It may be hard to believe, but Kid Rock is about to release his 10th studio album. Rock has spent his career learning how to move easily between old-school hip-hop, classic rock and country. First Kiss (out February 24th), which he self-produced, features all of those sides, from the Aerosmith-style rocker “Ain’t Enough Whiskey” to the melancholy country ballad “A Beer With Dad.” At his Nashville home recently, Rock blasted some of his new songs and provided plenty of commentary. Here’s what we learned:
He switched up his process on the new LP.
Rock recorded most of the album with Austin rockers Band of Heathens. “I was like, ‘I really like your band.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you guys come up [to Nashville]? I wrote some new songs, let’s just get in the fucking studio and turn the fucking 24-track fucking on and start cutting.’ So we did.”
He wants to top 2012’s Rebel Soul.
“That was a bad album,” Rock says. “I didn’t spend enough time on it at all. So this one is more pressure.”
Cheap wine is good, Coldplay is bad.
A rocker tentatively titled “Good Times and Cheap Wine” takes aim at Coldplay, Coachella, social media and hipsters. “I’m fucking old,” says Rock, 42. “I’m not going to fit in, I’m fucking fine with that, I don’t fucking understand the Internet or Coachella or any shit. And I just can’t fucking try to pretend like I know. I like good times, cheap wine and back-beat rock & roll.”
Like “All Summer Long,” the title track has Rock looking back to his teenage relationships.
“First Kiss” has Rock howling over “Summer of ’69”-style power chords about cruising with his high school crush in his first truck. Rock sings about the nostalgia that washes over him when he drives through a small town, remembering the days he cruised through his hometown while listening to Tom Petty, smoking cigarettes with “No money just time to spend/An old Chevy and a couple friends.” “That’ll probably be the first single,” he says.
He pays tribute to his brother.
Rock returns to old-school hip-hop with “Hopping Around,” a tribute to his brother, Billy, who lost his leg in a tractor accident when we were kids. “We grew up together like that, so, this is funny as shit.”
The album highlights Rock’s country side.
“Drinking Beer With Dad” is a pedal steel-laced back-porch booze ballad Rock calls “one of the best songs I’ve ever written.” Elsewhere, Rock tips his hat to his country heroes; “Jesus and Bocephus” is one of his weirdest songs ever, with Rock paying tribute to Hank Williams Jr. over little more than a church organ. (Watch Rock premiere it on the Tonight Show here). “Johnny Cash” is a love song dedicated to the marriage between the singer and June Carter Cash. “Their whole relationship, fuck, it’s pretty fucking sweet,” he says. “[It’s] coming to a wedding near you!”
He doubles down on right-wing politics.
On the vintage Aerosmith-style boogie “Ain’t Enough Whiskey,” Rock slams politicians who “talk about taking my guns away.” “It’s not going to be considered politically correct,” says Rock, who campaigned for Mitt Romney in 2012. “But it says what’s going on.”