In 1999 I was in total band mode. It’s all I could think about. My band was having some local success in St. John’s and we just had a taste of touring with a big music festival. I knew that’s what I wanted to do and nothing else seemed to matter. We were working on our second album and I was trying to find my voice and my own place in music with a vision of making music for the rest of my life and hopefully getting paid to do it. This was also the year of Woodstock ’99, the year Limp Biscuit, Korn, The Deftones and Kid Rock were making it the “year of hard rock” and I was glued to the screen watching every band with my own dreams of being on that stage. Like many people, this was my first real introduction to Kid Rock, and to be honest I kinda hated it. I brushed him off as some dude trying to capitalize on the horrific version of rap metal that was infiltrating radio which made his whole “pimp character” seem even more contrived and bullshit – to me anyway. The reality is that whatever his history was at that point, the hundreds of thousands of people at Woodstock that year, for the most part, were also hearing about him for the first time, but that didn’t stop him from destroying that stage and putting on one of the best live shows I had ever seen up to that point. People loved it and it made him a superstar.
Here’s what I have learned about Kid Rock; there is nothing contrived about this man. He had released three albums before he hit with “Devil without a Cause” in 1998, had lived a lot of life and made a lot of music before I saw him tear the stage apart at Woodstock ’99. He had toured with 12 people in an RV, slept in sleeping bags on the roof, gave up a life in a family business and a shot at college all for the love of music.
In the beginning it was Hip Hop for Kid. In the late 80’s he had turn tables in his bedroom and was DJ’ing parties in the black neighborhoods in Detroit, often times finding that he was the only white kid there. Mixing hip hop and hard rock came to him very honestly and long before it was a trend.
Kid Rock paid his dues and that helped him find the success that was exploding during his Woodstock performance, a success that got really big when rap metal took over the world. However, as the bands from that era passed and their music became stale, Kid Rock was focusing on his other musical love; classic rock and country music. He has proven that he is an artist who can jump genres and has remained one of the most successful names in music who has found respect from the Hip Hop, Rock and Country Music community and that’s just the music side of his life. From his infamous arrests to getting protested in his home town because of an honor he was receiving from the NAACP, to the challenges of being a single father to a 19 year old son of mixed ethnic backgrounds; Kid Rock is one of the most interesting stories in music.
Little did I know back in ’99 how much my indifference for him would turn into respect.
I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did,
Watch the premiere of In Sixty: Kid Rock on Thursday, March 8 at 9 pm ET on MuchMore.