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Tofu Just Might Kill You: Gnarly Charlie's Exclusive Interview with Ted Nugent

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Monday, June 23, 2014 @ 11:01 AM


“Fuck you! Fuck you. I’m killin’ more shit.”

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Photos By Jenny Risher

On July 8th, Ted Nugent will be releasing ShutUp&Jam! (sic), his first studio album in seven years. The album is stripped down in its production and loaded with blues-based licks. In addition, Sammy Hagar contributes a guest vocal for “She’s Gone”, a duet he sings with Nugent, and “She’s Gone” features MITCH RYDER AND THE DETROIT WHEELS drummer Johnny ‘Bee’ Bandanjek. Nugent fans will love the facetious wit of “I Love My BBQ”, whereas animal-rights activists just might blow their tops.

The TED NUGENT BAND (Nugent on guitar and vocals; Derek St. Homes on vocals and rhythm guitar, Greg Smith on bass, and “Wild” Mick Brown at the drums) will be hitting the road on July 6 in New Braunfels, Texas.

Nugent checked in with KNAC.COM to discuss the new album and to exercise the First Amendment.

NUGENT: Charlie, Ted Nugent calling.

KNAC.COM: Ted, how are you?

NUGENT: I’m doing so good, it’s stupid. Except for my knees and the government, life is perfect, huh?

KNAC.COM: What about Wyoming?

NUGENT: I don’t care where you are, the criminals are running the asylum, man. It’s a cluster fuck, but, again, the music cleanses the soul. Thank God. Have you heard the entire ShutUp&Jam! , Charlie?

KNAC.COM: I sure have. I’ve been listening to it for about a week.

NUGENT: Oh, then are you a real soul music lover--and do you really grasp the immeasurable dynamo grind of this record? (laughs)

KNAC.COM: “She’s Gone”, the duet you do with Sammy (Hagar) …

NUGENT: Yeah, it’s a motherfucker.

KNAC.COM: It’s a nod to the JEFF BECK GROUP’s “Going Down”.

NUGENT: It’s certainly a nod to “Going Down”. And the original Freddie King one, too. You bet. It’s a classic, but I turned it upside down. It’s “Going Down”, the Freddie King and Jeff Beck “Going Down”, but instead of the line going down—instead of going [sings Down, down, down, down, down], it goes [she’s gone, gone, gone, gone, gone] It’s inverted.

KNAC.COM: Like it’s going up a staircase.

NUGENT: Yeah. I had a long talk with Sammy, of course I’ve had a long talk with Sammy--it started in 1974. We’ve always threatened each other to collaborate and jam. We’ve always jammed together. Hell, I’ve been onstage with Sammy, and he with me, certainly dozens of times, with MONTROSE and the TED NUGENT BAND and VAN HALEN and THE WABORITAS and every imaginable gig you can imagine. And we’ve always wanted to do this, but he expressed to me clearly, “I don’t want to write pop songs. I’m not worried about hit records. I want to play soulful jams with musicians that I respect.” And I sent him “She’s Gone” and he goes, “That’s exactly what I’m talking about. This is it. This is what I live for.” So you can hear that passion on the record.

KNAC.COM: Lean and mean. No fluff. You’ve got Johnny “Bee” Badanjek from MITCH RYDER AND THE DETROIT WHEELS.

NUGENT: Oh my God. Stop and think of my drummers. From the ROYAL HIGH BOYS in ’57 and the LOURDS in ’60. I mean, I had Tom Noel back in the LOURDS, and of course I’ve had Tommy Clufetos, Tommy Aldridge, and Denny Carmassi and Cliff Davies and Carmine Appice and Mick Brown. And I’ve always wanted to have Johnny “Bee" Badanjek play on a song with me. I’ve jammed with him a bunch of times. So yeah, to have this dream come to fruition, with the streamlined, garage band, hybrid-groove songs like this. And you talk about streamline and no fat—well, the only thing I want fat-free is my music, my huntin’ dogs, and my women. (laughs) So this record represents that.

KNAC.COM: I hear you doing most of the vocals, except for the one song Derek does.

NUGENT: “Everything Matters”. What a classic. I wrote that just for Derek. And Derek wasn’t available to do much this time, but I insisted. I said, “Whatever it takes. You gotta get in there. You gotta get in there before this day, and you gotta sing this song. I wrote the fuckin’ song for you. I love this song. It’s going to be on the record and you are going to sing it!” (laughs) It really is a Derek St. Holmes song.

KNAC.COM: You really shine on the blues version of “Never Stop Believing”.

