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Eventually, Matt Smith tired of the band's struggle to find fame and returned home. Local publicity about the band eventually led to a record deal with Enigma Records, and their first album, Look What the Cat Dragged In.
It did not see great success until 1987, when Michaels convinced the band to film a video for their song, "Talk Dirty to Me".
Michaels began playing the guitar as a teenager, forming a band with drummer Rikki Rockett, bass player Bobby Dall and guitarist David Besselman.
Shortly thereafter, Besselman left the band due to creative differences and in 1983 the band hired Matt Smith to form a new band named Paris in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
He gained fame as the lead singer of the glam metal band Poison who have sold over 40 million records worldwide Besides his career as lead singer, he has several solo albums to his credit, including the soundtrack album to the movie A Letter from Death Row in which Michaels starred, wrote and directed in 1998, and a Poison-style rock album, Songs of Life, in 2003.He was also the winning contestant on NBC's reality show Celebrity Apprentice 3 and also featured in his own reality docu-series Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It, which inspired his highest charting album as a solo artist, Custom Built, reaching No. He is also known for hosting on the Travel Channel.In 2006, Hit Parader ranked Michaels at #40 on their list of greatest Heavy metal singers of all-time.In 2001 Michaels released a unique storytellers CD titled Ballads, Blues & Stories which featured Poison and Michaels solo tracks along with recorded stories about each song. In December 2008, Michaels released a single version of "Driven" (rock mix) which also featured a music video with preview clips for the third season of Rock of Love, titled Rock of Love Bus.In 2003, Michaels released a brand new studio album Songs of Life which featured the singles "Raine" (dedicated to his daughter) and "Bittersweet". Michaels also re released the "Fallen" single with acoustic, piano and demo versions included.
In early 1984 the band tired of playing the Pennsylvania bar circuit, changed their name to Poison and moved west to Los Angeles to seek fame in the Sunset Boulevard scene.