Will the Real Bob Seger Please Stand Up?

NPR’s Morning Edition interviewed classic rock radio staple Bob Seger today, highlighting his new album and his first tour in a decade. Seger, a son of Detroit, is known for working references to all-American autos into his songs, such as the backseat of that ’60 Chevy in “Night Moves.” Even better known, of course, is the song that has long served as the theme song for Chevy pickup trucks, “Like a Rock.” Now, however, it seems that Bob has soured on the auto industry, if we are to be guided by the lyrics off of his new album:

World keeps getting hotter

Ice falls in the sea

We buy a bigger engine and say it isn’t me.

Et tu, Bob? Seger not only badmouths the big engines that kept the royalty checks coming during the lean years, he went out of his way today to praise Mr. Inconvenient Truth himself: “I really admire Al Gore for doing all of those lectures, for years ….The overuse of oil is just wrecking our economy.”

Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, sensing the obvious tension, asked Seger whether he felt bad about “Like a Rock” being used by a big, bad polluting car company to (one assumes) sell more carbon dioxide emitting trucks. In a response worthy of Emerson, Seger replied: “No, not really, because, you know, the great thing about that is — I really helped my home town. I saved a lot of jobs.”

So which is it? Are powerful, domestically manufactured vehicles with rock-like construction standards good because they employ members of Detroit’s battered workforce, or are they bad because they are melting the Arctic like an ice cube on a hotplate? Rock’s Beautiful Loser has yet to clarify.