NUGENT: How ‘bout that! You know, no one would ever believe that Ted Nugent could be a believable blues singer. But because of what Sammy told me, and Derek told me…everybody told me the same thing. They said, “You gotta sing this song. This is your song. Yeah, it represents every man’s attitude and beliefs, but you created this and it’s so emotional, you have to sing it.” I actually pulled it off. I’m really proud of that.

KNAC.COM: The lyrics are very optimistic.

NUGENT: Stimulating. I think the lyrics are real hope and change. Not smoke and mirrors hope and change. This is about digging deep inside. A journey to the center of one’s mind, dare I say, to reflect on what you’re doing with your life. Are you positive all the time? Are there times when you’re fucked up and you could be more conscientious and be more positive? Could you learn from other people’s mistakes and your own mistakes? And tomorrow be better than today? I mean, hello. If the author of “Wango Tango” can figure that out, who the hell can’t? You know what I mean?

KNAC.COM: Hopefully we learn more and more everyday.

NUGENT: But I see more and more of that everyday. I’m still a political animal, even though the title of the album is accurate and honest. I will shut up and jam when I damn well please, but only when I believe it’s appropriate. Because as a qualified “We the People” participant in this sacred experiment of self-government I will not be silenced. I will not be censored. I will not be edited. So I will shut up and jam when the music demands. There’s another demand on an American’s life and that is to participate. To pull your share of the load. And that’s what I do politically. And I see more and more people realizing that you’re not going to improve tomorrow if you don’t literally take a deep breath and go, “Okay, what did I do yesterday. What did I do today? On the chalkboard, what are the things that are less than perfect? Okay, tomorrow I’m going to work on those two less-than-perfect maneuvers and I’m going to perfect them.” Because we are capable of it, for God’s sake.

KNAC.COM: Take stock of what we do each day. Is there something that I could have done better? And we move on that.

NUGENT: Yeah, I see more and more of that. I know I’ve always concentrated on that since my teenage years because I watched the dopers all around me, you know, fuckin’ up. Not being able to play their instruments, not being able to tune-up, not showing up on time, not being coherent and productive, not being an asset. So I learned from watching others’ mistakes. And I’ve learned by being honest about my own mistakes. I just don’t repeat them and I try to improve every day. And I’ll be damned, I think I do. And I’m surrounded by those kind of people, Charlie. My band mates. Everybody on this record. My management, Linda (Peterson). My entire Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild production team. My wife, my kids, my brothers and sisters. Everybody in my life—very conscientious. Very positive. Very honest about what we’re accomplishing and what we could accomplish better. But we’re not driven. There’s no leaders in our country telling anybody that. They’re basically saying, “No, no, no, you don’t have to do anything for your country. I’ll pass these laws so your country has to do everything for you. You can go ahead and be in the liability column, because it will make you feel good when you scam your neighbor and take some of his stuff—even though you didn’t earn it. I’ll get some for ya.” I mean, that’s just tragic.

KNAC.COM: You used the term streamlined a little while ago. America is no longer that lean and mean country that our forefathers intended it to be?

NUGENT: Yeah, that’s why I think the lyrics to “Fear Itself” and even “Never Stop Believing” and certainly “I Still Believe” identifies that Detroit was the greatest city on the planet when I was born. Now it’s turned into a lump of shit, thanks to clear and present liberal democrat policies. They designed this. Everything out of the liberal democrat mantra destroys everything it touches. It creates slavery. The Dream Act. We gotta worry about the children. So what does that do? It sends a message to millions of people around the world, “Yeah, come to America. Even though you break the law and you invade us, we’re going to take care of you, even though you don’t earn it, even though you don’t deserve it, and even though you broke the law—go ahead come on. Even Geraldo Rivera said, “You know, I was for the Dream Act, but I didn’t realize the consequences.” Hello! Well, a lot of us did! You can’t invite rabid dogs—I’m not saying that people and the children coming in are rabid dogs—but you can’t invite illegal people and reward them for being illegal and expect any benefits from it.

KNAC.COM: So many people look at your ideology and see it as maniacal and barbaric.

NUGENT: Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t that amazing what I am forcing myself to be in the asset column every day of my life? I employ people. I’m involved in every children’s and military charity you can imagine. And that qualifies as barbaric? Think about that for a minute! I shoot deer and antelope and bears and cougars and elk and moose, and I feed thousands and thousands of hungry people in soup kitchens and homeless shelters. And that’s barbaric? Holy shit! And the people that hate me for feeding hungry people have never fed any hungry people. But I am barbaric! Stop and think of the insanity we’re talking about here. I think I mentioned this last time we talked. So I get up every day, like the song says:

“I get up every day with a smile on my face
Happy to be alive, back in the race.
I don’t believe that talk is cheap.
You play your cards,
You read ‘em and weep.
You gotta walk the walk if you’re gonna talk the talk.”

