By: Kevin Rolfe
Photo Credit: Mark Weiss
For as long as I can remember Poison has had a really strong fanbase here in Utah. On May 22, they bring their Nothin’ But a Good Time 2018 Tour to USANA Amphitheater with Cheap Trick and Pop Evil. I had the opportunity to have a really entertaining and informative conversation with bassist Bobby Dall. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: Your last couple times playing here in Utah I believe you opened for Def Leppard at USANA Amphitheater. This time you’re headlining the show. Which means a longer setlist, your staging, etc. Was there a determining factor to tour as headliners again? Or did things just play out that way?
Bobby Dall: It was definitely a mixture of things. We have headlined USANA before, several times. We’ve played there with Def Leppard, and I think Motley as well. This time around we’re headlining with Cheap Trick and Pop Evil. Lovely guys in Cheap Trick. The guys in Pop Evil, great music, I don’t know them personally, but soon we’ll get to know them very well. I don’t know, I guess it’s just the natural correlation of the next step in our career. We’ve spent several years not headlining, although we had a few headlining dates last year. But this year we’re headlining the whole tour. It’s always more fun when you have a little more control. You get to play longer and controlling the show and the environment. But you also have more responsibility as well.
UCR: I’m sure one of the nice things about headlining out at USANA Amphitheater is you won’t have to perform while the sun is setting. It’s a great venue but I always feel bad with the openers at that venue because the sun is right in their eyes!
BD: Yeah with the amphitheaters it’s always better to play when the sun goes down! (Laughing) But you know, in different situations you have to deal with it.
UCR: So it seems like the thing to do these days is package a few bands together and send them out on tour? As a fan, I love it. But I have wondered what that was like for the bands.
BD: Well since the beginning of Rock and Roll bands have been packaged up. In fact, in the 70’s, my first concert was Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Rush, and about ten bands. It was the Florida Jam. That was the first time I saw Cheap Trick, who’s with us on this tour, and I fell in love with them. I think I was 15 or 16. You are right that bands are packaging up. But they always have. I believe in value for the fans. And the more bang for the buck is the best way to describe it. Having three bands on a package and going out and playing, give the fans more value for their money. And what I think is great about our tour this year is you’re getting a band from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. So we really are covering three decades of fans. And our band itself, we’re always getting new fans each tour.
UCR: So when you look at the bands of your era, they’ve become really fragmented. Sometimes there is only one original member of a band touring as the band. Or in the case of RATT, I think there are two versions of the band circling the globe. And while we don’t need to get into the history of it all, Poison has had their drama, but the original guys are still together. How have you done that? Do you just have to turn off the relationship aspect and make it about business? Or have you just figured out how to make it work?
BD: Truly the secret is, we have a saying in the band “If you can get all four of us in the same room or on the stage we get a free pass.” It really does seem to work out that way. There are bands like you said that aren’t all the original members and there’s nothing wrong with that. It just is what it is. But I believe it’s important for us to be together. So hopefully the four members of this band will keep going for another ten, twenty, thirty years together. But as you get older it gets harder and harder.
UCR: Now you’ve played thousands of shows over the years. But is there a song that no matter how many times you’ve played it, you’re still excited, and still enjoy playing it every time?
BD: I love playing them all. But “Ride the Wind” is one of my favorites. Every night it’s always based on the audience reaction on any given evening. It isn’t about me, it’s about the fans. That’s the best way to answer it. But I do particularly love every time we play “Ride the Wind”. It never gets boring. None of the songs get boring playing them again and again. It’s great to have a such a deep catalog as we have. It’s one of the reasons we’ve been around so long. And I think it’s important to play those songs for the fans. But that’s just me. You can vary a little, but if you don’t give the fans the hits they won’t be happy.
UCR: Are there certain cities in particular that you go to where you know without fail it’s going to be an awesome Poison show?
BD: I love every city we play. And I won’t diss any city we pay. But you surprisingly get the most audience reaction from the cities that the least shows. We’ve never not been well received though. I’ve never had an experience where I haven’t been happy with the audience.
UCR: Do you remember the first time you performed live?
BD: I do. It was in Pennsylvania, and it was in a fire hall near Mechanicsburg. It was the first show we played as a band. It was Poison, but we weren’t called that yet. We were called Paris.
UCR: What was that experience like?
BD: It was incredible. Frightening, terrifying, amazing, wonderful, and the rest is history. Rock and Roll history. But before going on absolutely terrified anxiety. Mortified might be the best word. (Laughing)
UCR: Does that feeling still exist? Or have you performed so much that you’re just excited to get out there now?
BD: The first show of every tour, my anxieties are a little high. But that’s typical and just the way I’m built. But once I hit the stage it all goes away. The second we’re in front of the audience I’m just part of this energy between the fans and the band. And if that initial anxiety goes away, that’s probably the time to stop doing this.
UCR: Is there a band you make a point of seeing whenever they tour?
BD: As far as a show that I’m not working on, I’ve seen the Rolling Stones about 7 or 8 times. Now I’ve seen other bands a lot more than that, but that’s usually a band we’re touring with. But as far as a band that I’ve gone to see, the Rolling Stones are my favorite band and the band who I’ve seen the most.
UCR: Again, I know you’ve played a ton of shows, but is there a particular show, or maybe tour that you would say stood out as the best?
BD: It’s so hard. Paul Stanley (of KISS) coming up and playing with us, all the bands we played with. I grew up on Aerosmith, I grew up on Cheap Trick, I grew up on Van Halen, so any interaction with any of those bands has always been exciting. I don’t have a particular favorite though. There’s just too many.
UCR: Well let me ask you this in closing. Do you remember that feeling where you realized this was happening for you?
BD: I think in the very beginning, it was us, RATT, and Cheap Trick on tour in 1987. And we were originally scheduled to tour for three weeks. It was when Talk Dirty To Me took off. We ended up staying, and Cheap Trick ended up leaving. And that particular stretch playing with RATT of all the times was one of the most exciting times. But it’s a hard question to answer. It’s like answering “If you could have anything in the world what would you want right now?”
UCR: Thank you so much, Bobby! See you at USANA!
Poison will be at USANA Amphitheater on Tuesday, May 22. Click here to purchase tickets!