As "American Idol" scrambles to find new judges, it would do well to grab Bret Michaels; he's quick, smart and talkative. Until then, you can find him spiffing up RV's on the Travel Channel.
That debuts Sunday, as part of an interesting weekend. Here's the story I sent to papers; also please read my previous two blogs on Audra McDonald and Katherine Jenkins, who perform Friday and Sunday.
By MIKE HUGHES
Hard-rock stars, it seems, come in two
There are the ones who hardly ever talk
and have nothing to say anyway. And then there are the others – Ted
Nugent and David Lee Roth and, especially, Bret Michaels.
“I'm a good host,” Michaels said.
“I like entertaining people, making people feel good.”
And he takes instantly to reality
shows. His latest is “Rock My RV,” in which he tries to transform
recreational vehicles and, maybe, lives. “The thing for me is just
the stories of the people,” he said.
By profession, Michaels spends much of
the year on a tour bus. He's 50 and has been lead singer of Poison
for 29 years.
But this goes back further, he said.
“I've been camping and RV'ing my whole life.”
He grew up near Pittsburgh, in a
blue-collar setting. His mom was an accountant; his dad worked
briefly in the steel industry, then was in the military and worked at
a Navy warehouse.
Being on the road has always been good
, he said. “There's a certain rhythm to RV life,” including all
those nights of sitting around campfires, chatting with strangers.
When reality shows arrived, he was a
natural. A decade ago, he was a “Nashville Star” judge –
looking more like a pro wrestler than a country-music analyst, but
bringing a sharp verbal touch. “He'd be great on 'American Idol,'”
Howard T. Owens, the show's producer, said later.
Then came other shows – three
variations of “Rock of Love,” in which he supposedly was finding
a new girlfriend …. “Life As I Know It,” with his daughters,
now 13 and 8 … Two rounds of “Celebrity Apprentice,” one as a
winner and both raising money for diabetes programs.
Michaels said his own health is fine
these days – he was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 6 – and
life is good, especially doing the new show. “This is a passion
One moment, he's overhauling a
broken-down RV for working folks; the next, he's doing a dream
machine. “There ar a couple of 45-footes – four slide-outs,
fireplaces …. We put in a spiral staircase.”
Either way, he says, the RV experience
is worthy. “If you want to see how a relationship is, go on the
road with someone. (Soon enough,) you'll be in love or you'll break
– “Rock My RV With Bret Michaels”
– 9 and 9:30 p.m. Sundays, Travel
Channel, rerunning at midnight and 12:30 a.m.
– Opener is May 26, rerunning at 2
and 2:30 p.m. June 1
– On June 2, one episode reruns at 1
p.m. on HGTV and 4:30 p.m. on DIY; then Travel has new episodes at 9
p.m. Sundays and reruns at 9:30