Health issues don't slow down Bret Michaels

Fri Jul 2, 2010 5:55pm EDT
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By Deborah Evans Price

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Bret Michaels has always lived on the edge, from his wild days fronting Poison to his dalliances with busty women on VH1's "Rock of Love." But his latest move might lead some to question whether his appetite for destruction is getting too big.

Despite recent life-threatening health issues, including an emergency appendectomy, a brain hemorrhage, a mild stroke and the discovery of a hole in his heart, Michaels is touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special before a series of solo dates in July. He's preparing to release a solo album, "Custom Built," on Tuesday (July 6), and the autobiography "Roses and Thorns: The Reality of My Rock n Roll Fantasy" is due this fall. He's also considering opening a restaurant chain that will bear his name.

Billboard: How is your health? Should you be on the road?

Bret Michaels: I have taken every single precaution I can take, and I feel really good. Obviously I'm not 100 percent there yet, and I'm taking insulin and Lovenox injections every day. But it's either sit there and worry about what's going to happen to me or just go out and do it. If I'm going to live, I want to do the Lynyrd Skynyrd tour, you know? I don't want my legacy to be a brain hemorrhage. I want my legacy to be that I made some good music.

Billboard: When you launched the Poor Boy Records label in the mid-'90s, you were ahead of the curve in terms of artist-owned ventures. How do you handle marketing and distribution?

Michaels: I just hire all the same people that every record label hires. I finance everything myself and then I go to Target, Best Buy, Walmart and K-Mart -- anyone who will take the record. They hear a sample and they order a bunch. I hire a complete staff: people to work it at radio, people to work it online and publicists. Distribution is done through Mailboat, which is Jimmy Buffett's label. I used them before, and they do a great job of making sure it's in every single store. And they are very accountable for the money.

Billboard: What was the recording process for "Custom Built?"

Michaels: I did a lot of recording while traveling. The title represents what the music is about; I'm covering a wide range of music, from rock to country, and I even cover a Sublime song, "What I Got."   Continued...

<p>Bret Michaels poses for photographers backstage during the 9th season finale of 'American Idol' in Los Angeles, May 26, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>