If you plan on attending a Poison show, don’t expect to hear many, if any, obscure cuts or long lost B-sides. The party-rock group, known for chart-topping anthems like “Unskinny Bop,” “Nothin’ But A Good Time,” and “Talk Dirty To Me,” are preparing to embark across North America on a summer excursion with the legendary Cheap Trick, as well as the Michigan-bred Pop Evil.
And while a healthy number of Poison’s peers will be competing with them for concertgoers’ hard earned money this year in a typically crowded concert season, one distinct advantage for Poison, according to bassist Bobby Dall, is that their set is guaranteed to be loaded with hits.
“You want to give the fans what they want,” proclaimed Dall in a conversation with Royal Flush. “And all the popular hits are ultimately what they want to hear.”
The band’s fan-friendly attitude is a large part of their appeal, as their stage shows encourage fans to kick back, forget their troubles, and sing along for an hour and half of rambunctious antics. It’s an element in the music industry that was missing for several years, starting in the mid 90s, when Poison and artists of their ilk began to lose luster in mainstream circles to grunge. The cyclical nature of the industry, however, allowed Poison to regroup after some turbulent times, including band member disagreements, lineup changes, and drug problems. “Being in a band is like being married,” claimed Dall. “With Poison, it’s like having three wives – and you all have to try to get along. That’s the secret to longevity.”
Despite all the past issues, Dall is pleased with the way things turned out. “I’m extremely content with where we’re at and what we have now,” he said. “I count my blessings every day, and I don’t sit around and wonder what we could’ve done differently. I love what we’re doing.”
Chemistry won’t be an issue on this trek as this will be Poison’s third time touring with Cheap Trick, initially sharing the stage with them on their first major tour in 1987, along with Ratt, before reconnecting with Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen and company on a summer jaunt nearly 10 years ago that also included Def Leppard.
“Cheap Trick are such great guys and one of the best bands in the world, “ boasted Dall. “We’ve been friends with them for years. I don’t know the guys in Pop Evil that well, but I really like their music.”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Poison’s most successful album, Open Up And Say…Ahh! Although the band has no plans to play the entire record live, a popular gimmick embraced by many classic artists these days, Dall believes it’s for the best. “We celebrate that record every time we go out on tour, in addition to all of our albums, especially the first three,” said Dall. “But I think our fans would rather hear selections from our entire career.”
The album peaked at #2 on the US Billboard 200 and spawned the quartet’s only #1 single, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” arguably one of the most beloved 80s power ballads ever recorded.
And although it’s been 11 years since the band’s last studio effort, a collection of covers, and 16 years since the group unleashed a disc of original material, while Dall would love to do another, a new album hasn’t been seriously discussed – as of now.
As for how much longer Dall and his bandmates, charismatic frontman Bret Michaels, eccentric guitarist C.C. DeVille, and laid-back drummer Rikki Rockett, will continue to carry on playing their infectious brand of glam-fueled, hook-heavy, melodic rock, Dall says the band’s having too much fun to consider calling it a day.
“I still enjoy going out each year and getting up on that stage,” enthused the Florida-born bassist. “It’s better than sex. All we’ve ever tried to do is entertain. And if you go to a Poison show and you don’t have a good time,” laughed Dall, “I’d say you need a therapist.”
Click here for Poison’s tour dates.
Check back in this space in late June for a review of Poison’s upcoming stop at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater.