On 48 Favorites Lists

» Edit Band Information
» Edit Albums

» Add a Review
» Add an Album
» Add MP3
» Add News

Poison

Formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1984, the band then known as Paris was a far cry from the group now identified by many as the ultimate example of glam rock gone wrong. Vocalist Bret Michaels, guitarist Matt Smith, basisst Bobby Dall and drummer Rikky Rockett bonded over shared influences: east coast rock n' roll and power pop, from the New York Dolls and Cheap Trick to Boston to the Sunset Strip metal of Van Halen and their imitators.

And LA is where the band was soon headed in 1985, discarding the soon-to-be father Matt Smith on the way. Once settled, auditions for a new ...read more

Formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1984, the band then known as Paris was a far cry from the group now identified by many as the ultimate example of glam rock gone wrong. Vocalist Bret Michaels, guitarist Matt Smith, basisst Bobby Dall and drummer Rikky Rockett bonded over shared influences: east coast rock n' roll and power pop, from the New York Dolls and Cheap Trick to Boston to the Sunset Strip metal of Van Halen and their imitators.

And LA is where the band was soon headed in 1985, discarding the soon-to-be father Matt Smith on the way. Once settled, auditions for a new guitarist began. It came down to three candidates: a young local guitarist named Slash, Steve Silva (later of the Joe Perry Band) and a tough, streetwise Brooklyn kid by the name of C.C. Deville. Amazingly, in hindsight, the band turned down the top-hatted candidate (who may not have been all that suited to the band's future image and pop aesthetic) and opted instead for DeVille, who had the fire and intensity they'd been searching for.

There was only one way to get a record deal in LA at this time, and it was to have the biggest draw of the hundreds of active bands on the Strip. Guns N' Roses may have had the badboy, tough image and the hard rocking tunes to match, but Poison had the best stage show in the city. With little or no money with which to create effects, the band would litter the stage with old motor parts and pour confetti from the ceiling, while Michaels' stage antics earned him a reputation for show-stopping. A deal with a major label was inevitable, and in early 1986 the band were signed to Enigma Records, a division of Capitol/EMI Records.

In August of that year, Look At What The Cat Dragged In was released. Success was initially slow in coming, but the summer of '87 saw 'Talk Dirty To Me' become the season's big hit, and two more followed: 'I Want Action' and the sombre ballad 'I Won't Forget You' Sales later topped 2 million in the US alone (even today, the band's appeal remains primarily in the US.) The band's songwriting pedigree was already proven- three major pop hits and a hit album, with both Michaels and DeVille contributing the majority of the tunes. 'Talk Dirty To Me' was actually the song the guitarist used to audition for the band- an original composition which copped the riff from the New York Dolls' 'Personality Crisis..

'Talk Dirty To Me' was in fact a landmark of sorts. Previous hits by bands like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard had been restricted to ballads and the glitzier rockers but, despite being an unapolagetic pop act, Poison introduced to the charts a much rawer, punkier type of metal single. Ironically, as Poison would be one of the bands hit hardest by the success of heavier, 'more real' bands like Guns N' Roses, the single actually softened the ground for those bands. Oh how Poison would suffer for their debut album cover...

1988, and sophomore album 'Open Up And Say... Ahh!' (yes, they loved long titles) was released, a marked improvement on its predecessor, sonically and substance-wise. If you're looking for signature Poison songs, look no further: #1 hit 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn,' top ten single 'Nothin' But A Good Time,' the sublime harmonies of 'Fallen Angel'- they're all contained within. While Michaels would later call Look What The Cat Dragged In 'a glorified demo,' its successor was much cleaner, much smoother, slicker than John Travolta's hair. Slick. It's pop music, take it or leave it.

Follow-up Flesh & Blood, released in 1990, was a more mature effort from a band determined to prove their worth as a serious band. Gone were the cheesy party songs of old; in were 'cryptic' titles like 'Valley of Lost Souls' and 'Strange Days of Uncle Jack.' Oh, and they threw in 'Unskinny Bop' aswell, to make sure nobody forgot about them. But then came grunge and everybody did anyway. Ha! A decent live album preceded the collapse of glam, setting the band up nicely for a hiatus...

... which they refused to take. Unlike Skid Row and Warrant, Poison were ill-at-ease to wait out the grunge era. In 1993, the even more mature fourth release, Native Tongue, was released upon the great unwashed (literally!) Heavier and darker than previous releases, it was critically and commercially panned. Only part of this can be put down to C.C.'s sacking (he was strung out 24/7), Michaels' over-emphasis on ballads and country songs did little to endear him to fans and prospective fans alike. Seven full years passed before the band followed up Native Tongue, and it's probably just as well. They did, however, release a hits compilation in 1996, which has since sold over two million copies in the US. After this, Bret went on to release a string of country-based solo albums, which still afford him much acclaim in his native Pennsylvania and the American South.

With C.C.'s return, and a successful tour in 1999, the band geared up to release the abortive Crack A Smile album (it was originally recorded and scheduled for release in 1996, with guitarist Blues Saraceno. It was quickly followed by a half-live hits/half-new songs release (the worst of both worlds!), entitled, confusingly, Power to the People. Um, whatever. Better was the 2002 release Hollyweird (what's with this band and crappy titles? at least they learned how to dress in public), which received significant critical acclaim.

To celebrate the double-platinum success of Greatest Hits: 1986-1996, the band decided to repackage the collection in early 2006. The Best Of Poison: 20 Years Of Rock is due in April- buy the other one, it's cheaper. « hide

Similar Bands: Warrant, Bon Jovi, Southgang, Mr. Big, Cinderella

LPs
Poison'd!
2007

1.8
36 Votes
Hollyweird
2002

2.3
34 Votes
Crack A Smile...And More!
2000

2.8
32 Votes
Native Tongue
1993

3.1
43 Votes
Flesh & Blood
1990

3.2
89 Votes
Open Up and Say... Ahh!
1988

3.2
95 Votes
Look What The Cat Dragged In
1986

2.7
132 Votes
Live Albums
Live, Raw & Uncut
2008

3.4
5 Votes
Seven Days Live
2007

3.4
5 Votes
Swallow This Live
1991

3.4
19 Votes
Compilations
Nothin' But A Good Time: The Poison Collection
2010

4
1 Votes
The Best Of Poison: 20 Years Of Rock
2006

3.7
31 Votes
Power To The People
2000

3
12 Votes
Greatest Hits: 1986-1996
1996

3.8
39 Votes
Best of Ballads & Blues
1993

3.4
4 Votes

Music Lists
09.27.14  Vinyl So Far05.20.14  Do You Even Glam?
04.19.14  Damn, Guilty Pleasures01.26.14  The Best Thrash Metal Albums Of 198
11.19.13  Favorite Metal Bands Of All Time11.06.13  2
08.22.13  Sex In My '88 Firebird07.28.13  My Album Collection (part 4)
03.09.13  100 Bands I've Seen Live12.19.12  Best 1980's Metal Songs
03.04.12  Bands I Consider Overrated02.14.12  25 Cheesiest Songs Ever
09.21.11  Hamster's Hatin' List09.07.11  Metal Brothers I'm Here Now!
08.31.11  The Greatest Hair Metal Songs06.07.11  Top 100 Favourite Songs
05.11.11  Awesome Movie Ideas03.15.11  100 Songs About Dogs + Cats
02.26.11  I Have Taken Over The Forums02.23.11  Hair Metal: Best Of The Best
» More Lists (50)

Contributors: TheRamblingElf, DickHardy, Dave de Sylvia, KILL, JamieTwort, Ponton, ReturnToRock, Willie,

FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy