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Kid Rock Readies New Album For October Release

Of the Oakland Press

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The Devil Without a Cause is about to return — with a mission.

Clarkston-based Kid Rock’s cause is his new album, which is due out Oct. 9. The title is still being determined — candidates include “Rock ’n’ Roll Jesus” and “Amen,” which are both songs on the album. The 11-song set is Rock’s first of all-new material since 2003’s “Kid Rock” and is, he says, “the best thing I’ve ever done.”

“I wanted to really deliver and ... make just a great album, where every song is a classic,” says Rock, 36, who’s featured on the cover of the latest issue of Billboard magazine and in the new edition of Rolling Stone.

“The whole record is like going to church drunk on Saturday night. It defines America. If you just had to play one American rock album for somebody, this would be it.”

The album’s first single, a lusty hard rocker called “So Hot,” is due on radio in August — though Detroit’s WRIF-FM (101.1) plans to debut it Monday — and on Rock’s Web site. He’s planning to shoot a video for the song around Aug. 8, when he and his Twisted Brown Trucker band travel to Las Vegas to tape Larry the Cable Guy’s Christmas special for VH1.

ESPN will be using “So Hot” throughout September on its “Ultimate Highlights” show, and Rock will perform on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” the week of the album’s release. Negotiations are also under way for appearances at the WWE Summer Slam on Aug. 22 in New York City and the MTV Music Video Awards, and for Rock to provide the halftime entertainment at the Detroit Lions’ annual Thanksgiving Day game Nov. 22.

Most exciting for fans is that a small-venue tour is being planned for the fall, the first time he’s done that since his 1998 album “Devil Without a Cause” made him a multiplatinum superstar. Dates have not yet been announced, but a full-scale tour also is on the books for 2008.

“I don’t think I can do anything more powerful than either play live or play the record for people and hopefully create as much hype as the iPhone,” says the Romeo native, whose real name is Bob Ritchie. “So I want to go out and ... hype it up as big as I can, ’cause I think I have a good enough product.”

Rock also says he’s also more concerned than usual about the marketing of this album, which also will include an intense Internet campaign. “I really wanted to set this one up,” he explains. “I don’t think I’ve ever really done that yet. Before it was like, ‘We’ll give you a million dollars if you get it to us by this date.’ ‘Well, OK ...’

“I want to make sure this one really gets out there.”

Rock says he’s been working on the album for the better part of the last three years, recording mostly at his Clarkston Chophouse home studio with his Twisted Brown Trucker core, as well as other Detroit musicians such as Sponge’s Vinnie Dombroski, former Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise drummer Jeff “Shakey” Fowlkes, the Was (Not Was) horn section of David McMurray (who’s also Kem’s musical director) and Rayse Biggs, and singers Barbara Payton and Thornetta Davis. Rock co-wrote tracks with Uncle Kracker, David Allen Coe, Twisted Brown Trucker hype man Paradime and local guitarist Marlon Young.

Grammy Producer of the Year Rick Rubin consulted with Rock last year, and Rob Cavallo, a hitmaker with Green Day and the Goo Goo Dolls, came in to co-produce earlier this year.

The album — which is dedicated to the late Atlantic Records cofounder Ahmet Ertegun, Rock’s good friend — features the usual stylistic blend Rock has pursued on his albums. It runs from metallic headbangers such as “So Hot” and “Sugar” — the set’s only rap track — to rootsy, gospelflavored fare such as “Amen,” which Rock calls “the best song I’ve ever written,” and “When You Love Someone,” the Motowninfluenced “Roll On,” the power ballad “Miss Understood” and the Crescent City-flavored “New Orleans.”

“All Summer Long” mashes together elements of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” — with the latter group’s Billy Powell on piano — and the album ends with a sly country kiss-off to Rock’s ex-wife, Pamela Anderson, “Half Your Age,” which celebrates finding a younger girlfriend who’s “twice as hot.”

“I think people expect it,” he says. “It’d be stupid to pretend that it didn’t happen and not say anything, y’know?”

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