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RockNotes: Kid Rock Cares

Kid Rock: Not just a "lap-dance soundtrack" anymore?

Supposedly not, according to the Los Angeles Times, which says Kid's new LP, Rock 'n' Roll Jesus, is more of a classic rock 8-track ride, along the lines of Bob Seger and, oh my, Skynyrd, than Kid's usual "lap-dance soundtrack," the rap metal so beloved of strippers and their fans everywhere. You know, I wish that, rather than at some fancy awards show, Kid Rock and Tommy Lee could have run into to each other at, say, Thee Dollhouse in Tampa. Man, then they could have really settled the whole Pam thing for good right then and there - with a dance-off.

kid_pam.jpgI mean, you could take the testosterone from Kid and the Crue and use it to fuel several generations of nuclear reactors. And inside of minds like that, is there really room enough for the chasms of difference between beautiful, lovely, lovely "classic rock" and, um, rap metal? One thing that really sets "classic rock" apart from what passes for music at Thee Dollhouse was a pretty hard-to-miss political awareness of the plight of the powerless - admittedly easier to achieve when every young, white male strip club patron felt vulnerable to a military draft. So I think with that being true, Kid and his generation of fans have generally found it tough to take the focus off themselves long enough to notice there's, oh, a lot of injustice going on. Especially to them.

So, after being convinced by Rick Rubin (now there's a fine judge of reality) that he had the power to make a difference in this ol' world, Kid Rock decided it was time to reach back to the 8-track era, crank up the rock 'n' roll of his trailer-bound Michigan youth, and take its message of protest to The Man. No more will he tolerate fake TV preachers! No longer will he rap idly while children starve and good men die in an unjust war! Nope, Kid's political awareness doesn't just stop at the First Amendment's door anymore. This is real shit. As you can see from the lyrics for his new song, "Amen":

It's another night in hell
Another child won't live to tell
Can you imagine what it's like to starve to death?

And as we sit free and well
Another soldier has to yell
"Tell my wife and children I love them" in his last breath

I can see that Kid Rock really is doing his part, now that he's gone back into his past far enough to remember a time before he did any of the things he's done pretty much ever since. He probably does remember songs where the writers questioned the political equation . . . maybe some liberal-ass social studies teacher played one in class back in Romeo. Yeah, Kid tells the Times:

"(Rubin) basically told me that he had been listening to me my whole career and that he thought I had something more in me, something relevant. I thought: 'I'll show him.' I went to friend's house over in Malibu overlooking a bluff and I sat there and looked at the ocean. And I thought: 'Amen.' What a powerful word."

Seriously, I think it's great that Kid Rock found relevancy in Malibu, and that he did it on a dare. His night on the bluff was so damn powerful it apparently retooled him into someone who actually cares. That's, like, so classic rock. But much as I like to make fun, I have to admit that Kid Rock has a popularity that classic rockers rarely enjoyed. For instance, the making of Rock 'n' Roll Jesus was filmed by VH-1, which will release its DVD free with the purchase of every album at Wal-Mart. Best Buy will offer an exclusive version of the album with two bonus tracks. Yikes, with that kind of marketing, even Kid Rock's dubious version of relevancy could somehow get through to the darkest corners of the bar.

Also, he's hoping for a bit of Green Day's magic to rub off on him - he's got Rob Cavallo, American Idiot's producer, to show him how to belt out an angry liberal lyric. And speaking of Cavallo, doesn't the title Rock 'n' Roll Jesus sound a lot like "Jesus of Suburbia" to you?

Well, whatever. Even so, I say amen to you, Kid Rock. And welcome to the struggle, brother.


Catch up on the RockNotes collection.


Posted on October 8, 2007

MUSIC - At Home Chicago Blues.
TV - How America Doesn't Teach History.
POLITICS - The Remote Learning Divide.
SPORTS - Cancel Culture.

BOOKS - Go Ahead, Eat Those Cheetos.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Suffering With Stoics & Cynics.

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