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