Ted Nugent is an American rock guitarist, songwriter, singer, and a very outspoken activist for gun ownership rights and conservative political views. Nugent may be 63 years old, but he is still making headlines, most notably for his recent remarks about President Barack Obama. While speaking before members of the National Rifle Association, the aging rocker was quoted as saying that Obama was a criminal, and that if he is re-elected later this year (2012), Nugent would “either be dead or in jail.”
This earned Uncle Ted a visit from the Secret Service. Everything has been resolved for the time being, but since that April NRA rally, Nugent has openly defended his remarks, and oftentimes, with quite colorful metaphors. He is sometimes referred to as the Motor City Madman, and this title seems very fitting. Regardless of where you stand politically, most will agree that Ted Nugent takes his outlook on life to the extreme.
Theodore Anthony Nugent was born on December 13, 1948, in Detroit, Michigan. He is best known as one of the premier rock guitarists of the 1970s. He would take formal music lessons later in life, but for the most part, Ted was self-taught. He took up the guitar at the young age of six. When he was 14, he formed his first rock and roll band, the Lourds. Following a performance at the Michigan State Fair in 1964, the Lourds were given the opportrunity to be the opening act for the Beau Brummels and the Supremes. Later during that year, Nugent moved to Chicago and fronted the Amboy Dukes. He returned to Detroit after graduating high school in 1967 and recruited new members for the Amboy Dukes. In 1968, the band gained national recognition with their hit, “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” which reached # 8 on the charts. The Amboy Dukes continued recording into the early 1970s and played over 300 shows a year.
Many readers may not know this, but something else rather unique took place around this time. Nugent would have turned 18 in late 1966 and was thus prime material for the military draft, and most likely, an all-expense paid trip to Vietnam. Many sources have claimed that he dodged the draft in quite the unorthodox fashion. The story has been around for over 30 years, but has resurfaced in recent times due to Ted’s outspoken political views. After reading what follows, one could easily label the “Nuge” as a hypocrite of the highest order. In a 1977 interview, Nugent revealed how he dodged the draft. Some 30 days before he was to report for his Army physical, Nugent stopped bathing and brushing his teeth. A couple of weeks passed, and then he ate only junk food and drank Pepsi so his blood-sugar would get out of whack. In the last week before his exam, Ted began to defecate and urinate in his pants! During the last few days, he stayed awake and allegedly snorted several lines of Crystal Meth. Needless to say, he was classified as 4F, unfit for military service.
Please note that the link to this information contains direct quotes from Ted Nugent himself, and the vocabulary at times is vulgar. At any rate, this comes as a bit of a surprise when one is exposed to his supposedly conservative views, not to mention his constant urging to Americans to support their troops!
Moving on with his musical legacy, Ted Nugent split from the Amboy Dukes in 1975 and embarked on a solo career. His first solo album, simply titled Ted Nugent, featured Stranglehold, which to date still features one of the best guitar solos in the rock genre. Another big hit from that album was “Hey Baby.” Nugent’s biggest commercial success came with Cat Scratch Fever in 1977, which included the title cut as well as the songs, ” Workin’ Hard, Playin’ Hard” and “Out of Control.”
By the early 1980s, Nugent’s popularity began to fade. He put out Scream Dream in 1980 with the moderate hit “Wango Tango.” Eventually, this song would earn 7th place in Guitar World magazine’s 100 worst guitar solos in rock history. Another album didn’t come along until 1984’s Penetrator. This was followed in 1986 with Little Miss Dangerous. In 1989, he became a part of a supergroup known as Damn Yankees. They enjoyed some commercial airplay, and most notably, that band showed rock fans that Ted Nugent’s playing skills extended far beyond the typically simplistic 3-chord, Key of A songs in his solo work. Damn Yankees was short-lived, and Ted has recorded a few more solo albums since that time and still tours regularly, although the 300-day-a-year schedule is now a thing of the past.
Nugent is an avid hunter, which partially explains his firm stance on gun ownership rights, and he even has his own television show on the cable Outdoor Network called Sprirt of the Wild, the same name of a 1995 album. He conducts hunting camps for kids and has appeared as a guest on many talk shows that discuss controversial issues. He currently serves on the boards of many charitable organizations including the previously mentioned National Rifle Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Uncle Ted may have snorted some illegal substances back in 1967 to avoid military conscription, but today and for many years since, he is a very outspoken opponent of drug and alcohol use.
Regardless of your take of the Motor City Madman, you can be certain of one thing: Nobody has heard the last from Ted Nugent yet.