Seger's night moves many fans
Kid Rock honored to introduce legend to hall of fame Monday
March 12, 2004
BY BRIAN MCCOLLUM
FREE PRESS POP MUSIC WRITER
It takes something special to prompt a little humility from Kid Rock.
Bob Seger and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seem to be doing the trick. On Monday night, before a black-tie crowd at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria hotel, the Detroit star will step to a podium to present Seger's induction into the rock hall -- a poetic moment for the generation-spanning rockers who have become close friends.
It's an occasion long awaited by Seger fans across the country, particularly Michiganders such as Kid Rock who grew up to Seger's music. Gov. Jennifer Granholm is planning to issue a proclamation naming Monday Bob Seger Day. Seger described himself as overwhelmed when he got the news Nov. 20.
"I'm going to shoot from the heart, and make this fun for his fans, his friends, his family, his band," said Kid Rock. "I want to reiterate what he did with his music -- not only making Michigan and Detroit proud, but his friends and family, because this is really special for him."
Seger became eligible for the hall of fame in 1989 -- 25 years after the release of his first single, the regional hit "East Side Story." He joins a 2004 class of inductees that includes Prince, Jackson Browne, ZZ Top, Traffic, the Dells and the late George Harrison. Among the evening's presenters are Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards and OutKast.
Keeping with ceremonial tradition, Seger will take the stage to play a pair of songs -- his first public performance in eight years. Nobody's disclosing details -- "Turn the Page" is a rumored song -- but Seger will be backed by a familiar cast of Silver Bullet Band players, including guitarist Drew Abbott, keyboardist Craig Frost and saxophonist Alto Reed.
The group reunited early this month for several days of rehearsals at Clutch Cargo's in Pontiac, a closed-door event so private even club staffers were kept out.
Reed said Seger and the group picked right up where it left off in 1996.
"It was as if we'd literally come off the stage a week before," he said. "Bob is in great voice; the band is kicking rock 'n' roll butt."
Details about Monday night's event remain under wraps. Even those closest to Seger -- like his management staff at Birmingham's Punch Enterprises -- said they haven't been provided an itinerary by the hall of fame's producers. That includes plans for the traditional jam session, which typically features the honorees joining for a show-closing set.
When the hall of fame launched in 1986, the brainchild of Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner and other industry bigwigs, the ceremony was a decidedly private event, with few outsiders allowed and scant access for the media. It wasn't until 1999 that VH1 earned broadcast rights to the event, though it cannot air the event live.
An edited version of this year's show will air on VH1 at 8 p.m. March 21.
"All we really know at this point is that everybody will perform," said Rick Krim, VH1's executive vice president of music programming. "But what exactly will be performed, and who will play with who, won't come together until this weekend. That's really not set until show time -- it's part of the magic of the event."
One things is certain: Kid Rock will sit back to enjoy the show and let Seger keep the spotlight.
"This is really about the underdog and the working class, and Seger is the greatest underdog we've had in America," he said. "There's so much importance to this music and these songs."
For Reed, who's been playing with Seger since 1972, it's a bright highlight in a career that has seen plenty.
"Who would have known 30-some years ago that we'd be looking at a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, 60 million albums sold, and now this honor for Bob and his phenomenal gifts," said Reed. "It's a very proud moment for us all."
Contact BRIAN McCOLLUM at 313-223-4450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, March 12, 2004
Rock and roll doesn't forget Bob Seger
By Mike Householder / Associated Press
DETROIT -- Three questions have haunted Bob Seger since his 50th birthday.
When are you going to release a new album?
Are you going to tour again?
Why aren't you in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Finally, at 58, the Michigan-based rock legend has the answers:
In the fall.
By Monday, I will be.
On that day, Seger, George Harrison, Prince, Jackson Browne, Traffic, ZZ Top and the Dells will be inducted into the Rock Hall in the annual ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
"It feels great. We're all real excited. It's wonderful," Seger said. "The best part about it is I don't have to explain to people anymore why I'm not in there. That's really the best part."
And with a new album "Face the Promise" in the works, he also won't have to field question No. 1 much longer.
If five people see him in public, Seger said, "One will ask, "When's the new album?' and four will ask, "When are you going to tour?"'
As for the latter query, the man who made a name for himself by playing nearly every venue -- from high school gyms and holes in the wall in the Detroit area to sports arenas across the globe -- isn't so sure whether he'll hit the road in support of the new record.
"I don't know. I'll jump off that bridge when I get there," Seger told The Associated Press in a telephone interview this week. "One always spites the other. If the album sounds really good, I might consider it. I'm getting pretty old, too, and I don't want to tarnish the memory. I've got to weigh all that stuff."
As for why he waited nearly a decade to follow up his last studio album, 1995's "It's a Mystery," Seger simply says "Kids" and follows it with a hearty laugh.
Seger is the proud father of Cole, 11, and Samantha, 8.
