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Poison began their journey in 1983 Pennsylvania under the name Paris and consisted of lead vocalist Bret Michaels, guitarist Matt Smith, bassist Bobby Dall, and drummer Rikki Rockett. Moving to Los Angeles on March 6, 1984, they started playing the club circuit. The name Poison was picked by the band after a group of concerned parents protested to say that rock music was "poisoning" the lives of their children with glam rock.

Smith, who was about to father a child and was concerned about the band's future, returned to Pennsylvania. The band began auditioning replacement guitarists when Smith left the group. After narrowing down the candidates to three - Slash, who would later join Guns N' Roses, Steve Silva from The Joe Perry Project, and C. C. DeVille - the band eventually agreed that DeVille's "fire" made him the best choice.

The band began to gain notoriety on the Sunset Strip for its theatrical live shows and striking "glam" image. Without money for effects, they would fill the stage with old Harleys and car parts, blow up car fuses, and pour confetti onto themselves from boxes in the ceiling.

During this period, Poison's manager negotiated a deal under which West Hollywood club The Troubadour would pay for shows by covering the band's monthly rent and "recreation" bill. Ultimately, the shows drew sufficient crowds to enable the band to make a profit from them.[3]

Michaels, Dall, Rockett and DeVille signed to independent label Enigma Records in 1986 (see 1986 in music) for approximately $US 30,000. Their debut album, Look What the Cat Dragged In was released on August 2, 1986. It included one single, "Cry Tough", which never charted, followed by three hits, "Talk Dirty to Me", "I Want Action", and "I Won't Forget You". Sales for the album topped 2 million copies. The record's production would later fuel a public feud between the band and producer Ric Browde, who stated that Poison was a "triumph of image over substance" and that DeVille was the only member of the band who had any musical talent.[4]

In 1987 the band also recorded a cover of the Kiss song "Rock And Roll All Nite" for Less Than Zero's Rick Rubin-produced soundtrack. In the same year, a Geffen publicist successfully sued Michaels and Dall for assault after they poured a bucket of ice water over her at a party. The stunt appeared to have been in retaliation for various negative comments made about Poison by Geffen band Guns N' Roses.[5]

Poison's second album, Open Up and Say...Ahh!, which was released on May 21, 1988 (see 1988 in music) would ultimately go on to sell 8 million copies worldwide. The record included the band's biggest hit, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," along with other top 10 hits, "Nothin' But A Good Time", "Fallen Angel" and the Loggins and Messina cover "Your Mama Don't Dance." The album had created a controversy with its initial cover, a depiction of a female demonic figure with an apparently obscenely long tongue. A censored version of the cover followed, focusing on the figure's eyes. By the time the band toured with David Lee Roth (in 1988 on the Skyscraper Tour), it was apparent Poison had become a major live act. As the end of 1989 neared, Poison had become the fourth-best selling hard rock band of the 1980s behind only Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Guns N' Roses.

Poison's third album, Flesh & Blood, released on June 21, 1990, also was highly successful. It too features an alternate cover, as the original featured what appeared to be running ink or possibly blood from the tattoo. (Subsequent versions of this cover removed this "extra" ink.) The record went multi-platinum, spawning three gold singles: "Unskinny Bop," "Ride the Wind," and the ballad "Something To Believe In". The last single released was the title cut, "Flesh & Blood (Sacrifice)". The video was banned from MTV due to its explicit nature, but did surface later in the video compilation, Flesh, Blood & Videotape early in 1991. Flesh & Blood reached #2 on the American charts, providing the impetus for a further world tour. One of Poison's few appearances in the UK was on August 18, 1990 at Donington's Monsters of Rock festival in the summer of 1990. Whitesnake headlined with Aerosmith, Poison, Quireboys and Thunder supporting them. This event was broadcast on BBC Radio 1. Poison recorded a number of performances during its 1990/1991 Flesh & Blood tour which were released in November 1991 as their fourth album, Swallow This Live. The double album features live tracks from Poison's first three studio albums and four new studio tracks, which were the last recorded before guitarist C.C. DeVille's departure from the band within that year.

Despite Poison's success, DeVille's cocaine and alcohol addictions 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. After bringing "Unskinny Bop" to a grinding halt, DeVille launched into "Talk Dirty To Me," forcing the band to switch songs in mid-performance. Deville was fired and replaced by Pennsylvanian guitarist Richie Kotzen.

Poison's fifth album, Native Tongue was released on February 8, 1993. The record was strongly influenced by Kotzen's fresh songwriting contributions and guitar performance. It marked a change for the band as they abandoned their anthemic party tunes to focus on more serious subjects. Containing the single "Stand," the album received generally positive reviews, but sales were comparatively sluggish, selling only 1 million copies worldwide. The band toured in support of the album, but tensions mounted between Kotzen and the rest of Poison. Kotzen's future in the band was doomed when it was discovered that he had become romantically involved with Rockett's ex-fiancée Deanna Eve. Kotzen was promptly fired, and replaced by Blues Saraceno.

