ZZ Top, Kool & The Gang, Uncle Kracker to join Rock at North American sheds
Kid Rock will take a "pay cut" this summer, or at least risk one, by structuring a deal that allows for a $20 ticket price across the board at amphitheaters, and working with promoter Live Nation to lower prices on everything from beer to parking to merchandise for every show in every city.
Kid Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker Band will tour with a combination of ZZ Top, Uncle Kracker and Kool & the Gang on various dates, beginning June 28 in Bristow, Va., through Sept. 15 in Tampa. The tour, promoted by Live Nation, includes three shows at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Kid Rock's hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Tickets go on sale to the public in select markets beginning April 12th on LiveNation.com. Click here for dates.
This is a model Rock says he has been working on for a long time. "It's always going to come down to price, but I think [from the fan's perspective] it's more the service charges, the fees, getting in there and not knowing what beers will cost, what they'll hit you for parking," he says. "Every little thing they nickel and dime you, and it's not just music, it's sports, it's going to the movies. Artists demand so much money, and you have to set ticket prices at [a certain level]. Everyone's fighting the system, and it's really been all of our faults. We're all fortunate to make as much money as we do, and I can surely take a pay cut and help out in these hard times."
Beyond just a deal structured based on volume, in effect, Rock says he is becoming a partner with Live Nation on the tour. "If people show up, I'll get paid on that, and we'll become partners: partners on beer, partners on parking, partners on my T-shirts, partners on everything, and we'll take the money and split it at the end of the night," he says. "And we pass those savings on to our fans, which is what we really need to be thinking about. Even if the volume comes out, we're going to make less money, but I've got enough money to where it's not going to kill my lifestyle. And who doesn't want to play to a packed house every night?"
The shows will offer $4 12-oz. beers, value food packages, cheaper parking, and special $20 merchandise will be available. In a move geared toward fighting secondary market reselling, or "scalping," Kid Rock will be releasing 1,000 tickets from each show directly to Platinum Tickets via Ticketmaster. "Rather than fight Ticketmaster, fight Live Nation, it's about how do we get together, and be transparent with everything," Rock says. "The scalpers have been a nightmare, as everybody knows, so we're gonna scalp our own tickets. We're gonna scalp 1,000 a night, and be transparent about it, let people know there's a market that demands this, and when we see tickets out there being scalped, we're going to under-cut their prices and send [fans] to a spot you can buy them and know you're getting a real ticket and the money's gonna go in our pocket."
Rock says (where possible) the show will go paperless for the first 20 rows, and the first two rows won't be sold prior to the event. "We're gonna upgrade people we see around the venue, based on whatever we want to do," he says. "You can pick out the hard core fans, I'm gonna send a few people around the venue to have conversations with people, get a feel for ‘em, and say, ‘hey, these people deserve to be up front.'" That's not a bad job for the guys that are humpin' amps every night or doing something like that, either."
Rock would like to see other artists structure similar deals. "I know managers and booking agents are gonna hate me," he laughs. "[Live Nation CEO] Michael Rapino said, ‘you're one of the only artists I have conversations with, none of the managers or booking agencies want me to talk to their artists.'"
There will still be a $5 service fee on tickets purchased at ticketmaster.com. "I'm not happy about that, that's 25% of my ticket price, that's ridiculous," he says. "I think they should go to 10% a ticket across the board. But we were able to work out something with Walmart, where you can go in there and $20, buy a ticket, parking and everything. If you go to Walmart, try to go early and get tickets for $20, take a friend with you. Have your shopping list, have someone go shop, you wait in line and get tickets, kill two birds with one stone."
In the venue, $4 for 12 oz. at every stand, "if you look at what ballparks are selling beers for, that's fair," says Rock, adding that he also tries to keep his merchandise reasonably priced. "A few tours back, we were selling shirts for $35-$40—which everybody is—and I'm like, ‘this is highway robbery,' especially after owning a t-shirt business here in Michigan, Made In Detroit and really knowing what the prices are for us to buy ‘em," he says. "Understandably, you've got to pay somebody to hump ‘em around, and there are costs involved, but not to justify that. So I slashed our t-shirt prices to $20 and $25 and we made the same amount of per cap selling more shirts every night. I said, ‘why can't we do this with beer in select markets?' and Rapino tried it, and, lo and behold it worked. So that was the spark for saying, ‘let's go all the way.'"
