The glam metal era of the late ’80s rocked with excess, and amid the legends of that time, the story of C.C. Deville, lead guitarist of Poison, stands out. From band tensions to personal struggles, Deville’s journey has been a rollercoaster both on and off the stage.
Poison’s Genesis and Deville’s Entry
In the mid-’80s, Poison emerged on the scene, starting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, before making the move to Los Angeles in 1985. With a club deal signed, the band faced a crisis when founding guitarist Matt Smith backed out. Enter C.C. Deville, a New York native who, despite initial doubts from band members, became the missing piece. The rise of Poison had begun.
Years of Success and Excess
Poison soared to fame with their 1986 debut album, “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” unleashing hits like “I Want Action,” “Talk Dirty to Me,” and “I Won’t Forget You.” The pattern of rock success intertwined with excess set the stage for the tumultuous journey that awaited Deville.
The MTV Video Music Awards Mishap
In 1991, Poison, on the brink of a breakup, took the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards. Deville’s unpredictable behavior became evident during their performance of “Unskinny Bop.” Straying from the plan, he started the song too early, leading to a chaotic onstage moment. Post-set, tensions boiled over, resulting in frontman Bret Michaels physically confronting Deville, leading to his instant dismissal from the band.
Behind the Scenes Brawls
The clash at the MTV Awards wasn’t the first for Poison members. Michaels revealed another altercation during an interview, recalling a brawl with Deville at a sports bar in New Orleans. Alcohol and words escalated into a physical confrontation, giving a glimpse into the backstage chaos that marked Poison’s journey.
Legal Battles: Stolen Songs Allegations
In 2011, Poison faced a legal challenge as a lawsuit claimed that four of their hits, including “Talk Dirty To Me” and “I Won’t Forget You,” were stolen. Members of a Chicago band, Kid Rocker, alleged that before joining Poison, Deville auditioned for them and kept master recordings of their songs. The court ruled in favor of Poison in 2013, limiting damages and allowing Poison to continue performing the disputed songs.
Brushes with the Law
Deville’s troubles extended beyond the stage. In 1990, he was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky, for public intoxication and criminal mischief after causing chaos on a car roof. Years later, in 2005, Deville faced charges of domestic abuse against his girlfriend Shannon Malone. A subsequent arrest for driving while intoxicated led to an 80-day jail sentence.
Turning Over a New Leaf
Approaching 60, Deville, still a part of Poison, looks to leave the troubles of the past behind. Despite a pause in concerts due to the pandemic, the band, along with Motley Crüe, Def Leppard, and Joan Jett, anticipates a summer stadium tour comeback. As Deville navigates the journey of Poison’s continued success, fans hope for a chapter marked more by music than mayhem.