Kid Kentucky Bio
Kid Kentucky and the American Badass Band is the nation’s top Kid Rock tribute band, astounding Kid Rock fans nationwide. And by astounding, we do mean it’s quite an incredible Kid Rock experience when the band takes the stage. Each and every night, audiences spend the first few songs of the show trying to grasp the concept that they are not actually seeing the real Kid Rock there in front of them! The cameras come out, the jaws drop and the show kicks into high gear from the first note to the last, with an overall experience as close to the real thing as you can get!
Touring out of Nashville, TN, Kid K & TABB take their Kid Rock show north, south, east and west delivering the looks, the sounds and party throwdown that Kid Rock fans have come to know and love from the real guy himself! Adorning their Kid Rock concert shirts and all the shindig you can handle, the night covers the foray of Kid Rock hits weaving from rock, to country, to Kid Rock rap and everything in between, always keeping the Kid Rock fans coming back for more.
Kid Kentucky and the American Badass Band have traveled from Montana to Maryland, from Detroit to Tampa winning over Kid Rock fans, and building their own fans along the way. “I have been a Kid Rock fan from the old days, and never knew his music would be so popular that it could happen twice,” says Don Suiters (a.k.a. Kid Kentucky). “His music has been a great inspiration and after seeing his concerts almost a dozen times, his show has been too – thank you Kid Rock for making it all happen!”
Hailing originally from Indianapolis, and currently residing in Bowling Green, KY, Suiters began the journey of the Kid Rock-lookalike path from others asking if he ever hears that “he looks like Kid Rock!” After the pattern began to take hold, local KY residents started branding him as Kid Kentucky. Suiters was such a fit as Kid Kentucky that the Tropicana Riverboat asked him to perform, following a Kid Rock concert in Evansville, Indiana. A fan attending the concert took some pics with Suiters, and subsequently sent them in to the 92.5 WBKR doppelganger contest.
When he received the photos, in complete agreement that Suiters looked nearly identical to Kid Rock, the radio station jock then contacted Suiters, asking him to join their live broadcast as they interviewed him about his amazing likeness to Kid Rock. The radio host, as well as his associates, stunned by Don’s uncanny resemblance, thereafter, penned an article on Suiters titled Does Kid Rock Live in Kentucky. The Owensboro radio station piece caught the attention of many, including the Clarksville, TN Police department. No, he wasn’t in trouble – instead, they requested the newly sanctified Kid Rock impersonator to appear in their upcoming Police video challenge for YouTube. The video and article spawned more impersonation requests and the official transformation into Kid Kentucky was complete.
Included in the requests, came an opportunity when the real Robert Ritchie/Kid Rock had denied a casting for a movie roll in a remake of Smokey and the Bandit. Ritchie declined the lead part as Bandit. The Short-film movie Producer found out about Kid Kentucky after the Police department YouTube video. The Bandit Never Fades movie Producer Patrick Laughlin contacted Suiters (Kid Kentucky) for lead part in which he accepted. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t publish due to permits at the time of shooting the film.
Shortly thereafter, Suiters decided to put his Kid Rock-ness to use, pursuing his childhood dreams of being a singer in a band. Upon meeting a Nashville transplant newly arrived from Los Angeles, Don began working with Bruce Lawrence who had wrangled a few of his other musician friends together building the American Badass Band. Gathering a few more fellow L.A. transplants to create Kid Rock and the Twisted Brown Trucker Band’s music, Lawrence served as lead guitar and band leader, Richie Rivera on drums, Rob Welch on Guitar and Keyboards, Joel Friedman on bass. After some quickly devised rehearsals the band began performing in local Bowling Green and Nashville bars and corner stages around town.
The group singed with a regional management company who at the time had a couple tribute bands on their roster. The Nashville management company had booked Suiters in a mall as a Kid Rock impersonator for an in-store appearance, and then invited him to their dinner afterwards. Also invited to the dinner was the drummer from another Nashville tribute on the roster, seated next to Kid Kentucky for some Japanese hibachi. Suiters had met Brian Bayley and hit it off in conversation over the flaming volcano of onions, while the rest of the room was staring at Don from a distance, wondering if it was Kid Rock in their presence.
