Kid Rock Biography
Kid Rock released several studio albums that mostly went unnoticed before his 1998 record Devil Without a Cause, released with Atlantic Records, sold 11 million albums behind the hits, "Bawitdaba", "Cowboy", and "Only God Knows Why". In 2000, he released The History of Rock which was a compilation of remixed and remastered versions of songs from his previous albums as well as the hit single, "American Bad Ass". In 2001, he released the follow up, Cocky. After a slow start, his country-flavored hit "Picture" with Sheryl Crow resurrected the album and it went gold as a single and pushed the album's sales to more than 5 million. It was followed by 2003's self-titled release, which failed to chart a major hit. In 2006 he released Live Trucker, a live album. In 2007 Kid Rock released Rock N Roll Jesus, which produced a hit in "All Summer Long". It was his first worldwide smash hit, charting #1 in eight countries across Europe and Australia. Rock N Roll Jesus would go on to sell 5 million albums worldwide including being certified triple platinum in the US. He will release "Born Free" on November 16, 2010. He is currently building a house on Lake Charlevoix in Charlevoix, Michigan, set to be finished early next year.
He has sold 22 million albums to date in the United States.
Robert Ritchie was born on January 17, 1972 in Romeo, Michigan to William "Bill" Ritchie, a car dealer, and Susan Ritchie. His family owned a six-acre orchard and Ritchie regularly helped pick apples and cared for the family's horses. He has two older siblings: brother William "Billy" Ritchie; and sister Carol Ritchie. At age eleven he joined a breakdance crew called the Furious Funkers, teaching himself how to work a cheap belt-driven turntable. In high school, Ritchie DJed at parties for beer. He eventually joined Bo Wisdom of Groove Time Productions, in Mt. Clemens, Michigan to perform basement parties for thirty dollars a night. It was then that he was given his stage name; club goers dubbed him "Kid Rock" after they had enjoyed watching "that white kid that can rock." Rock started rapping and joined a local hip hop group, The Beast Crew. They were composed of The Blackman, Champtown, KDC, Chris "Doc Roun-Cee" Pouncy. Rock 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 representative from Jive Records to see him perform. This meeting led to a demo deal, which developed into a full record contract.
Against his parents' wishes, Rock signed the deal at the age of seventeen. Despite his new record deal, he had a falling out with The Beast Crew when he signed over fellow member Champtown (the two have become friends again since). They left his vocals on the tracks of their debut underground album "Chapter 1: He Don't Want Us No More," against his wishes. Rock later became part of the Straight From The Underground Tour, where he found himself alongside several heavyweights of rap including Ice Cube, Too Short, D-Nice, Mac Dre, and Yo-Yo.
On November 11, 1990 Kid Rock released his debut album Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast. Jive Records ended up not pushing the album, after the failure of another white rapper at the time, Vanilla Ice. However the album still gained infamy when the radio station WSNY of Courtland, NY was fined $23,700 by the FCC for playing the song "Yo-Da-Lin In the Valley". At the time it was the largest fine ever placed on a radio station. Jive Records released Kid Rock from his contract in 1991. Once back in Detroit he would become friends with Uncle Kracker after battling his brother in a freestyle rapping competition. He would eventually become Kid Rock's DJ until he went solo full time in 2000.
In late 1991 Kid Rock was picked up by an independent record label called Continuum Records, which released his second album The Polyfuze Method in March 1993. The album was more rock oriented with Rock teaching himself how to play several different instruments including guitar, drums, keyboard and organ. The album saw some local college radio success at Central Michigan University with the tracks "Back From The Dead" and "Balls In Your Mouth". He would release "U Don't Know Me" as the first official single off the album, but it failed to chart, and the music video received little airplay on any major music video channels. Kid Rock re-released "Back From The Dead" as a single to mainstream radio, but that too failed as a single. The album has sold around 15,000 copies.
He released an EP called Fire It Up later in 1993. The EP featured the song "I Am the Bullgod", which wouldn't be a hit until six years later. Continuum didn't see a future with Kid Rock after this and released him from his contract in 1994.
