Bob Seger and Kid Rock: Made in Detroit
December 17, 2011
Bob Seger and Kid Rock: Made in Detroit
Out there in the spotlight you™re a million miles away, every ounce of energy you try to give away, as the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play. Originally written by Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bob Seger; the lyrics to Turn the Page create a haunting sensation in the hearts of any red blooded American, especially those from the blue collar town of Detroit, Michigan. Two of the most famous musicians from there are Bob Seger and Robert Bob James Ritchie aka Kid Rock. Bob Seger™s and Kid Rock™s musical style and career paths are a direct reflection of their place of birth, their early family dynamics, and their own natural abilities and determination. This essay will explain the rich musical history of Detroit, Michigan; it will also provide a more in depth view of Bob Seger™s and Kid Rock™s early family life and their later careers and achievements.
Aside from Bob Seger and Kid Rock, Detroit, Michigan, (also known as Motor City) has spawned a plethora of rock-n-roll musicians including Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, Ted Nugent, Madonna, and Eminem just to name a few (“Cities Of The World: Detroit”, 2008). Prior to the Great Depression many African American™s in the south were recruited by Henry Ford to relocate to Detroit as a cheap source of labor; they came with the hopes of wealth, opportunity, and equality bringing with them their rich culture and musical heritage (“Detroit Songwriting”, 2010). The economic hardships of the Great Depression and the variety of cultures that were relocated to Detroit™s east side (also known as the Black Bottom district), created a Petri dish for cultivating musical talent (“Detroit Songwriting”, 2010). Rock-n-roll legend, Bob Seger was born on May 6, 1945 in Detroit; he lived there for the first six years of his life, after which time he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan (Sparling, 1999). Ann Arbor is located in south eastern Michigan along the Hudson River about 45 miles west of Detroit (“Citytowninfo.com”, 2011). The more modern, yet just as blue collar musician, Kid Rock was born on January 17, 1971, in Romeo, Michigan (Kid Rock biography, 2011). Romeo is located on the rural-urban fringe of the Detroit metropolitan area and many of its residents make the commute into the city daily (“Infomi.com”, 2004). Although, Seger and Kid were born, raised, and undoubtedly extremely influenced by the cultures of Detroit™s Black Bottom district they both came from substantially different family and financial backgrounds.
According to Sigmund Freud™s theory of the unconscious, whenever we make a choice we are governed by hidden mental processes by which we are unaware therefore we have no control over them (Thornton, 2010). In the beginning of both Seger™s and Kid™s lives they were forced to endure and overcome life altering struggles that resulted in them making unconscious decisions that directed them into careers in the music industry striving for fame, fortune, and a sense of self worth. At the age of ten Bob™s father (a struggling musician) abandoned the family leaving Bob™s 14 year old brother George to support both Bob and their mother on his own (Harrington, 1986). The family struggled financially; at the lowest point of their lives Bob recalls all of them having to share a one bedroom apartment with only a single hotplate to cook from (Harrington, 1986). In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Timothy White (a long time rock music journalist) was quoted as saying, Its all a manifestation of him going from being a middle class kid to, in one step, being poor. His father completely shattered his world to pieces; Seger, his whole life, has been trying to find the courage to cope with the fact that his father didnt love him. Kid Rock™s childhood was also interrupted by a life altering tragedy. Unlike Seger, Rock grew up on an apple orchard in an 8,000 sq ft home, with both of his parents, his two sisters, and a brother (“Kid Rock on Pure Volume”, 2011). According to VH1™s Behind the Music, when Kid was four, his father took him and his brother for a tractor ride, which turned into a terrible accident involving his brother falling from the tractor and losing his leg (“Kid Rock On Pure Volume”, 2011). Kid™s brother Billy became somewhat of a local legend by playing football and being a competitive skier despite his disability (Philby, 2011). In a 2007 cover story by Rolling Stone Magazine, Kid was quoted as saying, All of the attention was always on him, because he was so incredible. That™s why I am such a show off! (Sparling, 2011).
Despite their differences, Bob and Kid™s love for music and natural abilities have propelled them in the same direction. They both began performing at early ages, Seger™s father forced him to take clarinet lessons so he could learn his musical scales (Harrington, 1986) and Kid™s father has been quoted as saying Bobby™s first performances were of him standing on the bar in the family party room in his cowboy boots and fake guitar singing, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown™ at about six years old. (“Kid Rock on Pure Volume”, 2011). Their teenage years were also similar with fifteen year old Bob playing guitar in a three piece band called the Decibels while attending Ann Arbor High school (Sparling, 1999) and Kid sneaking off to the surrounding urban areas to scratch records at house parties in his friend™s basements at the same young age of fifteen (Sparling, 1999).
Both of their musical careers have come a long way since those early years. In 2004, when Bob Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Kid Rock was the musician to give his induction speech. Kid Rock said at Bob™s induction Bob was 10 years overdue and that it was about time the powers that be recognized him for the great artist he is (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2010). In 2001 and 2003, Kid Rock was voted favorite male pop/rock artist by the American Music Awards. Kid Rock also owns his own clothing line called Made in Detroit which he purchased from Detroit designer, Robert Stanzler in 2003 (Gannett, 2008). Bob and Kid Rock have since collaborated on several songs together such as Real Mean Bottle and Turn the Page and they are currently touring together
The city of Detroit™s black bottom district has produced a great variety of musical talent, but is undeniable that two of the greatest rock n roll artists to ever come from its music scene are Bob Seger and Kid Rock. Although they come from very different family and financial backgrounds they both have a strong sense of community and have never forgotten the humble beginnings of youngsters from the hard working city of Detroit. Bob Seger and Kid Rock are both American icons and there music will continue to inspire the middle classes of America for generations to come. So in the original words of Bob Seger all that™s left to say now is Turn the Page.
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