Bret Michaels Talks About Health and 'Idol' Prospects
By Mike Hess Posted Jun 4th 2010 07:29AM
Bret Michaels has had one hell of a ride since he came to the PopEater offices in March. Since then, he's suffered a brain hemorrhage that nearly killed him, had a stroke, won 'Celebrity Apprentice' and appeared on 'American Idol' -- an appearance that has led to speculation he may replace Simon Cowell at the show's judge's table. So what does he have to say about it all? PopEater was able to catch up with our old pal to talk about his recent life-threatening scares, the likelihood of him landing 'Idol' and how he's going about life cautiously these days. "I combined diabetes with appendicitis with a brain hemorrhage, then a warning stroke and the PFO ... that's a five whammy cocktail punch. If you would have told me all that combined together, I would have said, 'That person has to be a goner,'" Bret tells PopEater. After the jump, our chat with Bret, plus hear his cover of Sublime's 'What I Got.'
Firstly and most importantly, how are you feeling?
Honestly, all things considered with what I've been through, I'm feeling pretty good. I know my body pretty well. I'm running [at] about 75 percent where I'd like to be. I'm striving to get back to 100. I went out this last Memorial Day weekend and did shows, and I walked out on stage ... most fans, we're like family now. On stage, normally, I go completely insane and kick-ass. This time, I gave 100 percent of my 75 percent. My one leg is still jacked up on my left side ... The injections I'm taking in my leg, they're pretty painful. My legs are black and blue from the thigh to the knee on both sides now. That, plus the blood thinner I need with that ridiculous PFO hole in my heart ... I'm like, 'Man, I guess the brain hemorrhage and appendix removal wasn't enough.'
But in spirit, I'm excited. It's good for my soul to be out making music again.
Three months ago, if someone would have laid out everything that's happened to you, what would you have said?
I would have said it's not physically possible. You would have to be a medical experiment at that point. I combined diabetes with appendicitis with a brain hemorrhage, then a warning stroke and the PFO ... that's a five whammy cocktail punch. If you would have told me all that combined together, I would have said, 'That person has to be a goner.' Honestly, I would have said, 'Someone's making this up.' Honestly, I felt healthier than ever before the appendix ruptured, and then it was a domino effect.
Having gone through everything you have over the last few months, is there something that you look at in a new light? Any things you've changed in your life?
I've always felt that I've approached things very passionately, because I've been a diabetic since I was 6. I have friends who had it at the same time I did. I went to camps with kids that have passed away since. I look at life and want to enjoy it, grab it by the b**ls and God willing live as long as I can and have a great time doing it.
I've always felt I have perspective, but having the hemorrhage happen and the doctor tells you to bring the children to the hospital ... they're asking you if you have kids, bring them to the hospital at midnight. That really fine tuned my perspective. I've always thought I enjoyed being around people and hanging out, but now I realize how important great friends are -- it's the quality of life, not the quantity.
You just go, 'Wow.' I'm a little, let's say, energetic, so sometimes it's good for me to just take a breath and hang out a little longer. I listen a little better. It really put things in perspective.
The amount of support for you, with 'Apprentice' and your 'American Idol' performance, was huge? Did you expect such an outpouring?
Truthfully, from my heart, I was overwhelmed. I am thankful and appreciative. I didn't expect anything. My first three days after the hemorrhage, I was in basically a state of a coma. All I cared about was getting well. I told the doctors, 'I don't care what you've got to do, just do it.' They put a catheter in ... I said I don't give a crap. I said, 'The pain in my head, you're never going to beat it.' They put the catheter in and started stuff before I was even numb. Going up through my groin, it didn't tickle.
As far as the fans and public wishes, it is really an amazing feeling. It was part of my healing process. It was really beautiful, and you hope when you go through life, you left something good behind. You want them to go, 'That's a pretty cool guy.' I hope that's what I left behind. Even on 'Apprentice,' I didn't feel like to get my job done I had to hurt someone in the process. It's nice when you give that love and that love comes back to you.
There's lots of buzz saying you may replace Simon Cowell on 'Idol,' and our readers overwhelmingly voted for you to be the next judge. Is that a responsibility you'd want?
This is a good question, and here's why -- I'd be honored to do it. I feel there's one area I shine in, it's giving musicians unbelievable advice. When you talk about being a judge, Simon did an amazing job. He cut to the chase with his brutal honesty. Mine would be less brutal and with more advice along with the judging. I'll say that wasn't the right song, do you have what it takes? My life is all-encompassing ... it's being a performer, as well as a singer-songwriter and a producer. I can cover every aspect of the business for them. I'd be honored to do it and fans would be blown away by the advice. Everyone thinks when you get a record deal, you've made it. I say the exact opposite. You have a foot in the door, now how do you last 20 years. What's going to make fans watch 'Idol' and see a kid write a great song, and 20 years from now they still want to see you playing music. I would love to do it and I could give killer advice.
And you're also considering doing a new version of 'Rock Star'?
That offer has already been made, and we're just trying to consider putting everything in. I've got a VH1 show I'm shooting called 'Life As I Know It,' which will air in the fall. Then it would either be 'Rock Star' at the beginning of the year, or I'd start 'Idol' [and] then we'll start shooting when they start their season again. I'm really excited about it, but 'Rock Star' is another place where I'd take on the job of hosting, and what I want to do is, every week, bring in three important people from the music industry. Maybe like a producer, an agent and a celebrity come in. Then you bring in someone from AOL, someone from here, from there. You say, 'Why would I want to do an interview with you?' I'd want to round it out more to show the new young musicians there's a lot more to the music industry than playing music. When I first started playing music, I thought all you did was play your guitar and everything falls into place. There's a lot more to it.
Your new album, 'Custom Built,' comes out July 6. What are you most excited for the public to hear?
For me, there's so many different songs I want people to hear ... I'm excited about the rootsy version of 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn,' the new stuff. The theme song to my show is called 'Riding Against the Wind' ... and a cover of Sublime's 'What I Got.' That's one of my favorite songs; it just puts me in a great mood. I love hearing that song, so I busted it out live, and I thought I did a really respectful version of it. I wanted to keep some of what the song is, but I added some of my own lyrics and a cool breakdown to it. We played it live and it went over insane. It's been one of my favorite songs since the early '90s.
Listen to Bret's 'What I Got' Here
With heading out on tour for the album, are you being careful with your health?
Right now, I feel pretty good. I'll tell you this much: I'm taking every precaution. I'm not doing anything ridiculously stupid, [like] getting drunk-ass hammered and not taking my medicine. I'm having fun, meeting a lot of fans and putting on a great show, but I'm just not quite back to where I want to be just yet. It's good for my soul to be playing music. People need to realize I've been in the hospital from early April until just a few weeks ago. That's a long time to be in and out of an ICU unit. Get VIP Tickets For Bret Michael's Tour Here
So if something goes wrong or doctors say to slow down, you will?
The doctors have taken every precaution we can take. They said they'd rather me wait another three weeks to a month to start touring, but at the same time, if I'm going to do it, go do it and if I feel anything, just like with the hemorrhage and the stroke -- get to the hospital. This is life threatening. It's not like I broke my finger, and if I feel anything isn't feeling right, I'm going straight back in.
Bret Michaels Snapshots
In this photo taken Saturday, May 29, 2010, Bret Michaels performs during a concert at the Rib America Festival at Soldier's Memorial in St. Louis, Mo. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sarah Conard)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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