History has proven that Ted Nugent is one of the most polarizing and controversial figures in the entertainment industry. It's hard to discuss him as just a musician with the bevy of racially charged, political and extremely in-your-face opinionated tirades he has gone on throughout the years. And yet, as such, Nugent still remains the entertainment anomaly. People have come to expect the answers he will give whenever he is questioned, but are still thrown for a loop when he begins communicating in similes and wildly vivid imagery; partly related to the topic at hand and partly addressing far-off thoughts in his own mind.
There is no middle ground with Nugent. He has an army of dedicated fans and an army of people who despise him -- he doesn't compromise his own path to appease either side. The man is a monstrous force of belligerent original thought, rocking music, unbridled dedication to his beliefs, and he embodies the fearless beast that many wish they could become when it pertains to taking a firm stand on their own moral ground. Nugent will not bend or break for anything, and after 50 years of loudly voicing his opinions publicly, he is more than familiar with the backlash. But every person he infuriates, every time he forces his opposition's skin to crawl, is a check mark in the win column in the mind of the Motor City Madman.
The controversies, legal trouble, hunting violations, rants, self-branded promotion, extreme behavior and flare can sometimes cloud the fact that at his core, Nugent is one of the most innovative and distinguished musicians of his rock 'n' roll generation. He has blazed trails and undoubtedly left his mark on the recording and touring industry, from the Amboy Dukes to his solo career.
In 2012, Nugent famously stated that he personally would be dead or in jail within the year if Obama was elected for a second term as president. Well, one of two things happened since that time: either Nugent changed his thoughts (which is highly unlikely) or he deemed it best to just pick his battles and continue operating on his own level, because now Uncle Ted has a new album in the chamber, Shutup & Jam!, which he is ready to fire at his fans on July 8 (the same day he will be performing in Phoenix at the Celebrity Theatre). Nugent holds Shutup & Jam close to his heart as an expression of himself and the success he has sustained over the years. Or to hear The Nuge describe it: "each and every song represents my lifetime orgy of intense and dynamic human relationships and experiences."
Up on the Sun took the opportunity to interview Nugent in the days leading up to his performance at the Celebrity Theatre on July 8. Read on for the latest glimpse into the realm of Ted Nugent and his opinions on musical masters, haters, the American Dream, and recording the highlight album of his life.
Tell me about your upcoming album, Shutup & Jam... And as a rock and roll guru, how you would classify your own music nowadays? My musical dream has been a ferocious force to reckon with for more than 50 glorious years so far, but this recording session, with these songs and these astonishing musicians, is without question the highlight of my life. With the soul music masters Derek St Holmes, Mick Brown, Greg Smith, Jon Kutz, Johnny Bee Badanjek and Sammy Hagar, as well as Michael Lutz and Tim and Andy Patalan, the mighty Funkbrothers will live on in infamy as we carry the torch of the tightest, most fun garage-band R&B&R&R in the world.
Wrapping up the greatest fun tour of my life in 2013, then enjoying the greatest hunting season of my life, put me in such a wild-eyed glowing positive happy place that these songs simply erupted off my guitar neck unto themselves every time I cranked up the mighty Gibson Byrdland! I am a very, very lucky guitar player. Even though my ferocious, grinding R&B&R&R music is heavier than most, I would rather call it high energy MotorCity R&B&R&R SoulMusic. I strive for feel, groove, authenticity, spirit and soul in my music and stage show.
In the '60s and '70s, when you began recording music, did you have an ultimate career goal in mind? And in your opinion, looking back, have you achieved it today
I was so very fortunate to discover my ultimate dreams of music and the great outdoors shortly after birth, so my indefatigable pursuit thereof has been indescribably consuming and gratifying forever. The new record represents my dreams and beliefs, some more serious than others, but each and every song represents my lifetime orgy of intense and dynamic human relationships and experiences.
I was too young to formulate a vision for the future, and combined with the fact that there weren't very many precedents for a rock 'n' roll career when I started, I simply applied what my parents taught me, and that is to give it all I got in everything I do, and that such heart and soul excellence will indeed pay off.
Believe me; I have lived The Dream to the max and beyond! 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. Those are every guitar player's dream bandmates. I live on the mountaintop and thank God every day!
Has the recording industry changed for better or worse since that time?
Certainly not for the better! Sadly, 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 and we will probably never hear from many gifted musicians because of it. It breaks my heart really.
Many people have a firm opinion on Ted Nugent; both negative and positive. Is there anything about yourself they need to know?
After a lifetime of "tens" in thousands of media interviews nonstop for nearly 50 years, unless you're intentionally living under a rock, everything is out in the open. The tragic part is the unprecedented dishonesty, unprofessionalism and outright lying by so much of the leftist agenda driven media out there. Many vicious hateful lies continue to be spread about me, simply because I so effectively expose the dangerous agenda of that left. If you want the truth, listen to or read my interviews, writings, blogs, books or visit my website. The truth is a beautiful thing. Liars are scum of the earth, and good, decent, educated people know the difference.
Try to make an association between your passion for hunting and your passion for music. Compare and contrast if you think it is possible.
Everything worthwhile in life is optimized by a higher level of awareness, maximizing one's sensual gifts from God by remaining clean and sober, and applying oneself to the absolute best of our ability. In my music life and hunting life, such focus and dedication are essential for success and gratification. Both of these super passions of mine are the epitome for me of the physics of spirituality.
Still thinking in that same headspace, let's discuss the politics on these two topics. Share your thoughts on the agendas to limit and control our rights as hunters, as well as efforts to censor and control music and media; the idea that these outlets breed violence.
My pleasure, for in this insidious culture war raging to halt the American Dream of individual choice and pursuits of happiness, the fact that we have amongst us such feeble, ignorant and or misguided people who actually believe animals have rights, represents an indictment to how sheep-like people can become when they go to such lengths to protect their ignorance and attempt to treat living, breathing, precious wildlife as cartoon characters.
The Humane Society of the United States and PETA are criminal scams playing on this ignorance and the emotions of clueless people who don't care that none of their donations go to save anything, but rather to ban hunting, fishing and trapping. Such anti-science insanity forces wildlife out of the asset column straight into the liability column, but insanely, these scammers don't give a damn. That's why I am so dedicated to spotlight the cockroaches infesting our otherwise wonderful country. Censorship is for Mao Tse Tung fans, and they are pure evil.
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