The Killer Inside Kid Rock
The other pigs go silent. One rubs its snout on the dead sow. Rock hands a rifle to Audrey, showing her where to aim at the blond boar. “Ah, they stink!” she says, sticking the gun into the cage and firing. “Poor thing! Sorry, buddy.”
Rock shoots the third. It falls, stays still, then lurches back up, blood spilling from behind its ear. He shoots again. “Two to the head with a .45 and it’s still kicking,” he says. “That’s unbelievable.”
Everyone surveys the damage. Rock takes a photo and sends it to Hank Jr. Some locals will come by later to purchase the hogs. “The blond one is pretty,” says Audrey.
“Pretty dead,” Rock says with a chuckle. “Well, there’s some excitement to get the day started!”
Rock’s Alabama getaway inspired much of his new album, First Kiss. He wrote songs like “Drinking Beer With Dad,” a winding, melancholy track about watching his son grow up, on his Troy porch over a cigar and coffee. Rock, 44, sings about cruising Southern back roads and sipping Jim Beam at juke joints on “Good Times Lookin’ for Me,” and he salutes gun-loving, denim-wearing women on “Johnny Cash.” “Jesus and Bocephus” is a spare, fiddle-steeped hymn that pays tribute to the Bible and getting stoned listening to Hank Jr. “There are a few on this record I think are really special,” Rock says.
One day during a recording session in Michigan, Rock and his band were arguing about who played slide guitar on “Like a Rock” — so Rock texted his friend Bob Seger to ask the man himself. Seger ended up coming over, and Rock played him a singalong he called “FOAD,” a.k.a. “Fuck Off and Die.” Seger loved the melody but hated the lyrics. “He’s like, ‘Dude, you fucking ruined that song — that’s a hit!’ ” Seger rewrote it as “Say Goodbye,” a ballad about the fear that a breakup could be the mistake of a lifetime. “He called me the next morning and said, ‘Hey, what do all women want in life?’ I’m being a smartass, I’m like, ‘A big dick and a new car.’ He said, ‘No! They want to be remembered forever! And I’m going to give it to you because you’ve been so nice to me.’ ” Rock couldn’t decide which version he liked better, so he ended up putting both on the album.
Rock will take the songs on the road to amphitheaters this summer: “I’m the Jimmy Buffett with hair who swears.” He’ll help fans save their beer money by holding prices down to $20 a ticket, like he did last time out. “I’m going to ride that into the sunset,” says Rock. “The only obstacle is Ticketmaster adds an extra $5. Fuckin’ whores.” At this point, Rock knows who his audience is: “45-50-year-old girls wearing extra-large T-shirts — they’re my bread and butter. They know how to fucking party — ‘I don’t give a fuck, I’m making a T-shirt and putting sequins on it. I’m saving my money for beer and having a good time.’ ”