Poison began recording its sixth album, Crack a Smile, in 1994. Recording was brought to an abrupt halt in May 1994, when Michaels was involved in an accident in which 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. In the face of a sharp decline in demand for 1980s-style hair metal, and with a shift in staff at the label, Capitol Records offered little support for a new Poison record. Instead, the label opted for a Greatest Hits compilation which featured a couple of bonus new tracks with Blues Saraceno on guitar. The record was released on 26 Nov 1996, and went platinum, despite the lack of an immediate tour to support the album.

Bret Michaels made his movie debut in the Charlie Sheen movie A Letter From Death Row in 1998. He also released his first solo album that year (the soundtrack to the movie). After seven years apart, Michaels and DeVille were able to patch up their differences during the latter part of 1998. The Greatest Hits reunion tour finally took place in the summer of 1999. The original lineup intact, Poison hit the road. The band's supporting tour was a success, with its show at Pine Knob Amphitheater in Detroit drawing a sell-out crowd of 18,000. Tour dates averaged crowds of 12,000. A summertime appearance on VH1's Behind the Music appeared to solidify the reunited lineup's newfound popularity.

Hardcore fans uncovered copies of Crack a Smile from the numerous bootlegs that were beginning to surface, but it wasn't long before a shortfall in supply became evident. Fans clamored for an official release fearing that not only was the album becoming a collectors piece but was also quite possibly "their best album to date." On March 14, 2000 Crack a Smile...and More! was finally released with extra tracks to combat the bootleg industry. This being now Poison's seventh album after the Greatest Hits: 1986-1996 album took its place as the sixth and what fans were calling "The Lost Album". Crack a Smile...and More! was a bright and raunchy series of party anthems, containing few traces of the seriousness of Native Tongue. However it did host various outtakes from the Crack a Smile and Open Up And Say...Ahh! sessions. "One More For The Bone" and "Set You Free", both outtakes, were originally planned for use as B-sides though no single selection was ever made. In addition to the outtakes, live recordings from the 1990 installment of the MTV Unplugged series were included.

Later in the same year C.C. Deville released his solo album 'Samantha 7' and Poison also released Power to the People, their first album with DeVille in eight years. The record contained five new studio songs: "Power to the People," "Can't Bring Me Down," "Last Song," "Strange," and "I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine," the latter with DeVille on lead vocals for the first time. The remainder of the album featured live performances from tours during 1999 and 2000.

Hollyweird, Poison's ninth studio album, was released on May 21, 2002. It was Poison's first full album of new material with C.C. DeVille back in the band. The album was heavily criticized by both critics and fans, with many feeling it had poor production quality and an unimpressive new sound. Other reviewers were more impressed - All Music Guide declaring it "one of their best records, if not their best".

Bobby Dall on The Who cover “Squeeze Box”

...Actually, that was Rikki’s idea. When we came into break the ice for the new record...before we started fightin’ and arguin’ about songs, we went through a list of covers and remakes. ...It was the song that stuck and I think it fits perfectly for our band. It has a great melody and a great vocal, but it's also kinda sparse and was kinda like an open pallet for us.[6]

In 2003, Poison released their second greatest hits compilation album Best of Ballads & Blues with acoustic versions of "Something to Believe In" and "Stand." Bret Michaels also released his 2nd solo album 'Songs Of Life'. On January 7, 2003 after almost 20 years with Poison, Rikki Rockett released his first solo album Glitter 4 Your Soul which was distributed online. The album was a tribute to 1970s glam rock.

During the summer of 2004, Poison were invited to serve as opening band on Kiss's “Rock the Nation” tour. Apart from the release of Bret Michael's 3rd solo album, the country-rock-influenced 'Freedom Of Sound', the band were largely inactive for 2005.

The song "Nothing But a Good Time" is featured in the 2003 film Grind. The song comes about when Joey Kern's character put in a Poison cd, then everyone in the van starts to sing the song and air guitar the solo.

Poison live at Holmdel, New Jersey in 2006. Left to right: C. C. DeVille, Rikki Rockett, Bret Michaels and Bobby Dall.

After a year off, Poison returned. They celebrated their 20th anniversary with a "20 Years Of Rock" tour in the summer of 2006, with fellow rockers Cinderella and Endeverafter opening. The tour swiftly became one of the most successful tours of 2006 in the U.S., averaging about 20,000 people per night. The band had released an anniversary best-of album The Best Of Poison: 20 Years Of Rock, in April 2006. The record also features a new track, a cover of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're An American Band", produced by Don Was. This marked Poison's return to the Billboard top 20 charts for the first time since 1993. The compilation debuted at #17 with a first week sales total of 39,721. "Your Mama Don't Dance" was played in the movie "RV" in 2006. The new CD delivered the band's highest chart position since Native Tongue debuted at #16 in 1993.

