Bret Michaels has something that most rock stars don’t – relatability. Despite being the lead singer of Poison and a reality TV star (“Rock of Love”), the-55-year-old Pennsylvania native has struggled with his health since he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes on his 6th birthday.
“A fighting spirit has kept me in the game,” says Michaels. “I take it day-by-day. Things pop up, but by the grace of God, good medical attention plus support from family, friends and fans, I stay on the good side of the dirt.”
Michaels is bringing his The Party Starts Now tour to The Paramount in Huntington on Saturday for a high energy holiday celebration mixing Poison hits with his solo tunes.
“My dream was never to be the sole life of the party. My dream has always been that you have the time of your life at my party,” says Michaels. “I like being the leader of a three-ring circus.”
Long Island has special place in Michaels’ heart because he vacationed at Jones Beach as a kid and later Poison became a regular headliner at the waterfront amphitheater.
“I always brought my dirt bike and rode it along Ocean Parkway,” says Michaels. “It gets my blood flowing before a show, and that energy pours right out onto the stage.”
On the mic Michaels would invite the Jones Beach crowd over to Mulcahy’s in Wantagh for his legendary after-parties.
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“I used to get behind the bar and serve drinks. Plus, I had a few myself,” says Michaels. “There’s a certain energy in the northeast that you can’t buy. The fans are always fired up.”
Whenever he comes to the island, Michaels spends a lot of time talking with people, signing autographs and just hanging out.
“People know when I come to Long Island, its sincere and authentic. I think they feel that,” says Michaels. “They know I’m never going through the motions. That’s not who I am.”
One group that has made a special connection with Michaels is U.S. military veterans. Through his Life Rocks Foundation, the singer has helped aid veterans and their families by auctioning off his guitars and other memorabilia in each town he visits.
“I let them know that there’s much love and thankfulness for our freedom,” says Michaels. “Anybody who is willing to lay down their life for mine is a hero.”
Perhaps Michaels’ biggest role is being a father of two teenage daughters, Raine Elizabeth, 18, and Jorja Bleu, 13. Raine was recently selected as a model for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Show and will study broadcast journalism while Jorja co-wrote and recorded an original song, “Unbroken” for her dad’s next solo album.
“Being the father of two girls not only keeps you on your toes, but I’ve learned lots of negotiating skills,” says Michaels. “I’m the fun dad. I ask them to put their phones down, and we ride go-karts, toss around a football, kick a soccer ball or go to the beach.”
Despite being diabetic, Michaels stays in shape by constantly remaining physically active through mountain biking, hiking and running.
“I look at being diabetic as both a blessing and a curse. It has kept me on my game,” says Michaels. “I feel much better when I get up and do stuff. It’s all built on self-motivation.”
Poison fans don’t fret – Michaels promises the legendary hair band has not taken its final bow just yet.
“There’s never going to be a day when I say, ‘I’m done with Poison,’ ” says Michaels. “The band is looking forward to returning in 2020 with some new songs. We are still having the time of our lives on stage.”
Like an Energizer bunny, Michaels never stops. Currently, he’s developing a new reality show, a video game (“Surviving the Rock”) and another solo album.
“I’m always working on something new and will continue until the day I go to the other side,” says Michaels. “It’s what I do.”
When asked if he will ever settle down and get married, Michaels laughs and says, “Well -- that’s always a work in progress!”
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m., Saturday, The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington
INFO 631-673-7300, paramountny.com
ADMISSION $34.50 to $54.50