Oh, 1999, you infinite wellspring of art music: Remember the triumvirate of new youth heroes that emerged in the dying days of the ’90s as the 2000 presidential campaign started gearing up? There was Eminem, a white Detroit rapper with a bad attitude and an idiosyncratic, whiny delivery. There was Fred Durst, who, in 1999, moved beyond his gimmick cover of “Faith” to release Significant Other, an album of agro rap-rock hybrids encouraging American kids to “give me something to break.”
And there was Kid Rock, the sole member of this trio of cultural pinnacles that seemed loveable: Kid Rock–nee Bob Ritchie, nee a kid from outside of Detroit who hyperbolized the humility of his roots–was a hard-drinking, hard-living, Hank-idolizing ugly dude who liked to rhyme about his and other’s body parts and sing country songs. The dude had a sidekick named Joe C. with celiac disease, the 3’9″ emcee with the 10-foot…. Yeah, you understand.
Seven years later, the Rock is still doing it, holding down a cross-platform career that’s allowed him to jump from the rap, rock, country and adult-contemporary platforms with a string of hits. He’s popular, animated, funny and honest. And it would have been nice if, during his 1999 musical ascension, he’d been running for office versus George W. Bush, too. Remember, if you can’t be smart (W.), you should be fun (Rock). The Kid Rock Platform:
1. The campaign trail: The dude’s a cowboy, baby, riding at night because he sleeps all day. Remember? Just imagine: Instead of paying $1,000 to go have dinner with a presidential candidate, you would only need to pay a $5 cover at a nightclub to give Rock a high five and buy him a beer. He doesn’t need your contributions; if anything, he’s a man of the people. Campaign finance reform your issue? Kid Rock is your biggest champion.
2. Vice President: Chuck D, better than Dick C.
3. Inaugural ball: At Bush’s January 2001 inaugural ball, Jenna Bush experienced a “nipple slip.” While dancing with her father, her strapless dress fell down, exposing her right breast and flustering her father. Expect no nipple slips at Rock’s ball. Rather, be prepared for full-on nudity, Dionysus in the house, The East Side Boyz splitting a bill with ZZ Top and Jenna Jameson leading the child care service. Picture the “Bawitdaba” video shoot, ad infinitum. America, welcome to your dreams.
4. State of the Union Address: “Yo! I ain’t got much to say/ Me & Secretary Willie just got blazed/ But Senators and Housemen listen up close/ I got some shit you need to notice/ Steel Reserve and more cognac/ Rolling papers and a fat sac/ That’s what it will take/ For America to be not so fake. Peace.” And that’s about as effective as anything Bush has ever muttered.
5. The Cabinet: Agriculture: Willie Nelson. Commerce: Madonna. Defense: The remaining members of N.W.A. Education: Kurt Loder, who loves Kid Rock. Energy: The scientific team behind Sparks. Homeland Security: A pitbull. Health & Human Services: Sheryl Crow & Lance Armstrong–reunited! Housing & Urban Development: Mister Marshall Mathers. Interior: Ani DiFranco. Justice: Queen Latifah. Labor: Michael Moore. State: Dr. Dre. Transportation: West Coast Choppers, Inc. Treasury: Jacob the Jeweler. Veteran Affairs: Hank Williams Jr.
6. Ugliest President Ever (excepting, possibly, Taft and Van Buren?): By comparison to our European brethren, America is not a beautiful country. It has a fossil fuel consumption problem, and many of its citizens have weight problems. But it gets by. And so does Kid Rock, one of the least attractive superstars you will ever see.
7. Bumper stickers: Kid Rock’s middle initial involves horns (see below).
8. The First Lady: Pamela Anderson returns to Rock’s fold as First Lady? You bet. With Kid Rock and his Secretary of State Dr. Dre in power, Israel and Palestine and every other set of warring nations would immediately agree to outlandish peace accords. Imagine two foreign dignitaries, Dre, Rock and Pamela in a room: The dignitaries would either be so busy gawking at Pam and her parts or so uncomfortable, they would agree to anything. Problems solved.
9. The Member Theory: The theory that world leaders go to war just to prove the size of their manhood has been espoused more than once, but it wouldn’t apply to Kid Rock. It’s safe to assume he’d gladly show his member to anyone who asked, and–even if it’s not that impressive–dude has more game than Ron Jeremy. Well, not that much, but close.
10. Minority rights: The best thing about Kid Rock’s band, Twisted Brown Trucker, has consistently been Stefanie Eulinberg, a black female drummer with blonde hair. She’s no Condi Rice stand-in. And, once again, Kid Rock’s late sideman was 4 feet tall. Kid Rock’s music, if anything, is born of eclectic taste. Hail to the Rock.
Kid Rock plays the RBC Center on April 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $37.