He moved back to Detroit where his on-again/off-again relationship with Kelly South resulted in the birth of his son, Robert James Ritchie, Jr. Kid Rock would release monthly demo tapes dubbed The Bootleg Series, which featured demos of him and other up-and-coming rappers and garage rock bands in the Detroit area. Around the same time, Kid Rock formed his back-up band Twisted Brown Trucker, later recruiting Joe C., who he met at a 1994 concert, as part of the group. In 1995, Rock took a job as a janitor at Whiterooms Studios in order to pay studio fees. When he wasn't working, Kid Rock recorded the material that would eventually make up his fourth album, Early Morning Stoned Pimp (which Rock released on his own label, Top Dog Records). During the recording process he met piano player Jimmie Bones, who joined the band soon after. The album was released January 9, 1996. A loan from his father aided the release. Kid Rock sold 60,000 copies out of the trunk of his car, including after his concerts. With EMSP local success he would re-release The Polyfuze Method as The Polyfuze Method Revisted in 1997 with "I Am The Bullgod", "Rollin On The Island" and "Rain Check" as additional tracks in March 1997.
Lava/Atlantic Records A&R man Andy Karp was interested, after seeing Kid Rock in Cleveland in December 1996, and again in March 1997. Following a two song demo tape containing "Somebody's Gotta Feel This" and "I Got One For Ya", Jason Flom supported Karp in signing Kid Rock for $100,000. However when recording sessions began, Atlantic wanted more of a rock sound and didn't initially like "Cowboy", "Devil Without A Cause" and "Only God Knows Why". They asked Rock to take out "I'm going platinum" on Devil Without A Cause's chorus, but he refused. The conflict slowed down production, however the album was completed on schedule with Rock mostly playing all the instruments himself.
In 1997, Kid Rock added drummer/vocalist Stefanie Eulinberg to his band, joining Kenny Olson, Jason Krause, Jimmie Bones, Uncle Kracker, Misty Love, Shirley Hayden and Joe C.. On August 18, 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, performing one of his first New York City shows at Luna Lounge on the Lower East Side during the CMJ convention.
Sales of "Welcome 2 The Party" and Devil were slow, though the 1998 Warped Tour in Northampton, Massachusetts stimulated regional interest in Massachusetts and New England. This led to substantial airplay in the summer and fall of 1998 on rock staples in Massachusetts WZLX and WAAF for the single "I Am The Bullgod." In December 1998, while dj'ing at a club he met and became friends with MTV host Carson Daly. He performed on MTV Fashionably Loud in Miami, then on MTV's Wanna B A VJ doing "My Name Is Rock" and was the DJ for TRL on the Spring Break Special as well as a judge on Say What Karaoke. This raised his profile so by April 1999 Devil Without a Cause had achieved a gold disc. In May 1999 the single "Bawitdaba" off the album was released to radio outlets, and by June, Devil had gone platinum. Kid Rock went on the Limptropolis Tour with fellow nu metal acts Limp Bizkit and Staind in the same month, his first major tour. By the time he made his career defining performance at Woodstock 1999 on July 24, 1999, he was double platinum. The following single "Cowboy" was an even bigger hit. It was a mix of southern rock, country and rap that made the Top 40. Rock's next single, the rock ballad "Only God Knows Why", would be the biggest hit off the album charting at No 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. By the time the final single "Wasting Time" was released the album had sold 7 million albums, Devil Without A Cause was certified 11 times platinum by the RIAA on April 17, 2003..
Rock was nominated as Best New Artist at the 2000 Grammy Awards, losing to Christina Aguilera. He was nominated for "Bawitdaba" for Best Hard Rock Performance, losing to Metallica's "Whiskey in the Jar."
After reacquiring the rights to his early material in 2000, Rock released The History of Rock, a collection of remixed and re-recorded songs from The Polyfuze Method and Early Mornin Stoned Pimp. "American Bad Ass", one of two new tracks, was released as a single. It sampled the Metallica track "Sad But True".
On May 27 Kid Rock appeared on Saturday Night Live performing "American Bad Ass" and an acoustic version of "Only God Knows Why" that featured Phish's Trey Anastasio. Kid Rock would join Phish later in the year in Las Vegas, Nevada, for a set of cover songs.
From June 30 to August 22, 2000, 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, singing vocals on the songs "Enter Sandman", "Sad But True", and "Nothing Else Matters" and the turntables for "Fuel", for three shows after Hetfield injured his spine riding a jet ski on Lake Lanier the day before the July 7 Atlanta concert.
