July 6, 2003 -
Hanging Out With Bret Michaels...
The First Time

So what should I tell you about next? Oh yeah! Poison - more specifically Bret Michaels.

Back in May I had the opportunity to talk with Bret about his new solo cd
Songs Of Life
as well as his tour with Poison and so much more. I was really excited because Bret
was one of the artists I admired most for the past 15 years and I could hardly believe I'd
be speaking with him.  His personal assistant, Janna, had told me Bret and I would get
along famously - like long lost friends.  I wasn't so sure if this would be the case but it did
put me more at ease. Sure enough, Bret was the kindest, coolest, most down to earth
person I had ever interviewed.

It was a blast talking with him and Janna was right.  It did seem like we were old
high school friends.  We talked about his childhood, his support for the military, his battle
with diabetes, the wild Poison parties and more. You can hear all of this by going to
Chicks Interviews.  What surprised me most was that at three different times in our
conversation Bret said he was determined that we meet and hang out after the show.  
I didn't take this seriously at all.  No offense to anyone else, but most artists will throw out
an offer like this during an interview and then, understandably, not follow through.  
After all, they've surely got a ton of interviews to do and it's unrealistic to think they'd
remember the "chick" from Sacramento.  

But Bret and Janna did.  When I was at Great America on July 6th I was in line for one
of the rides when my cell phone rang.  It was Janna telling me that my backstage pass  
was waiting for meat will call.  I was elated!  I ran to get my pass and headed into the
show with some friends.  

Every Poison show I've been to has always been incredible and this was no exception.  
The whole time I watched Poison on stage I kept thinking how cool it was that I'd be meeting
the front man on stage.  What I didn't know was how difficult it would be to figure out
where I was supposed to go after the show.  

I followed a few other people with passes to a restricted area and waited... and waited...
and waited. The concert had been over for almost an hour and there was no sign of
anyone to guide us to our meet n' greet location.  I met a bunch of cool people and even
had the chance to meet some of the guys from Skid Row who invited us on their bus.
But I was determined to meet Bret.

It was getting really late and my excitement quickly turned to disappointment when
a security guard came out and told us we had to leave. I couldn't believe I had come this
close only to miss out on an opportunity to visit with Bret.  I called my friends who were
driving around in search of some night life until I could rejoin them. I was, pathetically,
almost in tears.  But one of my good friends told me "Staci, don't give up! Walk around
until you find someone who will help you!"  So I decided to try one last time.
Screw the security guy!

I walked down to where I saw a few other tour buses and a few of the others in the group
followed me thinking I knew where I was going. Yeah, right!  I asked about five different
people if they knew where I was supposed to go.  None could help.  Just as I was about to
give up completely, I saw a line of people waiting along side one of the buses.  I walked
over and saw yet another security officer.  Not only was he the most polite person of
authority I had met all night, he was undoubtedly the most handsome man I had seen
in a long time. Things were looking up!

I showed him my pass and with a helpless but hopeful attitude asked him if this was where
I was supposed to be.  He asked me who put me on the list and I told him Janna
had arranged for this meeting. He paused and said that Janna didn't have a list and as he
glanced at the small group of girls who had followed me he asked "What's your name?"

"Staci Anderson."

He suddenly smiled and said "Where have you been? We've been looking all over for you."

Relief at last!  His name was John and he was the head of Bret's security. He told me to
wait there while he found Janna. A short while later, Janna appeared. I had only spoken
with her on the phone but felt like I had known her for years. She was an awesome person!
Janna told me that Bret was really looking forward to meeting me and asked me to wait
at the end of the line so that he could get his other "meet n' greeters" taken care of.
No problem!  

In the meantime, John was telling the girls behind me that they had to leave. One of them,
whom I had never met before, kept trying to say she was with me. Then she'd quietly
ask me "What's your name again?"  I knew she really wanted to meet Bret but I wasn't
about to jeopardize my chances so I had to subtly let John know that she was not with me.
I felt really bad about doing that and the girl was pissed!  When John came back after
escorting her away I smiled and said "I think I'm going to get jumped in the parking lot on
my way out of here tonight."  He told me not to worry.  They'd take care of me.

The line in front of me gradually became shorter until there was only one person ahead.
It was then when I could first hear Bret's voice. He was so great with his fans, taking
extra time with each of them and making them feel special.  The person ahead of me
finished and Janna held out her hand, indicating that she wanted me to wait just a moment
more.  I heard Janna talking with Bret but I couldn't see him because I was still standing
on the side of the bus.

"Staci's here," Janna informed him.

"Well, where the hell is she?" he shouted jokingly.  "Get her up here!"

