The COVID-19 pandemic hit home for Uncle Kracker, as his grandmother died from the illness.
“I understand the seriousness of it all too well,” says Uncle Kracker, born Matt Shafer.
Still, that didn’t keep Uncle Kracker from injecting humor into the situation. While hunkered down, he connected with Trick Pony’s Ira Dean and longtime collaborator Frederick Beauregard (also known as Paradime) to write “No Time to Be Sober.” The song that deals with passing the time in isolation was produced and engineered by Josh Bright.
“God knows I’ve had plenty of time in this house to reflect,” Uncle Kracker says. “The only real good thing I could come up with is that she is with my grandpa now, sipping on some Baileys while he’s drinking a Bud Light. This one’s for them. They lived thru tougher times than these and taught me how to make the best of every situation. This song is nothing more than that.”
Known as Kid Rock’s original DJ, the Detroit-based singer and songwriter made his solo debut with 2001’s No. 1 smash, “Follow Me,” kicking off a run of top 10 multiformat hits like “In A Little While,” “Smile,” and of course, 2003’s record-setting cover of Dobie Gray’s classic “Drift Away.”
Once thing he’s maintained is his habit of overthinking. He didn’t obsess too much about “No Time to Be Sober.”
“I let ‘No Time to Be Sober’ happen more organically than staring at it and redoing it,” he says. “I’m used to writing on the back of my cigarette pack or on a napkin or something like that and shoving it away for later. Finishing it is the hard part, to be able to say I’m done and put it in the Fed Ex envelope.”
For the accompanying video, he enlisted his daughters, Madison Blue Shafer and Troy Averie Shafer, to shoot, direct and edit it. He says it was a good way of keeping them in line.
“They get in their car and run out and do things,” Uncle Kracker says. “I worry about everyone. I worry for other people, especially people who are compromised. I take shots once a week—Humira—to suppress my immune system. My oldest daughter is diabetic. You keep hearing more and more about that.
“My daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 11 and she’ll be 21 in a couple weeks. I worry when she stubs her toe. I worry about the neighbors and my buddy down the street. These are strange times.”