Music Monday: Practicing What I Preach?

Last year I wrote a post, “What Would Cause You to Stop Being a Fan of Someone or Something?“in which I wondered what I would do if somebody or some team or some company that I was a fan of did something I totally disagreed with, whether it’s a political stance they take or breaking the law. Would my opinion of that person or team or company change?

In that post, I used the example of Bruce Springsteen, of whom I am a big fan. Since Bruce and I seem to be of the same political mindset, I don’t have to think twice about whether I would feel the same way if he was of a different political belief. But what if he did have different political beliefs than mine?

In that post, I wrote the following:

I think I’d have a hard time not liking Springsteen’s music, even if he became a Trump supporter.

I still admire Steve Jobs, even though he was incredibly rude to many, many people.

I also think of baseball and the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose is one of the best baseball players of all time. He gave 110% on the field, and clearly has the baseball stats to be in the Hall of Fame. However, because he bet on the game, he has been barred from being elected into the Hall of Fame. Personally, I think think the two things can be separated, and he should be in the Hall of Fame.

Well that post came back to me this week while I was listening to the radio and a catchy tune came on that I did not recognize. So I used the amazing app Shazam, and it told me that the song was All Summer Long, by Kid Rock (real name is Robert James Ritchie). Here’s the video, which has 64 million views:

The song starts off reminding me of Werewolves of London, so it immediately caught my attention. Add in the fact that it was about summer, and it had me hooked.

However, when I found out the artist was Kid Rock, there was a moment of hesitation.

Should I really be liking this song?

Several years ago, when I heard that Kid Rock was a big supporter of Donald Trump, someone I have little respect for, I made the quick decision that I didn’t like Kid Rock either. Which also meant I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to his music. Such decisions wer made without really knowing much about the guy, or his music,

However, this song made me realize I can like someone’s music, without agreeing with their beliefs.

It also gave me the chance to read a bit more about Kid Rock, and like most people, he’s tough to pin down. Here are some things I learned, courtesy of Wikipedia:

  • A self-taught musician, he plays every instrument in his backing band and has overseen production on all but two of his albums.
  • In 2011, Kid Rock was honored by the NAACP, which sparked protests stemming from his past display of the Confederate flag in his concerts. During the ceremony, Kid Rock elaborated on his display of the flag, stating, “[I] never flew the flag with hate in my heart […] I love America, I love Detroit, and I love black people.” Kid Rock’s publicist announced that 2011 was the year he officially distanced himself from the flag.
  • In 2015, following the Charleston church shooting, the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network protested outside of the Detroit Historical Museum which honored Kid Rock; activists urged Kid Rock to renounce the Confederate flag. Kid Rock wrote an email to Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly, stating, “Please tell the people who are protesting to kiss my ass”.
  • A philanthropist, Ritchie oversees The Kid Rock Foundation, a charity which raises funds for multiple causes, including campaigns that sent “Kid Rock care packages” to U.S. military personnel stationed overseas.
  • Ritchie is an advocate for affordable concert tickets, and makes an effort to try and sell tickets to his performances for as low as possible to encourage increased concert attendance for lower income consumers and discourage scalping. Instead of getting paid for the show, he gets a percentage of concession and ticket sales.
  • Ritchie is a supporter of the Republican Party, although he has routinely proclaimed himself as libertarian philosophically, stating he has socially liberal views on topics like abortion and gay marriage but conservative views on economics. Ritchie has advocated legalizing and taxing marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. He has also stated, “I don’t think crazy people should have guns.”
  • Ritchie has met with presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump while they were in office. Regarding his political views, Ritchie said, “I have friends everywhere. Democrat, Republican, this that and the other. […] We’re all human beings first, Americans second. Let’s find some common ground and get along.”
  • Ritchie supported Bill Clinton and George W. Bush during their presidencies. In 2008, Ritchie supported newly elected President Barack Obama, saying that the president’s election was “a great thing for black people.”
  • In 2015, Ritchie publicly endorsed Ben Carson for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election. In February 2016, he voiced approval for Donald Trump’s campaign for the same office.
  • In December 2016, Kid Rock sparked controversy for selling vulgar T-shirts supporting Trump at concerts, including one showing a map of the United States which labeled the states which had voted against Trump as “Dumbf**kistan”.

So like I said, Kid Rock seems to be a complex individual, like all of us. As it turns out, there are many things we agree on, but many things we disagree on.

And while I don’t think I’ll spend much time going back and listening to some of his other music, I will give two enthusiastic thumbs up for All Summer Long.

It shows that I should stop being so quick to judge others without knowing their full story.

And by the way, my ears weren’t deceiving me; here is how Wikipedia described the song:

The album’s third single, “All Summer Long“, became a global hit, utilizing a mash-up of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London“.

