Do you smell what Kid Rock is cooking?
Does Kid Rock have a political future after declining to run for the U.S. Senate? As late as July, writers for Politico Magazine cautioned that to not take Michigan’s favorite fedora-wearing son seriously as a candidate for 2018 would be a “huge mistake.” He’s a household name among conservatives after closing the 2016 GOP convention with a blast of countrified rock. He has nine more top 10 albums than the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. His past penchants for brawls, indulgences and indiscretions are already well known. Representing the Rust Belt seems like the next logical step.
While Kid Rock knows the publicity value of flirting with politics, he hasn’t signed his name to any papers that could get him accidentally elected. He’s busy. His latest album, Sweet Southern Sugar, debuted at No. 8 in November, and he’s supporting it with a 23-date American Rock n Roll Tour that kicked off in January at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Rock recorded Sweet Southern Sugar in Music City. While there is a Southern-fried feeling to much of the new material, opener “Greatest Show on Earth” stomps heavily from stereo speakers, indicating Rock still makes it a priority to live up to his name.
He’s not really producing new rap tracks nowadays, though. Rock was never exactly “straight out the trailer” as he once boasted, but he was a hip-hop devotee from a young age who paid his dues on turntables and was respected for his rapping skills. The former Bob Ritchie was strictly hip-hop when he made his Jive Records debut in 1990, but began adding rock flavor to his sound with his sophomore effort. By the time he released Devil Without a Cause in 2008, he had perfected his brand of rap-metal and went from being rich in respect to wealthy in sales on the strength of singles “Bawitaba” and “Cowboy.”
Kid Rock had arrived for good, and he had a seasoned backing band, Twisted Brown Trucker, to evolve with. He’d top the album charts in 2007 with Rock N Roll Jesus, from which the Skynyrd-meets-Zevon single “All Summer Long” would become a monster hit the following year. In the process, Rock joined the pantheon of performers with a fan base seemingly devoted enough to keep packing concert venues and cruise ships. It’s that grass roots following, that, four albums later, makes Rock a feasible candidate to some political observers.
Still, being a senator could interfere with touring with Twisted Brown Trucker, as well as showing off his musical skills. Recent reviews describe Rock scratching on turntables, drumming during a cover of Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever,” and playing piano and guitar, activities he’d have to curtail while serving his constituents. Fortunately for his would-be opponent, Rock told Howard Stern in October that he was not making a run, preferring filling arenas to filibustering—for the time being.
Mandalay Bay, 7:30 p.m. March 24, starting at $49.50 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster