Ted Nugent has been putting audiences in a stranglehold since he started touring nationally in 1967 with his crazy, energetic Rock & Roll. He's probably best known musically for giving us unbelievable, unstoppable guitar riffs, like the one featured in his smash hit “Cat Scratch Fever.” But he's probably more recently known best for his off-stage actions and antics. The outspoken Nugent is a confident free-spirit who prefers hunting wild game with big guns and lobbying for patriotism and his Second Amendment rights than blending into society's status quo.
Nugent never backs down from what he believes and is always eager be the loudest voice in the room. Most recently, he's taken heat for a recent episode of Piers Morgan's show on CNN. During an interview on gun control, the Rock legend took some more swipes at politicians who don't agree with him on guns (among other topics).
"Anybody that wants to disarm me can drop dead," Nugent told Morgan. "Anybody that wants to make me unarmed and helpless, people that want to literally create the proven places where more innocents are killed called gun-free zones, we're going to beat you. We're going to vote you out of office or suck on my machine gun. You can take it whichever way you like." (You can watch more of the interview below.)
CityBeat got Ted to open up (not hard) about his early roots in Rock & Roll, his current tour, hunting, parenting, protecting himself, Google, Teen Mom and drugs. Nugent plays the Lifestyles Community Pavilion in Columbus this Friday.
CityBeat: What has been your greatest Rock & Roll moment?
Ted Nugent: Oh Lord, there has been a lifetime of nonstop spirit-stimulating, thrilling tsunamis of excitement and fun. Surely this tour is the most ferocious, high energy fun rock out of my life. My band is the best on Earth.
CB: You often speak about your concern for drug abuse in the country. Are you involved with any programs or charities to help people with substance abuse problems?
TN: I have been a DARE officer since the program's conception in 1982, and have traveled the country over speaking to schools and youth groups about the insane evil suicide of substance abuse.
CB: How do you feel about sensationalizing drug use and teen pregnancy on TV shows like "Teen Mom" and "Celebrity Rehab?"
TN: I think if parents did their job, those types of programs would be inconsequential. Tragically, there is an epidemic of parental disconnect across America that is a curse with long-term ill effects. I think the shows are lame and soulless.
CB: How do you plan to participate in the next election?
TN: I participate in my "We the People" duties every damn day of my life by writing, communicating and sharing the historical evidence that what the U.S. government is doing right now has always ended tragically and we damn well better wake the hell up and get back to the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Ten Commandments and Golden Rule ASAP!
CB: You started playing guitar at the young age of 6 or 7. Did your parents always support your choice to be a musician?
TN: Not necessarily. That new brazen, uppity Rock & Roll scared the hell out of pretty much all adults, but with genuine discipline they guided me to be the best that I could be by demanding I practice with all my heart and soul. That always pays off.
CB: Any regrets?
TN: With my hyper fertile imagination, I wish I would have thrown out the substance abusing musicians quicker to get rid of the stinky dead weight, but my animal persistence overcame anyway.
CB: Any advice on how to keep your family relationships strong while touring?
TN: I communicate constantly with all my kids, wife, brothers, sisters, grandkids, everyone. But most importantly, when I first became a dad, I made sure I was home for most or all of the school year to be there during those dynamic formative years. You meet my kids, and you will see how brilliantly that worked.
CB: Do you ever worry for your safety?
TN: Nope, I aspire to my highest level of awareness at all times, operating my chainsaws, machine guns or dangerous hollow body guitars.
CB: Any animals that you feel like people should not hunt and kill?
TN: Certainly any endangered species, but all meat is good.
CB: What are your thoughts on the recent Arnold Schwarzenegger scandal?
TN: Man's history of tested discipline is legendary and always a challenge. We must meet that challenge so as to stop causing such undue, harmful pain and suffering for our loved ones.
CB: When I searched Google for research on you and recent articles, the key words that were repeated over and over were Conservatives, Detroit, guns, NRA and hippies. Do you think these should be the words that represent you? If not, what should they be?
TN: Google sucks. My incredibly positive, gratifying life is about millions and millions of better words that just those. Only a fool would accept a limited dead end.
CB: Have you ever asked a politician or President to help support Detroit and re-juvenating the city?
TN: No. Only people can help themselves. It is the soulless concept of seeking outside help that destroyed that once incredible city on the river. The government ruins everything it touches.
Photo by Amy Harris