Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ted Nugent Interview: Our First American Rock and Roll President?


By Ray Shasho

Guitar slinger, singer and songwriter Ted Nugent is best known in rock and roll folklore as the ‘Motor City Madman’ and over the decades has magnanimously personified the title and reputation. Nugent has managed to circularize himself to the world in one way or another … from his rock and roll virtuosity, to his hunting craftsmanship, to his extreme patriotic views and passion. Ted says he’s even considering a presidential bid. Politically correctness is definitely not a part of Ted’s vocabulary, but maybe that’s not a bad thing, I’m pretty sure our forefathers weren’t either.

Ted Nugent will be performing at the ‘House of Blues Orlando’ with Laura Wilde on August 19th at 8:30p.m. For tickets visit here or call 407-934-2583. Nugent’s current lineup has longtime lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Derek St. Holmes, Dokken co-founder “Wild” Mick Brown on drums, and Greg Smith on bass and vocals.

 TED NUGENT has sold more than 40 –million albums and has performed at more than 6,400 concerts. His illustrious music career has spanned over five decades.


Born in Detroit, Michigan, Ted’s father was an Army staff sergeant and Nugent was raised in a stringent household. A self-taught musician, Nugent began playing the guitar at six years old. His first two bands were the ‘Royal High Boys’ and the ‘Lourds.’ After an impressive performance at the Michigan State Fair, the Lourds were asked to open for the Beau Brummels and the Supremes at Cobo Hall. Later that year while still in his teenage years, he moved to Palatine, Illinois, a residential suburb of Chicago.

Later that year Nugent fronted the group The Amboy Dukes.

The Amboy Dukes: After graduating high school, Nugent returned to Detroit where he recruited new members for The Amboy Dukes. The group signed with Mainstream Records and released their self-titled debut album The Amboy Dukes (1967). The bands second effort was entitled Journey to the Center of the Mind (1968) and scored commercially with the psychedelic title track reaching #16 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.

The Amboy Dukes core lineup became … Ted Nugent (lead guitar and vocals), John Drake (vocals), Gary Hicks (guitar, vocals), Andy Solomon (organ, piano and vocals), Greg Arama (bass) and Dave Palmer (drums). Rhythm guitarist Steve Farmer wrote the lyrics to “Journey to the Center of the Mind and is credited on many other tracks and studio recordings. Keyboardist Rick Lober and bassist Bill White were replaced after the debut album. In 1969, Rusty Day replaced John Drake on vocals.

Subsequent albums by The Amboy Dukes: Migration (1969), Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom (1970), Survival of the Fittest Live (1971).
Subsequent albums by Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes: Call of the Wild (1973), Tooth Fang & Claw (1974).

TED NUGENT SOLO: In 1975, Ted Nugent signed a solo deal with Epic Records. Nugent had separated from the Amboy Dukes to pursue a solo career and scored immediately with the release of his debut album Ted Nugent. The album spawned the hit singles “Stranglehold” and “Hey Baby.” The lineup featured Ted Nugent on lead guitar and vocals, Derek St. Holmes on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Rob Grange on bass and Cliff Davies on drums.

Nugent transformed himself into a master showman onstage while creating the role of a caveman- rock and roll- superhero wearing a loincloth.

Nugent’s follow-up album was Free-for-All in 1976. Singer, songwriter and musician Meat loaf contributed on several tracks.
In 1977, Ted Nugent released his most successful album to date entitled Catch Scratch Fever. The double-platinum release generated the classic tracks … “Catch Scratch Fever” (#30 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles Hit), “Workin’Hard, Playin’ Hard” and “Out of Control.”

Ted Nugent became a rock concert phenomenon selling out arenas and stadiums.

In 1978, Ted Nugent released Double Live Gonzo! an incredible double- album featuring live performances. The LP reached triple platinum status. The album also featured original tracks “Yank Me, Crank Me” and “Gonzo” played live. Also in 1978, Nugent released the successful Weekend Warriors. It was the first album not to feature vocalist Derek St. Holmes.
The album was followed by State of Shock (1979) reaching the U.S. Top 20 and achieving gold status. Nugent’s sixth studio album Scream Dream (1980) featured the standard “Wango Tango.”

Subsequent Ted Nugent studio albums: Nugent (1982), Penetrator (1984), Little Miss Dangerous (1986), If You Can’t Lick ‘Em … Lick ‘Em (1988).

In 1989, Ted Nugent joined the group Damn Yankees with Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Michael Cartellone (Who would eventually join Lynyrd Skynyrd). The band released two successful studio albums … Damn Yankees (1990) and Don’t Tread (1992). Their single “High Enough” reached #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.

