Re: Stock android
"If there was a bare-bones Android, which preferably was ludicrously easy to root, I'd be all over it."
Lineage OS almost does what you want. It's derived from CyanogenMod and so it's not a stock image but it's generally modified in small ways and ways that enhance things like privacy. e.g. Privacy Guard lets you stop apps accessing GPS (for example) even if they need that permission to install.
It also doesn't include any Google apps (gapps) so if you don't want them you don't have them. If you do want (some of) them you can install a gapps package over the firmware.