Heavy metal dominated the music industry in the 80's, and groups like Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Poison set the trends. In 1983, lead singer Bret Michaels, guitar player Matt Smith, bass guitarist Bobby Dall, and drummer Rikki Rockett formed a rock group called Paris in Harrisburg, PA. Soon, they moved to Los Angeles and changed their name to Poison, and C.C. DeVille replaced Smith. Mavens of glam metal culture, Poison wore elaborate costumes. They favored wild hair, heavy eyeliner, and lipstick. The group released their debut album, Look What the Cat Dragged In, in 1986, and it sold over 2 million copies within a year.
The second Poison album, Open Up and Say...Ahh!, gave the hair metal band a solid place on the charts, despite competition from superstars like Bon Jovi. In 1990, they released Flesh & Blood, but C.C. DeVille had a serious drug problem, and the band fired him for abusing cocaine and alcohol. Richie Kotzen joined Poison during album number four, Native Tongue, and gave their songs a blues rock style. After he ruffled feathers by dating Rikki Rockett's ex-girlfriend, the band fired Kotzen and recruited Blues Saraceno. The new member played lead guitar for the album Crack a Smile, but Saraceno left when DeVille returned to work on Power to the People. After the Poison reunion tour, the band went on to release Hollyweird and Poison'd!, their most recent studio album.
Between Poison concerts, Bret Michaels enjoys the perks of his acting career. In 2007, VH1 introduced a new reality show called Rock of Love. Scoring high ratings, the series features 20 women who compete to be Bret's "Rock Star Girlfriend." Jes Rickleff won the first season, but the relationship was short lived since Ambre Lake won season two. Apparently, true love is elusive, since season three, Rock of Love Bus, has also been completed. Though girls and guitarists may come and go, Poison has stayed together for over 25 years. As USA Today states, "the band has gotten the last laugh on the critics and naysayers, wowing admirers with their pyrotechnics, fabulous costumes and catchy tunes."