Subsequent Ted Nugent studio albums: Spirit of the Wild (1995), Craveman (2002), Love Grenade (2007).

Ted Nugent has consistently remained in the limelight one way or another. Either with his outdoorsman Television show Spirit of the Wild or VH1 reality TV program Surviving Nugent, or raising controversy and being interviewed by the networks, or simply through his incredible musical talents. Nugent has a love him or hate him persona, and either way, you’ve got to admire his fortitude.

I had the rare pleasure of chatting with Ted about his upcoming show at the House of Blues in Orlando and some very hot topics…
Here’s my interview with legendary guitar hero, singer, songwriter, pro-gun, pro-freedom and pro-America advocate … (“The Nuge”) TED NUGENT.

Ted was performing in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan later that evening.
Ray Shasho: Ted, thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule and spending it with me today.
Ted Nugent: “My pleasure Ray.”
Ray Shasho: You’ll be performing at the ‘House of Blues in Orlando’ on August 19th, what are some of the songs we can expect to hear from your setlist?
Ted Nugent: “That's always a loaded question, and only questions and guns are allowed to be loaded around me. We have so many killer songs it is always frustrating to choose a couple hours’ worth, but we do so gallantly every night anyway. Every song of mine makes a killer opener and or a killer encore. We just let ‘er rip and it always works out to everyone's total satisfaction. Afterall, what would life be like without “Gonzo,” “Just What The Dr. Ordered,” “Wango Tango,” “Turn It Up,” “Free For All,” “Stormtroopin’,” “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang,” “Live It Up,” “Queen Of The Forest,” “Fred Bear,” “Hey Baby,” “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Stranglehold,” “Great White Buffalo,” and so many more.”
Ray Shasho: One of my favorite You Tube videos is when you began incorporating “Journey to the Center of the Mind” into your setlist and also reunited with your old bandmates The Amboy Dukes. What’s the origin behind that psychedelic rock classic?
Ted Nugent: “I was certainly very fortunate to be surrounded by dedicated virtuosos far ahead of their time and much better musicians than myself from the very beginning. The Amboy Dukes' superior rhythm section of Dave Palmer on drums and Greg Arama on bass guitar was a very powerful musical force to reckon with when we jammed every day and created such musical masterpieces. Though I came up with some pretty inventive guitar maneuvers and songwriting, the full credit should go to my fellow bandmates for thinking way outside the box at the time. I am pleased to know that such dedicated creativity and effort had a positive impact on music lovers and musicians alike, and am very proud to have been lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time with those guys. God knows I truly love that music.”
Ray Shasho: “Stranglehold” has been featured in numerous motion pictures … the song is spellbinding. Talk about writing and recording that classic track? What came first the music or the lyrics?
Ted Nugent: “I am a very, very fortunate and blessed guitar player to always be surrounded by musical monsters, so my life has been a nonstop jam session. I crave the musical adventure of sonic creativity and am powerfully inspired everytime I grab a guitar. “Stranglehold” is a perfect example of a spontaneous groove and guitar pattern that had a life of its own from the very 1st note. A musical stream of conscience if you will, or even if you won't. All my songs instinctively erupted from my guitar and lyrical visions followed the spirit of the music, bot image wise and rhythmical cadence wise. It remains one of life's greatest joys to this day.”
Ray Shasho: Do you have any good road stories from back in the late 60’s or 70’s?
Ted Nugent: “Ray, being clean and sober my entire 65 years provides me the joy/curse of remembering everything! My happy memory cup runneth over I assure you. So many, so wonderful, so insane fun!! I am writing a book "Stranglehold" now that will be unleashed in 2015 full of these incredible experiences. Hang on tight.”
Ray Shasho: I’ve chatted with so many great Michiganian music artists like Peter Rivera, Mark Farner and Suzi Quatro to name just a few and I personally feel that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should have been located in Detroit. Michigan has done more for music than any other state in America. I live in the Bradenton/Sarasota area which has sort of become a safe haven for thousands of Michiganites. What happened to that once great and very important city called Detroit?
Ted Nugent: “Detroit, like much of America, must admit to the economic lie that non-productivity, the curse of Americans who have given up looking for work, and the official list of jobs Americans are not willing to do is social and spiritual suicide. Until America wakes up to that, or real leaders demand policy based on that, Detroit and America will continue their self-imposed kamikaze tailspin into hell. It's so simple, it's stupid, but not as stupid as the soulless people who are responsible for it. As far as Motor City music power goes, we are still the best of the best … Kid Rock, Eminem, Jack White and more. That black, soulful spirit lives on.”