*image from WKDQ


74 thoughts on “Music Monday: Practicing What I Preach?

  1. Good tune, I liked it.

    Good post, too, in my view. I’ve thought about this issue also. For instance, I don’t like Tom Cruise much, but I must admit that I think he’s a damn good actor. My in-laws and I didn’t often agree politically. But they were wonderful people. When I look at Adolf Hitler’s paintings I must admit he was a hell of a lot better at art than I’ve ever been. And so on. Maybe the lesson is that everyone has something redeeming about them, even when we have other reasons to dislike them.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. thanks for your comments, Tippy. I never knew Hitler painted. But I’m worried that if I search for his art online, I’ll trigger some surveillance algorithm.

      But yes, I agree, you hope that everyone has something redeeming about them, but sometimes it may take some effort to find it…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh go ahead and trigger it. It’s fun to be surveilled.

        But to save you from such amusement, I went ahead and googled Hitler’s artistic pursuits. Here’s what I learned:

        Hitler’s childhood dream was to become an artist, but his abusive father refused to allow him to go to art school. After his father died he applied twice to be accepted by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, but was rejected both times. They readily admitted he was a good artist, but not of the human form. He seemed to be best at drawing buildings, so they suggested he go into architecture.

        Ironically, he barely survived for awhile selling his paintings to Jewish shop owners, and a man who helped him sell his paintings was Jewish. Although he had made some Jewish friends, after World War I he blamed the Jews for Germany’s loss, and that’s when turned so much against them.

        I can’t help but wonder how different this world would be had Hitler been able to fulfill his dream and made a lifelong career out of art.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. thanks for sharing that; it does make you wonder.

        and he may have gotten so good that he could have been one of those artists that was famous enough to go by just one name – Adolph.

        Instead, it’s a name I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be associated with…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wow! I had never known that about Adolf! Thanks for sharing. Does make you wonder , if only his dream could have been fulfilled! Though maybe it wouldn’t have a difference either. He may have thought even more highly of himself due to having such amazing paintings and still looked down on the Jews.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Who knows. He designed the Nazi flag, with the swastika, also. So he found a way to use his artistic talent to further his political and antisemitic goals. What a waste of talent, in my view.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. would have been nice to at least had the chance to see how such an alternative scenario would have played out. could not have been any worse than what actually happened…


  2. I remember the first time I heard this song that I thought about Werewolves of London. It certainly has that vibe.

    I can separate the two things. I’m also not a fan of Trump, but I have friends who love him. I am slightly baffled by that because from the exterior, they aren’t pompous, egotistical, and arrogant like Trump. Their political leanings aren’t my concern, as I’m sure I have some beliefs that others would think are nutty. The dealbreaker for me would be if friends exhibited Trumpian like behavior (e.g. lying regularly, insulting anyone who doesn’t hold the same opinions, regularly hitting on women when he’s married and then paying them off to keep quiet, making fun of handicapped, provoking violence under the disguise of nationalism). If those friends exhibited similar behaviors, I wouldn’t be friends with them. I have yet to unfriend anyone on Facebook, and I can’t think of anyone I’ve purposefully unfriended in real life.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. i used to love this catchy tune, about spending time in northern michigan in the summer, and a detroit homegrowner, but i’ve seen so many thoughtless and rude things from him, it’s hard for me to like him or listen to his music without thinking about it –

    Liked by 2 people

    1. in my case, I liked the song before I knew who it was by, so at that point it was a bit easier, as Pete noted, to separate the music from the man. But there is a line which someone can cross which would cause me to stop liking/listening to their music. one commenter mentioned R Kelly. I don’t know his music at all, but at this point, there is no way I would like it or ever listen to it…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is as tricky as it gets. I can see both sides of the issue here. For me, if I cannot respect you as a person, I find it difficult to respect your arts or talent. But I am not sure that is a truly fair assessment for any individual. It is just how my heads works for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. liking the thoughtfulness and complexity of the discussion here. this is an issue we’ve all struggled with – how far do we hold to our compassionate understanding of another human’s natural and universal ambivalence (there’s neither superheroes nor arch villains in the real world) … and when do we draw a line? Can we ever separate the maker from their product? I used to love R Kelly’s tunes, but now, although I still like those tunes, I won’t listen. And the lyrics that used to make me laugh now feel very creepy. I used to love his song ‘you remind me of something’ as a queer, campy, utterly over-the-top kind of piece that was just sitting there waiting to be repurposed in a gay bar karaoke night. But now I can’t frame it like that, cos the other histories around R Kelly make it impossible to reclaim and queer the song in that direction.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s kind of the way I feel about Michael Jackson. I liked his music, and that hasn’t stopped. Yet the things he allegedly did are so disgusting that I’ve lost respect for the person and all of the good that I thought he was doing in using his celebrity in positive ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Not liking Kid Rock’s music should be easy, even without his dubious politics. He’s derivative, steals from other, far better musicians, and his records are rubbish. There – fixed it for you 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was just going to say, keeping on using Springsteen as an example, surely you can just compartmentalise it? As in, you like Springsteen’s music, period? Springsteen, as a person, might be a total asshole (I don’t know either way) but you can still like his music?
    Surely that’s as far as it goes?

