Ready For A Comeback

Bret Michaels Performs At JD Legends

By Alan Sculley

Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels says a key reason he won the Celebrity Apprentice television show

in May is that he doesn’t underestimate anyone – including himself.

That sort of awareness and determination has shown itself in more critical ways recently than in winning a reality show. The frontman of the rock group Poison can credit himself for surviving not only the Celebrity Apprentice competition, but for being able to tour throughout this summer, release a new CD and film a new reality series this fall.

On the night of April 21, Michaels (who just a couple of weeks earlier had undergone an emergency appendectomy), was rushed to the hospital with a severe brain hemorrhage. The initial assessment from doctors was anything but encouraging, according to Michaels.

“They said ‘You’re in severe trouble,’” Michaels recalled in an early June phone interview. “’You’ve got blood at the base of your brain. If you have kids, I would bring them to the hospital.’ He goes ‘You’re in a lot of trouble right now.’”

But Michaels was also told the fact he had acted quickly about his hemorrhage may have saved his life.

“He (the doctor) says ‘Luckily you reacted this quickly because we might be able to fix this,’” Michaels said.

Today, not even three months after the brain hemorrhage had Michaels in critical condition in intensive care, the rocker/reality television star feels he is closing in on a full recovery, and he has a full slate of shows scheduled for the rest of the summer.

“I’m hoping I’ve paid my dues medically for awhile,” he said. “Right now I’m running at about 80 percent of where I’d like to be, but I’m slowly but surely getting back to
100 percent.”

Michaels indeed was very aware something bad was happening on the evening of April 21. He had been home with his longtime girlfriend, Kristi Gibson, and their daughters, Raine, 9, and Jorja, 5, for a number of days following his April 12 appendectomy surgery and had started to feel better.

“It’s about 11 o’clock at night, and it felt, when I had the brain hemorrhage, it felt like someone had come up behind me, and had, I imagined what a gun shot would feel like. It was instantaneously the worst headache, if you could imagine a migraine times 10.

The neck muscles in the back of my neck made my upper body feel like I was paralyzed. And I instantly stood up and (thought) ‘OK, I’m in trouble.’”

Michaels went and found Gibson, who was sleeping at the time, and she drove him to the emergency room. That fast action may have saved his life.

The latest medical issues (including a newly discovered tiny hole in Michaels’ heart that he said will require surgery this fall or winter) have come at a particularly busy point in his life. But his various projects weren’t disrupted as much as they could have been. He had to cancel a full slate of headlining concerts this spring, but he’s thankful to be able to be back on tour now, doing a show in which he’ll play Poison hits and songs from his four solo albums, including his new CD, Custom Built, which was released July 6.

“There’s just so much strong new material on there,” he said, noting that Custom Built includes a remake of the Poison hit “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” (with Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down, members of Rascal Flatts, Chris Cagle, and Mark Wills joining on vocals), a cover of the Sublime song, “What I’ve Got,” a guest vocal from Miley Cyrus on the ballad “Nothing To Lose,” plus a half-dozen originals. “The five or six brand new songs just sound incredible,” he said. “The new material is really reflective of where my life is right now.”

His new VH1 reality show, Life As I Know It, also figures to get filmed on schedule for its fall debut.

“It’s the balance between being a dad, being a rocker, love of life and then all these new medical things,” Michaels said of the show. “It’s a really fun show.”

Even his role on Celebrity Apprentice was not hugely affected by the appendectomy or brain hemorrhage. Michaels was able to appear on the live finale May 23 when host and boss Donald Trump chose him as the Celebrity Apprentice
winner – although he went on the show against doctors’ orders.

The same determination to be on the finale was something Michaels wanted to demonstrate during the show’s entire run.

“It was so important for me to go on The
Apprentice and not only raise a lot of money for diabetes (he won $250,000 for a diabetes charity) and a lot of awareness, but also to show people ‘Listen, I’ve worked pretty hard to get where I’m at.’ I (wanted to) show people that I’ve got another side of me besides Rock Of Love…I’m going to show people that I can do more than party and suck face.”

Bret Michaels will perform Saturday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m. at JD Legends, 65 Millard Dr., Franklin. The concert is sold out. For more information, call (937) 746-4950 or visit

Reach DCP freelance
writer Alan Sculley
at contactus@

Alan Sculley
Reach DCP freelance writer Alan Sculley at

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