As "Rock'n'Roll Jesus," the first song—and potential title track—of his new album cranks over the speakers in his suburban Detroit studio, Kid Rock, sporting a plain white T-shirt, jeans, flip-flops and a Miller High Life baseball cap sitting backward on his head, pulls a stogie from a small desktop humidor, fires it up and listens with a satisfied grin. Rock's elation is easy to understand. He's been working on the album, he says, for three years, since not long after the release of his last studio set, 2003's platinum "Kid Rock." "Other shit" got in the way—such as his four-month, multiple-ceremony marriage to Pamela Anderson that made him tabloid fodder last year and "threw a wrench in the program" of making the album. He took it to the zero hour—writing new lyrics and recording new vocals even after he and co-producer Rob Cavallo mixed the 11 tracks in mid-July—but he's finally done. The album, Rock's sixth under the Atlantic umbrella and ninth overall, is due Oct. 9, with the hard-rocking first single, "So Hot," shipping to rock radio in early August.

Some decisions are still being made—the title, the cover art, surveying a wealth of media opportunities to promote the album. The potential of a "Rock'n'Roll Jesus" title makes some around him uneasy, but a typically cavalier Rock simply says, "Good. Rock'n'roll's supposed to piss people off." At press time, Atlantic was also considering the title "Amen."

Whatever happens, it's clear that in the coming months the Devil Without a Cause now has one—to let the world know Kid Rock is back, as American badass as ever, and ready to dominate the rock, pop and country landscapes the same way he did in the late '90s. Rock, as well as Atlantic, are also out to reverse the declining sales he's experienced since his 1998 breakthrough "Devil Without a Cause," which has sold nearly 9 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and particularly the 29% drop between 2001's "Cocky" (4.9 million, mostly on the strength of the late hit "Picture") and "Kid Rock" (1.3 million).

Rock figures the best way to correct that course was to "really deliver . . . and make just a great album" and then go out and be, well, Kid Rock: to inhabit the outsized, Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp persona that's long been engaging enough to keep a high profile regardless of record sales or chart positions.

"I don't think I can do anything more powerful than either play live or play the record for people and hopefully create as much hype as the iPhone," says Rock, a Romeo, Mich., native whose real name is Bob Ritchie. "So I want to go out and talk as much shit as I can and hype it up as big as I can, 'cause I think I have a good enough product. It can stand up to it."

And this time he feels he has a label partner that can stand beside him, providing the kind of extensive and intensive push that his last couple of albums were missing. "I really wanted to set this one up," Rock says. "I don't think I've ever really done that yet. Before it was like, 'We'll give you a million dollars, nonrecoupable, if you get it to us by this date.' 'Well, OK . . .' "

Atlantic's campaign for Rock began in June, when label president Julie Greenwald came to Michigan to hear what Rock had. He subsequently made a five-song snippets sampler that she played for a company meeting in Minneapolis in early July, where she says staffers "were losing their minds."

Read more on Kid Rock's upcoming album, Rock's major collaboration with producer Rob Cavallo, why rap takes a back seat on the new album and more.

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