This year marks the 20th anniversary of the debut album from the glam slam kings of noise: Poison. Teaming up with Cinderealla again this year, whom also is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their album debut, this summer tour will be more like a nation-wide celebration. Wisconsin Music recently chatted with Poison bass player Bobby Dall, on everything from the new greatest hits CD to his love for Flavor Flav.
WM: Hi Bobby. Did you have a show last night?
BD: Yeah we did. It went fantastic. It was our first one. There’s always a few rough edges to work out, but it was fantastic. I apologize up front, I’m a little hoarse and sore from it. It was a great show, we had a great time. It was in Mankato, Minnesota. We’ve opened up a tour or two there now, and it’s always a fun little city to start in.
WM: I don’t even recognize your voice, you must have been screaming your head off last night…
BD: Yes. It’s the beginning of the tour, and I always blow my throat out. It comes back every night when I start singing. This is my voice for the summer when we tour.
WM: You could play some funny jokes on your friends with that voice.
BD: My girlfriend’s always calling it ‘the sexy voice’.
WM: Your 900 number voice! (laughs)
BD: Exactly! (laughs) Which you’re probably not interested in. But she looks forward to the after-show call. (more laughs)
WM: So let’s go back to the beginning; how did you first start playing bass?
BD: Honestly, I’m a guitar player first. I started playing guitar when I was a teenager. About 14 or 15 years old. Right before we put Poison together, there was a local band called The Kids and they needed a bass player. I was doing the guitar thing and I kept noticing that nobody needed a guitar player, everybody needed bass players. So I went out and bought a bass, and learned five songs. I went and did an audition with The Kids, long story short I didn’t get the gig. But it was a week later we put Poison together, and here we are.
WM: So how did you know Rikki and Bret?
BD: I was introduced from a mutual friend. The guy that taught me the five songs on bass. We originally started as Paris, and we went to Los Angles from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The original guy lasted about a half year in LA, and then we got CC Deville.
WM: So how long was it between CC joining and the band signing with Enigma Records?
BD: Not long. Probably within six months to a year.
WM: Do you attribute that to timing, or the chemistry between the four of you?
WM: So twenty years ago a majority of the critics dismissed Poison as a no-talent flash in the pan. And twenty years later, here you are.
BD: Do those same critics still have their jobs? (laughs)
WM: And the great thing about it now is that a lot of today’s critics grew up with your music.
BD: Yes, absolutely. That’s one of the great things as you mature and become older. When you first start out, your fans are 15 and 16 years old. Then one day they run the golf course you’re playing on. It’s a great feeling.
WM: So you have a new greatest hits out with a new song on it.
BD: Yes. We did a remake of “We’re An American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad.
WM: Did you shoot a video for that?
BD: We made a video with in the studio footage of us making the song. But not an actual video for release.
WM: Have you heard how the sales have been so far on the CD?
BD: We sold 180,000 copies in 6 weeks.
WM: Not bad for a flash in the pan…
BD: Don’t get too close to the fire!
WM: Do you have a favorite Poison song?
BD: (without hesitation) “Ride The Wind.”
WM: What about a Poison song you wished you never heard again?
BD: There’s many songs in both categories, to be honest with you. There’s no songs I’m particularly un-proud of, but there’s songs that I’ve only played one time… and that was to record them. On every record, there’s many of those. If there’s 12 songs on a record, you’re probably only going to play 3 or 4 of them ever again. A lot of those songs get written at the moment in the studio or very shortly prior to going into the studio. Then you play them once and you never play them again. We’re fortunate that we’re one of the bands that has the long greatest hits package. That’s probably one of the reasons for our longevity and our long career. When you come to a Poison show, you get 12 to 14 top 40 hits.
WM: Do you have a favorite Poison video?
BD: Um… I’m definitely a sucker for the first couple… “Talk Dirty To Me” and “I Want Action.” They were all good in their own way. My favorite scene in a video was the one where I was out of my mind in “Every Rose”, where they’re picking me off the stage.
WM: So what wasn’t just exhaustion? (laughs)
BD: Ahh… no. I was fucked out of my brain. (more laughs)
WM: Speaking of the “Every Rose” video, it was filmed for the most part in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Green Bay was also where Poison started 3 of their world tours, citing it as your lucky spot.