    I listen to a lot of reggae music, and while I can quite happily tap along to the beat, a lot of it is really misogynist. I doubt I would get on with these people if I met them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      but what if it was the other way; what if you knew a person and strongly disliked them and what they stood for and then the person decided to go into the music business. Would you even bother to consider listening to that person’s music?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think most of us are quick to judge and everyone is multidimensional. That being said, I have distanced myself from those I have widely different views from. A practice that minimizes the ranting reaction of my brain and prevents any major outbursts that could happen if I hear too much of their rhetoric. Allows me to sleep better at night. At our age, sleep is important.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve pondered this same topic on my blog. The lead singer of X (an older band I absolutely adore) is now a queen conspiracy theorist, denying Sandy Hook and other mass casualty shootings. After much thought, I decided the art and the artist are two separate entities. A couple other artists who stood out to me as I wrote are Michael Jackson and Kevin Spacey. BTW – I was pretty disappointed in Bruce when he got a DWI a couple of years ago. But then the cops say he wasn’t under the influence. I think he must have taken the “Tiger Woods Breathalyzer” that adjusts your reading based on the PR nightmare your arrest will cause.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kid Rock’s political beliefs affect my perception of him more than his music. What gets me even more is his statement that protesters can kiss his ass. It makes it sound like he doesn’t care that about the pain his positions may inflict on others. Kid and I agree on the benefits of eye candy in music videos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He does seem pretty insensitive. I have also written that I am a big fan of when celebrities speak out on social issues. It’s much easier to be a fan of such speech when their beliefs align with my own, but I guess to be fair, I also have to admire those who speak out on issues even when I disagree with them

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post and great music…I agree with your sentiments, Jim… I also agree with Pete re MJ…which is the reason I will never play his tracks on my blog..I think he was a great artist, dancer all-around entertainer and then comes the but?…x

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You raised an interesting question. I had to think about the singers and stars that I like. As far as their political beliefs, etc. that doesn’t bother me. Really they can be as different from me as they want, I am listening or watching them for entertainment, not to be their best friend. BUT … I will draw the line if I find out that someone was involved in a real serious crime or something like that. My respect for them will really fall, and their music wouldn’t bring as much pleasure. Watching them would be hard as well.
    I LOVED watching the Cosby Show, I grew up watching it and listening to his records of his comedy routines. He was FUNNY, BUT.. I just can’t anymore and its sad, for I do believe he was one of the greatest comedians around.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Overall, I can still enjoy the music of someone who I don’t agree with or admire; I must admit though, it does taint the experience when you are aware of it. Their bum notes are heard a bit more critically, perhaps… Then again, my not liking Ted Nugent has nothing to do with his lousy politics, its all down to his lousy music.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. The stuff you listed about Kid Rock is just the tip of the iceberg. As someone who was a fan of his music I did not enjoy the classes in which I learnt about him because I can’t enjoy his music without feeling guilty. I also feel like that about John Lennon- I love his music but I have to admit he was an awful person. These days it seems like most famous people are horrible or problematic in some way or the other. For me it depends on how awful they are and how awful what they’ve done is. Like I’m probably never listening to R. Kelly or Kid Rock ever again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for your thoughtful perspective, Pooja. I was not aware of anything bad about John Lennon. I guess I need to do some research. And you’re right, we all draw a line, and if a performer crosses that, we want nothing to do with them…

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Great tune and interesting discussion. It is always easy to make exceptions to a rule when it suits us and to not make an exception if that suits us too. Underneath we are all humans just wanting to be loved, accepted and understood.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. As you point out Jim, there are places of commonality among us. Yes, we may need to agree to disagree sometimes, but we need let our social guard down just a bit. Who knows, I might yet enjoy Rap or hip-hop music.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is complex, and where I wish most people’s thinking could be. My best friends and I do not see eye to eye politically, at all. So? There are many other parts to a friendship. Do my husband and I agree on everything? No! Why do people shut down when someone has a different view point? Hubby calls me a Pollyanna. I think I am common sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often wonder if it is different with forming new friends. If you just met someone whole political opinion is different than yours, would you go out of your way to develop a friendship with such a person? It’s probably much easier when the friendship is already in place to remain friends with someone whom you disagree with…

      Liked by 1 person

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