Rockin' Reality8 Apr, 2008 By: John Latchem
Bret Michaels doesn't need to watch the first season of “Rock of Love.”
“I lived it,” Michaels said.
But fans can relive the hedonism, and a little more, with the three-DVD set of season one of his VH1 reality dating show, which streets April 8 from Anchor Bay Entertainment at $34.97.
“I think the DVD is going to rock,” Michaels said. “There's a lot of stuff people need to see. There was a lot of actual reality. We had to tame our stuff down for cable.”
“Rock of Love” gave Michaels, lead singer for the rock band Poison, a chance to choose a potential girlfriend from a bevy of groupies and fans. Over the course of 13 episodes, girls were eliminated each week until a winner was chosen. The show was styled on VH1's hit show “Flavor of Love,” starring eccentric rapper Flavor Flav.
“I had partied with a lot of the executives from VH1 and a lot of the producers,” Michaels said. “And they were looking for a legendary rocker to do that kind of show. And I was a guy who was newly single and young at heart.”
Michaels said he was reluctant at first to turn his life over to the confines of the reality-show environment.
“I didn't want them to script everything I was going to say,” Michaels said. “But they came back to me and offered to give me more say over what I could do. I said, ‘Let me be who I am. Don't try to contain me.' I didn't go in with any intent other than to make this show fit my lifestyle.”
Michaels said he doubted the show would actually result in his finding a soulmate, so he set out to make it a fun experience for all involved.
“I said that in the first episode we should just have a giant party,” Michaels said. “And all these girls arrived, and I had never met any of them before, and we just had a huge party. And a lot of the girls got hammered. It was a lot of fun, and we took it from there.”
From the start, Michaels mixed in fun competitions for the girls, such as a motocross relay and a mud-football game.
“What I really wanted was the show to have these fun challenges and have us go on really fun dates,” Michaels said. “I didn't want to spend every episode sitting in a Jacuzzi and arguing.”
That philosophy wasn't necessarily shared by the girls who engaged in their fair share of backstage rivalries for Bret's affections.
“I watched the show on Sundays like everyone else. I was just curious what was being said about me,” Michaels said. “But there was a lot of infighting among the girls I didn't know about. And when you look at them, there are a lot of girls who were very up front about things and had a lot of outgoing energy, so I don't think you really need to do much to produce a tantrum. Had I known about all the stuff that was going on, I would have tried to put a stop to it. I'm kind of a defuser. I wanted more peace in the household.”
That doesn't mean he was totally opposed to conflict.
“Occasionally a cat fight kind of turns me on,” Michaels said. “I do not encourage it, but you know, it may take me a few minutes to try to stop it.”
Letting his personality shine through didn't always sit well with the producers, according to Michaels.
“They went nuts one night when I didn't eliminate anyone,” Michaels said. “They wanted me to go back out there and send someone home. And I told them that one of the reasons I was doing the show was so I cold be real, and that's what they wanted. And that night, the real me wasn't ready to say goodbye to someone.”
For Michaels, eliminations were the hardest part of the show.
“I hate eliminations,” Michaels said. “I'm great at hellos, but I suck at goodbyes. It's tough to say to someone ‘you are just not the right person.’
Michaels said he doubted the show would actually result in his finding true love, and the results are pretty self-explanatory considering the show went into a second season. But he tried.
“I look for someone I like, and after the show ends, if something happens, so be it,” Michaels said. “True lust can happen quickly. True love takes time.”
Michaels isn't asking for much in his quest for love.
“First, there has to be a physical attraction and good chemistry,” Michaels said. “Humor is a big part of it. She's got to be self-deprecating. I also like people with an up energy. I'm not talking a ‘Girls Gone Wild' type of energy that is just out of control. But I like a girl who has a good energy around her.”
In the first season, one girl, Heather, even went so far as to get his name tattooed on her neck.
“I told her she shouldn't do it because there was no guarantee we were going to make it,” Michaels said. “But she did it anyway. And it's cool and we remain great friends.”
Heather made it to the finals, and even made appearances on the show's second season. But ultimately Bret didn't choose her, instead picking Jes after she balked at his suggestion they both be his girlfriends, claiming she couldn't share him. However, the relationship fizzled in the aftermath of the show.
“Sometimes on shows like this, opposites attract. Jes was sort of like that,” Michaels said. “Unfortunately, it didn't work out. My connection with Heather was probably stronger. Maybe Heather would have been better to have a go at a long-term relationship. Ultimately that's what the show is about. But at the time I felt I made the right choice.”
Michaels said his biggest regret from the first season was not getting to know Samantha better.
“I really liked her a lot,” Michaels said. “I invited her to Chicago after the show but we didn't connect after that. She kind of fell off the face of the Earth.”
Having completed two seasons of the show, Michaels isn't sure he's ready for a third, preferring to see how things go with his newest leading lady.
“I don't know if I'd want to do the exact same thing again,” Michaels said. “Making a real relationship work is extremely tough in these circumstances. People are caught up in the emotions of the show. And when you get away from each other for a while when the show ends and then you try to re-connect, it doesn't always have that same chemistry.”
On the other hand, Michaels would love to see a one-time crossover of his show with “Flavor of Love” and its spin-off, “I Love New York.”
“It would be one episode with this giant one-time mega super party. That would be killer,” Michaels said, sarcastically adding, “I'm sure there would not be one cat fight in that house.”