If you’re going to condemn a situation you certainly must have an alternative that’s better. If not, you can’t condemn shit!

KNAC.COM: Right...

NUGENT: So the people that hate my hunting, they have succeeded in banning mountain lion hunting in California. There’s never been one year they killed less mountain lions. But they don’t kill them until millions of dollars worth of livestock and pets, alpaca ranchers and llama farmers and people’s dogs and cats and goats. And then they compensate the citizens, then the ranchers, then the farmers. And then they go kill the lion anyway. And instead of that lion bringing in 20 grand to the state, it costs you 30. This is better? The lion’s still dead. (laughs) And nobody paid for licenses or permits or fees or hotels, food, lodging, restaurants, travel, taxidermy, butchers, ice, supplies. Nobody spent any money on that mountain lion, except the taxpayers. And then nobody got to eat it, nobody got to mount it, nobody got to make necklaces and jewelry out of the claws and the fangs and bleach the skull and put it on their mantel. They bury it in a hole in the ground! And I’m barbaric? Holy shit! Talk about a line drawn in the sand. Oh, my goodness! It’s fuckin’ Planet of the Apes. It’s Bizarro World. Now what’s his name? Rod Serling of Twilight Zone. He would have read the script and said, “No. That’s too far out.” (laughs)

KNAC.COM: Submitted for your approval: a young Ted Nugent

NUGENT: (laughs) Yeah. Oh my goodness. Here’s the phenomena: we have like 12 million hits on Facebook, and this is why my confidence cup runneth over. And Charlie, there’s not anything more dangerous than Ted Nugent with more confidence. My confidence cup is running over. Twelve-million hits on Facebook. And I post pictures of my family with dead deer and bear and goats and quail and ducks. And happy dogs and charity work for children and military. And of the 12 million, 11 million, nine-hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine-hundred and ninety-two of the posts said, “Good work, congratulations. Awesome. I don’t hunt, but I understand you have to harvest the surplus to make room for next year’s fawns and cubs. We understand that. God bless you. Isn’t that a beautiful deer? Congratulations. I’d like to learn that.” Ninety-nine percent of them were that way. The other eight out of twelve-million? “How would you like it if I killed your family since you slaughter innocent animals that can’t shoot back?” Animals that can’t shoot back? What the fuck does that mean? What does that mean? They don’t have trigger fingers. What does that mean? What is your sushi guilty of? Why did you kill all those animals to safeguard your bean crops so you can have some tofu? Certainly, you know, you’re guilty of that. You paid for the tofu. Part of that went to the farmer with his Monsanto poison brigade. “But your honor, I didn’t kill my neighbor. I hired him too.” What the fuck! So literally, the vast majority of caring, conscientious, bright, loving, smart, positive people—they side 100 percent with Ted Nugent. You really read the haters statements. I want those people to hate me, because they’re nasty, evil, rotten, hateful people. And if evil, nasty, rotten, hateful people like you, you must have some of those offenses in you. So I couldn’t be more pleased, confident, proud, and motivated every day, because of the positive support I get from the best people in the world. People are saying goodbye to their little boy or little girl to a terminal illness and they call Ted Nugent to take them on their last hunting trip? Who could scrutinize what kind of man I am more than a family saying goodbye to a six-year old little boy whose picture I’m looking at right now. His name is Macon Lynn. Terminal cancer. And before Macon Lynn died he wanted to go hunting with Ted Nugent because he saw me on Spirit of the Wild and he liked my music. Who could hate me and have impact on me more than the family of Macon Lynn and this little boy? And that’s only one. If I qualify to take a dying little boy or girl hunting or fishing, as their last request in life, then I must be okay. Those that hate me must be rotten, rotten people. So the energy you feel on this record comes from confidence, the time I spent with Macon around the campfire, and Josh, and Scott, and all these kids that are dead now, who just wanted to spend time with Ted Nugent before they died. My goodness, what is a more important gift in life than that? I still believe and I’ll never stop believing. That’s where those songs come from.

KNAC.COM: I’m driving along, listening to “I Love My BBQ” and I’m cracking up on “the animals, well they got rights.”

NUGENT: Right next to my mashed potatoes, baby. I’m gonna grill them rutabagas. If you’re not having fun with me, Charlie, you’re fucked up. Know what I mean?