Ray Shasho: Ted, what happened to the music industry? It’s almost like someone pulled the plug on all the legendary rock artists and are prohibiting them from showcasing anything new across mainstream airwaves.
Ted Nugent: “Nobody is going to invest a fortune into good orchard land, all the farming equipment necessary, the fertilizer, the seedlings, the nonstop Herculean work effort needed to grow apples, then bring them to the fruit stand for people to take home for free. Got that? Ripoff technology has murdered the creative spirit.”
Ray Shasho: Florida residents love their firearms … I’ve heard hundreds of people wait early in the morning each day at Walmart parking lots for the trucks to arrive so they can buy their ammo. Is there an ammo shortage and why?
Ted Nugent: “There is a dramatic shortage of ammunition available to ‘We the People’ while the most corrupt, criminal power abusing government runs amok hoarding nearly every bullet being produced. This is just another deceptive maneuver by a phony president doing everything he can to further infringe on our sacred 2nd Amendment rights, anybody who doesn't know this is on crack from Mars.”
Ray Shasho: Are you serious about running for President? The first Rock and Roll President … I think it’s about time. What would your political agenda be like during your campaign?
Ted Nugent: “I so wreak of logic and commonsense that it is obviously very refreshing in this world of otherwise soulless politically correct denial and dishonesty. God knows America would be the greatest again if she operated like the Nugent family. No takers, no whiners, no gangsters, no dopers, no drunks, no criminals, no bloodsuckers, no excuse makers, no crybabies, no punks, no Obama supporters. My entire team are dedicated to be the absolute best that we can be and as productive as humanly possible. Wouldn't that be great if all of America were like that.”
Ray Shasho: Ted, describe the infamous meeting between you and the Secret Service.
Ted Nugent: “The professionals of the Secret Service were compelled to investigate the media and government lies about what I said and did so with total professionalism, courtesy and respect. We had a nice conversation, I told them exactly what I said and they took notes, thanked me and shook my hand. I am under constant scrutiny by crazy, corrupt, power abusing politicians and media goons for the simple fact that I expose cockroaches on a daily basis in my media interviews, speaking engagements and writings. I am doing God's work so the devil and his gang can't stand me. The heroes of the secret service confirmed what they already knew to be true, that I am a wonderful human being doing everything right and legal. They really should be investigating their boss, and they know it.”
Ray Shasho: Ted, here’s a question that I ask everyone that I interview … If you had a “Field of Dreams” wish, like the movie, to play or collaborate with anyone from the past or present, who would that be?
Ted Nugent: “Believe me, I have lived The Dream to the maxx!! I played bass guitar for Bo Diddly and Chuck Berry, have jammed with and collaborated with the greatest musicians that ever lived, and continue to do so to this very day. Look around me; that is the ultimate “Field of Dreams.””
Ray Shasho: Anything special you’d like to promote?
Ted Nugent: “Our Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids children's charity is in its 25th year, and we are involved in pretty much every military charity out there to give thanks to the incredible hero warriors of the US Military and their families. Everyone who loves and cares about the real American Dream should join us at tednugent.com TalkBack for the ultimate team and plan to take back America. Freedom is not free, and we all have a lot of work ahead of us. And I perform the ultimate soundtrack to get the job done every day. We're not having any fun at all.”
Ray Shasho: Ted thank you so much for taking time to answer these questions, but more importantly for all the incredible music that you’ve given us and continue to bring. We’ll see you at the ‘House of Blues Orlando’ on August 19th.
Ted Nugent: “Thanks Ray.”

Ted Nugent will be performing at the House of Blues Orlando with Laura Wilde on August 19th at 8:30p.m. For tickets visit http://www.houseofblues.com/venues/clubvenues/orlando/ or call 407-934-2583.

Ted Nugent official website www.tednugent.com
Ted Nugent on Facebook
Ted Nugent on Twitter
Ted Nugent on Myspace
Ted Nugent on tour

Very special thanks to Linda Peterson

Coming up NEXT … Recent interviews with Melanie and Roy Rogers

Contact classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho at rockraymond.shasho@gmail.com

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 ~~Pacific Book Review says Ray Shasho is a product of the second half of the 20th century, made in the USA from parts around the world, and within him is every trend in music, television, politics and culture contributing to his philosophical and comically analytical reflections collected in his fine book of memories. I found Check the Gs to be pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories of my own life, as I too am within a few years of Ray. So to all, I say if you have a bit of grey hair (or no hair), buy this book! It’s a great gift for your “over-the-hill” friends, or for their kids, if they are the history buffs of younger generations trying to figure out why we are the way we are.

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