Bret Michaels more difficult than Axl Rose? A former manager says so.
Bret Michaels with one time manager Vicky Hamilton
Vicky Hamilton is famous for her "I use to manage -insert band name here- associations." And she talks at length about many of these artists in a recent interview with John Parks of Legendary Rock Interviews.
Vicky has been making the rounds and mainly talking Guns N’ Roses and everything related with their recent Hall of Fame buzz. But what’s caught the eye of some readers, is comments about Poison as well. Vicky tells LRI that working with Bret Michaels was more difficult than Axl Rose himself.
Check out a few excerpts from the interview below.
"Axl Rose was the most difficult personality or character I’ve ever dealt with which ISN’T true. It was unquestionably Bret Michaels"
By John Parks
Metal Sludge Contributor
LRI: I know it’s been mentioned that your time managing Poison ended badly but you really believed in them at a time when few people did, isn’t that correct?
Vicky: Pretty much. They were really fresh and Pennsylvanian (laughs). We had done a demo deal with Atlantic and they passed on the band. Because of my association with Motley and Stryper I was very friendly with the Enigma people and we were offered a very small deal by Enigma, I think it was like 25,000 dollars or something and they of course took it. At that point I was not getting along with Bret Michaels so I sold my contract to Howie Huberman who was my financial backer so he took over management from there. They were released by Enigma and Capitol bought it and it blew up.
LRI: Bret has made such a name for himself outside of Poison and much of it has to do with this easygoing, fan friendly persona but he must be at least somewhat difficult to deal with behind the scenes or creatively. Is he headstrong?
Vicky: I’ll put it to you this way John, everyone assumes that Axl Rose was the most difficult personality or character I’ve ever dealt with which ISN’T true. It was unquestionably Bret Michaels (laughs).
LRI: (laughs). Wow…ok, that IS interesting.
Vicky: (laughs). It’s true. Say what you want but at least Axl wears his heart on his sleeve. You know where you stand because he’ll let you know. He’s honest to a fault. Bret is much more devious and just not a nice person in that regard. Those bands were very much at war at one point with each trying to outdo each other. It was very high school (laughs). Of course, everyone knows that Slash auditioned for Poison and they were going to do it but he was not gonna do the bit in the show where he was like “Hi, my name is SLASH!!!!” and he said “I’m not gonna wear all that fuckin makeup”. They ended up going with C.C. because he was a good fit and Slash was not going to bend to Bret Michaels “rules”.
LRI: I love C.C. Deville, to me he is just so friggin awesome and such a massive part of their songwriting. He is the explosive, fun, tuneful part of Poison. What is your relationship with C.C. like?
Vicky: I love C.C. A few years ago I was teaching a class on music business management at Musician’s Institute and C.C. came in and guest spoke for me and he is so sweet and so funny. He had us all laughing so hard we were all crying he was talking about he had signed up to do the Surreal Life and took out seven parked cars getting there because he assumed they would send a limo to pick him up. He is so funny and so honest and he talked about how he was court ordered to get sober on reality TV which is just crazy sounding to me. I’ve been sober for about ten years now and I cannot imagine trying to get straight on reality TV. I cried every day for about six months and can’t fathom being filmed while going through such a process. He’s such a sweetheart and if you listen to listen to Samantha 7 you can hear that rhythm and sound he has all over it. Matt Smith, their original guitarist was a really talented guitarist but the sound just completely changed when C.C. joined.
LRI: I know what you mean. That’s exactly how I feel, I have all the pre-Poison stuff as Paris and some of it has more of a straightforward, basic Motley cookie cutter sound. Like they sat around and listened to Shout at the Devil on repeat.
Vicky: (laughs). All I can tell you is I went out to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with them in the early days they were doing Motley Crue covers on videotape. I’m sure they cut those tapes up because I was like “Do not let anyone see this stuff!” (laughs). It was pretty sad.
LRI: There was some video on youtube real similar to what you are describing. I think the video I saw was a song called ”Rock like a Rocker” or something….Matt and Rikki and the band were solid but it was a pretty low budget thing and yeah there’s plenty of versions of them doing “Looks That Kill” as Paris.
Vicky: Oh boy.
LRI: When you and Bret had the falling out was that around the time you got actively involved in Guns N’ Roses?
Vicky: Yeah, pretty much. Well, I had always been a big fan of Slash and his playing. I always kept an eye on what he was doing and I booked Hollywood Rose when i was an agent for Silver Lining Entertainment which I was also doing when I was working with and booking Stryper. Axl and Izzy came into Silver Lining and played me their demo tape and it was amazing and I booked them sight unseen. The first show was at Madam Wong’s with Candy and then I booked them with Black Sheep, Slash’s band at the Music Machine. Around that point Chris Weber left Hollywood Rose and Slash entered the picture and I started working with them then. I really liked both Chris and Slash. I thought Chris was a really good writer and I’m still friends with him to this day. It was so funny because our paths always seem to cross. Well after those days, probably ten years later I was working with a band and in England and saw this band whose guitarist was….Chris Weber. I was like “Holy shit!” (laughs). Chris is a great guy and now he works at a recovery/sober living place. He’s just a really good guy who was very important to that whole time and place. No question about it. He co-wrote a couple of those songs on Appetite so he’s a talented writer and a talented cat in general.
To read the entire interview with Vicky, go HERE.