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This Kid ready to Rock for the holidays

Singer brings music from new album to VH1 special
/ Source: The Associated Press

Kid Rock is in his 30s. And he’s OK with that.

Sure, he still appears on stage with barely dressed women and knocks back his fair share of Coors Light, but the self-proclaimed “Pimp of the Nation” does appear to be toning it down a bit.

On Sunday, Rock appeared in his own televised holiday special that coincided with the recent release of his self-titled album.

“A Kid Rock Christmas” appears on ... VH1?

“I’m just growing with the music and as a person,” he told The Associated Press in an interview at his Oakland County home 40 miles northwest of Detroit. “One of the worst mistakes I thought I could make was trying to hold on to anything I had success with ... trying to duplicate that, because that’s really not where I’m at musically or at 32 years old.”

The new disc, which was released last month and has appeared as high as No. 8 on the Billboard chart, reflects an evolving artist.

Rolling Stone, in its four-star review, says the record “is a monster: raucous and clever and unpredictable.

“It’s one of the best hard-rock CDs you’ll hear this year.”

Long known for his diverse musical tastes, Rock on this album pounds out tunes that run the gamut of musical styles: country, Southern rock, blues, hip-hop and metal.

“I’ve always liked so many different kinds of music and played so many different kinds of music,” said Rock, who counts among his influences Bob Seger, Hank Williams Jr. and Lynyrd Skynyrd. “I felt that I’ve proven myself in a lot of different genres and so I felt a sense of freedom to make the kind of record I wanted to make.

“If some song came off sounding a little country, the record company’s not going to say, ‘Oh, that’s too country.’ I won’t have to fight them to release it one day as a single or something.”

Rock — born Bob Ritchie — has won that hard-earned corporate support by delivering massive sales on his first two major-label studio efforts.

Rock was a Detroit-area hip-hop DJ when he broke through with 1998’s “Devil Without a Cause,” which successfully married hard rock beats with rap lyrics. “Devil” sold 10 million copies, and his next studio effort, 2001’s “Cocky,” sold 4 million.

Studio retreat
For “Kid Rock,” Rock retreated to his studio, the Allen Roadhouse, which he says is “north of Detroit, south of heaven,” but asked that its exact location not be revealed. And he invited a few guests to lend a hand, including Williams, blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, who appears on the part-country/part-funk tune “Hillbilly Stomp.”

Sheryl Crow, who collaborated with Rock on the chart-topper “Picture” from “Cocky” assists this time around on “Run Off To L.A.”

“Picture,” a ballad duet about long-distance heartbreak and love lost, became a cross-format hit with pop and country fans alike embracing it.

The success of “Picture,” coupled with Rock’s professed love of country, had some thinking the new album would have a true Nashville feel to it.

But Kid Rock quickly shot down that theory.

“I don’t think it’s really more country as everyone was kind of speculating — that with the success of ‘Picture’ I’d make a country album. I think that’d be wack. ... I think it’s a good, blues-based rock ’n’ roll record,” he said as a hairstylist worked on his long blond mane in preparation for the taping of the “fireside chat” segments of the VH1 show.

The 90-minute special, which was filmed in early November, features clips from a performance at the Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens, an animated short that features Rock doing his unique version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and video excerpts of him eating Christmas dinner with family and friends.

Kid Rock’s mother helped cook the meal for the guests, who included Williams, actress Drea de Matteo (Adriana on “The Sopranos”), television host Jesse James (“Monster Garage”) and singer LeAnn Rimes.

Not in attendance at the turkey dinner was on-again, off-again girlfriend Pamela Anderson.

Williams, who killed the turkey on his own farm and flew it to Michigan on his private jet, supervised the preparation of the bird.

The special intersperses clips from the concert with footage from the dinner and the time spent preparing it.

Although he admitted he found the taping to be tiring, Rock said he hoped it would “be a real fun Christmas special.”

“Hopefully the dinner comes across as some genuine good spirits between people who would probably not normally get together,” he said. “I think that’s what Christmas is all about. ... I like to think that if there’s one positive thing with my music that I do is I bring a lot of different people together from a lot of different genres.”