"I just was at a point in my life where I could stop and watch them grow up, and I chose to do that," he said. "I kept writing, and I kept thinking, You know, I should finish this.' But I just had so much fun watching them grow up and being around them."
Plus, he's been having too much fun golfing, sailing, riding motorcycles and enjoying his Detroit Pistons season tickets. He attends their games in Auburn Hills, which is not too far from his suburban Detroit home.
For his fans, Seger's induction to the Hall is way overdue for an artist they say more than met the requirements: nearly 50 million albums sold and multiple Grammys won over a 40-year career. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has even declared Monday "Bob Seger Day" in honor of his induction.
One of the most vocal Seger fans is fellow Detroit-area rocker Kid Rock, who said he grew up listening to Seger's albums and recorded an unreleased Seger-penned song, "Hard Night for Sarah," for his latest CD.
"I couldn't go to sleep when I was a kid because my parents were out rocking to him in the barn all night long drinking," said Rock, who will present Seger during Monday's ceremony.
Seger's first album was 1968's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man." Eight years later, he had his first top 10 album "Night Moves." Top 10 albums and singles then came in droves: "Still the Same," "Against the Wind," and perhaps his best-known song, "Old Time Rock & Roll" from 1979, which enjoyed a second wind four years later on the soundtrack of the Tom Cruise film "Risky Business."
Another of Seger's most popular songs, 1986's "Like a Rock," has been a long-running anthem for Chevy pickup trucks.
Before the success of the 1970s and beyond, Seger was just a Michigan rocker trying to make a living playing music.
Seger was born in Ann Arbor at the tail end of World War II, and as many boys of his generation did, he grew up listening to Elvis Presley.
His dad, who worked at an area Ford Motor Co. plant, brought home "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel." Seger was hooked, and at 16 he formed a a boyhood group called the Decibels.
When he left high school, Seger took a job on the Ford assembly line, filling conveyors for automatic transmissions.
The nine-hour-a-day, six-day-a-week job, which paid $4.20 an hour, lasted all of three weeks before Seger went back to playing rock and roll.
It took nearly a dozen years, but the blue-collar heartland poet with the throaty, gritty voice finally made it big.
And now he's headed for rock immortality.
"It's nice to have that staying power," Seger said. "That is something I never expected would happen back when I started."
Devotion keeps Detroit a rock city
By GREG KOT, Chicago Tribune
Thursday, December 18, 2003
DETROIT - "I'm a redneck rock 'n' roll son of Detroit," Kid Rock brags on his latest album.
The Motor City has inspired that kind of devotion for decades. Bob Seger, soon to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, lives a few miles outside Detroit --- his home for all but two of his 58 years. It's a city that has produced and nurtured countless artists over the decades, besides Seger and Kid Rock: John Lee Hooker, the MC5, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Aretha Franklin, Eminem, the White Stripes.
"There is a thin line that runs through all of it, and it's R&B," Seger says. "It's a rhythm and blues thing that has always been part of Detroit music, right down from Motown, and people like James Brown playing at Cobo Hall. As a kid, I grew up in a black neighborhood (in Ann Arbor, Mich.) and the neighbors would be out washing their cars in the summer, and I'd hear R&B. It just permeated the neighborhood. I bought more black records than white records. This has always been an R&B town, and we have always had great R&B radio stations here. I certainly heard that in the MC5, and I even heard it in Glenn Frey, who loves R&B and brought some of that to the Eagles. Those great Motown bass players and drummers just hammered it, and after that, if you came out of Detroit, you had to have some of that in your sound."
Forty years later, the sound of Detroit remains inescapable:
--- Kid Rock's new album, "Kid Rock," debuted in the top 10 last month; his previous album, "Cocky," lingers on the charts after surpassing 4 million sales and spawning the massive crossover hit, "Picture," with Sheryl Crow.
--- Iggy Pop's latest release, "Skull Ring," finds him reuniting with his proto-punk bandmates in the Stooges for the first time in 33 years.
--- The White Stripes' 2003 release, "Elephant," has surpassed 1 million sales, punctuating the re-emergence of garage rock, and was named the year's top album by Blender magazine.
--- Seger's "Greatest Hits 2" collection of blues, ballads and boogie includes two songs from a forthcoming studio album, set for release next year; his 1986 song "Like a Rock" continues to anchor one of the longest-running ad campaigns in television history, for a Detroit-based car manufacturer.
Seger remains a revered figure in Motown, though he's been relatively quiet since his last tour, in 1996, while writing and recording songs for his next album. "Glenn Frey accuses me of sitting back and counting my 'Like a Rock' checks," Seger says with a laugh. "It's the only song I've ever allowed to be licensed, and the only one I ever will allow to be licensed for a TV commercial (His 'Old Time Rock 'n' Roll' also has appeared in TV ads, but Seger does not control the publishing). I felt like I was helping a hometown industry with 'Like a Rock,' but I never knew it would turn into a 10-year ad campaign. We made it as hard on them as we possibly could --- we have final approval over every ad. But they keep picking up the option every time it comes up for renewal. It's been good for me, and it's been good for business in Detroit."
