For those who attended last August’s thrashing of the Artpark stage by Ted Nugent and Co., 90-plus minutes of insidious, anti-establishment R&B&R&R (rhythm and blues and rock and roll) was “just what the doctor ordered.”
He swore, strutted, and wailed on his Gibson Byrdland like the “Motor City Madman” he is until there was nothing left but ashen residue located where the audience members once stood. In other words, he was pure Ted in all his iconoclastic glory on a mission to give America back to the people it was stolen from.
Talk radio erupted the following morning with complaints from parents claiming that his vulgarity scarred their children for life, but the question of why they brought kids in the first place never registered. It was typical self-righteous pandering, to be sure.
Asking Nugent to tone down his rhetoric for the sake of a few disgruntled individuals reeks of exactly the type of social control that his music rails against, so don’t expect a serene story hour in the future.
We’re talking about an exhilarating brand of American hard rock predicated on Nugent’s belief that no amplifier can ever be cranked loud enough and nary should a note be played without heaving one’s entire mind, body, and soul into it.
That, after all, is why Nugent’s concerts continue to enthrall people of all ages. They’re reminders of a time when music was still hazardous to society’s ability to dictate one’s freedom of thought and we need them now more than ever.
I had the privilege of interviewing him recently in anticipation of his show in Hamburg, NY on August 12 and his one-of-a-kind candor will go down as one of the most memorable discussions I’ve ever had.
He doesn’t mince words or play nice with the liberal elite, so his responses were short and to the point.
MNOD: Your show in Western New York last year was one of the most exhilarating rock shows I’ve ever experienced. What do you have in store for the fans this time around?
Nugent: Enough over the top ultra-high energy R&B&R&R to reduce your skeletons to talcum. My band and music are so intense they scare me, and I’m not afraid of anything. We love our music with everything we got and deliver the most inebriating fun concerts on earth every night.
MNOD: That show was made even more special with the return of Derek St. Holmes to the band’s lineup. What has it meant to have him back in the band?
Nugent: Derek is a fellow Detroit soul brother and funk brother, and he has never sung or played better. His classic voice on my classic masterpieces represents musical milestones for mankind. The fun and soul factor are at all-time highs.
MNOD: You’re known for playing a Gibson Byrdland, which, by many accounts, isn’t a typical setup for earsplitting hard rock. How have you managed to get such a powerful tone from it throughout the years?
Nugent: The mighty Gibson Byrdland is like a ferocious wild animal. You dare not attempt to tame the beast, but rather simply get out of its way, unleash the beast as we like to say. I have put my heart and soul into the exploration of the Byrdland voice nonstop for nearly 50 years. The beast knows I am its friend, so we go where no man has gone before, nightly.
MNOD: “Stranglehold” is easily one of the greatest guitar tracks of all time. How does your interest in the song today compare to the fans’ undying affinity for it?
Nugent: Dare I say that no one craves this masterpiece more than me and my band? To celebrate its emotional intensity and defiant spirit is available to everyone who loves killer music, but to feel it from our perspective is both exhilarating and deeply inspiring on both musical and humanity levels. Clearly it is the epitome of the soundtrack to status quo crushing rugged individualism and American defiance.
MNOD: Last year, you were advocating Rick Perry for president. Why do you think his campaign didn’t quite catch on the way many hoped it would?
Nugent: Based on the great man’s performance as Governor of Texas, I remain convinced he would have made the best POTUS. Unfortunately, due to unforeseeable medical and health conditions, Rick was not up to his normal brilliance during the debates and campaign. Quite honestly, we couldn’t be happier that he remains at the helm of America’s best state.
MNOD: How do you see the 2012 presidential election playing out?
Nugent: This is a battle between the producers and the takers. If the takers win, America will continue down this disastrous suicidal path that stinks of the death of the greatest quality of life ever known. If Romney wins, America will get back on her feet and excellence will once again rule the day.
You can catch Ted Nugent at the Erie County Fair on August 12. See http://www.tickets.com for details.