KNAC.COM: I’m always having fun with you. Tofu just might kill you. Come on.

NUGENT: (laughs) Tossed salad makes you weak. (laughs)

“We like to kill ‘em and grill ‘em,
It’s protein that we seek.”
Come on. That’s fun. If you want tofu I’ll show you fuckin’ tofu, but don’t tell me I can’t
have a barbeque. That’s basically what the argument is: that people say we can’t have
barbeque. I don’t know how to respond to that, except, “Fuck you! Fuck you. I’m killin’ more shit.”

KNAC.COM: You’re going to be celebrating your 6,500th show next month?

NUGENT: Is that unbelievable? No wonder I’m tired. I started playing when I was seven or eight. When I played pool parties and sock hops and talent shows at the local community center, I considered those gigs. So those are on that list. When I played at Walt’s Malt Shop on Warwick Avenue and Grand River in Detroit in 1959, in 1960, I considered that a gig. So yeah, I’ll be doing my 6,500th concert before the middle of July. And I gotta tell ya, the luckiest gift a person could ever celebrate is that they remain passionate about the things they love. After all these years, I cannot wait to get on the road with these guys. What Mick and Derrick and Greg bring to my music and concerts every night. These guys are every guitar player’s dream. It’s a fuckin’ musical, howling orgy of emotion and attitude and piss and vinegar every night. And I just can’t fuckin’ wait.

KNAC.COM: Mick is a great singer. Do you ever let him take the mic?

NUGENT: Yeah when he and Greg sang “Need You Bad” off the Weekend Warriors record. I mean, that’s a motherfucker.

KNAC.COM: That’s a tight song, man.

NUGENT: Yeah, great song. Great band. This year we’re going to be playing “ShutUp&Jam”, “Fear Itself” , “Everything Matters”, probably “Semper Fi. Who knows? “Never Stop Believing, “I Still Believe. God, every song is a mother fucker and will be killer on stage.

KNAC.COM: Any surprises at your 6,498 show in Anaheim, maybe?

NUGENT: Well, there’s no surprise that I will remove your head with the sexiest guitar licks known to man. Geez, I don’t know. I think every night when I get done rockin’, it’s a surprise that I can still do it like that. (laughs) That’s plenty of a surprise. Here’s one, and it’s not going to be a surprise, because I’m going to tell you, we’re playing "Hibernation" this year. “Hibernation” and “Working Hard Playing Hard”. So there’s some different songs. “Queen Of The Forest”, “Live It Up”, and “Turn It Up” . All kinds of songs.

KNAC.COM: Working hard, playing hard, helps me get through each day and night, baby.

NUGENT: Yeah, what a song. What a vocal by Derek, huh?

“Man started out with it in a cave
They’re runnin’ home, nobody’s safe
Left with a note, all alone
Only wanted to have a happy home.
Now it’s my turn to show my stuff
It’s sometimes fun and sometimes rough
I’m workin’ hard to earn my way
But, lucky me, my work is play”

Fuckin’ A! Those are lyrics! Someday, someone’s gonna get their left-wing commie journalist head out of their ass and they’re going to have to admit, “That Nugent wrote some masterpieces.” You think of all the songs I’ve written. I’ve written masterpieces. And nobody’s ever acknowledged it. It’s hysterical.

KNAC.COM: There’s a song that has your “Catch Scratch Fever” riff on the Weekend Warriors album. “One Woman”. I love that fuckin’ song.

NUGENT: Fuckin’ awesome lick, man. Heavy as shit. I just saw Charlie Huhn, sing that. Charlie was at the Sweden Rocks with us a couple of weeks ago, singing for FOGHAT as he has, for like 30-something years now. And he still looks great, sounds great, rocks great, plays great. Yeah, I got some great history there. That’s funny. At Sweden Rocks, Charlie Huhn was in FOGHAT and Tommy Clufetos was in BLACK SABBATH. So there’s Nugent veterans everywhere.

KNAC.COM: You employ. You keep the American dream alive.

NUGENT: I’m tellin’ ya. And how ‘bout the caliber. I mean, world class. The best of the best have always been in my band. I look at the heavens every day. I thank God. I’m a lucky, lucky son-of-a-bitch, boy. And that’s why this album reeks of such energy and positive attitude—is because I have a lot of energy and positive attitude, because I’m so inspired and stimulated by the incredible, positive people around me all the time. I really think you guys, you journalists, ought to be interviewing Derek and Mick and Greg (Smith). Those are the real guys to give you the inside scoop of what makes “all things Uncle Ted” tick. They’re such incredibly gifted virtuosos. I’d love to see them spotlighted more. .

