Bret Michaels Recalls His Early Musical Career While Singing For His Supper At Hollywood Hard Rock

The Poison frontman has some valuable advice for fighting stage fright.

Glam metal legend (and beloved VH1 Rock Of Love veteran) Bret Michaels is used to filling stadiums with his band Poison, but last week he rocked a Hollywood Hard Rock Cafe— and they paid him in burgers! It was all part of Hard Rock’s “Sing For Your Supper,” an event that encourages people to get up and belt it. At locations around the country, Hard Rock offered free Local Legendary burgers to anyone who would step up to the stage and perform a song of their choice.

The fun and food-filled day was kicked off with a short set by Bret, who also did the honors at last year’s celebration. The intimate performance got him thinking about the beginning of his musical career, playing bars with his first band, Paris. He was kind enough to reconnect with his VH1 family to field questions about those early days, as well as offer tips for overcoming stage fright, and more!

What kind of advice would you give to someone who has stage fright?

Here’s the deal: don’t worry about stage fright. I’m kicking this thing off, we’re gonna go up there-we’re gonna sing, we’re gonna have fun, we’re gonna eat. And even if it’s awful, who cares? It makes great memories! You share those moments. Everyone’s gonna YouTube it but have a lot of fun with it. You get to eat an awesome legendary burger and be able to laugh and have a good time, so don’t be scared! Go up, pick a song you love, and just go for it.

Do you remember what it was like the first time you got onstage to sing?

Every time I get up to sing I always get a nervous knot in my stomach. But the difference is that you have to be able to take the energy, focus it, and turn it into a good song.

What were some of your favorite early gigs when you were playing with Paris? Were there any crazy locations?

With Paris, probably the best location we ever played was almost getting killed at a spring fling of drunkenness, no security and a guy with a .44 Magnum. I can’t make this up. I have so many actual near death experiences, I can’t even explain it. He wanted to kill us because he wanted to come up and sing-wielding a gun around. There’s no security and the only people drunker than us was the entire crowd.

Is there something that you haven’t done yet in your career that you would like to do?

There’s a lot of stuff in my life that I would like to do. But right now, the most important thing is try to sing “Every Rose…” and eat a hamburger at the same time. This is gonna be tough to do, but I think I can manage it.

VH1 Music Editor + Seltzer Enthusiast