Kid Rock, the American Badass (a.k.a. Robert Ritchie), will be kicking ass at the Coliseum on Wednesday night in support of his most recent album, Born Free. Coming off his 40th birthday extravaganza at Detroit’s Ford Field in January, Michigan’s favorite rebel will be returning to the Holy City to perform his genre-defying brand of rock ‘n’ roll.
Kid’s Motor City event featured various special guests, including Anita Baker and Sheryl Crow, which is not surprising for a man who has built his career on redefining himself by traversing musical genres on a regular basis. Riding the wave of the nü-metal trend, Kid Rock broke through in 1998 with Devil Without a Cause, selling 11 million units and earning Grammy nominations along the way. Fast forward 10 years, and Rock is now more apt to put out country-tinged ballads rather than the riffs and hip-hop songs that made him famous.
Rock has always embraced his Americana roots, singing about drinking beer, American flags, and blue-collar life, but his sound has evolved throughout the years to prove to his critics that he is as much an artist as he is a showman. With a career that has spanned music and film and saw him garner critical and commercial success, it is easy to forget that he is a self-taught musician, singer, and disc jockey. Among his early jobs to help fund his first records were daytime janitorial duties and nightly DJing sessions at local house parties. Ironically, he was the janitor at the very studio where he was producing his music.
Since his breakthrough, Rock has recorded several successful albums while collaborating with the likes of artists such as Metallica and Martina McBride.
He’s also hosted several music awards shows — like the last year’s Country Music Awards — and has also inducted Aerosmith, Bob Seger, and Lynyrd Skynyrd into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
His latest offering is another country-rock medley that tugs on the heart strings of the patriot inside of us. Born Free features appearances from Crow, Seger, Trace Adkins, and T.I. It finished the year as Billboard‘s top-selling rock album.
A documentary entitled Kid Rock: Born Free started airing across MTV, Vh1, and CMT in November.
The tour, which bears the same name as the album, will see Kid share the stage once again with his long-time backing band, Twisted Brown Trucker, which has been with him since the recording of 1995’s Early Morning Stoned Pimp. Opening the shows will be Alabama native and country star Jamey Johnson, who is currently supporting his own 2010 effort The Guitar Song.
A staunch Republican and supporter of American troops overseas, he has promoted his hometown of Detroit and the state of Michigan through song and scene, and even through philanthropic endeavors recently as well. His loyalty to the American worker has led Kid to purchase local, down-on-their-luck businesses to keep them afloat and save jobs, including a brewing company he renamed — of course — American Bad Ass Beer.
Kid also has a musical scholarship named after him at Detroit’s Wayne State University, which is funded by none other than the Kid Rock Foundation.
And to round it all out in a good ole’ boy kind of way, he has even partnered with Jim Beam to help contribute to Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency medical and financial assistance for wounded military and their families.
For a guy who was pushing brooms before he was pushing records, that’s pretty badass.