Robert James Ritchie (born January 17 1971 in Romeo, Michigan), better known as Kid Rock, is an American musician.
Grits Sandwiches For Breakfast Era 1987-1991
Ritchie's career started at the age of 11, as a member of the b-boy group 'The Furious Funkers'. After the success of Run DMC and The Beastie Boys, he bought a cheap belt driven turntable and honed his craft. In high school, Ritchie would DJ parties for beer. He eventually joined Bo Wisdom of Groove Time Productions, in Mt. Clemens, where he played a few shows. It was during these shows that he was given his stage name; Wisdom dubbed him with the moniker 'Kid Rock' after fans had enjoyed watching "that white kid rock."
In addition to DJ'ing, Kid started emceeing and would go on to join the Detroit hip hop group, The Beast Crew. The Beast Crew was comprised of The Blackman, Champtown, KDC, Crisp and Doc Rounce Cee. Kid also became friends with producer D-Nice of the legendary Hip-Hop group Boogie Down Productions. When Rock opened for BDP one night, D-Nice invited an A&R from Jive Records to see Kid perform. This meeting eventually led to a demo deal, which developed into a full record contract. Against his parents' wishes, Kid signed the deal at the age of seventeen. Despite his new record deal, Kid had a falling out with The Beast Crew when he got signed over fellow member Champtown (the two have since made amends). He later became part of the Straight From The Underground Tour, where he found himself alongside several heavyweights of rap including Ice Cube, Too $hort, D-Nice, and Yo-Yo.
In 1990, Kid Rock released his debut album Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast on Jive Records. The first single, "Yo Da Lin In The Valley", was banned by the FCC because of its raunchy subject matter, and the State University of New York at Cortland was fined $23,700 for airing it. In 1991, controversy hit the hip hop community when it was discovered that another white rapper, Vanilla Ice, had exaggerated his upbringing in an attempt to bolster his street credibility. The deception was widely condemned, and a backlash began. In an attempt to distance themselves from the controversy, Jive dropped Kid Rock from their label.
The Independent Days Era 1992-1997
In 1992, Kid Rock was picked up by an independent record label, Continuum Records, recording and releasing his second album The Polyfuze Method in 1993. While the album saw some college radio success at Central Michigan University, "Back From The Dead" was a top 20 hit. Its first official single, "U Don't Know Me", failed to chart, and the music video received no airplay on any of the major music video channels. After releasing an EP called Fire It Up, in 1994, Continuum went bankrupt and Rock was left without a record deal again.
Kid Rock then started his own label, Top Dog, and would release monthly demo tapes that he dubbed The Bootleg Series, which feature demos of him and other unknowns in the Detroit area. He signed on Curt Hauer, Dave Long, and the Cook twins to be his "Top Dog Interns". The interns would helped him promote his shows and design his own merchandise line in the Detroit area. Around the same time, Rock formed his back-up band Twisted Brown Trucker, later recruiting Joe C, who he met at a 1994, as part of the group. In 1995, Kid Rock took a job as a janitor at Whiterooms Studios in order to pay studio fees. When he wasn't working, Kid would record the material that would eventually make up his third album, Early Morning Stoned Pimp. The album was released in 1996 and Kid would sell 14,000 copies of out of the trunk of his car and after concerts.
While Rock was now a household name in Michigan, he felt he still needed to get his name out there for the major labels. On March 30, 1997, he performed a special showcase concert, with Jason Krause on guitar, hours before the show to attract major label attention. While many of the major record labels were invited, the only label that showed up was Atlantic Records. Following the performance, record executives said they loved him but expressed doubts about the strength of his material. Kid Rock returned to the studio and cut a six song demo tape; the first two were "Somebody's Gotta Feel This" and "I Got One For Ya". After hearing the two songs, Jason Flom (President of Atlantic Records at the time) signed Kid Rock to a record deal for $100,000 without hearing the rest.
