Ted Nugent will never go down in history as the greatest rock guitarist ever.
No doubt he's excellent, his muscular updating of Chuck Berry's sound added Detroit oomph to a fairly standard rock styling, and for a few years in the '70s he found the sweet spot where hard rock jams met radio-friendly songs.
But there are way too many guys in front of him who are more adventurous, more creative, or simply technically better.
But the Nuge is without a doubt the most controversial, most polarizing, and to a large portion of the country one of the most infuriating characters on the planet. If you're with him on gun control (he's against it), a strong central government (it's the bane of his existence), and his passionate (some would say crazy) dislike for President Obama, then he's your guy.
If you disagree with him, he's an obnoxious blowhard at best, and a destructive, hyper-annoying jerk at worst.
Little things like seeming to threaten the President and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton -- which earned him a visit from the Secret Service -- have made Nugent more than just the guy behind songs like "Stranglehold," "Free For All," "The Great White Buffalo," and "Cat Scratch Fever" and member of early '90s super group Damn Yankees -- and turned him into a Fox News regular, an op-ed writer for the Washington Times, a thorn in Mitt Romney's side, and a loud-mouthed target for his detractors.
Nugent recently answered a few email questions about the possibility of a Damn Yankees reunion, his back catalog music, and, yes, politics, from The Blade in advance of his appearance at the Northwest Ohio Rib-Off Saturday at the Lucas County Fairgrounds.
You got on stage with Tommy Shaw (of Styx) on the recent tour to perform a Damn Yankees track. Any chance that that group will get back together?
Wouldn't that be killer! It sure was killer for that one killer song with those killer Styx musicians! We would all love to get together for some Damn Yankee fun music, but it's all up to the hectic crazy schedules of the four of us. We are trying. We love the music. Plus those guys are so cool they deserve me.
You released your most recent batch of new music in a download-only format. What was your take on that experience and is that how you will release future music or do you intend to go back to physical product?
We only offered the two demos of two new songs, "I Still Believe" and "I Love My BBQ," but when we finally get around to organizing the right studio time and production team we will certainly release a CD full of killer songs. We just are not sure when right now. Hopefully sometime in 2013.
Are there any plans to remaster and re-release the Amboy Dukes albums and your early stuff?
No plans but surely a great idea.
I've read several interviews in which you cite the song "Fred Bear" as being the sort of distillation of everything that you believe is important for your live shows. Why is that song so important to you?
It exploded out of me with pure power and emotion upon Fred's passing, and as always, I was surrounded by simply amazing musicians that understood and captured my love for Fred and my pain in saying good-bye to him. Even though it is highly charged with those emotions, we still celebrated the song and the moment with intense energy and driving R&B driven rock that says everything about the music that I love. Every performance is like the first time, every time.
What was up with your drummer and the golf cart? (Nugent's drummer, Mick Brown, was arrested after driving a golf cart drunk.) I know you've long taken a stand against drinking and drugs, so does he face any punishment?
Mick Brown is the consummate professional and all-around great, reliable guy. That particular night he got carried away for the first time in the nine years he's drummed for me and went golf carting. Pretty silly overall but a fluke.
Obviously you've made a conscious decision to be outspoken about political issues. You write op-ed pieces, weigh in on a wide variety of topics, and are not afraid to speak your mind. Was that a conscious decision at some point in your career to use your position as a popular musician to speak out?
After so many years being invited into the personal and professional lives of U.S. military heroes and their families, I became driven to put to use the incredible freedoms they provide at such great sacrifice, especially the First Amendment. I became convinced many years ago that it is the duty of we the people of America to participate in this sacred experiment in self-government to earn this amazing American quality of life. Anyone who does adequate, honest research will have to agree with everything I stand for.
Recently you've been in the news for some of your rhetoric and what was perceived as a threat to the President and Hillary Clinton. Do you have any regrets or think, "Maybe I went a little too far there" with some of the things you say or the way you say them?"
None whatsoever. My words are iron, my haters bad people. It was the haters that lied about what I said.
Did the Secret Service really interview you and if so, what was that like? How did they treat you?
We indeed had a wonderful, professional meeting of mutual respect, and they left knowing what they arrived knowing -- that I did nothing wrong and that they wasted their time responding to dishonest liberal Democrats that lied through their teeth.
You said, "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year?" What did you mean by that?
This President and his administration are so out of control that they are creating an America that does not resemble the America of our founders, and good people like me are their enemy.
Last question: Obviously, you have taken a strong stand in favor of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. Do you think, though, that there should be limits on the kinds of weapons people are allowed to possess? Given the shooting in Colorado July 20 at the theater, do you have any thoughts on how the government should keep automatic weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill?
There is no evidence that any mentally ill individuals have ever obtained automatic weapons through legal means. Surely you are not trying to say an automatic weapon was used in Aurora, Colorado? This maniac killed and wounded most victims with the No. 1-selling pheasant shotgun in the world, the ubiquitous Remington model 870. His other firearms are standard sporting and self-defense firearms. [Editor's note: James Holmes allegedly had an AR-15 style assault weapon with a 100-drum magazine.] The worst shooting slaughters on record took place in Norway, South Korea, Germany, Scotland, Australia, and other countries/jurisdictions that have the strictest gun control laws on earth. Chicago has more shootings and murders every two weeks than Aurora had and Chicago is a gun-free zone. Write this down -- gun control doesn't work.
Ted Nugent will perform at the Northwest Ohio Rib-Off Saturday. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the gate, and $30 for VIP tickets, which give holders access to a fenced-in area in front of the stage with seats, a beverage sale area, and portable toilets. General admission tickets allow you access to the Rib-Off and the concert; you do not pay extra for the show.
Contact Rod Lockwood at: email@example.com or 419-724-6159.