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Kid Rock

Sir Tokyo Sexwale

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All aboard the SS Kid Rock


The recent trend of rock 'n' roll cruises hasn't worked for every band that's tried it—let's pour out some PBR for the sadly canceled Sugar Ray cruise. But there's one boat that's been packed from stem to stern since it launched, with more than half its passengers coming back for another drunken voyage. Its captain is Kid Rock, and its name is the Chillin' the Most Cruise. GQ's Drew Magary set sail with 2,000 of America's reddest rednecks, and his liver will never be the same



Kid Rock knows something that you and I don't. He's figured out the secret—the dirty, nasty, well-kept secret of American life, which is that rednecks, in general, have more fun than uppity liberal folk like me. If you're a redneck, you're not dropping $2,300 a month to live in a Park Slope utility closet. The radio plays songs you actually like. You're not waiting in line for hours to eat at a trendy restaurant that doesn't take reservations, because Applebee's is A-OK with you. Also A-OK: cheap, mass-produced beer. Plus, you get to shoot guns all the time. It's a remarkably enjoyable lifestyle, and the annual Kid Rock theme cruise, officially called Kid Rock's Chillin' the Most Cruise, now in its fourth year, is meant to be a raucous celebration of it, with Rock—a man who countrified the concept of "keeping it real"—as its Pied Piper.


There are 2,435 of us sailing out with Rock from Miami on the Norwegian Pearl, and only 1,001 are here for the first time, including me, which explains the virgin tag that will be hanging around my neck for the next five days. The remaining 1,434 passengers are returning for their second, third, even fourth time. They get tags that say VETERAN. It's an astonishing retention rate, and it explains why more and more musicians are ignoring stereotypes about cruises being a floating graveyard for washed-up acts. Not all of them succeed—Sugar Ray's '90s-nostalgia cruise was canceled in February. But when you find the right match of artist and audience, miracles (and nudity) can happen.


From Miami, our cruise will sail to Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, a tiny island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line that can be dressed up as a different island every week, depending upon which theme cruise is coming to port. Last fall, it served as headquarters for the KISS Navy. This week the cay will be rechristened Redneck Paradise (after the Kid Rock song). Then we head back out to sea for one more night before arriving back in Miami, where we will hopefully arrive free of Legionnaires' disease. Two years ago, Kid Rock's cruise was held aboard the Carnival Triumph, a vessel that became infamous this past February when its engine died at sea and it had to be towed to Alabama, with passengers s***ting into paper bags and subsisting on onion sandwiches. (This year's Kid Rock cruise is on a different boat. "I can't believe my name didn't come up in that," he will tell me later. "I was waiting for it to be like, 'Kid Rock pooped on that boat!' ") With any luck, the Pearl will spare us such indignities, because we have other indignities planned.




• I ♥ Jenna Jameson

• Boob Inspector

• Man Whore Services Available

• Don't Start None, Won't Be None

• I ♥ Hot Moms

• I Have a Phd—Pretty Huge Dick

• Bitch Trainer

• Shiprocked

• 'Merica

• God Is Great


The ship is huge. HUGE. It's the kind of ship you gawk at from the highway. It's nearly 1,000 feet long and fifteen stories high. For our voyage, it has been stocked with 26,000 eggs, 357 gallons of ice cream, 8,000 pounds of beef, 1,484 pounds of cheese, and 643 pounds of coffee. There's also 12,568 pounds of fruit, none of which will be eaten.


I walk to my room along one of the ship's many vast hallways. There's a door-decorating contest going on all week, and the passengers are putting everything they have into it. One cabin door is festooned with a dozen old Playboy centerfolds. Another has a sign blaring JAM OUT WITH YOUR CLAM OUT. In the hallway, I pass by one woman alerting a crew member named Carlos for help dragging her s***faced friend back to their cabin. "Carlos, we got a drunk one here!"


We are still in the port.



As this ship's honorary captain, Kid Rock has a number of contractual duties. He must play two shows—one as we leave Miami and a second show two days later over at Redneck Paradise—and participate in at least one nonmusical activity: beers and bingo, the belly-flop contest, etc. This will not be a problem for Kid Rock, as I quickly find out that few musicians enjoy communing with their fans, while just as s***faced as they are, more than the man christened Bob Ritchie.


By the time I get up to the pool deck to watch Rock's opening show, the party has started without me. There are enormous sunburned men with motion-sickness patches behind their ears shouting out, "I'm on a boat, motherf*****!" Two women are carrying around an inflatable man with a giant dong sticking out. There are games of flip cup and cornhole in progress. There are joints being fired up all over the place. There are buckets upon buckets of cold ones dotting the deck. There are drunk wives being dragged out of the crowd by their loving husbands. And there are people frolicking in the three hot tubs near the stage. A few of the bathers got into the tubs fully clothed, then began removing their wardrobe piece by wet piece.


Most of the people here are over 40, and jacked as they are to see their redneck hero take the stage, they seem even more excited to see one another. The close quarters and jam-packed days on a cruise make for intense friendships, ones that linger long after the cruise is over. "We have friends for twenty years that we never see anymore," one lady tells me. "We just hang out with the cruise people now." It's a very familiar vibe, and that extends to Rock himself. No one on the ship calls him "Kid Rock." He's Bob or Bobby to everyone.


As we wait for Rock to take the stage on deck 12, a couple I meet share a valuable piece of cruise-drinking advice. "Always ask for the wheelchair," says the wife. "Because then they'll roll you back to the cabin if you're too s***faced to stand." There are nine people aboard who are actually disabled, and I spend the rest of the cruise trying to figure out who's got ALS and who is merely drunk beyond functionality.


At 5 p.m., Rock comes on wearing a bright pink shirt and plays his version of "Sea Cruise," then runs through a bunch of his hits. This is by no means a token appearance: Rock plays for two solid hours. He plays for so long that hardly anyone, including me, notices that we've actually left port and are heading out to sea.


After the concert ends, the crowd scatters and I find myself standing in a war zone of crushed lime wedges, bottle caps, and shattered plastic. Beside one of the hot tubs, there's a Heineken Light bucket filled with warm vomit. The sun falls behind the quickly diminishing skyline of Miami, and I walk up to a group of enormous men outfitted in denim overalls that have been meticulously airbrushed with Kid Rock in various poses. One of them, a giant ripped bald guy named Monte, works as a financial adviser back home in Du Quoin, Illinois.

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