Suiters and Bayley began discussing old cars, Don’s racing past as a Late Model Dirt Track Champion, and Bayley’s work in the music industry. As common ground began to form, Suiters commissioned Bayley for the group’s website and some audio production needs as a business launching point for the startup Kid Rock tribute. As projects came together and more bars showed interest, the drummer was unable to meet the needs of the schedule and Bayley was asked to step in. It was an immediate connection with Suiters and the band had a new drummer. “Don and I started working together on a few projects, and he would tell me about these folks that would stop him on the street thinking he was Kid Rock,” says Bayley. “At first, I was like, no way are these people stopping and taking pics and VIP treatments thinking you are Bob!” After a few short months playing gigs with the band, Bayley quickly realized just how impactful the Kid Rock look alike was in his appearance and Suiters’ ability to perform a quality representation of Mr. Ritchie himself!
Bayley amazed with the profound audience reception, then began kicking into high gear music biz, realizing the opportunity to reach Kid Rock fans everywhere. With all of the marketing, representation, booking, management and off-stage needs of a successful band, Bayley began digging around the country for bookings, built the biker scene that continues building and teamed up with Suiters in working together outside of just the on-stage performances. “There’s five people on stage,” says Bayley, “two of us off stage, and a whole shit ton of Kid Rock fans in front of the stage, keeping this train rolling down the tracks!”
And rolling down the tracks, it is! The Kid Kentucky train keeps rolling after many years of touring the nation, performing to thousands of great music fans, working with tons of great promoters and venues, and seeing some amazing places! The band has been included on the bill with the likes of Saving Abel, Trace Adkins, 38 Special, Night Ranger and others, in addition to performing with a bevy of fellow tribute bands delivering even more great music from bands like Def Leppard, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Limp Bizkit, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more!
Culminating their 2022 touring, Kid Kentucky and the American Badass Band were awarded Tribute Artist of the Year at the Josie Music Awards: an independent music industry awards show held at the Grand Ole Opry house in Nashville. With a nomination for the same in 2021, and the win in 2022, the band looks forward to many more accolades to come, on the backs of their hard work and professionalism in the industry of tributes!
Entering a new phase of the band’s progress, Kent Yamamuro has assumed the lead guitar role in the band bringing even more class and style to the ensemble. Kent’s mastery of guitar was immediately evident as he worked with the band late in 2022. Toni from Noblesville, Indiana for example, provides some great kudos, for the ‘new guy’: “I saw him at Hollywood Casino. It was a great show. You all were awesome. Loved it!!” Original American-Badass-Band bassman, Joey Vincent Friedman lands himself a laugh claiming, “He’s putting the Kent in Kentucky!”
Also included in the mastery on and off stage, is the stage right workstation with Rob Welch at the helm. Rob not only serves as guitar, vocals, keyboards and dancing harmonica man in the spotlight, but Welch is also the resident gear guru for the band operating his own Tesi Switch ‘kill switch’ company as an expert in guitar gadgetry and upgrades. Rob has played a vital role in providing gear for the band that helps prepare them for the show and greatly streamline some of the process for band and crew alike.
In a short collection of years, this band of Kid Rock-ers has come together by means of train, planes and automobile to grow from the neighborhood Bowling Green bar, to playing some of the nicest stages across America. Heading into year number six with this project, Kid Kentucky and the American Badass Band vow to stay the course delivering the best Kid Rock music for a variety of events, venues, cruises, and damned near any celebration of the man himself where an opportunity is granted. “It’s an honor to play his music, wear his clothes and study his performance,” states Kid Kentucky, “and we can’t wait til the next show when we all get to do it again! Thank you Kid Rock for the music and the concerts! And thank you to all the fans out there that love to see it!” Roll on, roller coaster, roll on.
