The enduring rocker widely known as “The Motor City Madman” hasn’t been talked about too much in this space. I attribute that to the fact that I’ve not paid a whole lot of attention to him through the years, and I am probably more informed about his lifestyle and political views than I am about the man’s music. I suppose I just never heard anything from him that really clicked with me. “Cat Scratch Fever” comes to mind as a Nugent song, but that’s about it for me.
Although I’ve never been into Nugent’s music, it’s his life outside of music that makes him a bit of a standout among his rock and roll peers. Most of the news we hear about other classic rockers who decide to share their political views with the world seem to be aligned firmly with those seated on the left side of the aisle, while Nugent would likely be more comfortable and cozy up against the wall on the right.
Nugent recently participated in an e-mail interview with The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, CA. Opting to protect his vocal chords for his performances, he does not do telephone interviews while he’s touring. We don’t see a lot of rock stars doing e-mail interviews, but it’s interesting in the sense that it allows the interviewee to take more time to respond with answers which can be more carefully considered. I certainly don’t think that creates an opening Nugent would take advantage of to cover himself, since I’ve seen him do live interviews and I think it’s safe to say that he’s never at a loss for words.
At 61 years old, Nugent has been rocking longer than other enduring acts like Aerosmith or KISS. “The Nuge” as he is also known, has reportedly been performing professionally before he even finished high school. Nugent reveals that his early musical development was influenced heavily by “the powerful soul music of the original American black masters.”
He does not consider himself unique when it comes to those influences, and goes on to say that they are the same influences that can be heard in the music of groups such as Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Van Halen, Sammy Hagar, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kid Rock, Jack White, Metallica and Green Day.
“It is all about the spirit of individual defiance and independence, and it will never go away,” according to Nugent.
Despite his impressive list of musical accomplishments through the years, including more than 30 albums, 30 million records sold and over 6,000 live shows behind him, Nugent might be recognized more readily for his outspoken political views. An avid hunter, gun rights activist, outdoorsman, anti-drug advocate and host of his own TV show called Ted Nugent’s Spirit of the Wild, he stands firmly – to say the least – by his opinions and philosophies.
What I can’t help wondering about is if all of that stuff has a significant effect on his fan base. Would any member of PETA dare be seen at a Nugent concert or listening to one of his albums? This is something I have pondered in the past regarding other groups who have made their political leanings or other potentially controversial opinions known to the public.
Speaking strictly for myself, I have found myself in the position of being disappointed after learning about the politics or opinions of some of my favorite artists. Have I stopped listening to their music? No. I might not agree with them on many things, but if I were going to go down the boycott path, I’d have to start asking about the political affiliations of every gas station owner, retail store proprietor and every other company I do business with. That’s just not practical.
On the other hand, if someone goes to the same lengths to make their views known as Ted Nugent does, that probably would influence my decision about doing business with them – and that could go either way, depending on their position.
Ted Nugent is a guy who knows who he his and certainly makes no secret of it. Considering his success through the decades, it doesn’t seemed to have damaged his career much. Knowing Nugent as we do, he would probably not care if it did.