Seger's salt-of-the-earth brand of blues-rock was an inspiration to Kid Rock, a.k.a. Bob Ritchie, who grew up in the Detroit suburb of Romeo, Mich., and now lives in an estate only a few miles away. Like Seger, who was born in Ann Arbor and now lives outside Detroit, Kid Rock chooses to live and work in the city that supported his music when no one else would.
"I still have the same friends I had from second grade," says Rock, who has a 10-year-old son. "We get together now with our kids. My parents come by once a week for dinner, because my mom is a great cook. Number one, I stay here because I know that people are gonna be honest with me. They can tell it to me straight. I've been in a Hollywood relationship (with Pamela Anderson) but I don't want to live there or New York. I don't want to live in a town where your life is defined by the media."
Kid Rock's new album includes a previously unreleased Seger song, "Hard Night for Sarah." The two artists also share a manager, Punch Andrews, who has steered Seger's career for decades out of his Detroit office.
"Seger is the underdog of American music," Rock says. "I think he's easy to take for granted, because he's content to be where he's from, right here in the Midwest, where he's raised his family, made his records, and made more money than God --- what a role model."
Kid Rock's album includes several pointed reminders about where he's from (David Allan Coe's "Son of Detroit") and where he doesn't want to be ("Run Off to L.A.").
"It helped me to stick around here, and I think it helps guys like (Kid) Rock and Eminem to stay grounded, because otherwise it's very easy to get away from what made people like your music in the first place," Seger says. "I tried to live in L.A. for a couple of years in the '80s, and there were just too many distractions. It was just entertainment all the time. Here there is less of that, you can get away from stuff and focus on your work."
Seger is married and has two children, ages 11 and 8, and spends most of his time at home these days in Orchard Lake, Mich. But in the '60s and '70s, he defined the Detroit work ethic, on the road almost every night along with fellow Detroiters such as Mitch Ryder, Ted Nugent, the MC5 and the Stooges. His "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" was a local hit, back in the era when rock radio had a sense of regional pride, and played songs by local artists regardless of what the rest of the country thought. That hometown success enabled Seger to maintain a career for a decade before finally breaking nationally in the mid-'70s with his "Live Bullet" album and its studio follow-up, "Night Moves."
"The Detroit thing for people like me, Ted Nugent and Mitch Ryder was to get out and play in front of people," Seger says. "We hardly ever saw each other because we were always playing. We built up so much good will with the relentless touring that I was able to ride out the rough spots with the record labels, like when I got dropped by Warner Brothers in the '70s."
Seger had broken in new bands for years, but none of them stuck until 1973 when he hired the core of his Silver Bullet Band. "I was experimenting with different lineups, but it finally felt right when I surrounded myself with Midwest guys and began playing rock 'n' roll with them."
Rock followed a similar blueprint, selling out shows in Detroit through the '90s even though he was virtually unknown in the rest of the country until his 1998 breakthrough, "Devil Without a Cause."
His blend of hip-hop and raunchy guitar rock caught on, and "Kid Rock" deepens the blues connection even further, referencing Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top. In that respect, Rock makes party records in the tradition of another Detroit-area band from an earlier era, Grand Funk Railroad.
"I love the '70s, because the music was ugly and great," Kid Rock says. "The faces behind it were a bunch of long-haired, ugly looking mothers, but they were great musicians who made great music."
One of those bands was the Stooges, dead-end trailer-park kids from Ann Arbor who put their own Midwestern spin on the Rolling Stones and Chicago blues and invented what became known as punk rock. Now the surviving members of that band --- Pop and the Asheton brothers, guitarist Ron and drummer Scott -- have reunited on Pop's latest album for four songs. They crack skulls with the exuberance of old, greased by an R&B groove that has eluded Pop in many of his solo projects without the Stooges.
At the band's hometown reunion last summer, in an amphitheater north of Detroit, a black Motor City T-shirt waved liked the Jolly Roger above Pop's head as he and the Stooges annihilated a few of their classics --- "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "Loose," "TV Eye." With his fans swarming the stage, Pop smiled devilishly amid the mayhem.
"There's no place like home," Pop cackled. Several generations of Detroit rockers would no doubt agree.
You know it's not junk mail when the header reads "New York Mike's Bob Seger Tat"
From the email in-box:
Hey Bob Seger,
(Please see the picture above!!!!)
Just wanted to say hello & how righteous your music really is. The lyrics of all your music reminds so much of what I've been through and am going through in my life. And every time I hear your music I just go into such deep thought about life and what's happened & what's going to happen. I saw you in concert in 1994 -- it was the best concert I've ever been to in my life & I sure would love to see you tour one more time. And send me a couple back stage passes with tickets, if possible. I hope I'm not asking too much, but once you check out this tattoo you'll acknowledge how much I really do love your music. I basically listen to your music 24-7 and don't really care to hear any new bands or new musicians because there's no other music in the world that will even come close to yours.
New York Mike