Interview: Bret Michaels hopes his advice steers Oprah viewers clear of thorns

Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels performs at the Goodwill Rock for Jobs benefit concert at The Soundboard, Motor City Casino on February 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Paul Warner/Getty Images)

The same Harpo Studios that introduced you to self-help gurus Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and Suze Orman will be re-introducing you Wednesday to Bret Michaels.

The bandanna- and eyeliner-wearing rocker best known as the lead singer of hair band Poison and the star of the VH1 dating show “Rock of Love with Bret Michaels” will display a side the public doesn't always see when he guest hosts “Oprah's Lifeclass” during an online-only taping at Harpo Studios on the West Side. Michaels will take questions from the in-studio audience and viewers watching on Oprah.com about their personal lives and goals and share the advice that worked best for him.

“It's definitely not coming from a book,” Michaels said Saturday over the phone from his tour bus, en route to Chicago. “I've been through a lot in my life, good and bad. Not just the medical diabetes or the brain hemorrhage. I'm independently owned and operated. I've raised two daughters. I hope a lot of the questions are about what people want to do with their life — what they're passionate about. I hope to be able to give them advice based on what I've been through that they can apply to their life.

“I'm not going into this as a fixer to everything. That's not my approach. I'm going to give you some advice on things I've been through that I call real life examples. The best approach is to not shove it down their throat. I'm just throwing it out there as an option: 'I don't know if this will work for you, but here's what happened for me.'”

Oprah Winfrey has hosted “Lifeclass” on her Oprah Winfrey Network with Hollywood director Tyler Perry, Dr. Phil and pastor Joel Osteen. Michaels will fill in for Winfrey — who may chime in via social media — for the online-only taping set for 7 p.m. Wednesday. Supermodel and DeKalb native Cindy Crawford will guest host the online-only taping at 2 p.m. the same day. Those interested in being part of the studio audience or sending in a question can go to oprah.com/lifeclass.

Why did Harpo ask Michaels — who appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2010 — to guest host?

“The way he treats every single person on his crew is awe-inspiring,” said Harpo Studios Executive Vice President Jill Van Lokeren Saturday by email. “And watching Bret with his fans is in and of itself a life lesson. … He has lived life and then some. And through it all, he is kind, generous, funny, cool and makes people feel like they matter. Who wouldn't want to learn from someone like that?”

Michaels is currently touring as a solo artist. On Tuesday, he will release his single “A Beautiful Soul,” off of his self-produced upcoming album, online. He hopes to hit the road with his Poison bandmates toward the end of this year.

“It'll be mostly solo dates up until the fall,” Michaels said. “I'm keeping my fingers crossed Poison will be doing a handful of dates by ourselves at the end of the year and then next summer we could co-headline with Def Leppard or Kiss or whoever.

“We're still friends, as crazy as that sounds,” Michaels said of his bandmates. “The media used to focus on the fist fights. But that only happened two or three percent of the time.”

In addition to music, Michaels, a former “Celebrity Apprentice” winner, also spends his time working on his various business ventures (Roses and Thorns cologne, Pets Rock pet toys and apparel) and speaking at colleges and to corporations. Given his colorful rock star and reality TV resume, Michaels understands some might find it odd to see him dishing out advice and inspiration.

“When I did ‘Celebrity Apprentice,' I said, ‘I know you all think I've been stoned since third grade,'” Michaels said, laughing. “The truth of the matter is, in the entertainment world I live in, you can get lucky for one or two years. You don't survive this without hard work and a lot of determination. You have to have some kind of street savvy to do this 28 years.”

lgomez@tribune.com | Twitter @TribLuis

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