Devil Without a Cause Era 1997-2000
In 1997, Kid Rock added drummer/vocalist Stefanie Eulinberg to his band, joining Kenny Olson, Jason Krause, Jimmie Bones, Uncle Kracker, Mike Bradford, and Joe C. In August 1998, Atlantic released Devil Without a Cause behind the single "Welcome 2 The Party". Kid Rock went on the Vans Warped Tour to support the album.
"Welcome 2 The Party" was ignored by audiences and Devil sat on the shelves collecting dust for eight months. A chance meeting at a New York nightclub with MTV VJ Carson Daly led to the video for "I Am The Bullgod" being aired on MTV. The song, originally on 1994's Fire It Up EP, became a minor rock hit. After two notable live performances at MTV's Fashionably Loud and Wanna Be a VJ, Kid released the single, "Bawitdaba", to renewed interest and sales. His performance of the song at the 1999 MTV Movie Awards provided further exposure and a boost to album sales.
Kid Rock went on the Limptropolis Tour with Limp Bizkit and Staind soon after Bawitdaba was released. He performed a medley of "King Of Rock", "Rock Box", "Bawitdaba", and "Walk This Way" with Aerosmith and Run DMC at MTV's 1999 Video Music Awards, as well as at Woodstock 1999. He released three more singles from the album: "Cowboy", which fused country and folk music with rap, "Only God Knows Why", a Lynyrd Skynyrd-style ballad, and "Wasting Time", a playful ode to getting stoned and drunk. Devil Without a Cause eventually sold 11 million copies, and currently ranks as the 60th best selling album of all time. By years end, Kid was nominated for two Grammy Awards and began the first of two tours with Metallica.
The History Of Rock Era 2000-2001
After reacquiring the rights to his early material in 2000, he released The History of Rock, a collection of remixed and re-recorded songs. The only new track, "American Bad Ass", sampled the Metallica track "Sad But True". The song was later used as pro wrestler The Undertaker's entrance song in World Wrestling Entertainment. In the summer of 2000, Kid Rock joined the Summer Sanitarium Tour with Metallica, Korn, Powerman 5000, and System of a Down. Kid Rock filled in for James Hetfield of Metallica for three shows after Hetfield was injured. Later that year, he joined Phish on stage for several songs at a concert in Las Vegas.
At the end of 2000, Joe C, a member of Kid's backup band, Twisted Brown Trucker, died of Celiac disease.
In early 2001, Kid Rock inducted Aerosmith into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed "Sweet Emotion". The same year, Kid landed his first acting role in David Spade comedy "Joe Dirt".
The Cocky Era 2001-2003
In the spring of 2001, Kid began dating Playboy playmate and actress Pamela Anderson, after the two met at a VH1 tribute to Aretha Franklin. In April of 2002 Kid and Pamela Anderson were engaged, but the engagement was later called off. In November of that year, Kid Rock released Cocky, which was marketed as the official follow up to Devil Without a Cause. The first single released was titled "Forever", followed by the country blues ballad "Lonely Road of Faith", and the southern rock styled "You Never Met a Motherfucker Quite Like Me". Despite the new tunes, it was initially a disappointing album that sold just over 2 million copies.
However, the release of "Picture", a country-influenced duet with Sheryl Crow, introduced Kid Rock to a new audience. "Picture" was ultimately the most successful single on the album, and would eventually be certified gold. Following "Picture", sales of Cocky eventually reached 5 million. Interestingly, neither his record company nor Sheryl Crow's wanted anything to do with "Picture" as a single. Allison Moorer remade the song for the single version after Kid Rock released the song against his labels wishes; as it began climbing the country charts, Sheryl Crow's label caved and the original version was finally released.
On December 14, 2001, CMT aired an episode of Crossroads with Hank Williams, Jr.. The episode drew 2.1 million people viewers, a record on CMT. On January 1, 2002, Kid Rock was featured on MTV's USO Special performing "American Bad Ass" and "Lonely Road Of Faith", for troops stationed at Germany's Rammstein Airbase. At the end of 2002, Uncle Kracker left the band to pursue a solo career. Detroit underground rapper Paradime replaced him. Kid Rock also made his second movie, Biker Boyz, with Laurence Fishburne.
