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American Bad Ass

Little more than a decade ago, Bob Ritchie was a Vanilla Ice clone who stole away from his whitewashed suburb to break-dance with the black kids in Mount Clemens, Michigan. He had a hairsbreadth more street cred than the high-school chess club before he started spinning at parties. And then folks began to say, "Let's go see that white kid rock!" A goofy moniker, millions of album sales, and a bloated ego were born of those words.

After a bomb of a debut album and two lukewarm sequels, Bob "Kid Rock" Ritchie got signed to Atlantic Records. With the backing of a major label and all the promotion and marketing that entails, the fourth album fared a tad better. To date, Devil Without a Cause is eight times platinum and counting. Despite his hick-hop persona, Kid Rock is no fool; he knew exactly what getting signed meant, and despite his sorrowful track record, the songs on Devil reflect the sky-high narcissism that has become the norm in an industry bristling with spoiled brats. From the uncanny but prophetic lyric, "I'm goin' platinum," to the no-one-knows-the-real-me rock-star whine of "Only God Knows Why," the album seems to come from a man who has been living the life for years and has seen it all. The album is so huge, even the stuff everyone ignored before was repackaged and sent out for his fifth album, The History of Rock. Rabid fans who would have scoffed at the songs just five years ago devoured the album and came back screaming for seconds.

According to the Kid, the fans who flock to his show at the National Car Rental Center Saturday will come seeking personal healing. In his book topless women and overpriced Budweiser apparently serve as chicken soup for the soul.

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Dan Sweeney
Contact: Dan Sweeney

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