Somethings You Can’t Shake

I’m sitting in the middle tryin’ to live my life
Cuz’ I can’t stop the war
Shelter homeless, feed the poor
Can’t walk on water
I can’t save your sons and daughters
I can’t change the world and make things fair
The least that I can do is care
-Kid Rock

I’ve lived in New York City now for ten years. I love this city. I do. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t escape where I am from. I am from the Midwest. Trust me, I say that with neither irony nor pride, it’s a fact. A fact I have tried most of my adult life to run from. I was born in Minnesota and came of age in Ohio. The great state of Ohio is where I discovered the power of the 4 minute prose.

I shudder to think what my fellow hipster Brooklynites would think if they knew what I was really listening to on my walk to the L train in the morning. I feel confident they’d spit out their Free Trade Peruvian coffee in disgust. I listen to Styx, without irony, I celebrate the first three Phil Collins solo albums with pride and, in what would clearly label me as a musical heretic in these parts, I like Kid Rock. A lot.

Apparently, so does The New Yorker Magazine. You know, the New Yorker Magazine, the apogee of east coast, blue blood, ivy league, snot nose writing (yep, I got me a subscription). And lemme tell ya, my Midwestern bourgeois self got all warm and cuddly as I read it. A guy who has built and maintained his career on sex, drugs and rock and roll in the hoity toity New Yorker?! AWESOME! Of course, if I had the energy to do the research, I am sure I’d find the magazine did other pieces on these sorts of rebel souls…but I’m not up for the research. The article was about as incisive as an expose’ in Highlights Magazine, but what more can you really expect? There was some pleasure to be had picturing writer Kelefa Sanneh (Harvard alum…seriously, New Yorker, could you be more obvious?) hanging out with Kid Rock.

The article did highlight the pure and honest nature of us Midwestern folk. We are who we are. It’s not our goal is to piss people off or alienate people, that seems to come naturally, it’s just more important to be ourselves. And Kid Rock is none other than Kid Rock. And he continues the give the rock and roll middle finger to everyone, much like Paul Westerberg, Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp et al. before him.

As I write this I am listening to Rock’s “Rock and Roll Jesus” perhaps a little too loudly and can only imagine what my neighbors think. Not that I care all that much but I still feel like I should mix it up with some Bon Iver just to maintain what little credibility I may have. Realistically though, my credibility was shot the moment I wore my Wal-Mart tuxedo shirt, with my plaid shorts and flip flops a few weeks back. In fact, let me turn it up!

Kid Rock has no pretense (another great Midwestern trait) and knows his place in the rock and roll pantheon “As much as I love Seger (Bob) and Petty (Tom) and Springsteen (serioulsy?), I’m not one of those guys. And I like the fact that I can grab a turntable and scratch—and Springsteen can’t.” Here, here.

Critics typically dismiss Kid Rock because I don’t think they get it. It’s not a joke, it’s not schtick, it’s just rock and roll. Despite how hard others may try, rock and roll ain’t gonna save the world. The world may need saving but it won’t be Kid Rock saving it, he’ll be the guy throwing the party for those that did.

The New Yorker
**And yes, I know he endorsed Mitt Romney. I don’t care. Most white men over a certain age did too. Rock on people.