On August 1, Capitol Records released remastered versions of the first three Poison albums: Look What the Cat Dragged In, Open Up and Say...Ahh! and Flesh and Blood, in honor of Poison's 20th anniversary. All three include bonus tracks. Look What the Cat Dragged In features the extra track "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," Open Up and Say...Ahh! with the previously banned album cover displayed has the extra tracks "Livin' For The Minute" and an interview with the band. The new version of Flesh and Blood features two extra tracks: an alternate version of "Something to Believe In" and an instrumental cover of the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen".

During the show in Atlanta on August 25, 2006, band members Bret Michaels and Bobby Dall had to be separated by members of the road crew and fellow band member Rikki Rockett after the two came to blows right before the encore, with Michaels throwing his mic at Dall, and Dall retaliating by slamming his bass into Michaels, injuring his knee. Michaels apologized later and stated, "You may have just seen the last concert by Poison in its current formation". The altercation happened before the band's set ended with "Talk Dirty To Me". After some tense moments and Michaels' apology to the crowd including his explanation that "like brothers, sometimes you have to air things out", the band did finish the set. Dall left the stage immediately.[7]

This is not the first physical incident between the band members. There have been many over the years, but this is the first onstage since the famous fistfight between Michaels and Deville at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1991, but that took place after the performance, not during. The band took time out while Michaels continues with his solo tour. DeVille appeared on VH1's reality television show The Surreal Life in March 2006, the same day he got out of rehab.

On January 03, 2007 Poison announced on their official MySpace page that they would like the fans to help pick favourite classic rock songs for the new studio album that they are to record. The fans replied with suggestions like Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird," The Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz," and AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" along with what might be an obvious choice - Alice Cooper's "Poison". On January 28, 2007 Rikki Rockett explained

"The Album will be ready for a summer Poison tour. That is the plan, anyway. p.s. The songs we are doing are NOT what you expect"

On February 14, 2007, it was released by VH1 that Bret Michaels is going to have his own reality show called "Rock of Love With Bret Michaels" where women will have to compete for his love and prove they can keep up with his rock star life. Rock of Love premiered on July 15, 2007[8][9]

During 2007 Poison went on a summer tour with Ratt. They released their covers album, now named Poison'd! on June 5th through Capitol Records. Tramp's White Lion was removed from the tour due to legal issues, and Vains of Jenna took their place. The August 2nd sold-out show in at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in St. Louis, Missouri was taped for a live concert DVD and for a HDNet Concert special called: POISON: LIVE, RAW & UNCUT that will debut on October 26th as part of Heavy Metal Halloween. Poison also appeared that night on the channel's Sound Off with Matt Pinfield. [10]

Poison played at the Rock2Wgtn rock festival in Wellington, New Zealand, the weekend of March 22-23. The festival also included fellow legendary rockers: KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Whitesnake and Finnish Hard Rock act Lordi.[11]

Poison have been confirmed to play at the Sweden rock festival 2008.[12] Sebastian Bach is slated to be the opening act on this Summer's 2008 Poison tour, also featuring Dokken. This is somewhat controversial as Bach has been vocal about his dislike of Poison in the past, but apparently he was able to bury the hatchet with the rock band for a Summer tour in North America.

It has been confirmed that Poison and Tesla will coheadline the 2008 Lions Club benefit concert in Greenville, Wisconsin. Sebastian Bach will open.

On March 28, 2008, Rikki Rockett was arrested on suspicion of rape in Los Angeles after getting off a flight from New Zealand. According to police reports, a woman in Neshoba County, MS, filed a report stating that on September 23, 2007, Rockett sexually assaulted her in his room at the Silver Star Hotel & Casino located on a Choctaw Indian reservation. [13] Rocket was exonerated of all charges on May 22, as it was discovered that he was not in Mississippi during the time of the alleged rape, and that a man by the name of John Minskoff used Rockett's name when he met the woman before raping her.[14]

Indexed at Wikipedia.

Chords and Tabs: Poison

Most popular songs by this artist: Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords, Fallen Angel Chords, Until You Suffer Some Fire And Ice Tab, I Wont Forget You Chords, Talk Dirty To Me Chords, Something To Believe In Acoustic Chords, Something To Believe In Chords, Rock You Like A Hurricane Tab, Nothing But A Good Time Tab, Squeeze Box Tab, Stand Tab
Poison tabs @ 911Tabs