In 2007 (and again in 2008) [artist id="10551"]Kid Rock[/artist] teamed with the USO to perform for troops based in places like Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Contingency Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. He was moved by the men and women he met there — enough to write "Born Free," the title track off his upcoming album, due November 16. But up until very recently, he didn't talk about the experience. He didn't think he needed to.
"It's one of those things I used to do and try not to talk too much about, because it's not something you go to promote something at, or do anything for any self-gain at all," he told MTV News. "But what I've learned is that maybe if I do talk about it, the more I can encourage some other people in my position to go, because they're really happy over there just to get a slice of America at any level, but to have someone in the entertainment industry who's had a little slice of success is really a big boost for those guys.
"I would encourage anybody that hasn't gone to really think about it," he continued. "It's really a rewarding, life-changing experience."
And obviously, the soldiers he met and the sacrifice he witnessed made a lasting impact on him ... because Born Free is very much an album he made for them. It's a tribute to their sacrifices, their selflessness and their tireless service in defense of the U.S. Which is why, whenever he's praised for performing at USO shows, Kid Rock only shrugs. The way he sees it, it's the least he can do.
"It's a funny thing to do that and get commended, because it's obviously just the opposite way [of] how I view it, [which] is to do something to commend these brave men and women," he said. "It's been a long war, let's face it. We were talking the other day, wondering how many times Bob Hope's been [overseas], thinking of, you know, those World Wars were, like, four years, and this is going on eight, nine years now. There's a lot of entertainment needed over there, and that's what I can provide, and it's always a privilege just to be asked to go and play for those guys."
What do you think about Kid Rock touring with the USO? Let us know in the comments!