POISON (1986–PRESENT). Brett Michaels (lead vocals), C. C. Deville (guitar), Bobby Dall (bass), Rikki Rocket (drums).
Not unlike Kiss, one of their influences, Poison, is a quintessentially American band, who, with a modicum of talent and huge amount of determination rose to the top of the rock heap in the 1980s with a series of solid albums of hook-filled, feel-good rock tunes.
Poison formed in Los Angeles in 1984 when Michaels, Rocket, and Dall, (all recently relocated from Harrisburg, PA) joined forces with former Brooklynite Deville, whose hook-oriented songwriting and flamboyant sense of style meshed well with the band’s own sensibilities. After honing their live show on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, the band soon gained the attention of Enigma Records who released their debut, Look What the Cat Dragged In in 1986. Poison’s live act and melodic tunes translated well to the medium of music video and MTV helped to make the band stars of the era. The debut sold over two million copies with help from videos for the hit singles “I Want Action,” “I Won’t Forget You,” and the band’s breakout hit, “Talk Dirty to Me.”
Open Up and Say … Ahh! (1988), with “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Fallen Angel,” and the band’s calling card, “Nothin’ But a Good Time,” took the band to superstardom, with radio airplay and MTV videos giving the band its second platinum disk. Another hit, Flesh and Blood followed in 1990. Unfortunately, growing tensions between Deville and the rest of the band were growing, and after the live Swallow This Live, he was fired.
After an album with guitarist Richie Kotzen in 1993, and further activity with Blues Saraceno, Deville returned in 1999, and an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music began comeback efforts with a reunion tour. With a studio album in 2002, a twenty-year anniversary hits collection and tour with Cinderella in 2006, the band showed the nostalgic potential of eighties acts, and have managed to maintain much of their renewed vitality.
Discography: Look What the Cat Dragged In (Enigma, 1986); Open Up and Say…Ahh! (Capitol, 1988); Flesh & Blood (Capitol, 1990); Swallow This Live (Capitol, 1991); Native Tongue (Capitol, 1993); Poison’s Greatest Hits (Capitol, 1996); Crack a Smile… And More! (Capitol, 2000); Power to the People (Cyanide Music, 2000); Hollyweird (Cyanide Music, 2002); Best of Ballads and Blues (Capitol, 2003); The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock (Capitol, 2006); Poison’d! (Capitol, 2007); Seven Days Live (Armoury, 2008); Live, Raw & Uncut (Koch Records, 2008).