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Bret Michaels facts for kids

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Bret Michaels
Bret Michaels 2019 (cropped).jpg
Michaels performing in 2019
Background information
Birth name Bret Michael Sychak
Born (1963-03-15) March 15, 1963 (age 60)
Chicora, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • musician
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • filmmaker
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active 1983–present
Labels Capitol, Cyanide Music Inc., VH1 Classic
Associated acts

Bret Michael Sychak (born March 15, 1963), known professionally as Bret Michaels, is an American singer and musician. He was the frontman of rock band Poison who has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and 15 million records in the United States. The band has also charted 10 singles to the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, including six Top 10 singles and a number-one single, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn".

Besides his career as frontman, he has several solo albums to his credit, including the soundtrack album to the 1998 film A Letter from Death Row in which Michaels starred, wrote and directed, and a rock album, Songs of Life, in 2003. Michaels has appeared in several films and TV shows, including as a judge on the talent show Nashville Star which led to his country influenced rock album Freedom of Sound in 2005. He starred in the hit VH1 reality show Rock of Love with Bret Michaels and its sequels, which inspired his successful solo album Rock My World. He was also the winning contestant on NBC's reality show Celebrity Apprentice 3 and also featured in his own reality docuseries Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It, which inspired his highest-charting album as a solo artist, Custom Built, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Hard Rock chart. He is also known for hosting on the Travel Channel. In 2006, Hit Parader ranked Michaels at No. 40 on their list of greatest heavy metal singers of all-time.

Early life

Michaels was born Bret Michael Sychak on March 15, 1963, to Wally and Marjorie Sychak, north of Pittsburgh in the town of Chicora, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He attended Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School. He has two sisters, Michelle and Nicole. He claims that his parents had originally intended for him to have the middle name "Maverick", after the title character in the popular James Garner TV Western series Maverick. He is of Carpatho-Rusyn (from his paternal grandfather), Irish, English, German, and Swiss descent. Bret's great-uncle Nick Sychak fought at Omaha Beach in the Invasion of Normandy and was killed in action in France in 1944.

At the age of 6, Michaels fell ill, and during a three-week stay in the hospital, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Music career

Michaels began playing the guitar as a teenager, forming a band with drummer Rikki Rockett, bass player Bobby Dall and guitarist David Besselman. Shortly thereafter, Besselman left the band due to creative differences and in 1983 the band hired Matt Smith to form a new band named Paris in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. In early 1984 the band tired of playing the Pennsylvania bar circuit, changed their name to Poison and moved west to Los Angeles to seek fame on the Sunset Boulevard scene. That same year, Michaels met 16-year-old Tracy Lewis, who would become both his girlfriend and the muse for one of his most memorable songs. Eventually, Matt Smith tired of the band's struggle to find fame and returned home. He was replaced by C.C. DeVille, who would become both Michaels' friend and a source of conflict.

1980s–1990s

Local publicity about the band eventually led to a record deal with Enigma Records, and their first album, Look What the Cat Dragged In. The album went platinum, and the band became famous.

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Poison became one of the biggest glam metal bands in the world, recording their second album, the multi-platinum selling Open Up and Say... Ahh!, and their third album, the multi-platinum selling Flesh & Blood.

2000s

BretMichaels
Michaels in 2008

Michaels recorded his soundtrack album in 1998 titled A Letter from Death Row which was the soundtrack to the same-titled movie he directed, wrote, and starred in. In 2000 Michaels released a country demos ep and also released the album "Show Me Your Hits" which featured re-recorded Poison classics.The album featured Michaels performing Poison hits in a new way and also featured other artists with Michaels on selected tracks. In 2001 Michaels released a unique storytellers CD titled Ballads, Blues & Stories which featured Poison and Michaels solo tracks along with recorded stories about each song.

In 2003, Michaels released a brand new studio album Songs of Life which featured the singles "Raine" (dedicated to his daughter) and "Bittersweet". Michaels also released his first solo music video for the single "Raine" which was directed by award-winning director Shane Stanley. The album also featured a music video for "Menace to Society" and a 9/11 tribute "One More Day".

