GALO: Your new CD, Good Songs & Great Friends, is available next month. You started releasing songs from the album over a year ago, “Get Your Rock On” (early 2012) and also “You Know You Want It” (Jan 2013). What caused the project’s delay in being released? Even though there are only a few newly written tracks on it, what on this album will show listeners a different side of Bret Michaels?

BM: Well, the album is a collaboration of friends, so we have kept adding guests to the record. It’s been a lot of fun, but there are a lot of people involved when you do this, and while we are working on one song, I will go back and hear something I’d like to try on another one we may have thought was done. It’s just me being as creative as I can be and taking my time to make it perfect. I have some of my heroes and my best friends playing on it. I want us all to be proud of it.

As far as only having a few newly written songs, sometimes redoing already proven hits is harder than writing a new song. I mean, I took on the task of remaking “Sweet Home Alabama” and having the guys in Skynard play on it with me. Like it or not, it is the musical icon of America, so just that in itself was not to be taken lightly. Remaking some of those Poison songs has been a challenge for me, being the original artist to try to improve on the very songs that got me where I’m at today, but it has also been very rewarding because there was a lot of things I wanted to do with them back then that we didn’t get to do. The technology has come a long way for starters, not to mention my own influence. When we were kids, we had producers who had platinum records and lifelong careers, right or wrong, often times they are in the driver’s seat early in your career. At this point in my career, I’m able to express myself musically exactly as I want to and it’s been exciting to hear those songs redone in 2013.

GALO: Good Songs & Great Friends features a wide variety of superstar collaborations, from Loretta Lynn to Jimmy Buffet to Miley Cyrus, also legendary musicians: Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Michael Anthony (Van Halen/Chickenfoot), Ace Frehley (KISS/Frehley’s Comet), and a lot more. It seems like the whole studio experience for this would be packed with fun and professionalism. Is there a story from it that stands out? Is there anyone you wanted to collaborate with but were not able to?

BM: We made this album all over the place. The Skynard guys did their part in the back of my bus. We had a great relaxed time, and it was awesome to see how excited they were to add a new twist on their iconic song. Me and my guitar player, Pete Evick, have identical studio set-ups, and then we carry a mobile rig on the bus. We took the mobile rig to Mike Anthony’s place, set it up and he nailed it so fast we all joked that it took longer to set-up than to do the track. Loretta was a real treat; she doesn’t have to work another day in her life. She’s more than a music icon — she’s an American legend, part of history. We went to her place and worked and she gave it 100 percent, any young musician could take a lesson from her work ethic; she was great. Other musicians sent us their tracks and we just added them in. Technology has made everything possible these days. The freedom to make records anywhere, anytime is a true gift I wish I had throughout my earlier days, but am happy to have it now.

GALO: By now, most of your fans have had the opportunity to see you at least once, but your upcoming performance at the M3 Rock Festival is going to have a monster pyro display, backup singers and will be a once in a lifetime experience. This sounds like a show that should not be missed. How does this differ from other gigs and how long have you been preparing for this event? Care to share a surprise or two?

BM: M3 is gonna be exciting. We are bringing camera crews to film some of the Rock My RV opening as well as a new music video. A lot of the times, my solo band is portrayed as a much rawer, in your face, rock band than Poison. I have always had a love for the pyro and the show and that’s what KISS is. The solo band puts on just as great a show, but more in an Aerosmith way. I tend to be a bit more storyteller and intimate as a solo artist, but for M3, I wanted to merge it all together. Everyone in the band sings and plays their asses off, so it wasn’t like we needed the backup singers, but I’m such a huge fan of that Skynard sound and those female backup singers are instrumental in that sound. So, I just thought, let’s roll everything I ever wanted together into one huge night and make it the biggest rock and roll party M3 has seen yet. It’s gonna be a sight to see.

GALO: You recently turned 50 years young (March 15), but for the first time in 10 years (because of filming/scheduling conflicts), you were unable to celebrate it with a performance. What did you do instead? How did you make up for it at the belated birthday bash (April 6, Pottsville, PA)?

BM: It certainly was weird to not ring in another year on the stage, but taking it to my home state on April 6th was amazing. Pottsville is one of the places I really enjoy going back to and getting real down and dirty with the fans. We pack ’em in and it’s full on energy and fun. My dad and family came, my high school buddies and band mates came, and we partied as long as the law would let us. It was a great time.

GALO: The Bret Michaels and Life Rocks Foundation has helped many kids with diabetes not only attend camps, but learn how to live their life, get the most out of it, and feel included. People around the world look up to you; you have successfully battled diabetes 1 throughout your life; you have overcome a stroke, a brain hemorrhage, and many other health obstacles. Resilient is an understatement. For those who have not been able to attend your camps yet — and for people everywhere — what words of advice, motivation and insight can you share?

BM: That’s easy. Don’t ever look at a disease or a health problem as a reason to give up, use it as a reason to live. The idea of possibly not living as long as others has always been my inspiration to make today count. Take every day like it may be your last, and NEVER EVER GIVE UP. Life is a gift no matter what cards you’re dealt — find a way to live around it.

GALO: You’ve been given a crystal ball. Tell us, what do you see in your future? More television? More music? Or do you see yourself stepping back from the spotlight?

BM: The things I do, I do because I love, because I’m passionate about it. Spotlight or not, I will always be creative; there will always be music; there will always be shows, and films and books. I’m fortunate to create things that people are interested in, but even without that, I would still create; it’s my heart and soul.

(The M3 Rock Festival is scheduled for May 4, 2013 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, located at 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD, 21044. More information is available at and tickets are available at “Rock My RV” will premiere on the Travel Channel on May  26, 2013.)

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Featured image: Musician Bret Michaels on set of the “Rock My RV” show on the Travel Channel. Photo Courtesy of: The Travel Channel.