I rounded the corner and sitting on the steps of the bus was Bret. With a huge smile,
he held his arms open and said "Girl, we've been waiting for you all night!"  I then got the
biggest, and possibly the longest, bear hug I've ever experienced.  I told him what a
challenge it was to have gotten this far and that I was almost going to give up. He smiled
and said he wouldn't have let that happen.  Bret then asked me if I had any friends with me.
I told him they were passing time elsewhere while I came backstage.

"Well, if you don't have to go anytime soon, why don't you come on the bus and
hangout for awhile?" he asked.

Hmmm... let me think about that for a moment.  OKAY!  "I just need to call my friends
and let them know I'm alright," I told Bret.  He watched as I pulled out my cell phone and
began speaking with my friends. They asked where I was and I told them I finally made
it to the bus.  They didn't seem to believe me so I looked over at Bret and said
"Would you mind telling my friends I'm safe?"  

Bret grabbed the phone and said, "Hey there! Yeah, Staci's safe. She's with us now."  

I couldn't hear what my friends were saying but this is what I heard on Bret's end of the
conversation: "I'm Bret.... (laugh)... Bret Michaels.... Yeah, really.... Well it's good to talk to
you, too.  What's your name?.... Well, next time I'm in town we'll all have to go out and get
a drink, okay?... It was good talking with you, too.... I'll give you back to Staci now."

With a smile, Bret handed the phone back to me.  All I could hear for a moment was
my friends screaming in disbelief.  "Oh my God, Staci! I just talked with Bret Michaels!
I'm never washing my cell phone again! You rock!"

I was really glad this meant so much to my friends and told them I'd call them when
I got back to my hotel room.  I thanked Bret for being so great with my friends on the phone
and he laughed.  "They sound really cool and I kept hearing people in the background
shouting 'you rock, Bret!' It was fun talking with them."

"Yeah, they're awesome people and huge fans," I replied.

Bret finally got up from the steps of the bus and said, "Want a drink?"  Yes, I could definitely
use an adult beverage right now.  He opened the fridge and handed me a bottle of Mike's
Hard Lemon.  Just what the doctor ordered.  "Help yourself to whatever you'd like," he said
and then motioned for me to have a seat.  

There were a few other people on the bus. Yes, most were beautiful women, but they were
all very cool - not catty by any means. I was surprisingly comfortable.  Bret took a seat
next to me and we all talked, drank and got to know each other. Then the conversation
turned to the subject of music.  I was intrigued to discover that Bret was a fan of country
music.  He suddenly got up and said "You guys have got to hear this!"  

He looked around and pulled out a cd.  "This is great!" he said as he put it into the player.
It wasn't a Poison cd or even his solo cd.  No, Bret introduced us to a cd by Tim McGraw's
songwriter.  You could tell he was really enjoying it as he looked like a kid in a candy store.
Bret sat back down beside me and we listened to the cd for awhile longer.  I told him how
many compliments we had gotten on his new single "Raine" and how much I really loved
the whole cd.  He asked if I had seen the video yet.  I hadn't but had been very anxious to
do so because I had heard it was beautiful and somewhat of a slide show of his life.

"Do you want to see it now?" he asked. "Sure!" I replied.

Bret asked one of his assistants to find the video and they popped it in the VCR next to me.
It was visually breathtaking and I was mesmerized. I was so caught up in the moment that
it took me awhile to realize I was singing along.  Oops.  Probably not a good idea when
you're sitting next to the guy who really sings the song.  I smiled, a bit embarrassed, and
apologized.  He laughed.  As I watched the various clips of home movies within the video,
I would ask who each person was. Bret quietly began to narrate the images for me.  

Then came the most awesome moment  .I'm sitting on Bret's bus, this amazing video
playing on the screen to my immediate left, Bret sitting with his arm around me on my right,
when suddenly I'm hearing the video in stereo. Yep!  Bret started singing along and it was
beautiful!  I can't tell you how incredible this moment was so I won't even try.

We all talked and had a few more drinks.  I got a chance to hang out with Janna and
John a bit more, too. Big surprise - John's nickname is "Smooth". I could easily see how
he came by that one.  I'd only met him a few hours prior and already had a huge school
girl crush on him.  The tour manager came on board and told everyone we'd have to wrap
this up.  It was about 1am and they had to leave soon.  

Bret started signing cds and giving them to everyone.  I didn't take one because he had
already been kind enough to give me one a few months ago and I didn't want to take
advantage of his generosity.  Unfortunately, I left it at home  .We said our goodbyes and I
thanked him for a great evening.  I told him I'd be catching another one of his shows nearby
in the next couple of days and would hopefully be able to say hello.

"Definitely!" he replied and then he gave me a hug goodbye.  As I was saying goodbye to
everyone else, John told me that all I needed to do was find one of them at the next show
and they would get me backstage. "Thanks," I told him as we hugged farewell.  From there
I went back to my hotel room.  My friends met up with me a short while later and listened
patiently as I recanted the events of the evening.  

Check out the
next diary entry to see what happened a few days later.