Music

Poison's Bret Michaels Talks New Tour with Mötley Crüe & Def Leppard: 'Work Hard, Party Harder'

Bret Michaels and his fellow Poison bandmates are preparing for what’s promised to be an epic 2020 tour with rock legends Mötley Crüe and Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Def Leppard.

The dynamic trio — joined by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts — will blow fans away during their nationwide Stadium Tour, which kicks off on July 7 in Miami.

“I love to host a great party,” Michaels told PEOPLE backstage shortly after the bands officially announced the news. “Like if you come on the bus over the summer, it’s a party. I wanna make sure everyone’s having a great time, and I want people to have the time of their life at my party.”

This marks the first tour for Mötley Crüe since the band announced their “Final Tour” in 2014, and Michaels couldn’t be happier about their highly anticipated reunion.

“I had been throwing this positive, positive vibe out there wanting Mötley to get back together. I sort of was hinting over and over again on stage, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if?’ And then next thing you know…” says the 56-year-old rocker, who was recently named Humanitarian of the Year.

The rocked-up venture began as a talk between Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett. “Def Leppard I’m great friends with — those guys are amazing to tour with,” Michaels says. That’s when Mötley Crüe decided to end their four-year hiatus. “The fact that they blew up their contract, it’s the best thing because it’s great rock and roll and I think all of us out there together, it’s gonna be incredible.”

Def Leppard, Poison, Mötley Crüe

He was quick to shout out the efforts of the road crew and management for putting the show together. “It doesn’t happen by accident. There’s a lot of hard work. Then you know what the party is? It’s when you finally walk out there and grab the mic and you sing — that’s a good day.”

On teaming up on stage, “I say we have to all come out one night and all do one song [together] at the end of the night and just make it insane,” he says. “I would do it every night, but if we get one night out of it I will be happy.”

Though Michaels brings the heat to all of his shows, the rock star — who has been living with Type 1 diabetes since he was just 6 years old — has battled some serious health scares.

In April 2010, the Poison frontman underwent an emergency appendectomy. A few days later, he was struck by a subarachnoid hemorrhage – bleeding in his brain stem that could have proved fatal. After surgery, he was hospitalized again, this time with a small stroke. And in January, he had surgery to repair a hole in his heart.

Talking to PEOPLE, the singer revealed that he takes five injections each day to manage his condition.

“Being diabetic, a lot of it is mind over matter, and it is tough,” he admits. “[But] if you wanna rock and you wanna have energy, you find a way to stay healthy and that’s what I do.”

Bret Michaels

“I encourage it with all the diabetic camps that I do,” he adds. “I go and talk to everybody and say ‘Look, this is tough, but you know what? My parents taught me self pity is not gonna work. You gotta get out there and you gotta believe in what you’re doing.'” 

“For myself, and for Poison, we bet on ourselves and I try to teach that to a lot of people,” he continues. “Bet on yourself and you cannot lose.”

While living with a chronic illness is no easy feat, Michaels says he’s motivated by the connective power of music.

“Music is the universal language,” he says. “It brings people together that are strangers and their arms are up in the air rocking, arms in every row. I’ve watched, when we’ve done a couple of our own stadiums like Hershey Stadium stuff with Poison, every person out there with their arms up is singing, and it’s three generations.”

When he’s not sharing positivity onstage, Michaels is spreading it elsewhere with his charitable work.

Poison

Michaels is the man behind the Life Rocks Foundation, his nonprofit organization that benefits a wide range of causes from childhood cancer to military support. “As much as I love having fun, there’s another part of my personality that is extremely driven,” he says of his philanthropic efforts. 

Just in time for the holidays, Michaels will be delivering gifts to children in the Caribbean. “It makes me feel great, and to be able to take a bunch of toys and fly them myself. I’m gonna take them down to the Bahamas and Puerto Rico,” he says. “We just did a huge Toys for Tots in Los Angeles, and especially at this time of year it’s incredible.”

Though Michaels continues to work hard and give back, the rocker hasn’t forgotten how to have a good time. “Work hard, party harder,” he says with a laugh.

Tickets for the Stadium Tour will be available starting Dec. 13.


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