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Poison Biography


Home > Music > P > Poison > Biography


Birth Place: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, US
Years Active: 1983 - present
Genres: Glam Metal, Hard Rock


Poison is an American glam metal band that achieved huge success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Poison was formed in 1983, and consisted of lead vocalist Bret Michaels, guitarist Matt Smith, bassist Bobby Dall and drummer Rikki Rockett. Bret Michaels and Rikki Rockett first joined forces to form a band called the Spectres in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and then teamed up with Matt Smith and Bobby Doll to form Paris. After playing mostly rock cover songs in Mechanicsburg-area bars they moved to Los Angeles in 1984 and changed the name of the band from Paris to Poison. Shortly after, Smith left the band and was replaced by C.C. DeVille.

Their debut album, “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” was released in 1986 and spawned three charting hits, “Talk Dirty to Me,” “I Want Action” and “I Won't Forget You.” The album peaeked at #3 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and ultimately sold over 4 million copies worldwide certifying 3× platinum.

Poison's second album, “Open Up and Say...Ahh!, “was released in 1988. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and would ultimately go on to sell 8 million copies worldwide, certifying 5× platinum in the U.S. The album included the band's biggest hit, the #1 single, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” along with other successful tracks like, “Nothin' but a Good Time,” “Fallen Angel,” and the Loggins and Messina cover “Your Mama Don't Dance.”

Their third album, “Flesh & Blood,” was released in 1990. It also was highly successful, peaking at #2 and selling more than 7 million copies worldwide. Certified 3× platinum in the U.S., the album spawned two Top 10 singles, “Unskinny Bop” and “Something to Believe In,” as well as three other hit singles, “Ride The Wind,” “Life Goes On” and “(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice.”

Despite Poison's success, DeVille's cocaine addiction had begun to cause strife in the band. Conflict between Michaels and DeVille culminated in a fistfight backstage at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards, provoked by DeVille's inept live performance. The band was scheduled to play “Unskinny Bop” but was brought to a halt when they were playing during the commercial break. High and drunk during the performance, Deville missed the cue when they came back live and forgot what to play and started playing “Talk Dirty To Me.” During the song his guitar lead disconnected mid-performance. DeVille was fired and replaced by Pennsylvanian guitarist Richie Kotzen.

Poison's fifth album, “Native Tongue,” was released in 1993. It peaked at #16 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold. The album included the singles “Stand” which featured the Los Angeles First A.M.E. Church Choir on backing vocals, “Until You Suffer Some (Fire And Ice)” and “Body Talk.” Kotzen's future in the band was doomed when it was discovered that he had become romantically involved with Rockett's then-fiancée Deanna Eve. Kotzen was promptly fired, and replaced by Blues Saraceno

Poison began recording its sixth album, “Crack a Smile,” in early 1994. Recording was brought to an abrupt halt in May 1994, when Michaels was involved in a car accident where he lost control of his Ferrari. Michaels suffered a broken nose, ribs, jaw, and fingers and lost four teeth. After his recovery in 1995, the band continued recording the album. The album became shelved shortly after this, with no release date anywhere in sight. Instead, they opted for a “Greatest Hits” compilation, released in 1996.

After several years apart, Michaels and DeVille were able to patch up their differences, welcoming C.C. DeVille back into Poison in 1999 replacing Saraceno.

In 2000, “Crack a Smile...and More!,” was finally released with extra tracks. “Crack a Smile...and More!” was a bright and raunchy series of party anthems such as the single “Shut Up, Make Love” and power ballad “Be the One,” containing few traces of the seriousness of “Native Tongue.” However it did host one outtake from the “Open Up And Say...Ahh!” session as well as two outtakes from the “Crack a Smile” session. “One More For The Bone” and “Set You Free,” both outtakes, were originally planned for use as B-sides. In addition to the outtakes, live recordings from the 1990 installment of the MTV Unplugged series were included.

“Hollyweird” followed in 2002, featuring Poison's original line-up for the first full studio project since Flesh & Blood. “Poison'd!” was then released in 2007, reaching the Top 40 on the Billboard 200.

To date, Poison has sold over 30 million records worldwide and 18.5 million records in the United States alone. The band has also charted 25 singles on the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, including ten Top 10 singles.