New York: 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."