On November 16, 2000 Joseph "Joe C" Callejua would pass away in his sleep from Coeliac disease in Taylor, MI. The disease stunted his growth and forced him to take 60 pills a day. Joe C's final song was "Cool Daddy Cool" for the Osmosis Jones soundtrack. The band made a cameo in the movie as the band playing in the club scene. Kid Rock was referred to as Kidney Rock to go along with the cartoon aspect of being a cell in the body of Frank played by Bill Murray.
In early 2001, Rock inducted Aerosmith into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed "Sweet Emotion" at the induction ceremony. The same year, Rock landed his first acting role in the David Spade white trash comedy Joe Dirt. His character was Robbie a redneck bully to Joe Dirt who was chasing after Joe's unaware love interest Brandy.
"American Bad Ass" was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 2001s Grammy Awards. Losing out to Rage Against The Machine's "Guerilla Radio". The History of Rock would go on to be certified double platinum.
In November, Kid Rock released Cocky, which was marketed as the official follow up to Devil Without a Cause. With the era of rap metal on the decline, Kid Rock included several southern rock and country ballads on the album. The first single, "Forever", featured his standard brash rap-rock sound, but lacked the selling power of "Devil Without A Cause". The songs "Lonely Road of Faith"and "You Never Met a Motherfucker Quite Like Me" were released as singles, but were not successful, and the album struggled to reach platinum a year later. Rock had problems with the release of "Picture", a country-influenced duet with Sheryl Crow: his label felt it was wrong for his image, and were not keen to spend more money promoting a flagging album; then, when they agreed to release it, Sheryl Crow's label initially refused to give permission. Rock, meanwhile, made a radio version with Allison Moorer, which was gaining airplay. When "Picture" was released it introduced Kid Rock to a wider audience, and was ultimately the most successful single on the album. The song would chart at No 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No 17 on Country radio. The song remains his most successful pop song in the US to date.
On December 14, 2001, CMT aired an episode of Crossroads featuring Rock with Hank Williams, Jr. The episode drew 2.1 million viewers, a record on CMT.. He would perform for troops in January 2002 on an MTV USO Special at Germany's Ramstein Air Base along with Ja Rule and Jennifer Lopez.
At the end of 2002, Uncle Kracker left the band to pursue a solo career, and Detroit underground rapper Paradime replaced him. Kid Rock made his second movie, Biker Boyz, with Laurence Fishburne.
In 2003, Kid Rock returned with an eponymous album, almost stripping away the accustomed rap metal sound that he had created, opting for southern rock and several country ballads in the wake of "Picture"'s success. The album's lead single was a cover of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love". A media blitz accompanied the single capped off by the VH-1 special called A Kid Rock Christmas, which aired on December 14, 2003. He would release "Cold and Empty", "Jackson, Mississippi" and "I Am" to minor success on radio. The David Allan Coe penned "Single Father", became his second charting country song, although like the other singles it was minor hit at #50.. Kid Rock would be his lowest selling mainstream studio album of his career with 1.4 million copies sold.
Kid Rock was involved in the halftime show controversy at Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, Texas on February 1, 2004. He was criticized by Republicans for his choice of wearing the American flag as a poncho.
The following month, Kid inducted Bob Seger into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In September 2005, Kid Rock filled in for Johnny Van Zant, the lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd on the band's hit "Sweet Home Alabama" at the Hurricane Katrina benefit concert.
He performed the theme song for Spike TV's Striperella, which featured Pamela Anderson in 2003, the song was entitled "Erotica".
On February 28, 2006, Kid Rock released his first live album, Live Trucker, comprising songs from his homestead performances in 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 Kid dueting with country star Gretchen Wilson on "Picture."
He brought Bob Seger back from semi-retirement during his pre-Super Bowl concerts on February 2 and 3, 2006 in Detroit. The two performed a version of Seger's "Rock 'N' Roll Never Forgets" on both nights. Kid Rock would appear on Bob Seger's album, Face The Promise, on a Vince Gill cover of "Real Mean Bottle," a tribute to country legend Merle Haggard. He would make a cameo in the movie Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector and was in an episode of CSI: New York in 2006.
He inducted Lynyrd Skynyrd into the 2006 Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame and performed "Sweet Home Alabama" with them.
Rock N Roll Jesus was released on October 9, 2007, becoming Kid Rock's first album to go number 1, selling 172,000 copies in its first week. He made the cover of Rolling Stone magazine for the second time, and appeared for the first time on Larry King Live to discuss the new album.