BD: Yes, also a cheap building. There’s a lot of factors that play into that. We had a promoter friend who was from there, so it was cost-effective to start there. There’s a couple of different cities we’ve started world tours in, and Green Bay is definitely one of them and definitely a good luck charm.
WM: From what I remember, you would come a week ahead of time and hang out.
BD: Yeah, we would do a week of production rehearsals there. It’s a great, fun little town.
WM: Several years ago you had a spinal cord injury, and you had some disks replaced. How are things now?
BD: I deal with pain quite a bit, but I’ve dealt with this for a long time. It’s been 15 years ago when I did the original injury and herniated the disk.
WM: So does it affect your performances now?
BD: It’s always there, because I can’t lay back on the stage. When I play, I have to go for it. The adrenaline pumps, and I become a rock star. There’s a lot of times on the stage when I feel something and think that I shouldn’t have done that. (laughs) But I can’t control it.
WM: Where would Bobby Dall be today if your music career never took off?
BD: I’d probably be running the planet.
WM: Good answer! Poison is the epitome of the party rock band.
BD: As we get older, we are singled out as the pioneer of the glam party band. We were always about having nothing but a good time. Not to quote a pun! (laughs)
WM: So here you are in the ultimate party rock band 20 years later, and you’re a father. Are those conflicting roles in your life?
BD: Well, I’m not the same person that I was at the beginning of this band. That’s just life. I’m 10 years sober now, and I don’t smoke anymore. I’m much healthier. You do reach an age where you say (to your children) ‘Do as I say, not as I did.’ But that’s anyone’s life. I have a 15 year old son, and a 9 year old daughter.
WM: And what do your kids think of Poison?
BD: They both love it. My son travels with me at all times. And my daughter comes in and out about every 3 weeks. My son grew up on a tour bus, and it’s what he loves.
WM: What are you listening to music-wise?
BD: Well, I grew up in the 70’s. I think the things that influenced you as a teen probably stay with you longer. I’m always a big fan of the 70’s. Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, so forth and so on. But I’m in the music business and I like a lot of new music as well. The Killers are one of the most important new bands. Green Day, although they’re not too new, are having their run the last couple of years. I think the last record they did is just amazing. I’m a fan of a lot of pop, just a fan of a lot of music. That’s what I do. I can hear a country song and say that’s a great song, and I can hear a great pop song and say that’s a great pop song.
WM: Do you follow American Idol?
BD: I think we’ve hit a reality TV phase in the cycle of the entertainment industry. I don’t know if I’m necessary a fan, but I have followed a little bit of it here and there. I’m usually not a fan of the winner. But I give credit where it’s due. I think Kelly Clarkson and Clay Akin are important to the pop culture. Our business is very cynical, and the reality phase is quite interesting. There’s some of it I do enjoy, but I wouldn’t say that American Idol is my favorite reality TV.
WM: What do you watch?
BD: I like the celeb realty. I like Flavor Flav if you wanna know. I think Flav should rule the world! (laughs)
WM: Back when you started out 20 years ago, magazines like Metal Edge helped expose Poison, and today the internet has taken over with that exposure. Are you active on the internet?
BD: Absolutely. I have been for 10 years.
WM: So you’re familiar with sites like Metal Sludge?
BD: Absolutely. Good ol’ Stevie Rachelle.
WM: Stevie’s actually from Wisconsin. What are your thoughts on the Sludge site?
BD: I think it’s a fantastic website. I wished he never would have come out of the closet. I thought it was a little more interesting when we didn’t know who was running it. But it’s still a great website.
WM: In watching the old Poison videos, there’s several of them that show you in the crowd partying… and the people around you don’t even know you’re Bobby Dall. Did you do that a lot?
BD: I do that a lot still. I don’t really have a persona above what you see on the stage. I don’t spend my time trying to be something other than what Poison is on that stage. So because of that, I’m pretty much capable of going where and when and how I wanna go. I purposefully live my life so that I could do that. And that’s the way I like it.
WM: Any message to your fans here in Wisconsin?
BD: I’ve been blessed, God bless them!