Kid Rock opened a new arena in his home town of Detroit in style on Tuesday night, September 12 — but he did not make any further announcements about his teased U.S. Senate run.
Rock’s publicist told reporters during the week before the show that he would “be giving his fans exclusive insight on his political views and aspirations for Michigan while on stage,” but Rock instead delivered a rhymed and rambling campaign-style speech that took on a number of topics — welfare, health insurance, LBGTQ rights, race relations, deadbeat fathers and more — but even though a taped voice introduced him as “the next senator from the great state of Michigan” Rock did not reveal whether he was actually running for the office.
During his speech, similar to one he delivered last week in Grand Rapids, Mich., slammed both white supremacist groups and those who consider him racist.
“I do believe it to be self-evident we are all created equal,” Rock declared. “I said it once, I’ll scream it again. I love black people and I love white people too, but neither as much as I love red, white and blue.”
Rock also teased the idea of running for an even higher office, telling the clearly partisan crowd that, “If Kid Rock For Senator has got some folks in disarray, wait ’til they hear Kid Rock For President of the U.S.A…” The talk also served as an introduction to his 2002 song “You Never Met A Motherf***er Quite Like Me.”
About 200 anti-Rock protestors, as well as some supporting him, showed up outside the new Little Caesars Arena, spurred in part by his use of the Confederate flag during concerts — a practice he gave up several years ago. Rock addressed the protests during “Cowboy,” rapping that, “I like all kinds of people, black, brown, yellow, white. Let there be no doubt about that. If anyone wants to protest tonight, tell ’em they can protest deez nuts,” pointing to his genitalia. He then saluted law enforcement offices for keeping the peace.
Rock sold Kid Rock For Senate merchandise at souvenir stands during the show, which has led the bipartisan watchdog group Common Cause to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice claiming Rock has violated campaign rules since he’s not an officially declared candidate.
Rock has dismissed the complaint as “fake news” but has not indicated when, or if, he’ll announce his political aspirations. Rock recently released a new song, the country flavored “Tennessee Mountaintop,” and will play five more shows at the arena through September 20.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.