Few artists would seem more appropriate than Kid Rock to open a venue in Detroit — as he will, with six shows starting Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the new Little Caesar’s Arena.
But not everybody is happy about it.
Rock has been under fire since teasing a possible U.S. Senate run during July. Most recently the bipartisan watchdog group Common Cause filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice that the Michigan native, who resides part-time in Clarkston, has violated campaign laws by selling “Kid Rock for Senate” merchandise before properly filing as a candidate.
Meanwhile, protests are being organized for Rock’s concerts at the new arena by Wayne State University’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, based on his history of using a Confederate flag on stage — which he quietly dropped from his act several years ago — Rock’s support of President Donald Trump and his comments slamming NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for not standing for the national anthem.
Rock, for his part, dubbed the Common Cause complaint “fake news,” pointing out, “#1 I have still not officially announced my candidacy. #2 See #1 and go f--- yourselves.”
His publicist, meanwhile, says that after the first song at Tuesday’s show “he will be giving his fans exclusive insight on his political views and aspirations for Michigan while on stage.”
During a concert on Sept. 6 in Grand Rapids, Rock, in a faux presidential-style rap, again spoke out against those who “call me a racist ’cause I’m not PC” and railed against “Nazi f------ bigots and the KKK.” He also announced, “If ‘Kid Rock for Senate’ has got folks in disarray, wait till they hear ‘Kid Rock for President of the U.S.A.’!”
Olympia Entertainment, which operates LCA, issued a statement defending its choice of Rock and defending him as “a consistent supporter of Detroit, and the marketplace has responded accordingly to his appearances. Performing artist’ viewpoints in no way represent an endorsement of those viewpoints by Olympia Entertainment.” Olympia President and CEO Tom Wilson, meanwhile, adds that, “As an arena, we’re presenting entertainment across a wide spectrum. We’re going to play artists who have a wide variety of positions, all over the place. We’ll let the public decide what it wants to see.”
LCA also features Kid Rock’s Made In Detroit as one of its four in-arena restaurants.
Rock, meanwhile, has been releasing new music this summer; He put out two songs, “Greatest Show On Earth” and “Po-Dunk,” during July and the country-flavored “Tennessee Mountaintop” late last week. A new album is expected but has not yet been announced.
Some tickets are available for Rock’s shows, which also take place Sept. 13, 15, 16, 19 and 20. Call 313-471-7000 Visit olympiaentertainment.com.
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