MEET THE BAND
Don Suiters / Kid Kentucky
Suiters grew up in Clarksville TN, after relocating from birthplace Indianapolis, Indiana 1973
His family moved to Clarksville TN. in 1974 after his father was stationed to Ft. Campbell Ky. in 1974. Don graduated NorthWest High School in 1992. He met his wife in Nashville late 2001 and later relocated to her hometown of Bowling Green, KY. Suiters, who earned his BMSE in 2015, has worked in the Engineering field with local auto industries, and Nashville manufacturing industry prior to shifting to a full business owner in 2022, operating out of Bowling Green, KY.
Suiters has always been musically inclined as a self-taught guitarist, bass player and drummer. Don went on to play in several local cover bands throughout Tennesee and Kentucky in his youth. He got his first guitar at the age of 9 years old.
Suiters pursued a successful dirt track career stemming from 1998-2008 winning several features wins and a championship in 2008. Don retired racing in 2009 to focus on family and music.
In Kid Rock comparisons, "Suiter's height is approximately 6'-0," with a weight 185lbs. His net worth is being spent!" (So, He claims)
Rob Welch / Guitar, Keyboards, Harmonica
Rob was born in a sleepy little town in northern Utah. What you may not know about northern Utah is that it has, or had, a pretty solid underground death metal scene. But that wasn't until later.
He started playing piano at the tender age of 6, and throughout his musical history has been a saxophone player, bass player, mandolin player, and has even tried his hand at banjo (not terrible) and accordion (really not good).
Cutting his teeth in bars starting at the age of 16, Rob was playing a lot of classic rock like Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, which gave him a solid rock n roll foundation.
Since those days Rob has been in numerous bands ranging from classic rock, dance, southern rock, classic rock again, progressive death metal, regular metal, progressive pop, funk, a little bit of ska, and almost everything in between, playing covers and originals. He's lit up hundreds of stages in dozens of states from coast to coast.
Now, with Kid Kentucky and the American Badass Band, Rob plays guitar and keyboard (sometimes simultaneously).
In his spare time he enjoys being nice to animals and collecting shoes.
Brian Bayley / Drums & Music Biz
Brian hails from the St. Louis area, specifically Alton, IL – where the town’s claim to fame is the tallest man in the world, the Piasa Bird, the River Road and Fast Eddy’s.
Brian has been a drummer all of his life as well as a writer of lyrics in a continual pursuit searching for musicians to collaborate on original songs. Along the way Brian was extremely blessed with a successful career in the music business; first a ten year-run in concert production in St. Louis arenas, amphitheater and local venues for almost any tour trotting around the globe, then made his move to Nashville to work another great decade-long placement at CMT (Country Music Television). Brian loved his career in both working alongside his musical heroes, and learning his chops from some of the most talented industry executives and touring crews from around the world. After CMT, Brian served as Production Manager at Hard Rock Live in Orlando, producing even more theater-level touring shows and one-off corporate entertainment events.
He made his move back to Nashville producing events at Fontanel Attractions until it closed, and now operates his own website and marketing agency.
Brian in his leisure is all about boating in the sunshine, motorsports, show biz, NFL, NHL, IRL, dogs and horses!
Joey Vincent Friedman / Bass, Vocals & Resident Class Jokester
Humming before he was able to talk, music has always been a passion of Joey’s. His love of music eventually gave way to piano lessons at the age of 7. From there, he ventured into saxophone, guitar and then ultimately where he found his true calling, bass guitar.
Jamming with friends inevitably lead to Joey joining and forming bands in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles (where he was in house bands for two Sunset Strip venues, including the Whisky a Go-Go) and now Nashville. Included in his Nashville endeavors, Joey now lays down his Aaron Julison bass lines, performing solid as a rock every night, while flipping his hair around making all the Kid Rock girls go ooh!
