At last, it has come to this. For three seasons, a one-on-one, full-length interview with Bret Michaels has eluded us for all manner of reasons. Sure, he’s contributed to this blog (a few times, actually), but never before have we featured a man-to-man chat like the one below. And it seems like there’s never been a better time for it, with Bret’s future looking cloudier than ever. He announced in the beginning of Rock of Love Bus‘ run that this would be his final season. Is he standing by those words? How does he feel about Taya and Mindy today? What are his feelings on being parodied in the latest Eminem video? And where does this show fit in his legacy?
We got to ask him about all this and more in his trailer after the Rock of Love Bus reunion finished airing. The location seemed only appropriate.
What you just taped could be the very last episode of Rock of Love, but I don’t feel like it was mourned properly.
Whether it is or isn’t the last is yet to be seen, as far as what happens with me and Taya. That’s what we were in this trailer talking about [before this interview]: Where does this go? Do we date? Do we take it little by little? When you say “committed relationship,” you’re asking someone for a lot. She lives in Cleveland with her son. She travels. I travel. And another thing is that I’m getting much better at advice than I am at finding love. Bret is the rock doc of love. That’s my new thing. It seemed like I saved everyone’s relationship but mine. Everyone got married, had kids, got engaged, got back with their boyfriend.
I guess I had that impression that this was the end, because you said you weren’t going to do this again at the beginning of the season.
I meant that sincerely. After the Ambre thing, I didn’t know if I could do it all over again. I talked to Ambre about it right before the show started taping, just to basically telling her that I wasn’t trying to throw her under the bus by doing this show. And I think people can sense it. You saw what happened after the reunion taping: I talked to those girls. I talked to Maria [who was hysterical over not getting to say anything to Bret well after the lights had gone down]. It wasn’t like, “Hey, I’m done with you. Thanks. It was all TV.” I think the world gets that sincerity. I enjoy being with these girls. I enjoy hanging with them. I’ll see almost all of these girls again at my shows or just hanging out.
In a way, I feel like Ashley was the Kristy Joe of this season: the one who got away.
I really liked Ashley. But I could tell when James came on that they had a much stronger relationship than I was going to develop with her in the next two weeks. There was nothing I could say that would take away them having a son together, that would make her go, “You’re the one.” After that, I think we were down to the girls whose hearts were really open.
Any thoughts on making out with Mindy during the reunion?
I think that I absolutely made the right choice with Taya. But when Mindy walked up and gave me that kiss…My heart is broken that Mindy didn’t say to me on the island that she loved me. I really like Mindy. Me and Mindy need to get together and speak. I didn’t know she was having all those emotional love moments. I couldn’t read her. Taya, she’s good. Whether she was playing me or not, she’s good.
She’s a controversial choice, but after meeting her, I got it.
When you’re around her one-on-one, she lets you know that she cares about you and she makes you feel like a man. She’ll tell you, “You look great.” Being flattered whether you’re being played or whether it’s sincere, matters. She at least let me know that she gave a s***. And you go, “OK, that feels pretty good.” You want someone to care about you.
I was surprised that you went with the girl who didn’t sleep with you.
It was weird. We had a good oral relationship. There was a give and take on both parts. Me and Mindy had a great…relationship. And some of the others. But with Taya, I now have 4th base or a home run to look forward to.
What did you think about this season in general?
Being in the house the first year was amazing to me because I was innocent. I didn’t know what to expect. The second year was very emotional, but I felt like the girls would run to their room the minute they felt their time was threatened. Kristy Joe would be packing, this one was leaving, Ambre didn’t know how she felt. I felt like if I took them out on the road, maybe I’d be in the environment that I’m used to. I think this year rocked bigger than any other show. Crazier, wilder, nuttier fights, except I don’t think it had as much emotion until the very, very end. The show that had the most party but was medium on the emotional, I feel, resulted in the most sincere and emotional reunion. I talked tonight more than I have on any of the other reunions, and it was sincere stuff that I meant. And when I say “meant,” I was able to finish my sentences. It wasn’t all just a party joke. I was glad the girls weren’t screaming at each other.
When you watch girls fighting as a result of this competition for your heart, is that an ego stroke for you?