The year ended on a sad note at VH1's Big In '02 Awards where Kid, along with Chuck D and Grandmaster Flash, performed a tribute medley to Run DMC and murdered member Jason Mizell also known as Jam Master Jay.
A New Direction 2003-2006
In 2003, Kid Rock returned with an eponymous album which delved even deeper into country music. The first single was a country/hard rock cover of Bad Company's, "Feel Like Makin' Love". Other hits included the blues-influenced "Jackson, Mississippi" about heroin addiction; "Cold and Empty" about losing a love interest to the road life; the patriotic ballad "I Am"; and the ode to his son "Single Father", which would become his second country hit in 2004.
On December 14, 2003, VH1 aired A VH1 Kid Rock Christmas. The program featured Rock performing classic tracks along with several new tunes from his self-titled release. On February 1, 2004, Kid Rock performed at Super Bowl XXXVIII and received criticism for his choice to wear the American flag as a poncho.
Later that year, Kid Rock appeared later in Jesse James' documentary, Motorcycle Mania 3. During a pit stop at a Mexican hotel, he performed a cover of Charlie Daniels' "A Long Haired Country Boy". In October of 2004, Kid Rock continued his move towards country music with a performance of "Rock 'N Roll Pain Train", and a country take on Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls", on CMT Outlaws In 2005, Kid attended Spike TV's Autorox awards. Kid took a shot at the people who had him and Twisted Brown Trucker removed from playing at the presidential inauguration concert.
In February of 2005, Kid was arrested on assault charges for punching DJ Jay Campos in 'Christies Cabaret' stripclub. Rock plead 'No Contest' and was sued for a million dollars by Mr. Campos. The following month, he inducted Bob Seger into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In September, Kid Rock filled in for Johnny Van Zant, the lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd on the band's hit Sweet HomeAlabama at the Hurricane Katrina benefit concert.
Live' Trucker Era 2006-2007
On February 28, 2006, Kid Rock released his first live album, Live Trucker, comprising songs from his homestands of Clarkston (on September 1, 2000, and August 26 through August 28, 2004), and Detroit's Cobo Hall (March 26, 2004). The album contained the last two performances of Joe C on "Devil Without a Cause" and "Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp", as well as duetting with Gretchen Wilson on "Picture". Other highlights included "Only God Knows Why", the medley of "Somebody's Gotta Feel This" and "Fist Of Rage", bridged by a thrash metal take on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love". He brought Bob 'the King Of Detroit' Seger back from semi-retirement during his Super Bowl concerts on February 2 and 3, 2006. The two performed a rousing "Rock 'N' Roll Never Forgets" on both nights. Kid Rock would appear on Bob Seger much anticipated, 10 years in the waiting, Face The Promise on a Vince Gill cover "Real Mean Bottle", a tribute to Merle Haggard.
Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson had a surprise wedding in July of 2006 after it was reported Anderson was pregnant. They divorced 5 months later after Anderson reportedly had a miscarriage. Kid Rock says the pregnancy was false and he was used as a baby sitter for her kids to go out and party without him. The movie Borat might have been the final straw as Kid was angered over her part and stormed out of a personal screening with a group of friends.
In November of 2006, Kid Rock performed his classic, "I Am the Bullgod", and reaching deep into the catalog "Baby Come Home", on a TBS USO Special, the following month he along with Billy Gibbons and Nickleback performed ZZ Top's classic, "Tush", at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards. Kid Rock spent Christmas with the troops stationed in Iraq. In his blog on his MySpace page, he said he sadly witnessed 9 soldiers die.
In January of 2007, Kid Rock and Jerry Lee Lewis made a music video for their single "Honky Tonk Women" and later performed together on The Tonight Show. Jerry Lee Lewis would release a DVD of Last Man Standing, in March of 2007 with the two performing another live version of "Honky Tonk Women" as well as Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie".
