When it comes to Ted Nugent, what you see is what you get. No hidden agendas with this man. He doesn’t mince words and he practices what he preaches. He tells it like he sees it and if people don’t like it? Well, he will tell them what they can do with the attitude.
Nugent makes no apologies. He’s rude, crude, and straight-up honest.
He is controversial, loved, hated and he’s one hell of a guitar slayer. He loves to rant about all things government-related that piss him off. He only stops long enough to change gears, to talk about the criticism he gets for being the avid and opinionated hunter, outdoorsman and political activist that he is. He gets on a tangent and doesn’t loosen his “stranglehold” until he’s finished with what he has to say.
With Ted Nugent you get reaction. One group loves him like a god and puts him on a pedestal — another group wants to mask off half his face in duct tape to shut him up. And while you might wonder what any of that has to do with his maniacal musical side, the answer is simple — everything.
The Detroit native approaches music with the same intensity that he lives his life. He feeds off that intensity, wallows in it — possibly afraid that if he stops, he’ll die. With the Nuge, his passion for the outdoors and politics bleeds over into every guitar lick, lyric, and note he writes. His music is an extension of his no-holds barred, no apology, going-in-for-the-kill lifestyle.
And it seems to be working. When he still can shred on a six-string guitar with the same fire in his belly at 69 that he had at 22, you have to think he’s got some insider knowledge.
“Uncle Ted” has been known for cranking on his Gibson Byrdland and performing like a madman since his days with the Amboy Dukes. He then established himself as a successful solo artist with hits like “Dog Eat Dog,” “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Stranglehold.”
Nugent and his band were one of the top rock bands in the ’70s, storming the charts and selling out arenas coast to coast. At the time, Nugent had assumed the stage persona of a caveman, dressing in nothing but a skimpy loincloth and knee-high boots, and would often begin his show by swinging out on a rope à la Tarzan.
His skills with a guitar are legendary, and his restless soul has driven him into many other ventures including stints as a radio show host, and a regular contributor of numerous publications (you can find some of his political columns online at WashingtonTimes.com).
In recent years, Nugent has become known as an author as well, penning a cook book, Kill It and Grill It, and the New York Times bestsellers, God, Guns & Rock ‘N’ Roll and Ted, White And Blue: The Nugent Manifesto. He also hosts his own hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting lifestyle show on the Outdoor Channel, “Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild.”
Nugent is a contradiction in terms on oh, so many levels — he’s both raving wing nut and intellectual wordsmith; tough as nails advocate with a heart of gold toward children and veterans; conservative, yet flamboyant; blessed man and angry man; outdoorsman and environmentalist; drug and alcohol-free heavy duty rocker with a strong belief system; a deathly quiet man and a frickin’ loud man with a voice that carries into the cosmic universe. And if he offends people with that voice, too bad, because that’s exactly the response he wants to elicit. He holds fast to his traditions and his beliefs with a serious passion for all life throws at him, good and bad, seeing all of it as one exhilarating adventure.
“Of all the incredible blessings in my life, the fact that I figured out the physics of spirituality balance of the soul cleansing with an outdoor hunting, fishing, trapping lifestyle so long ago, is the most powerful ‘determinator’ for my quality of life and overall happiness,” Nugent told the Laughlin entertainer. “I literally get giddy and hyperventilate in anticipation to every tour, every concert, every song, every night, every lick.
“The soul and ear-cleansing silence of my annual eight-month hunting season and overall outdoor farming, ranching life prepares me better than anything available to mankind to throttle my style of skull-dusting dance music. The combination is perfecto beyond your wildest imagination,” he added.
And Nugent takes his relentless fans along on each and every crazy musical ride, loving the way every song makes them feel.
“Those masses around the world that celebrate my amazing music share their passion with me hourly on social media by the millions, and I bow my head in absolute humility at the powerful connection we share for such intense R&B rockand roll,” he said. “My music is the soundtrack for rugged individualism, independence and self-sufficiency and all people who live life to the fullest.”
Since God and country receive Nugent’s utmost respect, being able to perform for American troops is his highest honor.
“We the people of America know damn well that freedom is not free and we do all we can to let the warriors know constantly how much we thank and salute them all,” he said. “I have been blessed and humbled beyond measure to be invited into the lives of U.S. military heroes and their families since the 1960s, because they like my attitude, how I always fight for our sacred 2nd Amendment rights and my defiant spirit against political correctness and the heartbreaking abuse of power in our government.
“We owe them dearly for their sacrifices,” he added. “They are with me at every gig and the inspiration is palpable.”
During those gigs, Nugent shows off an impressive guitar collection, many of which he plays during the night.
“I typically bring a dozen or so Gibson Byrdlands and a couple of PRS beasts each tour, and yes, picking a favorite is impossible because they all have a special touch, feel, tone and voice,” he said. “Per concert I usually only have sonic sex with three or four.
“I proudly own many original Kalamazoo Gibson Byrdlands and Les Pauls, which I perform and record with to this day,” he added. “My new CD The Music Made Me Do It is wall-to-wall vintage Gibson outrage.”
If that wasn’t the perfect segway to talk about his latest musical project, who knows what is.
“That’s not only the title track of my new record, it’s my battle cry for more than 60 years to pursue this incredible soundtrack to my happiness, craving for creative musical adventure, the ultimate guitar tone and overall quality of life,” Nugent said. “I don’t settle for the road less traveled, I stalk non-roads untraveled, both literally and figuratively and am having the time of my life doing so. The music still makes be do it.”
But Nugent doesn’t travel his musical journey alone.
“Bassist Greg Smith and drum master Jason Hartless had a virtual riot recording these killer new songs and we are crazy proud of it. Look for the new CD and DVD soon this fall.”
In the meantime, audiences will get to sample and taste all the songs in the Nugent repertoire when his bus stops in Laughlin at the Edgewater’s E Center on Saturday, Aug. 4.
“Greg and Jason represent world class musicianship and a pure animal rhythm attack on every song, every gig, every night, that all guitar players dream of,” he said. “They are musical animals! And just as important, they are great gentlemen of consummate professionalism. I am a very, very lucky guy.
“We rock a whole bunch of classics and whip out a few new songs as well,” Nugent added. “This 2018 tour is without question, the most intense, fun, guitar-tone dream tour of my life. We are the tightest, highest energy band on earth. And we happen to have the greatest professional ass-kickin’ crew on earth, too.”