TROY — Bret Michaels wakes up each day ready for a challenge. He says it’s just part of who he is. He’s always looking for something positive to believe in.
Yup, he knows it’s cliché and references the title of one of Poison’s biggest hits, but it fits Michaels to a “T” and personifies the spirit that helps the 56-year-old rock icon embrace each day.
“It’s just about finding self-motivation and finding something to believe in,” he said during a recent phone interview. “When I wrote that (song) I had just lost a best friend. It was something where I had to dig deep and find something positive.”
Thirty years later he’s still digging.
Michaels will visit Troy for the first time Sept. 14 when he brings his Unbroken World Tour to historic Hobart Arena. Special guest FireHouse is slated to open the show at 8 p.m.
Michaels said he’s looking forward to the “party” he has planned for fans attending the Hobart Arena show.
“What we’ve done is, we’ve built this thing to be unbelievably exciting, and it starts with building the music for it all,” said Michaels, who has forged a three-decade career filled with musical accolades, television success and a loyal fan base. “We have the Poison hits mixed in with the Bret Michaels songs – ‘Rock of Love,’ ‘Unbroken” – and some of the songs that slid over to Top 40 country songs. And I want fans to know that it’s a seamless, energetic party. It’s an audio-visual experience. There’s a lot of handshakes and high-fives. It truly is a party.”
While a sizable portion of the show will focus on Michaels’ hits with 80s-90s rock band Poison ‑ including radio hits “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Nothin’ But a Good Time,” Talk Dirty To Me,” “Something to Believe In,” and “Ride the Wind” – Michaels said his set will feature plenty of his solo material including “Unbroken” – a song he co-wrote with his youngest daughter, Jorja.
“She was going through a tough time and I was having a tough time with my diabetes at that time and I said ‘We’re going to sit down and write about it… lets’ write down some stuff and make it positive. Let’s tell them the real story of how we’re feeling and make it positive. Be in the fight.’ That’s what ‘Unbroken’ is.”
Michaels said he’s proud of the response the song has generated.
“Now there are a lot of people with ‘Unbroken’ tattoos on them that happen to relate to going through a tough time and it’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “It goes beyond the music knowing that you may have inspired someone or helped pick them up at a tough time. To see those ‘Unbroken’ tattoos and signs held up is amazing. It’s nice to know it goes beyond the music to real life.”
Aside from the music, Michaels said he relishes the opportunity to recognize “hometown heroes” at each stop on the tour.
“I’m a lifelong diabetic and come from a family of veterans. What I’ve done is bring veterans, local fans who are diabetic, first responders, teachers and hometown heroes onstage, and during ‘Something to Believe In’ I honor them.”
He said there’s “zero politics involved” and it’s simply a way to say “thank you.”
Michaels said he draws inspiration from both his parents, and his father – who recently passed away – gave him good advice at an early age.
“(Mom and Dad) were people that got up and enjoyed life every day,” he said. “My dad said to me ‘You’re a diabetic 6-year-old kid. If you want to play football or ride a dirt bike you’re just going to have to work twice as hard at it.’
“I think part of what motivates me is there’s always a challenge,” he continued. “I think that’s what keeps me in the game.”
That and a serious enthusiasm for music.
“First of all, I am as passionate today about making music and being on stage as I was when I started. And as a musician I’m a fan of music. I love listening to other artists’ music,” he said. “Secondly, I’m a details guy. I want to hand-pick the music I’m playing … and when you walk into the arena you’ll hear music pumping and it’s a good time.
“I think that combination of being passionate about what I’m doing together with the fan engagement … I just want people to leave saying ‘That was an awesome night.’”
For ticket information or to check out future events at Hobart Arena, go to hobartarena.com. To learn more about Bret Michaels, visit his official website at bretmichaels.com.