BRET MICHAELS On Touring After Health Scare, New Album

Deborah Evans Price of Billboard.com recently conducted an interview with POISON frontman Bret Michaels. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Billboard.com: How is your health? Should you be on the road?

Bret: I have taken every single precaution I can take, and I feel really good. Obviously I'm not 100% there yet, and I'm taking insulin and Lovenox injections every day. But it's either sit there and worry about what's going to happen to me or just go out and do it. If I'm going to live, I want to do the LYNYRD SKYNYRD tour, you know? I don't want my legacy to be a brain hemorrhage. I want my legacy to be that I made some good music.

Billboard.com: When you launched the Poor Boy Records label in the mid-'90s, you were ahead of the curve in terms of artist-owned ventures. How do you handle marketing and distribution?

Bret: I just hire all the same people that every record label hires. I finance everything myself and then I go to Target, Best Buy, Walmart and K-Mart — anyone who will take the record. They hear a sample and they order a bunch. I hire a complete staff: people to work it at radio, people to work it online and publicists. Distribution is done through Mailboat, which is Jimmy Buffett's label. I used them before and they do a great job of making sure it's in every single store, and they are very accountable for the money.

Billboard.com: Has it been difficult to adapt to changes in the music industry after being part of it for so long?

Bret: Some things are still the same. Now artists use MySpace to get discovered; back in the day we used a slot at the Paradise Bar and Grill. There are great opportunities, but here's the downside — in the new digital age, people are not as loyal and they forget more quickly. When we started, people really dove into knowing the band. In the digital world, it pops up and an hour later there's another video on YouTube and they forget about the last video they were watching. It's a little more easy-come-easy-go. I always tell new bands, "Don't fear going out and being personable with your fans." It's a great new world we live in to be exposed, but it's also scary because you can easily be disposed.

Read the entire interview from Billboard.com.

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