At 45, Kid Rock remains as unrepentant and outspoken as ever. “His campaign has been entertaining as shit,” the rapper/singer/songwriter recently told Rolling Stone of Donald Trump. In further excerpts from the interview, he discusses his Detroit heritage, the rules he lives by and his friendship with late record mogul Ahmet Ertegun.
You recently became a grandfather, at the age of 43. How did you feel about that milestone?
Well, it keeps my redneck street cred in good standing, right? Maybe even my hip-hop street cred, if I have any of that left. I’m enjoying it. Listen, my son graduated college and he has a job. That alone, as a parent, is such a relief. I can’t imagine what the fuck I put my parents through. Now I have a beautiful granddaughter, on top of it? It’s pretty crazy. My friends say, “How lucky are you, to be able to see your granddaughter do so much stuff? You’ll be at her wedding.” So many things you might not see if you have kids later in life, which seems to be the trend now for most responsible adults.
What’s the most Detroit thing about you?
Maybe my work ethic. Knowing how to get back up when being kicked down. I went through a lot of that in my history. Everything that I went through to get the success I have, I think a lot of that has to do with Detroit.
You also have places in Ala
bama, Malibu, Nashville and
Florida. What’s that about?
People write about my house in Malibu: “No one would ever expect him to have this.” But I also have double-wide trailers in Nashville and Alabama, and a beach house in Florida with pink shag carpeting. I like going in and out of different cultures, just like in my music. I go to Alabama to hunt and hang out. It’s such a simple way of life. You’re just in the middle of nowhere. I see these celebrities bitching about ”Oh, these people won’t leave me alone!” There ain’t a fucking soul in Alabama that’s going to fuck with you.
What was your most decadent purchase?
I bought a pretty expensive 1930 Cadillac. It’s concord- yellow, a fuckin’ high-dollar car. But at the same time, it’s probably going to end up being better than putting that money in the bank. And I guess an airplane is pretty decadent, right? [Laughs] But if anyone has a problem with that, tell them to go fuck themselves, because I will live in that trailer in Alabama before I give up that fuckin’ airplane. That airplane is, hands down, the greatest luxury a human being could have. There’s nothing that fucking beats it. Fuck a yacht.
Who are your heroes?
Jesus. George Washington. And anybody that’s had the balls to go and fight for this country. And hardworking people that come from not having a lot, that keep a strong family and pull themselves up from their bootstraps and make something of themselves in life, you know? Those are heroes to me.
What are the most important rules you live by?
Don’t be a dick. I try to be cool with everybody. Even if it’s somebody where you don’t really appreciate what they do, like if it’s a band whose music you don’t like. I think I got all of that out of my system when I was young anyway. I walked around flipping everyone off, telling them to go fuck themselves. Also, don’t hang out with assholes. If you surround yourself with good people, everything else is going to work itself out.
“I’m entering the Bob Seger/Tom Petty/John Mellencamp phase.”
You were close friends with the late music-biz legend Ahmet Ertegun. What did you learn from him?
I learned a lot about having class. How to speak to a lady, and kiss her on both cheeks, and that there’s a time to say “Fuck you” and “Suck my dick,” and then there’s a time when it’s not appropriate. Because Ahmet and I would be as dirty as we’d want to be, and have as much fun on any level as you could think of, as old as he was. But then we’d have dignitaries with us, and he would be like, “Hey, none of that shit at the dinner table tonight, all right? Follow my lead!”
And what do you take away from your friendship with Bob Seger?
One of the biggest things is how to grow old gracefully in this business. You see so many people that don’t. He’s comfortable in his own skin. He’s made his mark on the business and he’s happy with his success. You see these other aging rockers, and they still gotta be in the limelight all the time. They wanna walk in and create a scene, and it takes them three hours to get ready to leave the house. That seems like a nightmare to me. So when I look at Bob Seger, I’m like, “That’s the person I’d like to follow in this journey.”
So you don’t want to be fighting for relevance as you get older?
I’m entering the Bob Seger/Tom Petty/John Mellencamp phase. I’ll always want to do music, but I’m happy doing it at whatever level it provides me. I’ve always said, when my time is done, I’ll go away gracefully. I won’t kick and scream; I won’t put up a fight.