Speaking with Billboard, Rock admitted that part of his inspiration stemmed from the fact that he wants ownership over the master recordings, which isn't surprising considering that the original album has gone platinum 11 times over. (If Rock rerecords the songs, he'll have control over those versions, which apparently he doesn't with the originals.) "Some of them will be exactly like they were and some of them will have the sensibilities of what we've learned playing those songs live for 15 years," Rock said. "I'm not going to say they're going to be better than the originals; that's tough to top. But I think there's something special about them that people will dig. They're going to be the way a lot of people have seen us play these versions live ... We've twisted them up so much to where it's very interesting, very cool."
Of course, Rock himself isn't the same guy he was back in '98. Emerging onto the scene as a smart-aleck white rapper who flaunted a jokester-pimp persona, he has since moved into rock and country. 2010's Born Free found him taking up the mantle of All-American spokesman, taking a cue from Bob Seger and John Mellencamp for his everyman, Midwestern tunes. And he famously supported Mitt Romney on the campaign trail, allowing "Born Free" to be the Republican presidential nominee's official song. Rebel Soul continues Born Free's evolution toward a more conservative, mature sound, although it does feature some hip-hop party tunes as well. How the older Rock will approach a new Devil might make this one of those rare re-recordings that's worth a listen.
Photo: Jeremy Deputat.