As a guy, it’s an amazing feeling to have women want you. But I absolutely on no level want to watch women have a physical confrontation. Unless they’re boxers. As soon as I saw Natasha fighting with her, I jumped up. I don’t want to see them in a physical confrontation. Flattering to know that they give a s***, not flattering to watch them hurt each other.
When you talk about your ability to give advice and deal with all these emotions, is the greater point that Rock of Love been a growing experience for you?
Absolutely. I never thought in a billion years that coming on this show would be therapeutic for me, and in some ways it is. Look, I’m good at hello, I suck at goodbye and I’m the master of escape. “Oh, I’m sorry, our bus is leaving and I’m having insulin shock.” I always had a built-in way to get out of town if I needed to. As a musician, I put my heart out there. Sometimes as a human being, I try to guard it by escaping before I become too emotionally involved. And I couldn’t do that on this show, so I had to learn how to deal with that.
I felt like the second season was when you really started having fun with it. You were in on the joke, so to speak.
Absolutely. The first year I did it, I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m able to laugh at myself, and I know that this show is a ridiculously out of control, over-the-top dating show. I felt like I could fully embrace that this year, just like I could embrace that I enjoy doing this.
You were totally upfront about your hair.
I always have been. I’m like a junkyard dog. I’ve been my own boss since I was 18 years old. I’m pretty up front with what I say to people. Whether it’s about how I feel or hair extensions, I really don’t care. There’s nothing I have to hide. I think the girls enjoy that and I think the public senses that this is a reality show with a sense of reality.
Do you have a favorite season?
I enjoyed all three for different reasons.
You watch it avidly, right?
Oh yeah. I gotta see what they’re saying about me. No one at 51 Minds lets me see anything till it comes out!
As early as Season 2, people were hypothesizing what Rock of Love would be like with another rocker. Would you ever let that fly?
Could they do it with someone else? Absolutely. But I feel like Rock of Love and my name are tied together. You wouldn’t do Flavor of Love without Flav. You wouldn’t do I Love New York without New York. I guess I could mentor another rocker. But I’d have to help him should some of the girls need me to mentor them.
Did you pay attention to Rock of Love Charm School?
Oh yeah. And I plan on watching Daisy of Love, too. I just found out that Megan’s going to have a show. She’s a character, man. She should have a show. But Daisy, she was my heroin. I was sexually addicted to her. I think she’s gonna have a pretty good time on her show.
Have you seen the Eminem video?
I thought it was f***ing hilarious. He always does spoofs of people, and I think what he did was great. When you get into something like that, it’s like you’re being accepted into pop culture. Eminem is kind of like my younger, hotter, better-looking brother. That video kinda made me jealous (laughs).
How about your book? What can we expect?
It comes out June 23, and the pre-orders have already blown away any other autobiography that Simon & Schuster has put out. The reason besides Rock of Love is that it’s 22 years of Poison and the solo career, and people know that when I tell my story it will be real. I have a prom picture of me that no one has ever seen before because I buried it. I was the original Napoleon Dynamite. You should thank me for wearing a bandanna. When you see this stuff, it’ll bring you to your knees. The pictures alone are worth it, even if you don’t read a sentence: me in furry legwarmers doing a split in midair during a club gig with three people in it. It’s painful, but therapeutic.
It’s fair to say that music is your heart and soul, right?
What part of your body is Rock of Love?
That would be the penile region, part of the heart and a little of the brain.
I was hoping you’d say that. But seriously, where do you think this show sits in your legacy?
I think of it as an addition to everything I’ve done in my life. Rock of Love touches people. I’ll go into a restaurant and come across an 80-year-old couple who religiously watch the show. And then there will be girls who are 13 or 14 saying, “We have parties, where 20 girls will come over and act out Rock of Love.” Miley Cyrus said it was her favorite show. For me, it’s flattering and I’m just being me. The best part is that I just get to be who I am.
If this is the end, pop culture is going to be left with a void. There is nothing like Rock of Love.
We’ll see what happens with Taya. If it works out, maybe I can become some sort of love adviser. If not, I’d love to come back and do it all again.
Whatever happens, it’s going to work out for Bret Michaels, right? It always seems to.
Yes. [Hand to trailer table] Knocking on cheap wood.