Bret Michaels doesn’t need a special reason to salute the people he considers Hometown Heroes: active and veteran military, first responders and teachers. In fact, the Poison frontman honors them every night at his band and solo shows, bringing some on stage when he performs the group’s 1990 hit “Something to Believe In,” which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
But Michaels is using five shows this month, starting Nov. 6 in Casper Wyoming, to put the concept on steroids.
“I’m on my Unbroken Tour, so this is just very specific around these dates,” Michaels tells Billboard, referring to his latest single. “We’re making this a great time — an awesome party for people, great bands on the bill, everything. And then we encouraged them to donate money to local charities, who we’ve vetted out to make sure they’re legitimate. We raise the money, we find the (charities) and get (the money) to them.
“My father was a military veteran. My cousin Bobby, who works for us out at the merch stand and greets people, is a Vietnam Vet, two Purple Hearts. I’m thankful for our freedom and that people get the freedom of opinion. I will never apologize for that. What they do is why I get to look the way I do and dress the way I do.”
Michaels’ guests for the Hometown Heroes show include Night Ranger, Lita Ford, Firehouse, Joe Nichols and Joe Diffie. The rest of the itinerary includes Sioux City, Iowa on Nov. 8, Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Nov. 9, Independence, Mo. on Nov. 10 and Park City, Kan. on Nov. 11.
Michaels wrote “Unbroken,” which came out during March, with his youngest daughter Jorja Bleu (the namesake of his 2017 single) with a message “just about being stronger than your adversity. She was going through a tough time in her young teenage life, some of her first big adversity, so I said ‘Let’s sit down at the piano and write about how you’re feeling.’ We wrote it over a couple of days and produced it together. It was a real bonding between father and daughter. I think the song is incredible, and hopefully it inspired other people.”
Michaels is also looking at some Poison activity for 2020 after taking this year off. “2020 is really the dream,” he acknowledges. “I’m working real hard right now to put together something incredible with some other bands for next summer.” A new Poison recording, he adds, “would be amazing. I don’t think an entire album, but at least one song; I’d love to do that. It’s definitely on the wish list.”