Every time Bret Michaels has made the news this year, nearly every time was for incidents he and his fans would have preferred never have happened. Still, he was launched into the headlines by internal forces beyond his control. When the news was controlled by Bret Michaels, it seems to have all been really good. Those times would have included going on “Celebrity Apprentice 3,” winning “Celebrity Apprentice 3,” appearing on “American Idol” just days later and resuming his interrupted concert tour. And after those hospitalizations that had him knocking on heaven’s door earlier this year, his current run of good news continued Tuesday with the release of his latest solo album, “Custom Built.”
His newest musical venture includes songs that are a blend of the old and the new, all but one song written by Bret Michaels himself (a cover of Sublime’s “What I Got”). “Custom Built” includes the hit song, “Nothing To Lose,” the controversial duet with Miley Cyrus (with whom he’ll be competing for chart position next week as her new album, “Can’t Be Tamed,” debuted last week at #3 on the Billboard 200 album chart). The first track on the album is the theme song for his upcoming reality series, “Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It,” entitled “Riding Against The Wind.” “Lie To Me,” a Bret Michaels solo version of “Nothing To Lose,” and “Wasted Time,” the latter appearing on iTunes as an album teaser back in April, round out the new songs. Relatively new tracks include a “country” version of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” a club mix of “Go That Far” (the regular version of which appears on the Bret Michaels compilation album “Rock My World”), and a rock mix of “Driven” (the regular version of which appears on the solo album “Freedom of Sound”). Three old songs in their original versions appear on the album as well: Two from “Freedom of Sound” — “Open Road” and “Rock ‘n My Country” — and one from the original soundtrack “A Letter From Death Row”: “I’d Die For You.”
“Custom Built” looks to capitalize on Bret Michaels’ resurgence in popularity, much of it due to a spate of health problems that felled the rocker beginning in April with an emergency appendectomy. That was followed nearly two weeks later by a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage that nearly killed him. Then, after being released from the hospital, he suffered what was called a “warning stoke” a month later. None of the three conditions were considered related. He was treated and continues to undergo treatment.
Bret Michaels rose to fame as the frontman of the “bad boy” 80s hair/glam metal band Poison. Poison quickly became popular on the back of their fun-loving, catchy, relatable songs, like “Talk Dirty To Me.” They would soon become one of the biggest rock acts in the United States, selling out arenas and charting Top Ten singles (six in all, including the power ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”). Although their popularity waned in the 90s, the band has remained together for over 25 years, selling over 14 million albums in just the United States alone. A resurgence in hair and glam metal in the 2000s have seen a return to sell-out venues for the band.
Bret Michaels, in addition to releasing solo material, formed a production company with Charlie Sheen and wrote, produced and acted in several movies. In one, “A Letter From Death Row,” he co-starred alongside the legendary Martin Sheen, Charlie’s father, and also wrote a soundtrack of original material. He also was asked to star in “Rock of Love,” a VH1 reality series, that began in 2007 that remained popular for three seasons and which his new show, “Life As I Know It,” replaces.
“Bret Micheals: Life As I Know It” premieres in the fall on VH1.