Poison is a hard rock band that formed in the Los Angeles area in the early 1980s. Most of the band members were originally from Pennsylvania, and moved to Los Angeles. The original band consisted of Bret Michaels on vocals and guitar, Rikki Rockett on drums, Bobby Dall on bass, and Matt Smith on lead guitar. This lineup was originally known as Paris. After years of living in poverty in L.A., Smith returned to Pennsylvania, but the other members carried on. They recruited guitarist C.C. Deville, and changed their name to Poison. The group was very heavy into makeup, and could be considered the 'glammiest' band ever. They recorded some demo songs, including the song "Rock Like A Rocker", then signed to Capitol Records in 1985.
Their first album, Look What The Cat Dragged In, released in 1986, had the four members decked out with lots of hairspray and makeup on the cover. People at first believed that this was an all girl rock group, and sales soared. When everyone found out that these were guys, sales dropped, but the band still successfully moved forward. Hits from the album included "Talk Dirty To Me" and "I Want Action".
The second album, Open Up And Say Ahh, from 1988, featured more big hits, including "Fallen Angel" and "Every Rose Has Its Thorn". The band's videos for MTV all charted well, and helped contribute to the band's success.
Flesh & Blood, released in 1990, was more blues-based, but the album still sold well with the hits "Unskinny Bop" and "Something To Believe In".
A live album, Swallow This Live, in 1991, was the last major effort for the band, and featured four new studio tracks, including "So Tell Me Why." After the tour that followed, Poison played a live show for the MTV Music Awards, but C.C. Deville's behavior on stage caused a fist fight with Bret Michaels backstage, which resulted in C.C. being fired from Poison. The group selected Richie Kotzen as C.C.'s replacement.
By this time, the band's popularity was fading out due to the 'alternative craze.' The band's fifth album, Native Tongue, from 1993, was the lowest-selling Poison album ever, and the only major hit was the song "Stand". Kotzen was fired from the band during the tour that followed, and guitarist Blues Saraceno became Poison's new guitarist.
After the "Native Tongue" tour, the band remained dormant, with the band members pursuing various projects. Michaels went into acting, and Rockett worked on art and comic books. In 1994, the band started an album called "Crack A Smile" with Saraceno, which was ready for release in 1996. Instead, a contractual dispute with Capitol led to the album being delayed for four years. In place of "Crack A Smile", a greatest hits album was released in 1996, and the band placed two tracks from the "Crack A Smile" album on the greatest hits album, the only two songs featuring Saraceno on guitar.
Poison left Capitol Records after that, and then reunited with C.C. Deville in 1998. In 1999, Poison, with all four original members, went on a successful summer tour, dubbed 'Exiled From Mainstream'. In the spring of 2000, Capitol Records finally released Crack A Smile...And More, which featured Poison's unreleased album in its entirety, as well as B-sides, demos, and the tracks Poison recorded for MTV Unplugged in 1990 with C.C. Deville.
C.C. formed a side band, The Stepmothers, which became Samantha 7, and released their debut album on Portrait Records in 2000. After forming their own label, Cyanide Records, Poison released the album Power To The People in the summer of 2000, which featured five new studio tracks, and live tracks recorded from the 1999 tour. This album also marked the debut of C.C. Deville on lead vocals for the first time, singing the track "I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine".
Poison continued to tour every summer from 2000 through 2001, to the delight of sold out crowds everywhere. In 2002, twelve years since they last recorded together, the original lineup of Poison released their ninth album overall, aptly titled Hollyweird. The album featured the hit title track, as well as a cover of The Who's song "Squeeze Box". The tour for "Hollyweird" was cut short, however, due to back injuries that bassist Bobby Dall got from constant touring. Dall underwent a successful back surgery to replace ruptured discs in his spine, and the band soon returned to the road.
As of today, Poison is still around and going strong. They are preparing to release another greatest hits package to celebrate their 20th anniversary, which is supposed to feature new songs. The band is also planning another summer tour in 2006 as well.