Bret Michaels promises two things for his upcoming concert Sunday: Fans will have be part of rocking party featuring all the favorite hit songs, and plenty of people and organizations will benefit from it.
Michaels, the lead singer of the hard rock group Poison, a solo artist and a few years ago a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice,” brings his Hometown Heroes Tour to the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence on Sunday evening. Special guests are Night Ranger, Lita Ford and Joe Diffie.
The Hometown Heroes Tour is a five-stop addition to Michaels' Unbroken Tour, and in each city Michaels will honor local heroes such as active military and veterans, teachers, first responders and utility workers.
A portion of the proceeds from each show will go to regional chapters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund as well as local charities. For Sunday's show, beneficiaries include Independence Animal Services, Independence Police's K-9 unit and the Veterans Community Project (building tiny homes for homeless veterans).
“This is just finding certain faces in certain places,” Michaels said. “You get to say where every penny went, and it lets me rock and have fun.”
“I'm simply thanking all veterans, first responders, utility workers.”
Besides diabetes charities, Michaels lets fans decide other beneficiary organizations by voting through local radio stations.
“That's the best way to do it,” he said. “You can find out in a local community what matters to them, and they (stations) normally have an organization they're working with.”
Each cause has some personal meaning.
Besides the fact that Monday is Veterans Day, Michaels' father, a Korean War veteran, died just in August. During a recent tour leg, he made a point to stop at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery to pay respects to the veterans interred there.
“I'm a solutions guy, not political, and my dad fought hard for this country, loved his right to be able to express your opinion,” Michaels said.
Michaels has adopted a pair of rescue dogs, and he fosters several more dogs at his Arizona ranch. (He also has a home in Los Angeles.)
“You've got to put the time in; they need to know you love them,” he said.
Michaels' most notable cause, though, is juvenile diabetes. The singer, who is 56, has dealt with Type 1 diabetes since his diagnosis at age 6. He started the Life Rocks Foundation years ago to help send diabetic children to camps to help them learn how to manage their condition and show there are others like them. It's a no-expenses nonprofit that's just him, and every dollar that comes in goes out.
“In the beginning of my career, I would just personally donate,” he said. “When the solo stuff started kicking off, now that it became a 501(c)3, I can go out and seek donations.”
Michaels has successfully handled his condition through the years even as long concert tours can lead to hectic schedules.
“It's tough even today,” he said. “I did a show a Boston, and because I didn't get a great workout in, I had too much insulin. It's a battle, but I stay positive, so you can live and stay awesome.”
Michaels' tries to impart that diligence to children with diabetes.
“When I was a kid, and even now, it's a daily battle that you can win. You can win it by staying in the game,” he said. “You've just got to bet on yourself, that's what this camp does.”
Michaels said the vibe at Sunday's show will be “amazing.”
“I'll pick songs as I hear them from the crowd going in,” he said. “It'll truly be a good party.”
Tickets can be purchased at www.silversteineyecentersarena.com or at the arena box office.