box. It was amazing.”
Bret hosts Christmas at his Arizona house every year, and instead of making his favorite food (BBQ), he keeps things traditional, going for turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cranberry sauce. This year he’ll play his annual New Year’s Even concert in Minnesota.
Bret loves chillaxing at his Scottsdale house with his girls. Raine and Jorja even knows his songs, even though he’s often forced to listen to Bieber. As our phone time clearly came to a close, I asked Bret one last question: how does he stay so humble?
His response came easy, like the rest of our conversation. He says he remains in the business for all the right reasons: Bret loves making music. In March, he’ll be 50 years old (thanks, Google–I didn’t ask his age!). Yet, after meeting Bret in-person and talking to him for a good 45 minutes, I realized the rock star still has a lot of love to give, much music to share, and good times to have under the Arizona sun.