Michaels served as a judge on the 2005 season of the reality television singing competition Nashville Star and released a country rock album in the same year called Freedom of Sound. The album features the singles "Right Now, Right Here", "Open Road" which Michaels performed live on the show and the hit single "All I Ever Needed" (featuring Jessica Andrews) which appeared on Billboard's "Hot Country Songs" chart, with its best position being number 45. The song also featured a music video which appeared on Billboard's "Hot Videoclip Tracks" chart in 2008.

Michaels released a best of album called Rock My World in June 2008 which featured music from his reality television series Rock of Love including the new singles "Go That Far" (Rock of Love theme), "Fallen" and "Start Again", the first two singles also featuring music videos with clips from the series. The album charted at No. 40 on the Billboard 200, No. 4 on the Top Independent Albums, No. 4 on the Top Hard Rock Albums and No. 16 on the Top Rock Albums chart. In December 2008, Michaels released a single version of "Driven" (rock mix) which also featured a music video with preview clips for the third season of Rock of Love, titled Rock of Love Bus. Michaels also re released the "Fallen" single with acoustic, piano and demo versions included.

Michaels released a 30-minute DVD from Time Life in 2008 called Hard & Heavy Confidential featuring Bret Michaels which included acoustic versions of "All I Ever Needed", "Driven", "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Something to Believe In", it also included in depth interviews. The DVD was included in the Hard & Heavy CD/DVD collection from (Time Life) advertised on TV by Bret Michaels. The same four acoustic performances were also released on CD titled "Bret Michaels Acoustic Sessions".

2010–2014

Bret Michaels performs in Massapequa, NY in 2014
Michaels performs at John J. Burns Park in Massapequa, New York, 2014

In 2010, Michaels released a new single called "Nothing to Lose" from his upcoming new studio album, Custom Built. The song featured the guest vocals of Miley Cyrus and was the most added song to radio the week of its release, topping both Bon Jovi and Nickelback. In April 2010, he released the second single "Lie to Me" and in May 2010 released the third single, "Wasted Time".

Michaels performed on the American Idol season 9 finale on May 26 against his doctor's recommendation. Michaels also performed a duet of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" with Miley Cyrus on the June 18, 2010 episode Good Morning America.

On July 6, 2010, Michaels released his new album Custom Built. The album became Michaels' highest charting solo album to date peaking at No. 1 on both the Top Independent Albums and Top Hard Rock Albums chart and also charting at No. 4 on the Top Rock Albums and No. 14 on the Billboard 200.

On August 4, 2010, Michaels appeared in the fifth season of America's Got Talent and performed "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", accompanying himself on acoustic folk guitar.

Despite not being released as a single, a music video was produced for "Riding Against the Wind" a song from Michaels' latest album "Custom Built" that also doubles as the theme song for his new VH1 reality show Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It. The music video was released on October 7, 2010, exclusively at Billboard's and contains footage from the series, which officially premieres on VH1 on October 18, 2010. Michaels also released a music video for the cover of Sublime's song "What I Got", which is the fourth single from "Custom Built". The music video is a special tribute to his fans and was released on Thanksgiving.

In early 2011 Michaels recorded a new song "Hit and Roll" for Top Gear (U.S. TV series) which also included a music video featured on the series and the promo commercials.

On December 31, 2011, Michaels celebrated the new year with a New Year’s Eve concert from the "Get Your Rock On" solo tour. The concert took place in Springfield, IL at the Prairie Capital Convention Center. To make the night complete, this New Year's Eve bash will be featured and well documented in the music video for the new single "Get Your Rock On" from Bret's upcoming new album. The single "Get Your Rock On (featuring Phil Collen & Sal Costa)" was released January 9, 2012.

In conjunction with his new single Michaels also released an alternate version titled "Get Your Ride On (featuring Phil Collen)" on January 10, 2012. The song will also serve as Monster Energy AMA Supercross Opener all season on Speed with an exclusive video that premiered on SPEED TV January 7, 2012. The video will be customized for each race throughout the season.

