April 02, 2010 01:00 PM

Bret Michaels: Lead singer of Poison, Rock of Love lothario and … doting dad?

Get Michaels talking about his daughters and any preconceptions about the bandanna-sporting, tattooed rocker quickly melt away.

The most important thing I’ve taught them is that I love them,” Michaels, 47, says of his daughters Raine, 9 ½, and Jorja, 4 ½. “I may not be there every day of their life, but I call them three [or] four times a day.”

Justin Stephens

Justin Stephens

Michaels and the girls’ mother, Kristi Gibson, whom he dated off and on for more than 10 years, share custody of the kids.

“It’s a work in progress,” he says of their relationship.

But they’re solid as can be when it comes to parenting:

“We tell our daughter their mom and dad will never be replaced,” he says.

Though currently on a solo tour—and appearing on NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice—Michaels comes home to Arizona, where Kristi lives with their kids, as often as possible.

“All my negotiating skills I’ve learned in recent times [come] from my daughters,” he jokes about the girls, who styled themselves for the PEOPLE photo shoot. “That was all them.”

As for his daughters’ unique names, “I’ve got to give full credit to their mom,” he says. He can vouch for Jorja’s middle name, Bleu, though. “We threw her a little French in there,” Michaels says with a smile. “A little culture.”

Justin Stephens

He also provides plenty of fun. The family driveway features scooters, mini Jeeps and ATVs for the kids to ride, plus Dad’s “toys,” of course, including a Mercedes, which serves as the family car. “We’re like the Griswolds of rock ‘n’ roll,” he jokes.

And what do the girls’ think of their rocker father?

“We sing together,” says Raine. “It’s really cool. He’s just kind of like a big kid.”

Adds Jorja: “Dad is a rock star!” And perhaps more importantly, the 4-year-old says, “He is my hero.”

–- Rennie Dyball

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