With ZZ Top, Kool & the Gang and Uncle Kracker joining Rock and band, the artist believes he's offering great value. "I've been doing the math, if you buy ticket with service charge, that's $25, you have three beers, you buy a t-shirt, you're under $70 for a t-shirt, having a some beers, seeing a concert and parking," he says. "I don't think you can beat that. I think people will be pleasantly surprised. Who knows they may spend the same amount of money, but they'll feel good about doing it."
Rock points out that he won't shortchange production values — or his crew. "I'm fortunate to be able to try this, and I think somebody like me has to, somebody that has had a lot of success that can go out and afford to possibly lose," he says. "I can roll the dice, and we might not make a dime this summer, but I can afford to do that. And I'm not asking my band or my crew to take a pay cut, I'm the one saying, ‘if this doesn't work out, I'll take the pay cut.' It's a way of saying ‘thank you' to the fans that have been coming to the shows for the last 15 years."
Kid Rock is touring in support of his 10th album, Rebel Soul and will perform a special set on the outdoor stage at Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight on ABC. He will also make a special appearance on Chelsea Lately on E!, Tuesday, April 9th and will be returning to Piers Morgan Live, along with Live Nation's Rapino, to discuss the tour April 12. As in the past, Jim Beam and Harley Davidson will be sponsoring the tour. Current members of Kid Rock's Rebel Soldiers fan club will have first access to presale tickets through kidrock.com/tour.
Kid Rock Tour Dates:
June 28 - Bristow, VA (Jiffy Lube Live w/ Kool & The Gang & Uncle Kracker))
June 29 - Holmdel, NJ (PNC Bank Arts Center w/ Kool & The Gang & Uncle Kracker))
July 2 - Cleveland, OH (Blossom Music Center w/ Kool & The Gang & Uncle Kracker))
July 5 - Darien, NY (Darien Lake Performing Arts Center w/ Kool & The Gang & Uncle Kracker)
July 6 - Scranton, PA (Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain w/ Kool & The Gang & Uncle Kracker)
July 9 - Camden, NJ (Susquehanna Bank Center w/ Kool & The Gang & Uncle Kracker)
July 10 - Mansfield, MA (Comcast Center w/ Kool & The Gang & Uncle Kracker)
July 12 - Hartford, CT (Comcast Theatre w/ Uncle Kracker) & TBD
July 19 - Houston, TX (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion w/ Uncle Kracker) & TBD
July 20 - Dallas, TX (Gexa Energy Pavillion w/ Uncle Kracker) & TBD
July 23 - Albuquerque, NM (Isleta Amphitheater w/ Kool & The Gang & Uncle Kracker)
July 24 - Phoenix, AZ (Desert Sky Pavilion w/ Kool & The Gang & Uncle Kracker)
July 26 - Irvine, CA (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Irvine w/ Kool & The Gang & Uncle Kracker)
July 28 - Mountain View, CA (Shoreline Amphitheatre w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
July 31 - Sacramento, CA (Sleep Train Amphitheatre w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Aug. 3 - Denver, CO (Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Aug. 9 - Detroit, MI (DTE Energy Music Theater w/ ZZ Top
Aug. 10 - Detroit, MI (DTE Energy Music Theater w/ ZZ Top
Aug. 11 - Detroit, MI (DTE Energy Music Theater w/ ZZ Top
Aug. 24 - St. Louis, MO (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Aug. 25 - Indianapolis, IN (Klipsch Music Center w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Aug. 28 - Cincinnati, OH (Riverbend Music Center w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Aug. 30 - Chicago, IL (First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Sept. 4 - Saratoga Springs, NY (Saratoga Performing Arts Center w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Sept. 6 - Bethel, NY (Bethel Woods Center for the Arts w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Sept. 7 - Pittsburgh, PA (First Niagara Pavilion w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Sept. 10 - Charlotte, NC (Charlotte Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Sept. 14 - Atlanta, GA (Aaron's Amphitheater at Lakewood w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)
Sept. 15 - Tampa, FL (Live Nation Amphitheatre w/ ZZ Top & Uncle Kracker)