Kid Rock has a reputation – deserved or not – as a Motor City rebel, a hellraiser more inclined to get into a scuffle at Waffle House than escort an elderly lady across the street.
It’s an image honed to fuel his hard-rockin’ fans. But the guy has a huge heart, and he’s putting it on display this fall with a tour designed to aid local charities through his Kid Rock Foundation.
Thursday evening, before kicking off the 12-city tour with a sold-out show at Center Stage, Rock, joined by Grady Health Foundation President Lisa Borders, Georgia Veterans Day Parade Association of Atlanta President Kevin Miller and Camp Twin Lakes Special Events Coordinator Adam Cohen, fielded questions from a small media corps upstairs in The Loft.
The laid-back Rock immediately shook hands and took photos with guests from the parade association and Camp Twin Lakes before explaining his reason for the tour: “I’m an empty nester now. My son went to college and I was getting bored smoking cigars on the back porch…I’ve had a foundation now for awhile in Detroit and what really matters to me outside of friends and family is music, so I thought why not take money from the foundation and do a club tour.”
Rock also approached some heavy financial hitters in Detroit – Quicken Loans Inc., Fathead and Compuware among them – to donate money as well. So far, more than $250,000 will benefit the selected charities.
”The response was unbelievable,” he said, adding that part of his mission is to also enhance the image of Detroit. “Just give Detroit another look, you know? Come visit us. Buy some Faygo or a Ford.”
After Rock’s candid description of his cause, Borders joked, “Maybe YOU should run for president.”
“Slow down!” Rock said, laughing.
The singer, known for hits “Bawitdaba”, “All Summer Long” and “Born Free,” is piggybacking this special tour to the release of his latest single, “Care,” which features Martina McBride and T.I. and the lyrics, “I 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.”
Rock admitted that choosing the charities in each city has been heartbreaking and difficult and that he’s relied on local radio stations and promoters to help chose the final beneficiaries.
“You take the stuff closest to your heart,” he said.
While the 15-minute press conference stayed on point about Rock’s generous objective, there was, naturally, a reference to his infamous 2007 Waffle House arrest.
After Borders thanked him for his philanthropy and told Rock he was “an inspiration to all of us here in the trenches” of raising money, Rock chuckled and said, “That’s a little different [attitude] than the last time I was here.”
As he rose to take more pictures before heading off to prepare for his show, his grin remained.
“Maybe since I’m doing a good thing in Atlanta, the mayor will get me a free waffle.”