Joey is a mathematical genius serving on occasion as a substitute math teacher in the Nashville school district, and also your friendly lickety-split Uber driver when not inspiring the youth of our nation.
If you have never been able to solve a Rubik’s Cube, ask Joey – As he did in hotel lobby to a table full of guests eating their breakfast (I believe it was some gig in Iowa??), Joey dazzled the entire table, and the rest of us watching from afar, solving the cube in less than five minutes. The kids in the room were wowed, and us big kids were too!
Kent Yamamuro / Guitar
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Kent is a Japanese American who’s been working as a professional guitar player since he was 16 years old. He currently resides in Nashville, working as a rock/country/RnB guitarist with multiple bands.
When not throwing down his Twisted Brown Trucker Band licks for Kid Kentucky and the American Badass Band, Kent can be found working the downtown Nashville honky-tonk scene, wowing the whew-girl bachelorette parties and the $7 per beer sluggers perusing the tourist mecca known as Nash Vegas.
Kent is a class-act musician that came to town three years ago upon graduation from University of Colorado Boulder. Ask Kent some of his favorite influences and you might be surprised that the 23 year-old riffster throws it all back to the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Hendrix.
The kid’s got it figured out!!
"I'm just a huge fan - That's why I do this! Some ask why, and for what, and all this stuff thinking I'm trying to be Kid Rock. Except for putting on a SHOW and trying to emulate my biggest hero in music, I'm not at all trying to be Kid Rock. I AM however, Kid Kentucky because I AM such a big fan of Kid Rock. I have grown up listening to this music and I can't wait to go out and play it every night! This gig is the truest form of a TRIBUTE band because, this is all a TRIBUTE to Mr. Kid Rock himself! His music, his show, his fans. In this day and age of tribute bands out there, for me, it's an awesome way to connect with the music I love to play! Plus, we are just out here helping get more Kid Rock music out there to his fans. They love it as much as I do, so we are here to bring the party, bring the tunes, bring the fun, and we all get to enjoy just a little more Kid Rock in our day! We are all singing these songs together all the time and hopefully, when it's all said and done, people leave and go buy more Kid Rock music! Cuz it's frikn Badass!" - Don
Don Suiters; Fun Facts
"My 16-yr old son just learned how to play Everlong (Foo Fighters) on drums. He and I sit in my music room and play all sorts of music together. He's gonna be good!!"
"I won the 2008 season Championship in late-model stock car racing at Fairview Motorsports track in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I built my own car, drove it and had my own volunteer pit crew at the races. I had to give up the sport due to lack of sponsorship, but then started this crazy music thing instead. Both are very expensive to do at a high level - Jury is still out on which I like best!"
"By day, I'm an engineer at an automotive plant in Nashville TN. My boss is a big Kid Rock fan and totally supports this Kid Kentucky gig. Looking fwd to having him out to see a show with us!"
Kid Kentucky; Fun Facts
"There is nothing more awesome than seeing these fans show up to a Kid Kentucky show, in their Kid Rock shirts! And they are out there singing along to every word, the whole night! Kid Rock fans rock!"
"I went to Nashville to put together the American Badass Band, and have a group of guys that make this super fun and super easy for me to stand there and sing Kid Rock songs! I'm hoping Mr. Ritchie will invite us to join him onstage at his honky-tonk in downtown Nashville, Fingers crossed for someday!"
"It sometimes blows me away how some think I am the real Kid Rock! When I'm out and about, people are asking for pics and it's an amazing feeling that I get to help spread the Badass-ness of Kid Rock. I of course explain, that I'm not him. And some even get pissed at me because they think I'm lying! It's a riot sometimes, but hey, if that helps sell one more Kid Rock download, fine by me!"
"I was raised in Speedway, Indiana; Home of the Indianapolis 500!! "
"My prized possession is my First KIss shirt. While I'm not the real Kid Rock, I do wear the real Kid Rock First Kiss shirt."
"hmmmm...My favorite Kid Rock song??? : The next one in the set!"
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