Interview: Ted Nugent
Mon, 06 Jan 2014 10:07:50
"Let's rock, son," says Ted Nugent.
"Rock" is something that the legendary rocker and guitar god knows better than damn well anybody. He does it night after night on stage, wielding a guitar truly like an axe. His warrior spirit courses through everything he does from rocking live to hunting to his daily charity work. The Nuge doesn't let up and he never will.
Upon the recent release of the 2CD and DVD ULTRALIVE BALLISTICROCK, ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino spoke to the iconic Ted Nugent about constructing a live set, his charity work, and all other kinds of important life lessons.
ULTRALIVE BALLISTICROCK is killer…
Of course it is! The band's so good it's stupid, Rick! We want to make sure we share this outrage and beauty with the unsuspecting American and global public. They need me on that hill. They want me on that hill. You can't get this music anywhere but from the Nugent band. If I wasn't in this band, I'd be in the front row rocking to them.
How do you choose a setlist these days?
Beyond being this phenomenal music creator, I'm also a phenomenal music fan. I'm so much like the audience I'm just more so. I love this music. I love what Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Little Richard created for us. I love the tightness of our founding fathers that put so much spirit and soul into the music. When you've got Greg, Mick, and Derek putting their heart, soul, and spirit into every concert every night, the energy level is a force to be reckoned with. Their love of the music is absolutely unbridled, ferocious, and contagious. Number one, we're very selfish. We play what we damn well want to play. We love these songs, but it's also very difficult because there are hundreds and hundreds of my songs that we want to play. What you see on ULTRALIVE BALLISTICROCK is a great compilation for that week and that tour, but even on that run we were doing other songs like "Queen of the Forest", "Still Raisin' Hell" and "Love Grenade". There are so many different songs so it is difficult. Tommy Clufetos, who I think is one of the greatest drummers that ever lived, is out with Black Sabbath now. He's from Detroit, and he was our drummer for a number of years. He's an unbelievably gifted virtuoso, musician, and music love. He said that any one of my songs would make the perfect opener or the ultimate encore, and I think he was right!
He's definitely right. Your personality shines through in the guitar playing and the banter. This may be the most fitting representations of you to date.
I think so. Once again, I'm surrounded by guys who are absolutely professional, dedicated, and gifted. They're very talented and passionate about the music. I'm a spoiled brat because it's everybody from the band to my entire crew to management to everybody around me. That includes my wife, sons, daughters, grandkids, brothers, sisters, and Spirit of the Wild production team. Everybody involved in Ted Nugent's world is heart and soul gung ho, passionate, gifted, talented, and professional. They get up early, and they put everything they've got into everything they do. What you see is the accumulation. It would be very easy to get lazy and take things for granted. However, because I escape the music so thoroughly every year during the hunting season, I go from playing "Motor City Madhouse" to sitting in a tree with a sharp stick for six hours [Laughs]. You cannot get a more volatile juxtaposition than those two extremes.
Are they symbiotic for you?
They both feed each other and make me want to do the other. I'm silent during the hunting season, and I can't wait to just grab my guitar and pummel people. When I finish the tour beating the living hell out of myself every night, I can't wait to just shut up, sit down, and go hunting. They really fuel the fire of each passion. They're very equal in their satisfaction, gratification, and adventurous stimuli. Ultimately, you've got to recharge your batteries if you're going to play music like this. So in 2011, when we recorded ULTRALIVE BALLISTICROCK, we were at the peak of our game. It has only been eclipsed in 2012 and 2013. The Ted Nugent "Black Power" 2013 Tour was the most ferocious, tightest, and highest energy tour of my life. If the 25-year-old Ted Nugent showed up this year, we would've kicked his ass!
What else have you been up to?
Yesterday, I had a barbecue with the Wounded Warriors the United States Marine Army Rangers. Come on. I'm a lucky man! I live my passions every day of my life. Are you kidding me? I just wrapped my 6,500th concert. It was the greatest concert of my life. I'm hunting every day for three-hundred days. I've got a brand new CD and live DVD out. I'm going to a wedding with my entire family. If you can find someone living a better American Dream, call me because I want to see how!
What's next for you right now?
Well, I'm going into town to take Mrs. Nugent to a movie [Laughs]. I signed a whole bunch of deer skulls, bloody arrows, ammo, and a bunch of guns. I'm sending those off to some military charities. One of our volunteers at Ted Nugent Camp for Kids is stricken with a terrible illness. I'm sending a bunch of autographed guitars, guns, bows, arrows, bullets, 8x10's, and Ted Nugent For President stickers to all these charities. We literally do this every day. I make donations to charities—children's, military, and special needs—every fucking day. How's that? Now, let's identify what's really going on here. Ted Nugent makes a donation to a charity every day, and certain people in America hate me. How's that? It's unbelievable. People hate me because I eat venison. Really? People hate me because I believe in self-defense. People hate me because I'm on the board of directors at the NRA, which is only about self-defense. People hate self-defense. Really? Phenomenal, smoke some more dope and see if you can see new imagery! I've always been right, and sub-human mongrels hate me. I couldn't be more proud.
My son Rocco Winchester Nugent has incredible music. Google Rocco Moon. You want to hear a brilliant musical genius and soulful young artist? Find him. He's got a new CD out that's just brilliant. Plus, he's an actor, and he has a new movie out.
What's your favorite Ted Nugent song?