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Hanging with Kid Rock

Rick Coates - July 25th, 2002
(Editor‘s note: Music researcher and Northern Express contributor Rick Coates was given an impromptu interview with the American Bad Ass Kid Rock in the basement of Union Street Station, Sunday July 14. Below is an excerpt of the interview.)

Bob Ritchie known to millions as Kid Rock, flew into Traverse City via Bob Seger’s private jet for bandmate Kenny Olson’s wedding in mid July. Seger was not in need of his plane as he was busy winning his second consecutive Port Huron to Mackinac sailing race. Kid Rock did need the plane as he was recording a special for VH-1 the night before, but attending his friends wedding was a priority. Friends and family are at the top of the list for this rap/rocker, despite an image that would say otherwise.
Kid Rock and his band have sold over 15 million CDs in the past four years and just came off a sold-out tour of North America. The group is taking a break to tend to personal business and spend time with family before going on tour with Run DMC & Aerosmith. Despite a recent Rolling Stone poll where readers voted Kid Rock as the person most likely at the end of his 15 minutes of fame, he remains one of the top selling artists in the stores, on the stage, and in the tabloids.
His relationship with model, actress and “Jane“ magazine columnist Pamela Anderson has been fodder for late night TV shows, music magazines and the tabloids. It all borders on the extreme; often what is written is untrue and in reality has helped to unfairly depict Kid Rock personally and musically
During an interview at Union Street Station, Kid Rock displayed his intelligence and musical genius. He discussed what is important to him, talked about the media, his upcoming tour with Aerosmith, being a single father, the challenges of the industry and local guitar phenomenon Brian Schram. His sidekick DJ Uncle Kracker joined him, as did Rock’s bodyguard T.A., a member of the Outlaws motorcycle club who was featured a few weeks ago in the Express.

NE: You said earlier in the summer you would like to do a southern rock tour with maybe Lynyrd Skynyrd and possibly some other multi act tours. What is up?
Kid Rock: We just came of a headlining tour in support of my current release Cocky. I wanted to do this southern rock tour but we couldn’t come to terms. It is no secret that the industry is down right now but people are going to shows. I want to give the people what they want and my friends from Aerosmith, Run DMC and myself have put this tour together starting in August.

NE: Why did you decide to do a tour without being the headliner?
Kid Rock: It isn’t about me, it is about giving the fans what they want and Aerosmith, well those guys are my friends and they are legends. Sure we give up some money and headlining status but we are going to have a lot of fun and the fans are going to see a great show. That is what it is all about.

NE: Your CD Cocky shows a new musical direction and a real gamble on your part. Why?
Kid Rock: People don’t get it. I am here to stay and you have to be willing to take a step back sometimes to move forward and that’s what I did. There are a lot of guys dropping off the musical stage because they limit their music. I have a lot a lot of music in my head and I am willing to take a step back, change direction and in the end it will all work out.
(While Cocky hasn’t come close to Kick Rock’s Devil Without A Cause, which has sold over 10 million copies, the CD is platinum and is nearing 2 million in sales.)

NE: In a recent Rolling Stone Poll reader survey you were voted the person most likely to be at the end of your 15 minutes of fame. Thoughts on that?
Kid Rock: Well first of all I am not doing Behind the Music, Cribs and other programs to get attention. I won’t do those shows and I have cut back my interviews. So that might lead people to think that I am not happening. Yet I just taped a VH-1 show about my music, not all that other crap, and MTV is getting ready to run a concert special. The media likes to create controversy, and write a lot of crap that that is not related to my music. I am about my music and performing and I am certainly not done.

NE: How is your relationship with the media?
Kid Rock: At times good, but my biggest problem is getting burned. I am very trusting and some people in the media have not been honest in what they have written about me. So I have become very protective of my family, my girl friend’s family and myself. We are both single parents in the spotlight and it is hurtful when you trust someone from the media and then they write things that are not true or exaggerate the situation. So I have to be guarded and protective, it sucks but it is the way it has become.

TA: (Kid Rock’s bodyguard) Bob is a very giving and trusting person. He is very honest, honest at all times, so it is frustrating when others around him are not honest and betray his trust. I‘m with him a lot and wonder where they get some of this stuff from.

NE: You mentioned being a single father, and that is challenging for anyone; how about for you?
Kid Rock: I have sole custody of my son. He is nine now and like any child what he needs is time with me. That is what all parents need to give to their kids; things will never replace time, and quality time spent with your kids is what they want. When you tour you normally do five to seven shows a week. I don’t and I tell my fans that I won’t we do two to three shows a week. It means giving up a lot of money but I need to be there for my son and I want the band to be there for their families. I have parent-teacher conferences, soccer games to attend just like everyone else. It is about choices and my choice is to be involved in my son’s life, so that means being a full-time dad and everything else comes second.

NE: Earlier you said that you have a lot of music still. Is there another CD in the works?
Kid Rock: I can’t discuss it, but we are going into the studio after the tour later this fall. So yeah something is in the works.

NE: You said on stage earlier tonight that there seems to be a lot of good guitar players in Northern Michigan.
Kid Rock: Yeah, I like what I heard and saw tonight, in fact we are looking at hiring Brian Schram, probably put him on the road with Kracker. This kid can play. It is my understanding that Mario Ciccone from Maverick is having Brian out to L.A. so we will talk to Brian after that. I liked what I saw, especially the fact that he got up tonight and showed some originality.

Uncle Kracker: Yeah, we see a lot of guitar players and they all try to copy others. Yet Brian showed originality, proficiency and creativity, he is definitely someone we want in our camp.

Kid Rock: Well enough talking about music, it is time to get upstairs and start making some.

That is exactly what he did. Kid Rock returned to the stage and led and all-star line up local and legendary rockers until 2 am. He signed a few autographs and headed to the airport and returned home.

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