We all know Bret Michaels’ hair is a fucking wig, right? There’s no way in shit that walking rhinestone of a human being has a follicle on his scalp, and that's just the way it is. Everything that guy does just makes him seem like that 50-something fuck-up uncle of yours that your parents point to as an example of why you shouldn’t smoke pot or sneak out of the house, because you have A Future, and you don't want to squander it like poor Uncle Bret. Because Bret Michaels is a piteous human being, one who we unequivocally do not want to become. But you know what? We created him. We broke him, and in the past few years, it’s become abundantly clear that we’ve bought him, too.
The purpose of this piece is not to laud Bret Michaels for releasing his own line of pet supplies and announcing that he’s going to make a Very Serious Movie about his Very Serious Life, but instead to bury him for doing those exact things. The concept of bowing out gracefully, simply retreating to his legacy tours with Poison, and hoping the universe forgets about the Grade-A trainwreck that was Rock of Love is completely foreign to Michaels. He’s an addict, and addicts have to feed the monkey (and, evidently their pets, if the video of Michaels, speaking about Pet Shit in the clenched tones of someone doing something they clearly do not want to do, has anything to say about it). He needs attention, so of course he’s going to try to get it in the only way he knows how: by acting fucking stupid. But why does he need to do it at all?
The essence of Bret Michaels can be explained, perhaps, by two moments of Poison’s heyday during those dark, goofy days that hair metal ruled the terrestrial rock airwaves. The first is during “Nothing But A Good Time,” when noted substance abuse enthusiast C.C. DeVille plays a two-and-a-half-note guitar solo, followed by Michaels yelling the word “Guitar!” as cool as he possibly can. The problem with this is that, classically, you’re supposed to yell the “Guitar!” before the solo. This is the order that these things have to happen in order for them to make sense. Welcome to Planet Bret, sadly—trying to look cool, knowing the correct moves, and then doing them wrong anyway. He doesn't even have the right number of T's in his name. The other distillation of the Bressence appears in the “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” video. In the guise of the lonesome glam metal cowboy, Michaels strums his gee-tar dressed like the world’s prettiest, most effete pro wrestler, and sings his little heart out as the camera shows one of his bandmates onstage, impossibly drunk, having to be helped to his feet by some hapless roadie. By rewarding Bret Michaels for nonsense like this, we set his definition of "cool" in amber, and that’s how we created the attention-hungry monster who starred in an unforgivable number of seasons of Rock of Love, the dignity-bereft chimera who thinks it’s a good idea to record Britney Spears covers and country albums, and delusion-o-saurus who decided to release his own line of pet supplies and make a movie about himself.
One of the most fun things about loving pop music is absolutely hating pop music. In America, we prize those who prostrate themselves before us, just positively begging to have sand kicked in their face, their gnarliest, most hard-earned scars mocked, their bandana-wigs ripped off and their probably-bald heads exposed for the world to see. So when you think about it like that, Bret Michaels is probably a total genius.