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Kid Rock may or may not be running for Senate in his home state of Michigan. He launched a campaign website and dropped a couple of online teases, but has not yet filed with the Federal Election Commission. He did, however, just announce a new tour and release two new songs. Could it be just a large-scale publicity stunt?
If so, he may want to take a look at the experience of fellow Detroit-area icon Alice Cooper (who is actually from Arizona but found fame after he and his band relocated to the Motor City in the early 1970s). The Coop, who was at the height of his shock-rock infamy in the election year of 1972, “ran for president” that year and has symbolically thrown his name in the proverbial ring (see the Vote Alice Cooper website, updated through 2016, which includes his 10-point manifesto calling for, among other things, “cupholders for every airplane seat”) for the last 44 years. Of course, when he first launched his “campaign,” it was timed to the release of what would become a hit song for Cooper, “Elected.” Its lyrics include lines like, “I’m your top prime cut of meat, I’m your choice/ I’m your Yankee Doodle Dandy in a gold Rolls Royce/ Kids want a savior, don’t need a fake/ We’re gonna rock to the rules that I make/ I wanna be elected.”
In keeping with the political theme of 1972, Cooper first performed the song live as costumed, bloodied actors portraying candidates Richard Nixon and George McGovern battled on stage. It’s since become a tradition with every election’s candidates “fighting” as part of his show production. And in the midst of 2016’s particularly surreal election, Cooper re-released the song. The stunt has helped keep his name in the news for decades — last year, CNN and AdWeek were among the outlets to cover his purported candidacy.
Still, Cooper — whose new album, “Paranormal,” drops on July 28 and features U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and a guest spot from ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons — admits it’s all a joke, and actually discourages other rockers from trying their hand at candidacy.
“I could not hate politics more,” Cooper tells Variety. “I keep saying this and I don’t know if people agree with me — they probably don’t — but, to me, politics and rock and roll do not belong in bed together. One is the antithesis of the other. I am just enough of a juvenile to run away from politics and let other people handle it. I’m politically incoherent, so let the guys that love politics talk about politics. I flee from it!”
But in an age where a man who was perhaps not entirely serious about becoming president unexpectedly found himself in that role — what would happen if the Coop won? “I’d probably give my presidency to Tom Hanks,” he says quickly, “or someone who looks like a president!”