"What's going on with this duck thing?" Kracker asks, phoning from his suburban Michigan digs. "This will be my first. I've done a lot of state-fair stuff, one-off shows like that. I can't play stadiums -- I play clubs and small theaters."
As a featured member of Kid Rock's band, Kracker has performed at KC's largest venues, including Kemper Arena and Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. But now that his boss has become a professional Pam cake, Kracker must take whatever gigs are offered. Thus the Duck Derby, which outranks even the lowly puppet show on the touring suck-o-meter. After all, the image of thousands of rubber duckies racing toward a finish line as waddling minivan mommas and their jelly-mouthed offspring cheer from the sidelines is hardly the stuff of rock dreams. Even if it were, couldn't someone have picked a nicer aquatic setting than Brush fucking Creek?
The Plaza's septic consommé has a storied history that includes noxious smells, questionable bacteria levels and more free-floating fecal matter than Westport at 2 a.m. According to the Mid-America Regional Council's Web site, a recent geological survey of KC-area waterways discovered that "bacteria associated with pet waste was the source of approximately one-quarter of the bacteria in samples collected from local waterways."
But if the notion of faux fowl baptized in genuine canine poo doesn't make your gills green, there's a darn good chance the soundtrack will. Uncle Kracker's sophomore effort, No Stranger to Shame, is among the more sickly CDs issued in the past year. "We could've done the complete pop thing and ended up with some kids," he explains. "But they would've been a whole new batch of kids, 'cause the batch of kids from a couple of years ago are onto something different. Kids are fucking brutal. They change like underwear. There's no loyalty amongst kids these days. There's no nothin'."
If that cheery assessment doesn't warm your family cockles, perhaps knowing that it comes from a musician who doesn't cater to the latest fads will. After all, the low-key Kracker is something of an anti-rock star. Could it be that Kracker is one of the few genuine artists working in music today? Nah.
"I'm not an artist by any means," he says. "I'm not a freak, and I'm not a genius. I'm not a musician. I'm hardly a performer. I'm a pretty simple cat. Everything I've ever done, I've walked into, a complete accident. I just happened to be best friends with [Kid Rock]."
Whether Kracker will ever be able to escape the confines of Rock's considerable shadow remains to be seen. But there's little doubt that the association has made Kracker -- whose solo records have sold a combined 2.5 million copies -- a favorite for critical tarring and feathering.
"I get trashed a lot," he says. "There's a lot of people that can't wait to read me all the bad stuff. CEI got a quote here that says you suck donkey dick. How do you feel about that?' I feel great about that. I wish I had some donkey dicks right now."
Unfortunately for Uncle Kracker, a duck might have to do.