By DERRIK J. LANG
AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES — No groupies. No after-parties. No stage diving.
These aren’t typical doctor’s orders, but bandana-clad Poison frontman Bret Michaels is no average patient. Despite suffering several medical maladies over the past two months, the ‘Celebrity Apprentice‘ champion is moving forward with his tour, album and a new VH1 reality series that promises to show the rocker in a new light.
“I think this is good for my soul,” Michaels said in a phone interview Thursday from his latest concert stop in Minneapolis. “Honestly, I’m taking every precaution. I’m not doing anything stupid. I’m going on stage and telling the fans that I’m going to give 100 percent of everything I’ve got, but if it’s only 75 or 80 percent, I think they will understand.”
Michaels underwent an emergency appendectomy in April and was expected to make a full recovery. Days later, he was rushed to the hospital after complaining of a headache and was found to have had a brain hemorrhage. While recovering from the hemorrhage in May, he suffered a warning stroke and was diagnosed with a hole in the heart.
“I don’t want my legacy to be that I had a brain hemorrhage,” said Michaels. “I want it to be that I rocked, I treated people with respect and I made a lot of good friends along the way. I think that came back to me when I got sick. I truly believe if you’re a good person, and you spread love, then that love will come back to you.”
After winning the third season of Donald Trump‘s NBC reality competition ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ in May, Michaels surprised ‘American Idol‘ viewers when he joined finalist Casey James on “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” on the Fox singing contest’s ninth season finale. A week later, he resumed his “Custom Built” tour in Biloxi, Miss.
Check out Bret Michaels on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’:
Michaels said his doctors weren’t crazy that he returned to the scene so early, but he’s following their directions on the road to recovery, including taking it easy on and off stage, exercising to increase mobility, laying off the liquor and taking blood thinners to prepare for a fall surgery to repair the hole in his heart.
“At the moment, I can’t throw-down like I would like to,” said Michaels.
Production on Michaels’ new VH1 docu-reality show, ‘Life As I Know It,’ was halted when he was hospitalized. Unlike his tawdry VH1 dating series ‘Rock of Love,’ this one will focus on Michaels’ relationship with his daughters, Raine and Jorja, and their mother, Kristi Lynn Gibson, Michaels’ on-again-off-again girlfriend.
The pilot episode featuring candid footage of Michaels before his health scares aired Monday, and new installments in production now are scheduled for the fall. VH1 executive vice president Jeff Olde promised ‘Life As I Know It’ wouldn’t turn into a medical show, but viewers should expect to see a different side of Michaels.
“I’ve never heard him sound better and happier,” said Olde. “I think he’s genuinely happy to be alive and happy for all the things he has in his life, but he’s really always been that way. Bret is not a different person now than before his health issues. I think maybe his priorities have shifted, but they were already shifting.”
Watch Bret on ‘Idol’s Finale: