Kid Rock’s Reference

I was reading your article saying that country music fans r some of the best fans in the world. I said to myself…."Shit, I’ve known that for ten years" !!!!!!

Kid Rock

Bob Seger left moribund Capitol for the hippest record company in the world and still didn’t have a hit. "Back In ’72" garnered some good reviews, but despite containing the original version of "Turn The Page" and a great cover of Free’s "Stealer", the album sank like a stone and with his tail between his legs, Bob left Reprise’s San Fernando Valley headquarters and got off the 101 at Vine and returned to the Tower, Capitol Records that is. And still remained an acquired taste, a virtual unknown in the now dominant AOR world. A king in Detroit, no one cared about "Seven" when it was released.

But then came "Beautiful Loser"…

He wants to dream like a young man
With the wisdom of an old man
He wants his home and security
He wants to live like a sailor at sea

Can you get off the dime? Can you get out of your head and out the front door? Can you try to live out your fantasies?

Most people can’t. They talk big, but they leave no physical evidence. Because they’re afraid they’re just not good enough, that they might fail. Give the celebs credit, they took the risk. Of not only failing, but abuse. For once you rise above the fray, all those who were too scared to try come after you, try to drag you down into the hole they’re in. Seger was trying, and finally he got a modicum of airplay. "Beautiful Loser" got spun here and there. But to say there was a breakthrough would be beyond charitable, it would be an outright lie, except for dedicated rock fans, no one had any idea who Seger was, never mind having never heard his music.

But that was about to change the following year, with the release of "Live Bullet".

They say you’ve got to hear a band live. That that’s the only place you can understand it, the only place you can get it. That’s rare today, with all the studio trickery. Seemingly anybody can make a slick recorded product, but play live? That separates the men from the boys, almost everybody’s a disappointment live. But after almost ten years in the trenches, Seger was road-honed, his band was firing on all Mopar cylinders, he cut a double live album and EXPLODED!

All those tracks that had been ignored on previous albums became radio staples. Not only the haunting aforementioned "Turn The Page", but the incredible combo of "Travelin’ Man" and "Beautiful Loser", segueing into a nine minute masterpiece, a seventies rock anthem.

Sometimes at night, I see their faces
I feel the traces they’ve left on my soul
Those are the memories that make me a wealthy soul
Those are the memories that make me a wealthy soul

Seger was singing about the women, those who’d abandoned him, those who’d tried to corner him. But these lines from "Travelin’ Man" were also a metaphor for his career. He hadn’t wanted to be tied down, he didn’t want to make any commitments, other than to his music, he didn’t want to give up, he needed to MAKE IT!

And make it he did, becoming one of the biggest arena acts of the era. Hell, he can still tour arenas today! And those memories, of his tunes pouring out of the Camaro’s dash, at the backyard pool party, have been imprinted upon our DNA, they’re the story of our lives, they’ve made us wealthy souls.

Sure, Kid Rock’s gone country a bit. But when he e-mailed me yesterday that he’d known that country fans were the best in the world for ten years, he wasn’t only making a declaratory sentence, he was making a reference, to Bob Seger’s "Silver Bullet" double album. For deep in the grooves are these unforgettable lines:

I read somewhere, I think it was in Rolling Stone, that Detroit audiences are the finest rock and roll audiences in the world.

Shit, I’ve known that for 10 years!

We are not owned by the record companies, or the TV stations. We’re owned by the records. When done right, they penetrate us, they’re unforgettable.

Kid Rock has not forgotten. And based on the response, it turns out many in my audience have not either.

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.