June 13, 2024

Kid Rock (Robert James Ritchie) spent a large chunk of the early ’90s recording and performing in semi-obscurity. Just well-known enough to build a small but loyal fan base, while at the same time, getting a heap of flak/criticism from the local music community. 

In the mid-90s, Kid Rock formed a backing band dubbed Twisted Brown Tucker featuring rapper Joe C. (Joseph Calleja, who passed away 11/16/00).

A NY college radio station played the obscenely funny “Yodelin’ In The Valley” and got themselves a 20K fine from the F.C.C. (the government’s broadcast regulator). The radio station beat the fine but not before Rock nailed a ton of publicity. 

Learning a valuable lesson, Rock started down the road of being perpetually controversial.

He punched out his ex-wife Pamela Anderson’s ex-husband – Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) at the ’07 MTV Video Music Awards.

There was a late-night brawl at a Waffle House.

He regularly displayed a Confederate flag at concerts which riled numerous people and organizations.

On the positive side, Rock teamed up with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for a fundraising concert to benefit that raised over $1 million.

Rock teamed with Pulte Homes and Operation Finally Home presented Sgt. Davin Dumar and his wife Dana with a free new home. Dumar, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, lost his leg and severely injured his arm in combat.  Rock thank Dumar for his service and sacrifice.

The NAACP gave Rock their Great Expectations Award. Some members found it inappropriate given Rock’s use of the Confederate flag in his shows. He received the award despite the objections.

As all this was swirling, Rock released “Rock N Roll Jesus” with the single, “So Hott,” co-produced by Rock and Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance).

Rock mashed up Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” with Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves Of London” to create the ’08 party hit, “All Summer Long.”

He petitioned to have his performances for overseas U.S. troops count toward the community service required as a result of the infamous Waffle House altercation. The court denied his request. 

“Born Free” dropped in November, ’10. With guest performances by Country’s Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow, Bob Seger and Rapper T.I. Rock’s 8th studio album contained the title track, “Slow My Roll,” “God Bless Saturday,” “Rock On” and “Times Like These.” 

The album sold 189,000 copies in its debut week to land at #5 on the Billboard 200. It was notable for being Rock’s first album without a parental advisory sticker on it. It went platinum eight months after its release while the title-track single charted on the Country, Mainstream Rock and Active Rock surveys.

Rock’s label, Top Dog/Atlantic Records said his next effort, “Rebel Soul,” “cements his place as the premier genre-hopping Rock and Roller of all time.” To support the album Rock launched the “$20 Best Night Ever Tour,” where no ticket was over $20. The trek entertained 550,000 fans. Kid Rock also switched labels.

His debut album with Warner Brothers Records was “First Kiss,” a ’15 release. The set included the title track, “Johnny Cash,” “Ain’t Enough Whiskey” and “Drinking Beer With Dad.”

Four months down the road, Rock found himself on the wrong side of history but perhaps on the ‘right’ side of some rebel fans. South Carolina and major retailers officially disconnected themselves from the Confederate flag after the killing, in South Carolina, of nine African-Americans in a Bible study class by a white racist photographed many times with the flag. 

Rock vowed to continue to feature the Confederate flag. That was an interesting comment since his publicist noted that the singer hadn’t used the Confederate flag as part of his concerts for “more than a year.”

Just eleven days later, Rock and Ted Nugent doubled-down, releasing “Kiss My Rebel A**,” a song in support of the Confederate flag. The track was available on their websites. 

Kid Rock’s one-on-one interview with Tucker Carlson aired on FOX prior to the release of his ’22 effort “Bad Reputation.” Carlson asked Rock, “Why haven’t you been canceled? Like, people aren’t allowed to say what they think. You are.” Rock responded that he was “uncancelable… ’cause I don’t give a (expletive). 

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