The album's first two singles were successful on rock radio in "So Hott" and "Amen". The album's third single "All Summer Long", became a global hit. It utilized a mash up of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London". "All Summer Long" would chart at No 23 on the Billboard Hot 100"
"Rock N Roll Jesus" returned to the Top 10 for 17 straight weeks. Both "Roll On" and the title track were released as follow up singles. The album's final single was "Blue Jeans and a Rosary" which was a minor country hit at No 50.
In 2008, Kid Rock recorded "Warrior" for a National Guard advertising campaign.
Kid Rock performed on VH1 Storytellers on November 27, 2008, giving an insight to how he wrote some of his hit songs. On April 5, 2009 he performed a 5-song medley at WrestleMania XXV.
He was nominated for best rock album and best male pop/rock performance for "All Summer Long" at the 2009 Grammys. He lost to Coldplay's Viva La Vida for best Rock Album and John Mayer's "Say" for Best Male Pop/Rock Performance. He achieved his first country award winning for Best Wide Open Country Video for "All Summer Long" at the 2009 CMT Awards
On May 22 Kid Rock's June 8, 2008 concert at Germany's Rock AM Festival was aired on every MTV affiliate around the world on their debut show "World Stage". On July 3, 2009 "Rock N Roll Jesus" was certified triple platinum by the RIAA.
Kid Rock held the largest headline concert of his career the weekend of July 17 and 18, 2009, at Comerica Park in Detroit. 80,000 people attended the two shows.
Kid Rock's follow up to Rock N Roll Jesus is being produced by Rick Rubin and will feature 14 tracks, with several guest artist. The release date is November 16, 2010, and the title track will be the lead single. November 16, 2010, is the tenth anniversary of the passing of Joe C. to whom Kid Rock pays tribute in live versions of Devil Without a Cause.
Born Free will be Rock's first album since Rock N Roll Jesus in 2007, The Detroit News noted. Originally slated to be three discs, Rock explained "it was just sensory overload, too many songs, too much to choose from live. In the end, it would've been kind of pretentious to release a triple album. I had four songs I didn't even like, shit that I wrote for Kracker that I was gonna use because he didn't need it". While attending the Movement Festival in Detroit Saturday, Rock revealed Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow and T.I. will also lend their talents to his latest project. T.I. and Martina McBride will be featured on "Care". While Sheryl Crow will be featured on "Collide" , with Bob Seger playing piano.
Rock said the collaboration with Seger, on the piano, almost didn't happen. James Hetfield plays guitar on four tracks. Rock stated, "I wanted some Metallica style riffs on the songs where I wasn't rapping. Lucky for me, Papa Het had some leftover riffs that Metallica wasn't gonna use. We added some drums, a fuck load of bass and just layed that shit down. I'm fucking ecstatic".
Red Hot Chili Peppers Chad Smith will play drums on the album while Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Benmont Tench will play the keyboards. Kid Rock's long time band will not be featured on the album as Rubin created an all star band to back Kid Rock. His "Cowboy" and "Wanted Dead Or Alive" mash up will be on T.I.'s King Uncaged album entitled "Wanted".
Other guest appearences include, Zac Brown on "Flying High " and Trace Adkins "Sounds Good To Be Me". The album will also feature the songs "Midwest Farmers", a cover of the Alabama song, "Mountain Music"," One Women Man", " The Midwest Fall" and his ansewer song to John Rich's "Shutting Down Detroit", "Times Like These". The album is also expected to feature a unknown song with Lil Wayne sampled to Eminence Front by The Who.
He hosted the 2010 CMT Awards and released a digital live ep from his Comerica Park show last year with a free download of "Times Like These" in June as part of a promotion for Jim Beam's Operation Homefront.
Kid Rock launched and hosted his first annual cruise dubbed the "Chillin The Most Cruise" a call back to his hit "Cowboy", on April 29, 2010. It ran 4 days through May 3 from Tampa, Florida to Bahama's. It featured him and several other bands. The cruise was produced by Atlanta based events company, Sixthman.
Kid Rock took some of the wraps off his next album, "Born Free," during his three-night weekend homestand at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in suburban Detroit, debuting six of the songs and announcing the album's release date. At which point he revealed that "Born Free", while originally tipped for Sept. 7, will come out Nov. 16.