For years, the most unsinkable man in rock 'n' roll — a dude even the devil himself can't take down — has been the death-proof Keith Richards.
But maybe it's time to add another name at the top of list: Bret Michaels, the 47-year-old hair-metal hero who just a few months ago suffered an appendectomy, then a brain hemorrhage, then a stroke — and yet is still playing Tropicana Field tonight after the Rays-Mariners game. Top that, Keith!
On top of Michaels' current solo tour, he's also debuting a new reality show (Life As I Know It, on VH1, the same channel that launched his Rock of Love), promoting a new album (Custom Built, with a cover of Sublime's What I Got) and planning a 25th anniversary reunion tour with Poison, including that hairy source of stress, guitarist C.C. DeVille. But hey, what doesn't kill him …
Michaels talked to us about his fickle health and the revealing items on his growing "bucket list."
First of all, Bret, we have to ask the big question: How are you feeling?
Honestly, I'm feeling much, much better than I was a few months ago. Not quite 100 percent yet. I think they found what a lot of the problem was: I have a hole in my heart. They go in and close that up in January.
You're a notoriously wild, unbridled live performer. Do you have to pull back that onstage energy now because of your shaky health?
Here's the thing: I haven't altered it a bit. I give everything I've got. When I go onstage and play the solo shows, it's the same energy that I give with Poison.
We read that you wrote a "bucket list" after your series of health scares. What's on the Bret Michaels bucket list?
I have a slew of things and I upped the ante right after the brain hemorrhage. I know it sounds simple, but I've never sky-dived, so that's on there. And without a doubt, I want to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
We were rooting for you on Celebrity Apprentice, but we're curious: Who's harder to work with: Donald Trump or C.C. DeVille?
I'm going to tell you right now. Hands down, it's C.C. All my years with C.C. made Donald Trump a breeze!
You're a Pennsylvania native. The Steelers are playing the Bucs in Tampa on Sunday. You have to go, right?
Absolutely. I'm going to try to stay and actually catch that game. At least the first half.
We know we'll be hearing Every Rose Has Its Thorn Saturday. There's a lot of pain behind that one. Does it resurface every time you sing it?
That song for me is bittersweet. I wrote it in a laundromat in Dallas, Texas. I convinced Poison to play a country bar in Dallas. It was a Wednesday night, and there were maybe a few bartenders and, like, 10 people there. I went back, called my girlfriend and we broke up. When I play it, there's still that feeling, that emotion that you get anytime you hear something that reminds you of someone, especially if you wrote it. But at the same time, I'm really thankful, because it really struck a chord in America and around the world.
To hear the whole Bret Michaels chat with the '80s boys, go to tampabay.com/blogs/80s.