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Kid Rock: Hello Cocky.

18 February 2002 | 1:00 am | Shane Cooper
Originally Appeared In

New Kids On The Rock.

Cocky is in stores now.


The corporate element of the music industry is continually trying to put all music in some sort of definable box to ultimately control it. Whether it’s rock, pop, alternative or whatever. This doesn’t sit comfortably with Kid Rock. Kid Rock, who was born Robert Ritchie thirty years ago in Romeo Michigan, never wanted to fit in to a gang. He never joined a posse and never limited his opportunities. Instead, he created his own - The Twisted Brown Trucker Band. Together, he leads them through an alcohol and floozy fuelled good time rock’n’roll adventure, where musically, the menu is diverse and there are no ‘taste police’. And it’s taken them beyond 15 million records sold of his two albums Devil Without A Cause and the re-hashed ‘earlier days’ album The History Of Rock.

With his hot-pot jukebox style to music, many have referred to him as a trailer park Beck, with his politically incorrect lyrics and not-so-subtle influences, yet lacking the art pedigree. But Rock explains a couple of things. He’s sold a truckload more records, and if you like Beck or Radiohead, don’t bother with Cocky.

"I like a lot of Beck’s stuff, but these people have a dinner party, it’d be the Italian kids with the suits on and they’d put on some Radiohead or Beck, but no one listens to it. You just put it on as background music, so that when someone says "What are we listening to?" and they find out it’s Radiohead, they go "Oh, cool."

And would Kid Rock ever put Radiohead on at a dinner party?

"Nope. I have no idea what they’re doing. More power to ‘em, coz someone likes it, but I don’t get it. Me personally, if I have a party, there’s twenty or thirty people there, we’re cracking some beers and I want to get the party jumping, I’m not grabbing for the Radiohead CD. I just can’t think of any situation of why I would want to listen to it, other than to be cool with the purists" he bewilders.

He even gives them a name-check in ‘Lay It On Me’ and states I got rich off of keeping it real / While you Radiohead’s are reinventing the wheel. Name-checks on Cocky are more prominent than ‘wife-beaters’ at a trailer park. Everyone from AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Foghat, Fonzie, Hank Williams, Run DMC, girlfriend Pamela Anderson and Bill Clinton even get a guernsey.

Lyrically, Rock may be all about being the good time, all American bad-ass party boy, bragging about his drugs, alcohol and female exploits, but now he admits that there are a couple of boundaries. His eight year old son Robert Jr is his main focus and his new girlfriend Pamela Anderson has ended his groupie days.

"My son hasn’t heard the album and he’s not gonna. He’s eight years old. It’s not for his ears, but it is a party record and I think it’s late night fun for the adults. It’s like Eddie Murphy or Sam Kinison. The record really is a comedy song. But that’s for everybody to decide. We’ve put out a clean version and we’ve put out a dirty version. You decide which one you want your kid to hear. For as much raunch as I put in the music with all the language, I think people understand I’m a pretty good person. I don’t have a wicked soul; I’m not out to scare your kids into liking me. But I do say what I feel and a lot of times that comes off like everybody else talks. Well, fuck you. But I think people understand."

Today, Rock is sitting back in a beach side restaurant in Malibu. He’s dressed casually in jeans, a lazy brown corduroy shirt and a top hat. He’s chugging back a Budweiser and smoking cigarettes. He’s in a good mood, but he’d rather be back in his hometown of Michigan.

“We’re in the country in Detroit. We’re in thirteen acres with a big house, a barn, and a horse corral. It’s kind of like a family environment almost. Only in some ways. In some ways it’s definitely not. Right there in the living room we set up our instruments. We’ve got a recording room, we’ve got a grill outside and we cook food. There’s trampolines for the kids and swimming pools. There’s 4-wheelers and we can shoot skeet. There’s shotguns in the backyard. Downstairs is the adult fun palace with pinball machines, strip poles, jukeboxes and wet bars and stuff. It’s a lot of fun. There’s bedrooms there so people can stay if they need a place to crash or whatever. It’s really laid back."