But Bret Michaels is no Flava Flav. Oh no. Here's the thing: Rock of Love brought what I loved about FoL (crazy skanks, ridiculous challenges), but also revealed the kind of awesome person Bret Michaels appeared to be. He was unfailingly sweet and polite to the crazy drunk girls in his care (hello, he kissed a girl almost immediately after she vomited up Doritos and tequila!), he played "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" with genuine emotion (of course, if a song was paying my bills two decades after I wrote it, I'd be into it too), and he appeared to have a serious sense of humor about the show. Also, he's not hard to look at. While he doesn't look like his Poison 80s self anymore (see: right), he also hasn't aged in a fashion where it's completely ridiculous to think women may still want to have sex with him.
I don't doubt that he was genuinely into some of the girls, but you could tell he found the whole situation totally insane sometimes. And come on: "HIYO!" The dude's hilarious.
As I've previously mentioned on this blog, I've had the opportunity to meet some really random "celebrities" in the past few years, mostly reality stars, but Bret Michaels has eluded my grasp. Not for a lack of trying, though, as I have attended (more then one) concert(s) and managed to meet other members of his entourage. Like right-hand man Big John (left)! And bassist Dirty Ray (bottom right)! And yes, I showered thoroughly after these photo ops. Briefly I considered making my 2009 Christmas cards out of the photos I have with members of the Bret Michaels Band...but then I realized many of the photos of the nights in question really have no business being transported through the U.S. Postal Service.
But in any case, this post isn't about my questionable behavior at his concerts, this post is about the man, the myth, the legend, Bret Michaels. Here's the thing: when I heard about his brain going all haywire, I was really legitimately bummed out. Not because there are more trashy rock shows I need to attend in this lifetime, and not because I still don't have a picture with him, but because he seems like such a good guy. He loves his fans, he loves the music that made him famous, and he really seems to appreciate everything he's been given. I was reading an article in People last month (before all of his health problems) about him and his daughters and their Arizona home and I was like, dang, I want to go to Bret's for a barbecue. And I'm not even kidding when I say I would have shed a tear for the guy if he hadn't pulled through. Of course, I cry at Humane Society commercials but still.
Part of it is the music, because I grew up with teenage siblings in the 1980s and in a way, I know the hair bands of that era better then I know the boy bands of my high school days. And Rock of Love really is one of my favorite reality shows ever. And I've had some of the best times I've ever had at a concert at his concerts, with friends who share a not-so-secret admiration for the man in the bandana. Who doesn't like to sing along to "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"? But the biggest part of it is he is fun to watch. Whether it's on TV or at a concert, he's a good guy having a good time and he wants you to have a good time too. I mean, he's got a song about it! I don't want nothin' but a good time either, Bret!
And it is with a somewhat heavy heart that I say, Bret, if this experience has made you marriage-minded and that means the end of Rock of Love, then I'm okay with that. From this week's People:
"As painful as this experience has been, I was given a second chance, right? I don't want to sit around every night worrying this is going to happen again. What I want to do is make a positive bucket list and say, 'I'm just gonna go for it.' There's just so much more I want to do and experience. [Getting married], for sure, is something I have never done. Kristi's such a great person. We'll see if that happens. But yes, that may be one of the big things on the list. My first goal is to get back to 100 percent. I want to continue to rock the world, and I want to continue to love my family and be a good father."Cheers, buddy. Get well soon. And then come back to Minnesota so I can make an ass out of myself at a concert and get that picture with you I need to complete the collection.