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Kid Rock

‘It’s fucking hot as hell in Texas,” says Kid Rock, checking in from his tour bus in Dallas. On a day off from his summer tour of amphitheatres with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rock plans to work in his mobile studio, honing tracks for his upcoming album, tentatively scheduled for the end of this year. The follow-up […]

Austin Scaggs Aug 25, 2009
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‘It’s fucking hot as hell in Texas,” says Kid Rock, checking in from his tour bus in Dallas. On a day off from his summer tour of amphitheatres with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rock plans to work in his mobile studio, honing tracks for his upcoming album, tentatively scheduled for the end of this year. The follow-up to 2007’s career-rejuvenating 3-million-selling Rock N Roll Jesus, the new album (produced by Rick Rubin) will include topical songs that touch on the plights of Michigan autoworkers and Midwestern farmers. “I always write about what’s close to me,” Rock says. “When I’m at my house in Malibu, I don’t even realise there’s another world. But when I’m at home in Clarkston, Michigan, I see the pain around me.”

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What’s the difference between this year’s Kid Rock extravaganza and last summer’s tour?

Last year it was very stripped-down, and we proved to ourselves that the songs can stand alone. So this time we brought back the pyro and big lighting, I’ve been in the parking lots filming video all summer long, and it looks like a fucking NASCAR race out there. We were driving around the other day, and this jacked-up F-150 passes us with a big Kid Rock sticker, and I’m like, “Now that says ‘I’m a fucking American’ right there.”

Why did you decide to bring Lynyrd Skynyrd back out?

It’s just a great bill. My buddy came backstage and said, “Fuck, I forgot how many great songs they have. Those fuckers are like the redneck Eagles.”

As a kid, what big summer shows did you attend?

When I was a teenager, I mostly went to hip-hop concerts, where people were always fighting, taking each other’s chains and smoking dope. But my dad took me and Uncle Kracker to see Howard Jones and Tears for Fears. I was like, “Look at all these fucking white people. This is incredible, they’re all so well-behaved! People actually sit in the seats here!” And I went to the first Lollapalooza. That was nutty. Great lineup – Nine Inch Nails and Ice-T – but I always wanted to be onstage: “Why the fuck am I walking around here? I should be on the fucking stage!”

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On tour, what time does happy hour start?

After the show – basically at 11:00. I started that a few years ago, because some nights you’re just having a couple of drinks before the show, and the next thing you know you’re shitfaced and have to go on. And it’s no fun trying to play shitfaced.

Is there a drink waiting on the side of the stage for you?

I’ll slam a Gatorade, take a shower, and I’ll mix a Jim Beam and Diet Coke. Once I was playing at Lafitte’s, the great old bar in New Orleans, and I was so fucked up, just playing piano in the back lounge. The next night I came in, and the bartender was like, “Holy shit, I can’t believe you’re back here.” “Why?” “Dude, you drank 18 Beam and Cokes!”

I understand you’re going to sell your own beer, brewed right in Michigan.

Yeah, it’s going to be called Bad-ass Beer. I thought we’d just be making beer and having fun, like, “Ah, we’ll get free beer, and it will have my name on it.” But it’s mind-blowing. We have fuckloads of orders, and no one’s even tasted it yet.

Did you ever go to summer camp?

My parents went on a trip to Europe and sent me to this camp in Northern Michigan when I was 12 or so. It was on a lake, and you could go horseback riding. It sucked, and I wanted to go home. There was this horrible fucking initiation where they put you on a counsellor’s shoulders and walked up a cliff, threatening to throw you into the river, and kids would scream bloody murder. But I was the only white kid there. It was all Mexican kids who’d come up from Mexico. And they’d try to get into altercations with me, but they left me alone, because I could do the moonwalk. They said, “He’s fuckin’ badass! He can do the moonwalk!”

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I imagine you were a big fan of ‘Beat It.’

Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing on it is fucking sweet. I was obsessed with the 808 drum machine when I was a little kid. Of course, that’s the sound that starts ‘Beat It’ and Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing.’ I’d go to the Music Box music store in Michigan and ask them to let me play with the 808.

What do you think about celebrity Twitters?

It’s gay. If one more person asks me if I have a Twitter, I’m going to tell them, “Twitter this dick, motherfucker.” I don’t have anything to say, and what I have to say is not that relevant. Anything that is relevant, I’m going to bottle it up and then squeeze it onto a record somewhere.

When you’re out on a boat in the summer, what do you like to play?

Anything that’s feel-good music: Seger, Tom Petty or maybe Zach Brown, to keep it relevant.

What are your favourite lines from the upcoming album?

There’s a fun new song called ‘One Woman Man.’

What! A song about monogamy?

No, the line is “When God made me, he did not make a one-woman man.”

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