Michaels toured with Def Leppard and Lita Ford in 2012. In August 2012 Michaels released a new single "They Don't Make An App For That (The App Song)" through Michaels' official Bret Michaels App. The song is a fun, tongue-in-cheek country crossover tune that takes on today’s social media culture. "The App Song" features a teaser video.

In January 2013, Michaels released a new single "You Know You Want It (Featuring Peter Keys)" from his upcoming new album titled "Jammin' With Friends". The new album features collaborations with some of the top artists and players in music from a variety of genres and generations. The album was released June 25, 2013 and charted at No. 13 on the Top Hard Rock Albums chart, #23 on the Top Independent Albums chart, #29 on the Top Rock Albums chart and #80 on The Billboard 200.

On April 1, 2014, Michaels released his new solo single, "A Beautiful Soul", with a music video being released on April 2. Michaels announced that he will perform the track live on the April 2 edition of "Oprah's Lifeclass" which will be taped live on Oprah's website.

2015–present

On April 7, 2015, Michaels released a new song titled "Girls on Bars", making it the second year in a row he released a new song during the month of April. The song was co-written with Grammy award-winning songwriter of the year, Luke Laird. "Girls on Bars” boasted the highest number of views of any debut single ever on CMT.

On April 9, 2015, Michaels announced his new solo album titled True Grit. The album features 21 new and classic hits. The compilation was released digitally May 5, 2015 and Michaels released the video for the new single "Girls On Bars" on May 12. The album is on physical release as a cd exclusively via his website.

In May 2017, Bret Michaels released a brand-new single which is a tribute to his youngest daughter, Jorja Bleu, in honor of her 12th birthday. The song titled "Jorja Bleu" features a music video which was posted at Michaels’ official YouTube channel and is a sequel to his 2003 single "Raine" which is titled after his oldest daughter.

In 2019, Michaels released an official music video for his new single "Unbroken", which was co written with his 13-year-old daughter, Jorja Bleu. The song is about mental and physical strength over adversity.

In May 2020, he released his autobiography, Bret Michaels: Auto-Scrap-ography Volume 1: My Life in Pictures & Stories which is the first in a series of trilogies. The book was initially set to be released in 2010 and titled Roses & Thorns, but kept being pushed back to include more content. In 2019 Michaels announced its release in 2020 and it would be titled Unbroken: My life in Pictures & Stories to coincide with his single release "Unbroken". More recently, he had signed a deal with the United Talent Agency.

In December, 2022, Michaels announced the 2023 Parti-Gras Tour which performed between July 13 and August 6, 2023. Along with Michaels, the tour included Jefferson Starship and Night Ranger with appearances by Steve Augeri and Mark McGrath.

In January 2023, Michaels released his new solo single, "Back in the Day", a throwback road-trip anthem featuring the exclusive world premiere of the video for the song on January 18.

Television and film appearances

Michaels and actor Charlie Sheen established a film production company, Sheen/Michaels Entertainment, which produced the movie A Letter from Death Row (1998), in which Michaels wrote, directed and starred, and for which he released a soundtrack album. They also produced No Code of Conduct that same year, which Michaels also directed and acted in. Their company also produced the feature film Free Money, starring Marlon Brando and Mira Sorvino, and the surfer movie In God's Hands in which Michaels also had a small acting role.

Michaels appeared in the CBS sitcom Yes, Dear, Season 1, Episode 6, titled Greg's Big Day, first aired November 6, 2000. He also appeared as himself in three episodes of The Chris Isaak Show from 2001 to 2004.

On May 1, 2008, Michaels appeared on a special celebrity edition of Don't Forget the Lyrics!, on which he raised $200,000 to donate to charity.

In 2010, Michaels was the winning contestant on the NBC reality television series Celebrity Apprentice 3 on NBC.