On April 7, 2007, Kid Rock presented ZZ Top with a star at the Southwest Texas Hall of Fame.
Rock N Roll Jesus
Kid Rock's new album was set for release on October 9, 2007. The album was produced by Rob Cavallo. "So Hott" was the first single off the album released August 9, 2007. Billboard Magazine gave a preview of the album on their August 4th issue with Kid Rock on the cover. Best Buy will offer 2 bonus tracks in the rap song "Guilty" and a live version of "Jackson, Mississippi". Wal Mart will offer a VH-1 DVD and the bonus track "Lowlife (Living The Highlife)" which is a John Eddie cover.
During an attempt for press for the album at the September 9th MTV VMA's Kid Rock and Tommy Lee got into a scuffle. Tommy Lee started the fight when he took Kid Rock's seat and refused to get up and began teasing him. Rock landed a back hand and a punch before security broke it up. Kid Rock was allowed to stay while Tommy Lee was escorted out. Kid Rock was cited for misdemeanor battery, and could face up to 6 months in jail. Tommy Lee's left cheek was red and swollen from the result of the fight from picture taking from the awards.
Rock N Roll Jesus debut and became Kid Rock's 1st number one album of his career selling 172,000 copies in its first week. On the same day he and his manager of 7 years, Ed "Punch" Andrews, split ways, it is believed Andrews is retiring.
Kid Rock Projects In The Works
Rappers Beanie Siege, MURS, Trick Trick, and DMC have all expressed interest with working with Bob on their 2007 forthcoming albums.
Legendary rap pioneer Reverend Run has confirmed an album with Kid Rock called Running With the Kid, a play off of Eric Clapton and B. B. King's "Riding With The King". The release date is unknown, but Run says they are going to work on it by the end of April 2007. Kid Rock will appear on Lil' John's 2007 album, Crunk Rock.
Twisted Brown Trucker
Twisted Brown Trucker is Kid Rock's band, formed in 1994, with Bob Ebeling in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The bands first involvement was on the 1994 demo of Dark & Grey. "Trucker" became both Rock's studio and live back up band in 1997. Dubbed by Kid Rock as "The Loudest Band In America Today", they are well known for the hodge podge of multiple genres, sometimes mixing them in a single song. The line up went through a change for the 1st album with Atlantic on Devil Without a Cause, its since seen two major changes with Uncle Kracker going solo full time in 2002 and Kenny Olson and Smith Curry leaving in 2005. The background singers for the live shows have worked with Bob Seger (Karen Newman) and The Faces (Lauren Creamer), respectively. Misty Love, Shirly Hayden and Thornetta Davis are the studio background vocalists.
- Marlon Young: Lead Guitar (2007)
- Jason Krause: Electric guitar, metal guitar, acoustic guitar (1997-Present)
- Jimmie "Bones" Trombley: Keyboard, organ, piano, clavinet, wurlitzer, harp, Jew's harp, synthesizer, synth bass, programming, vocals (1996-Present)
- Stefanie Eulinberg: Drums & vocals (1998-Present)
- Aaron Julison: Bass, vocals (2003-Present)
- Paradime: Turntables & vocals (2002-Present)
- Larry Fratangelo: Congo Drums & Percussion
- Rayse Biggs and David McMurray:Horn Section
- Barbera Payton, Stacy Plunk:Background Singers
- Uncle Kracker: Turntables & vocals (1987-2002)
- Bobby East: Lead guitar, bass guitar, slide guitar (2001-2005)
- Kenny Olson: Lead guitar (1994-2005)
- Joe C: Vocals (1994-2000, deceased)
- Kenny Tudrick: Lead guitar (2006-2007)
- Bob Ebeling: Drums (1993-1997)
- Mike Bradford: Bass guitar (1999-2001)
- Lonnie Moxley: Bass guitar (1995-1997)
- Chris Labroux: Bongo drums (1997)
- Smith Curry: Steel guitar & dobro (2005)
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