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Music : Cinderoison 

In one writer’s imagination, two notorious hair bands square off and do ... whatever he wants them to

Well howdy, folks, and welcome to the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. I’ll be your host today as we bring to you a match-up like you’ve never seen before ... er, unless, of course, you saw them together in 2002. Oh, and 2000. That’s right, folks, today we’ve got Poison `pause for applause`, and Cinderella `pause for more applause`, duking it out to decide which band kicks more ass and which band should’ve stayed dead when grunge rock stabbed them in the back. Remember, today’s show is brought to you by Aqua Net’s Extra Super Hold Hairspray, now unscented.

Björk: one of the many artists that create soundtracks for the films in your head.

What’s that sound? Is that what I think it is? Yes, yes it is! I’d know those ivory notes anywhere. It’s “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” by Cinderella - their biggest hit, folks! - but where is the band? I don’t see them. Wait. I see them! I can’t believe it; they’re going with the old piano-lowered-to-the-stage trick. I haven’t seen this one for at least, like, maybe three weeks. It’s frontman Tom Keifer and his white piano! Keifer: “I can’t clear my heart of your love/It falls like rain/Ain’t the same/I hear you calling far away/Tearing through my soul...”

Wow, those lyrics are ... well, I’m moved. If you had an X-ray over my heart right now, you’d see it weeping.

Keifer: “Don’t know what you got till it’s gone/Don’t know what it is I did so wro-ho-ong!”

So true, Keifer. So true. And here comes the rest of the band to back him up. Little known fact: Not one of them is taller than 5 feet, 4 inches. The boots and hairspray add height.

But who’s that running across stage, with that silly-ass scarf wrapped around his head? Whoever he is, he looks ripped, like maybe he’s trying to make up for getting old by working out too much.

“Cause we’ll be/At the drive-in/In the old man’s Ford/Behind the bushes/Till I’m screamin’ for more!”

Oh my god, it’s Bret Michaels. You heard me right, folks, Bret Michaels, lead singer of Poison!

Michaels: “Down in the basement/Lock the cellar door/And baby/Talk dirty to me!”

Wow, what a move. Rather than counter Keifer’s tear-jerking, grab-the-chicks-with-sensitivity maneuver with, say, Poison’s biggest ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” Michaels has opted not to underestimate how truly slutty the average female hair-rock fan is. If Poison isn’t careful, they’re going to trip themselves up on all those panties landing at their feet.

Now two bands are lining up, to shake hands and get this party started. Being a nostalgia match, rather than using the cage a lot of folks had begged for, we’re allowing Poison and Cinderella to bring out every one of their members, past and present, because, after all, no band rocks unless their line-up changes as frequently as their sexual partners. Let’s see how things shape up here.

With Poison, we’ve got Michaels, Rikki Rockett on drums, Bobby Dall on bass guitar, and CC DeVille on guitar -who, you’ll remember, had a bit of a tiff with Michaels in the ’90s. Apparently, the fact that neither had any viable skills to exploit for an income outside of rocking together forced a reconciliation. Backing them up are guitarists Blues Saraceno (fired in 1996), Richie Kotzen (fired in 1994 for banging Rockett’s fiancée), and Matt Smith (replaced way back in 1985 with DeVille). That means these guys are fielding seven musicians and five of them are playing guitar!

Cinderella might have the upper hand here, from what I see. That’s Keifer on guitar, Jeff LaBar on guitar, Eric Brittingham on bass, and Fred Coury on drums. Backing them up, though, are former members, guitarist Michael Kelly Smith and drummer Tony Destra (they left the band in 1985 to form Britny Fox - whoops), drummer Jody Cortez (gone in ’86), Coury’s replacement Kenny Aronoff (couldn’t even make it one year with the band in 1991), and drummer Kevin Conway (fired in 1998, when Coury returned). Jesus, Cinderella has had more guys in their dug-out than Paris Hilton. You’ve got to give them the upperhand in this fight.

Remember, both bands have had multi-platinum albums, but Poison has had three in the Top 10 while Cinderella has had only two. In addition, it’s been 18 years since Cinderella had one that high up. It’s been only 14 for Poison, which leaves them in better shape, I think. Plus, Poison has released 11 albums compared to Cinderella’s eight.

Oh, there they go, folks. The refs have rung the bell.

Poison comes out with “I Want Action” - very nice. And Cinderella comes back at them with ... what the hell is that? “Gypsy Road?” Never heard of it. Second Round: Poison comes out swinging with “Something to Believe In.” What a classic! What a move! Cinderella answers the challenge with ...“Nobody’s Fool.” Sorry folks, I’m scratching my head here. Oh, I’m getting some info from my producer. It appears Nobody’s Fool is a movie starring Paul Newman, as well as a book by Richard Russo. It’s hard to say which one of the three sucks more, but I’m gonna go with Cinderella’s version.

Third Round: What’s Michaels doing? Is he laughing? I think he is, watching something off stage with the rest of the band and their crew. Yep, it’s a video monitor, just like I thought. That’s the sex video he made with Pammy Anderson, folks. Boy, that gal gives me something to believe in. Keifer decides to take advantage of Poison’s distraction by coming out strong with ... Jesus, he’s playing “Don’t Know What You’ve Got” again. And ... and ... `beep` me, folks, he’s riding his piano back up this time!

This is over, no contest. Michaels and company take the stage again, this time belting out “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” If every woman in this crowd wasn’t ready to breed with these guys before, I doubt any one of them will hesitate to join the orgy surely awaiting them backstage.

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