Michaels stars in a series named Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It, which depicts his life at home with his daughters and their mother. Filming of the series began before Michaels' health troubles, and filming was suspended after his hospitalization. VH1 aired a preview of the series on May 31, 2010, and the series aired in fall 2010.

Michaels hosted the Miss Universe 2010 pageant along with Natalie Morales on August 23, 2010.

In 2020, Michaels competed on the third season of The Masked Singer as "Banana". He ended up in seventh place on April 22, 2020.

In 2023, Michaels appeared as a guest on the tenth season of Impractical Jokers. He participated in the punishment for Murr.

Charity work

Michaels and his band visited troops at Al Asad Air Base on October 6, 2007, while on a tour of U.S. bases in Iraq in support of Armed Forces Entertainment.

Bret Michaels has done extensive work for Operation Homefront- a charity that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.

He earned $640,000 for the American Diabetes Association for competing in and ultimately winning Celebrity Apprentice 3.

In June, 2014, while on a national tour date in Omaha, Nebraska, Michaels became aware of a series of tornadoes that hit the Nebraska town of Pilger. He, his band, and crew, went to Pilger to see the damage and assist with clean-up. When his tour came near the area again in August, 2014, he hosted a fundraising performance in Norfolk, Nebraska, to help tornado victims in the area.

Personal life

While filming the finale of his reality show, Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It, Michaels proposed to Kristi Lynn Gibson, his on-again, off-again companion of 16 years. In July 2012, he announced that he and Gibson had separated. The pair have two daughters together.

Michaels has a line of pet clothing and accessories called Pets Rock, sold at PetSmart. In October 2023, he adopted a husky named Bret Michaels from the Nebraska Humane Society, after reading a story about the dog providing a blood transfusion to a sick kitten.

Discography

Studio albums
  • Songs of Life (2003)
  • Freedom of Sound (2005)
  • Custom Built (2010)
  • Jammin' with Friends (2013)

Filmography

Film and television
Year Title Role/Notes
1994 Burke's Law TV series, 1 episode
1997 Free Money Producer
1998 In God's Hands Phillips
1998 Letter from Death Row, AA Letter from Death Row Michael Raine, also writer, director and producer
1998 World's Greatest Magic 5, TheThe World's Greatest Magic 5
1998 No Code of Conduct director
1999 High Tension, Low Budget Documentary (The Making of a Letter from Death Row)
1999 Martial Law TV series, 1 episode
1999 Behind the Music: Poison
2000 Yes, Dear as himself
2002 Making of Bret Michaels, TheThe Making of Bret Michaels Documentary
2005 Nashville Star TV series, season 3
2007 Rock of Love with Bret Michaels TV series
2008 Rock of Love 2 TV series
2008 Don't Forget The Lyrics Fox TV
2008 Ellen-Fox Shows February 14, 2008
2008 Saturday Night Live
2008 VH1's "100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs" Host (5-part special; December 2008 – January 2009)
2009 Rock of Love Bus with Bret Michaels TV series
2009 E True Hollywood Story: Bret Michaels
2009 Penguins of Madagascar, TheThe Penguins of Madagascar singing "Wheels of Thunder" in Little Zoo Coupe
2009 Behind the Music: Bret Michaels
2009 American Pie Presents: The Book of Love as himself
2010 Celebrity Apprentice, TheThe Celebrity Apprentice as himself
2010 Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It as himself
2011 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition as himself
2012 The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange as himself
2013 The Celebrity Apprentice: All-Stars as himself
2013 Rock My RV as himself
2013 Full Throttle Saloon as himself
2014 Revolution Season 2, Ep. 13 as himself
2014 I Love the 2000s as himself
2016 Pawn Stars Season 12 Ep. 33 Every Rose Has Its Pawn as himself
2017 Sharknado 5: Global Swarming as himself
2020 The Masked Singer Banana
2020 Impractical Jokers: Dinner Party Episode: "The Food Ya Never Ate Episode" as himself
2022 Guy's Grocery Games Episode: "Craziest Day in Flavortown" as himself; special guest judge


See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Bret Michaels para niños

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