Kid Rock: Motor City's bad boy does good

Kid Rock, a.k.a Bobby Ritchie, is Detroit's biggest booster.
CBS News

(CBS News) When Kid Rock teamed up with Sheryl Crow for the song "Collide" last year, he was showing just one of his many talents. This morning he talks with our Tracy Smith For The Record:

The guy who said you can't be all things to all people probably never met Kid Rock.

His sound is a mix of styles: Urban rap, rock and roll, country and western.

And it pays to be a musical chameleon: Kid Rock has sold 27 million albums worldwide, and filled arenas from coast to coast with a show that is equal parts music and mayhem.

"Playing a concert for 2 hours is pie," Kid Rock said. "I would do that every minute of every day if I could. I love to perform. It's the 22 hours before the next show that kills you."

Away from the stage, the party god is something of a perfectionist: "Too early to be drinking beer now, so I grabbed the hot sauce."

He's a self-taught musician who can play every instrument in his backup band. Kid Rock lives large, with his own recording studio on a sprawling estate north of Detroit, and a Mt. Vernon-style mansion close to downtown.

"So when people hear Kid Rock, what do you hope that they think?" asked Smith.

"Doesn't matter," he replied. "There's enough information out there for people to make it into anything they want. The people that don't like me, they can go on this Internet and find enough stuff to make them hate me. The people that love me, they can go on there and find enough stuff to fall in love with me. But at the end of the day, I'm all that. So I'm just doin' me."

Photos: Kid Rock

Motor City's bad boy is actually from the suburbs. Kid Rock was born Robert Ritchie in middle class Romeo, Mich., the son of a self-made car dealer.

Early on, young Bobby knew his future was in music, and that he was going to be successful at it. "I didn't realize I was gonna be this successful. But I thought that I would hit a lick somewhere."

That "somewhere" turned out to be one of the rougher sections of Detroit. Bobby Ritchie left home and moved there as a teen to pursue his love of rap. His parents were not amused.

"I think one of the -- funniest times in the world is, like, I'm in, like, the hood, Mount Clemens, and I'm kind of selling some drugs to make some money to buy records, workin' at a car wash. I for instance was 15, 16, somewhere in there. And I'm standing with my buddies on, like, one of the porches, one of my black friends. It's, like, my dad came by and, like, picked me up for an orthodontist appointment."

"What did that do for your street cred?" asked Smith.


Still, he kept at it. Bobby Ritchie became known as "that white kid who rocks," and took the words kid and rock as his stage name.

After a decade in the Detroit rap music trenches, he put out 1998's "Devil Without a Cause." The kid was suddenly hot.

His outlaw image attracted legions of adoring fans, and one in particular: actress Pamela Anderson. The couple married in 2006 - and split four months later.

"Did you think it was a forever thing?" asked Smith.

"I thought it could be, yeah," Ritchie replied. "I wouldn'ta gone in like that if I didn't."

The sting of the breakup changed his view of relationships.

"Uh-huh, yeah, you touch a hot stove, you get burnt, don't touch it anymore," he said.

"So that was basically it? What do you mean?"

"Oh, I didn't touch the stove, I like put both hands on it and held 'em there for like an hour!" he laughed. "I don't even go near the stove anymore."