Friday, May 19, 2006

Best Of Poison: 20 Years of Rock

Written by Tío Esqueleto

L.A. based rockers, Poison, first burst onto the scene back in 1986. The four man, “Glam rock", outfit featuring Brett Michaels on Vocals, Bobby Dall on Bass, Ricky Rockett on Drums, and C.C. DeVille on Lead Guitar, cut their teeth playing in the now notorious rock clubs of the Sunset Strip. 1986 saw the release of their debut album, Look What The Cat Dragged In, and the rest, as they say, is history…

It is now, 20 years later, and Poison has just released the culmination of their lives work, The Best Of Poison: 20 Years of Rock. It follows the band from its beginnings as a Glam Rock phenomena out of Los Angeles with hits like "Talk Dirty To Me" and "I Want Action," to the band’s prime, selling out arenas, as an MTV staple during the hair-band era of the late 1980s, with singles like "Don’t Need Nothin’ But A Good Time," and the #1 ballad "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," and even goes on to highlight hits from their lesser-known albums of the 1990s, which saw the band forced out of the limelight, as the music world made way for a new kind of rock music. Seattle-based “Grunge” rock seemed to come out of nowhere with the emergence of Nirvana, singlehandedly and unexpectedly ending the careers of countless, successful, bands of the time. Poison included….Well, kind of.

Call it what you want, '80s Metal, Hair Rock, Butt Metal, Glam Rock, Cheese Rock, or just Crap, but the pop metal stylings of the late 1980s, as with any good guilty pleasure, are beginning to see a comeback, with Poison at the forefront.

Comparable to disco before it, or even the various boy band crazes of the 1980s, Hair Metal, in hindsight, was a fad. As with most fads that have worn out their welcome, add a little time to heal, a dash of irony, and you have a bonafied comeback, and for some, a rediscovered and, now, guilty pleasure. Now, that’s not to say that all Disco or Pop Metal or Boy Bands originated as mindless, for profit, crap. Not true. In fact, most of these genres are born out of legitimacy. K.C. & the Sunshine Band, Motley Crue, New Edition, these are all credible examples of legitimate, top shelf, artists within the aforementioned sub genres of the pop machine. It is the mass marketing and eventual over saturation of copycat acts that leads to illegitimacy and, ultimately, failure for all.

Poison has managed to find a home at the very top of this second tier, the BEST of the BAD. Their infectious songs (I’ve woken up with "I Want Action" stuck in my head for six long days, now), and undeniable stage presence has secured them a spot right at the top, and it’s albums like this that keeps them there. Not new material for the lingering super-fan, but a Greatest Hits (their third in 10 years) for the legions of nostalgic sing-along fans. The album entered the Billboard charts at #17, a feat not many of their colleagues can boast, in recent years. I highly doubt a similar offering from, say, Warrant, or Cinderella, would chart nearly as high.

On June 13th, Poison will kick off a summer long Tour of North America in support of the new album, starting in Mankatu MN, and wrapping up in Atlanta GA on August 25th. The tour, sponsored by VH-1 Classic and Live Nation, will make 53 stops all together, with fellow '80s Glam rockers, Cinderella, as the show opener. A “Special Tour Edition” of The Best Of Poison: 20 Years of Rock will be released on May 23rd to comemerate this special event. This expanded CD will include a bonus, DVD, disc featuring various Poison videos, and a buy one get one free voucher for the summer tour.

So, buy the CD/DVD. Buy a ticket. Take a friend. (You’re going to need somebody to sing along with, buy you drinks, drive you home, and, possibly, blackmail sometime down the road…)