Kid Rock Excited For First SXSW Visit; Talks About 'Idol,' Son's High School Graduation

Kid Rock performs onstage during VH1's Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam at Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas, on February 3, 2011 Kid Rock performs onstage during VH1's Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam at Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas, on February 3, 2011

Kid Rock has a good reason for never attending the South by Southwest Music festival: He says he’s never been invited.

But this year, he’s not only invited, he’s the host of a party designed to give attention to some emerging acts.

“It’s going to be great to check it out for the first time, be a part of it and soak it all in,” he said in a phone interview this week.

Kid Rock is hosting Jim Beam’s Live Music Series at the massive festival in Austin, Texas. Friday’s showcase will feature three acts: Leroy Powell, Taddy Porter and Ty Stone, who has an album coming in the next few months on Kid Rock’s label, Top Dog Records.

“It’s just a great showcase for up and coming new talent,” he said this week. “Hopefully cream of the crop rises to the top. I think it’s a great thing. I’d take that any day over ‘American Idol.’”

Kid Rock has been an outspoken critic of the Fox talent competition. He said he’s not against the competitors, but the show itself.

“It either launches them into a world they’re not prepared for yet … and at the other level, too, there’s a lot of humiliation on that show, too,” he said. “There’s all this talk on bullying — start with that show.”

Kid Rock may have a soft spot for the young talent on the show because he’s a parent. His son, Robert, is 17 and graduating from high school this year; Kid Rock said he’s bypassing the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards in part to spend time with his son before he goes to Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., in the fall.

“I’m trying to make sure that I’m there for all the fun events that come up at the end of the school year,” he said.

But even though he has a college-bound son, Kid Rock says he doesn’t feel old.

“I feel young. I’m 40, my kid is going to be 18 in June and that’s not really the case with all the other parents,” he said. “At a time I guess when I should be feeling old, I really in a sense feel kind of young, because I really am the youngest one with the longest hair.”

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