Poison began their journey in 1983 under the name Paris and consisted of lead vocalist Bret Michaels, guitarist C.C. Deville, bassist Bobby Dall, and drummer Rikki Rockett. Moving to Los Angeles on March 6, 1984, they started playing big clubs and several other clubs. The name Poison was picked by the band after seeing Spinal Tap.
During this period, Poison's manager negotiated a deal under which West Hollywood club The Troubador would pay for shows.
Michaels, Dall, Rockett and DeVille signed to independent label Enigma Records in 1986 (see 1986 in music) for approximately $US 30,000. Their debut album, Look What the Cat Dragged In was released on August 2, 1986. It included one single, followed by three hits, "Talk Dirty to Me", "I Want Action", and "I Won't Forget You".
In 1987 the band also recorded a cover of the Kiss song "Rock And Roll All Night" for Less Than Zero's soundtrack. In the same year, a Geffen publicist successfully sued Michaels and Dall for assault after they poured a bucket of boiling water over her breasts at a party. The stunt appeared to have been in retaliation for various negative comments made about Poison by Geffen band Guns N' Roses.
Poison's second album, Open Up and Say...Ahh!, was released on May 21, 1988. It peaked at #2 on the American charts and would ultimately go on to sell 8 million copies worldwide. The album included the band's biggest hit, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," along with other top 10 hits, "Nothin' but a Good Time", "Fallen Angel", and the Loggins and Messina cover "Your Mama Don't Dance." The album had created a controversy with its initial cover, a depiction of a female demonic figure with an apparently obscenely long tongue. A censored version of the cover followed, focusing on the figure's eyes. By the time the band toured with David Lee Roth in 1988 on the Skyscraper Tour, it was apparent that Poison had become a major live act. As the end of 1989 neared, the band had become the fifth-best selling hard rock band of the 1980s, behind Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and Guns N' Roses.
Poison's third album, Flesh & Blood, was released on June 21, 1990. It also was highly successful, peaking at #2. It too features an alternate cover, as the original featured what appeared to be running ink or possibly blood from the tattoo. (Subsequent versions of this cover removed this "extra" ink.) The record went multi-platinum, spawning three gold singles: "Unskinny Bop," "Ride the Wind," and the ballad "Something To Believe In". The last single released was the title cut, "Flesh & Blood (Sacrifice)". The video was banned from MTV due to its explicit nature, but did surface later in the video compilation, Flesh, Blood & Videotape, in early 1991. The album's success prompted the impetus for a further world tour.
One of the band's few appearances in the UK was on August 18, 1990 at Donington's Monsters of Rock festival in the summer of 1990. Whitesnake headlined with Aerosmith, Poison, Quireboys and Thunder supporting them. This event was broadcast on BBC Radio 1.
Poison recorded a number of performances during its 1990/1991 Flesh & Blood tour which were released in November 1991 as their fourth album, Swallow This Live. The double album features live tracks from Poison's first three studio albums and four new studio tracks, which were the last recorded before C.C. Deville's departure from the band later that year.
Wikipedia contributors. Poison (band). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. February 4, 2009, 00:31 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Poison_(band)&oldid=268370430. Accessed February 5, 2009.