Poison exploded out of the LA club scene and onto the national stage in 1986.
After years of paying their dues, the controversial glam metal punks, whose
stage show was hailed by one critic "as the Sex Pistols meets Kiss on acid",
could not be ignored. Combining streetwise, catchy songs which lead vocalist
Bret Michaels called "the soundtrack to our lives" and a strong video image,
helped to make their 1986 independent debut album, Look What The Cat Dragged In a multi-platinum Top Ten smash.
Soon Capitol Records came calling, however Poison refused to subdue any of its music or image to fit into the mainstream. They stuck to their guns. Poison's outrageous image and attitude caused as many people to hate the band as fans who loved them. There was no middle-of- the-road attitude with this band. With the MTV and radio success of the singles "Cry Tough," "Talk Dirty To Me," "I Want Action," "I Won't Forget You," and an opening act slot on the Ratt tour, Poison had become a household name by the summer of '87. Poison was, and still is, one of the few bands who, because of constant touring and having over the top, no-holds-barred stage shows, has formed one of the most loyal fans bases in the world, allowing them to tour arenas for the last 16 years, as many of
their peers fell by the wayside.
In 1988, Poison released their second album, Open Up And Say...Ahh!, which
was originally slated to be produced by Paul Stanley of Kiss, but due to
scheduling conflicts, the band worked with legendary producer Tom Werman
instead. The record quickly went platinum and its first single, "Nothin' But
A Good Time" raced up both the MTV and Billboard charts. The band hit the
road opening for David Lee Roth, but by that summer, it became obvious that
they were capable of selling out arenas on their own. They soon found
themselves as headliners with three more hit singles: "Fallen Angel," "Every
Rose Has Its Thorn" (their first #1 single), "Your Mamma Don't Dance" and an
album that would ultimately go on to sell eight million copies worldwide, and
were featured in Time Magazine alongside Metallica as one of the largest
grossing touring acts of that era.
They kicked off the 90's with the release of their third album, Flesh And
Blood, and once again embarked on another World Tour. Flesh & Blood reached #2 on the charts, and went multi-platinum, and spawning three more gold singles ("Unskinny Bop", "Ride the Wind" and the mega-hit, "Something To
Believe In"). But cracks in the band's foundation were already beginning to
surface. Rock 'n' roll's excesses, and tension between Bret and C.C., were
threatening to tear the band apart. A fist fight broke out between Bret and
C.C. in New Orleans. The conflict continued, making for an "infamous"
appearance on 1991's MTV Music Awards, where Bret and C.C. slugged it out
backstage afterwards. C.C. departed the band that night. It became clear to everyone that things were about to change. However, Capitol Records continued with the release of the double live CD, Swallow This Live in early 1992, despite the fact the band had no guitar player.
Guitarist Richie Kotzen was recruited to replace C.C., and in 1993 at the
height of the "grunge" movement, Poison racked up yet another Top 20 gold
album and successful World Tour with the release of Native Tongue. After
personal situations arose, however, Kotzen was summarily dismissed from the