Glam-rock band reworks eclectic mix of songs

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Poison plays the Molson Amphitheatre tomorrow night with Ratt.

For Poison, everything old is new again.

The renowned 25-million-plus album-selling glam-rockers bring back the era of big hair and even bigger sound to the Molson Amphitheatre Tuesday to promote their newest release Poison’d!, a disc of classic covers. The collection itself is pretty eclectic; selections range from David Bowie’s Suffragette City to Grand Funk Railroad’s We’re An American Band to the Rolling Stones’ Dead Flowers.

Fresh for the fans but old hat for Bret Michaels, Rikki Rockett, Bobby Dall and CC DeVille. Before their monster hits like Every Rose Has Its Thorn and Talk Dirty To Me, the foursome, originally from Mechanicsburg, Pa., cut their teeth more than 20 years ago in Los Angeles clubs covering other people’s songs. Michaels said they just took their favourites and recorded them.

“I was probably the least crazy about doing a cover record,” the 44-year-old Michaels laughs. “No offense to any cover record, I just didn’t want to do a whole album of it. Me and (bassist) Bobby (Dall) last year, we were in Atlanta on the last date of the American leg of our tour and we got in a huge fistfight onstage. So we decided maybe it would be better to keep our friendship going if we just picked some fun songs from the old club days. Some of it was completely unexpected from a band like ours. I ended up having a great time doing this record.”

Despite the infighting for which they’ve garnered a reputation, Poison, unlike many bands of their ilk, seems to have great sense of camaraderie. Michaels says the rep is largely due to poor timing of previous smackdowns. He points to the Atlanta gig as an example, where Dall whacked him in the knee with his bass guitar, after which Michaels got the injury stitched up and finished the show (He says it’s on YouTube if you care to see it, but he doesn’t want to relive the moment.)

“Ninety-nine per cent of the time we’re friends,” he says. “But one per cent of the time it goes bad. And it goes bad in the wrong place. We’re not smart enough to do it in the dressing room where very few people will see it. But we’ve known each other since junior high school. You gotta understand, I jammed with Bobby in my basement. My dad would flip the light on and tell us we were playing too loud. You know what I’m getting at. There’s a bond there.”