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Kid Rock Bio - Kid Rock Pictures
Kid Rock Bio
One of the unlikeliest success stories
in rock at the turn of the millennium, Detroit rap-rocker Kid
Rock shot to superstardom with his fourth full-length album,
1998's Devil Without a Cause. What made it so shocking was that Kid
Rock had recorded his first demo a full decade before, been booted off major label Jive following his
Beastie Boys-ish 1990 debut Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, and toiled for most of the decade in obscurity, releasing albums to a small, devoted, mostly local fan base while earning his fair share of ridicule around his home state. Nevertheless, Rock persevered, and by the time
rap-metal had begun to attract a substantial audience, he had perfected the outlandish, over-the-top white-trash persona that gave Devil Without a Cause such a distinctive personality and made it such an infectious party record.
Kid Rock Bio
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Rock" Ritchie (b. Robert James Ritchie, Jan. 17,
1971) grew up in Romeo, Michigan, a small rural town north of the
Detroit metro area. Finding small-town life stiflingly dull, Ritchie
immersed himself in rap
music, learned to breakdance, and began making the talent-show
rounds in Detroit. Inspired by the Beastie
Boys' Licensed to Ill -- white performers fusing rap
and hard guitar
rock -- Kid Rock recorded his first demos in 1988, and eventually
scored an opening slot at a Boogie Down Productions gig. That
performance, in turn, led to a contract with Jive Records, which issued Kid
Rock's debut album, Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, in 1990.
Produced by Kid Rock, Too Short, and D-Nice, the album was
heavily derivative of Licensed to Ill. Rock briefly became notorious
when a New York college radio station aired the album's profanity-laced
ode to oral sex, "Yodelin' in the Valley," and was fined over
$20,000 (a judgment later rescinded). However, despite a tour with Too $hort
and Ice Cube,
Jive didn't see much of a future for Kid Rock
and dropped him from their roster.
Moving to Brooklyn, Rock hooked up with the small Continuum label, and moved his brand of
rap further into
hard rock with The Polyfuze Method, released in 1993. Reviews were mixed, with some critics praising the record's humor and eclecticism while others dismissed it as awkward and forced. The EP Fire It Up followed in 1994, appearing on Rock's own Top Dog imprint (which was still distributed by Continuum).
Kid Rock eventually returned to the Detroit area and began work on another album; recorded on a shoestring budget, Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp was released in 1996. Although sometimes forced to sell bootleg dubs of his own records to pay the rent,
Kid Rock set about forming a full-fledged backing band, which he dubbed Twisted Brown Trucker. While its membership fluctuated early on, rapper Joe C. (b. Joseph Calleja) was one of the first to join; a longtime fan and frequent concert attendee, Calleja caught Rock's eye in 1994, partly because of his diminutive stature (due to a digestive condition known as celiac disease, which required both dialysis and extensive medication) and partly because of his encyclopedic knowledge of Rock's song lyrics. The rest of the lineup settled around mostly Detroit-area musicians:
Kenny Olson and Jason Krause, keyboardist
Jimmy Bones (b. Jimmy Trombly, he handles the bass lines himself),
drummer Stefanie Eulinberg, DJ/turntablist
Uncle Kracker (b. Matt Shafer, who had been with Rock since the early '90s), and backing vocalists Misty Love and Shirly Hayden.
As rap-metal acts like
Bizkit, and Rage Against the Machine began to dominate the hard rock landscape, Atlantic Records decided to take a chance on signing Rock. Devil Without a Cause didn't do much upon its initial release in August 1998, but a big promotional push from the label and MTV helped make the album's second single and video, "Bawitdaba," a nationwide smash. The follow-up, "Cowboy," achieved similar success, and suddenly, after a decade of trying,
Kid Rock was a superstar with a Top Five, seven-times-platinum album and a gig at Woodstock '99. While pondering how to follow up Devil, Rock acquired the rights to his indie-label recordings and remixed or re-recorded the best material for The History of Rock, which was released in the summer of 2000 and featured some new songs as well. Sadly, after being forced to take a break from touring a year earlier by his medical difficulties, Joe C. passed away in his sleep on November 16, 2000.
Even with a tragedy like this in his life, Rock continued work on his followup to Devil Without A Cause. The media focused more on his relationship with actress
Pamela Anderson than his musical career, which many magazines were beginning to ridicule. His DJ,
Uncle Kracker, had a successful solo career during the spring and summer of 2001, leaving Rock without one of his most frequent collaborators. Still, by the winter of that year he had completed work on Cocky and had released "Forever" to success on rock radio. In fall 2003,
Kid Rock returned with a self-titled effort. A cover of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love" marked the first single. The cover art to his 2006 live album Live Trucker paid tribute to
Bob Seger's Live Bullet. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide
Bio From: VH1
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