Poison – Poison’D
By Barbara Fara
President/CEO of MusicIncider.com
Brett Michaels – Lead vocals
C.C. Deville – Guitar, Back up vocals
Bobby Dall – Bass, back up vocals
Rikki Rockett – Drums, Percussion, Back Up vocals
Before we even look at the tracks, everybody better remember that Poison has been together for 24 years now, and they are still respected as one of rock/metal’s most iconic bands. We have an album here called Poison’d, 13 cover songs from original bands like Sweet, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and everyone else that Poison has respected and admired throughout time. All of the songs on the album turned out to be massive hits when they were first released by the original artists. I know the album came out in ‘07, but I had to check this out because I wanted to see what Brett Michaels and company could do. Now that I’ve listened, I don’t know why it didn’t make it in the Top 20 of Billboard. This is like a tribute album to the bands that inspired them.
The last time I saw Poison was four years ago at HiFi Buys Amphitheater, and they know how to put on a show. All the fun you hear on their albums is exactly what you get in person. Brett is also starting a solo tour coming up this year, and you better believe I will not miss him when he comes to town. I am not saying that Brett steals the show, but he certainly knows what he wants in a band, and they respect him for that. As a lifelong insulin-dependant diabetic, Brett still manages to put on a kick ass show (read about his work to find a cure for diabetes at http://www.bretmichaels.com/diabetes.htm and more about the disease at http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp ). The last show I saw with him solo, his sugar was through the roof and his poor little road manager was being asked if there would be a meet and greet and she said no; somehow even though probably wasn’t advised, Brett did make it happen after I left. When you see a musician that tired, people, you have to remember something - whether it’s Poison, KISS or Cat Power - they are people, too. They are not slot machines that will perform for you at your beck and call. They need to eat, sleep and rest like the rest of us and they are not your property. As someone famous who I won’t name here once told me, “we are just like you, we just make a little bit more money, but we are not perfect, we are humans”. And this is how every band should be treated, like they are humans, not a video game that can go all night, like Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Now that that is off my chest, let’s look at the cd:
Little Willy – Sweet – This song was a big hit in the 70’s even though the band itself never really got that big. I love the original by Sweet; it was one of my favorite songs growing up as a kid, but the problem was that you couldn’t never make out the chorus. Poison took the song and recorded it in a slowed down metal mode so that you can understand the verses as well as the chorus. If any of the original members of Sweet are still around I hope they got to listen to this song, it’s a great tribute.
Suffragette City – David Bowie - This song was originally recorded when he was THE DAVID BOWIE, not onstage like his is now in designer suits and ties, I’m talking the Bowie with tied died hair and spandex pants. David Bowie is originally from England, and then you have Brett Michaels from Pennsylvania. I could not believe how Brett went into Bowie’s vocals so seamlessly. C.C. Deville on guitar breaks into those riffs like he was in the original Bowie lineup. This is a great dedication to David Bowie.
I Never Cry – Alice Cooper - The album that this song was originally on came out either right before or after Cooper came out of detox. He finally realized how his alcoholism affected the people around him. When I first heard this song, I took it as a dedication to Alice’s wife. Brett is really doing a great job of channeling musicians here. I have never heard another cover of this song ever done by a band that I know of and Poison has nailed it right on the mark. Alice, if you get a chance to read this, I would seriously consider doing a tour with Poison, you would compliment each other perfectly.
I Need To Know – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – if Poison can pull this off, then they can pull ANYTHING off. I give Poison credit, when they did this song, they did it THEIR way. I am not degrading the song in any way; it is a tribute to Tom Petty and it should be respected.
Can’t You See – The Marshall Tucker Band – How will Poison handle a southern rock band? Let’s see…this is a great crossover for Poison going from rock to southern rock. They should really think about putting out an album in this style. They have the ability and talent to do it. This is a great tribute to the Marshall Tucker band.
What I Like About You – The Romantics – This proves that Poison can also do punk and they did a great copy of this track. They really pull it together and you would swear that it was The Romantics singing, but it is Poison - done with class. This one song is dedicated to my late best friend Colleen Doyle, who loved The Romantics. I haven’t forgotten about you, Colleen. This one is for you, kid.
Dead Flowers – The Rolling Stones – C.C. Deville hits those chords as if he were Keith Richard’s twin. The whole band has the song down tight, except for one thing: it has become not so much the Rolling Stone’s classic as now it is a Poison classic.
Just What I Needed – The Cars – This is no insult to Rick Ocasek and the Cars, and please don’t it take as one, but recently the Cars are on tour with front man new front man Todd Rundgren as Rick is busy being a very important President for a label. But, if god gave me a choice to record either one of these two bands singing this track, Rick or Brett, and they were auditioning on my label, it would be Poison recording this track. This is another massive hit on the album and is a wonderful tribute to the Cars.
Rock N’ Roll All Night – KISS – Brett, does Gene Simmons know that you guys covered this song? Because he is the king of copyrights, and I wonder if he has already copy written your name at this point. Poison pulls this song off hard, but the band makes sure that all the lyrics on this album are perfectly clear. I would consider this a great tribute to the original KISS members, who consisted of Gene Simmons on bass and vocals, Paul Stanley on rhythm guitar and vocals, Ace Fucking Freeley on guitar and vocals and Peter Criss on drums. This one is for you, Ace. I know you had a hard time while you were with KISS. So Poison gave them a bitch slap in the face for ya.
Squeeze Box – The Who – I love the original version by The Who. Nobody can do Squeeze Box like The Who. Roger Daltrey and company do it with classic British rock of that time. When Poison does it, nobody else can do it like Poison. When you hear that song, you would think that this would be one of Poison’s originals if you did not know the history of The Who. This one is a masterpiece.
You Don’t Mess Around With Jim – Jim Croche – Croche was more of a folk singer with a twinge of rock. Jim passed away very early in his career in a plane crash, leaving behind his wife and son. Now his son is starting a music career and I hope that he lives a good, long healthy life. Poison has taken this song to the metal side. They take Croche’s song and made it heavy and hard hitting; if anything it is the respect they have given to one of the great singer-songwriters of our time.
Your Momma Don’t Dance – Loggins & Messina – I love the original version of this song. The moment I heard Poison do it, it was transformed into another classic done by another wonderful band. If Kenny Loggins and James Messina were to hear this, they would be shitting their pants at what a masterpiece Poison has created with their song and I believe they would really respect Brett and company for the way they did it.
We’re An American Band – Grand Funk Railroad – I was maybe 10 years old when I was introduced to Grand Funk Railroad, and have been a massive fan ever since. Now we have Poison doing a cover of one of their biggest hits, and I truly believe all the members should be proud of this work; that someone finally remembered one of America’s greatest rock bands. I have seen many bands cover this song, but Poison has really done it so perfectly that is should have been the first release and the b-side should have been Cooper’s I Never Cry. When they broke into this song, I swear to god, I was expecting Mark Farner, their original vocalist, to sing, but instead, we have Brett Michaels and Poison doing this the only way that could be done, and that is the way of the Grand Funk Railroad.
If this album does anything for the bands that are no longer together like Sweet, Loggins and Messina, or The original Grand Funk Railroad; I would hope that this would inspire them to get back together to record a new album for their old fans and their soon to be new fans. And if they decide to go on tour they should take Poison along – unless Poison approaches them first. This album is a massive hit, you could not ask for more memories flowing through your head listening to this album and remembering seeing them all live back in the day. It is not an album of sadness, but an album of joy and fun, and it brings back that feeling of being young and rebellious teenagers and thanks to Poison for giving it back to us. And yes, kiddies, your parents were once teenagers too. Poison is playing on 07/27/08 at the Lakewood Ampitheater in Atlanta, GA. If you can catch this show, don’t miss it. No one puts on a show like Poison does, and to the parents, and the fans of Poison. I would bring my kids, so they can understand that you were once a teenager too. I know it came out in 2007, but it was a blast reviewing this CD - we all danced around until it was done.