KNAC.COM: How’s Shemane (Nugent, Ted’s wife) doing?

NUGENT: Shemane’s doing great. She’s doing Zumba today again. She does a lot of charity work for people to get exercise and a better diet. If you Google Shemane Nugent Zumba you’ll have your head removed. She’s such a grinder, man. I’ve never seen any thing, human or otherwise, that has the sensual rhythm and the dance steps that she does. She looks white, but I don’t think so.

KNAC.COM: She’s part black, I think.

NUGENT: I’m afraid she’s a huge Watusi somewhere deep inside that skinny little white girl from Detroit’s body. No, she’s great. She comes onstage and she dances like an animal for “Wango Tango” most of the time and it’s just unbelievable. I’m hoping to have her do it in Anaheim. We’re doing two nights in Anaheim and the next day is her birthday. So I took two days off for her birthday.

KNAC.COM: Will you run for President in 2016?

NUGENT: Will you go to Facebook and witness the millions of people that are begging me to? Have you seen this?

KNAC.COM: Yes.

NUGENT: They’re serious. If you’ve ever seen me debate you realize you just can’t debate me. That’s why they have to attack me with their hate on MSNBC when I’m not there behind the security of their cowardly computer screens. Because if you debate me on the things that I know what I’m talking about—which is most of the political issues today—I’ll go Piers Morgan on you. I’ll just eat your guts with facts and evidence and common sense and self-evident truth and statistics. If you try to argue that welfare is a good idea, I can show you where it’s ruined everybody it touches. If you want to show me how gun control works I’ll just stop and look at my watch and we’ll count the people that get shot in the gun-free zones of Chicago and everywhere else they get slaughtered. You can’t argue this stuff. It’s not a Ted Nugent idea. It’s not my opinion. These are statistics and I know them, and I’ll offer them to you gentlemanly, but if I need to, I will bend you over. That’s what they want to see. They want to see somebody that’s not afraid of saying what needs to be said in these debates instead of…with all due respect to a great man, Mitt Romney, I mean, he was too gentlemanly. He was too dispassionate. And he didn’t pounce when he should have pounced. We need somebody who’s prepared to pounce. This government, this president and his attorney general, and his Secretary of State, his entire administration is guilty of so many crimes and so many offenses. My God, if (the) Democrats get elected again, America is just going to keep sliding down the fast track to the end of the American dream. And if that’s what we want, that’s what we’re going to get. It’s just indescribable. It’s inexplicable.

KNAC.COM: I read about a lot of your views in the Manifesto (Ted, White, And Blue: The Nugent Manifesto).

NUGENT: Ted, White, And Blue, yeah. I tell you what, Charlie. You need to go to WND.com. World Net Daily. I write a weekly blog at WND.com, NewsMax.com, and DeerandDeerHunting.com. Even though DeerandDeerHunting.com is about the sport of archery and deer hunting and marksmanship and conservation…I always weave in politics because all those important responsibilities are political. And policies have to be steered politically to benefit wildlife and the quality of air, soil, and water. It doesn’t take much sleuthing to discover what Ted Nugent believes and the evidence to support those beliefs.

KNAC.COM: What a gift that you’re able to use your time, your resources to help others, instead of being one of those windbags who piss people off. It’s too bad that a lot of people aren’t able to see what you do on a daily basis. What they’re waiting to do is pounce on you to say, “Hey, here’s another fucking conservative that’s just got a loud mouth.”

NUGENT: Isn’t that something?

KNAC.COM: Is there anything you want to say in closing?

NUGENT: Well, God bless America for supporting my amazing dream career and celebrating my amazing bands and my amazing music all these years. And keep showing up and keep celebrating my music live every summer of my life for over 50 years. And God bless the Americans that are waking up to the fact that freedom is not free. We have a duty to those men and women in the U.S. military who have sacrificed everything to put to use the freedoms that they have provided by such sacrifice and participate in the sacred experiment of self-government where all “we the people” have a, certainly, intellectual, a moral, and a constitutional, spiritual obligation to put pressure on our elected employees to adhere to the constitution that they take an oath to. Wow! How radical am I? (laughs) So I’m hoping more and more people wake up. I welcome them to come to my Facebook and my website and celebrate such positive love and good will and decency. And let’s make America represent unified love and good will and decency again. Be the greatest country in the world.

KNAC.COM: Never stop believing.

NUGENT: And never stop believing.

“I got a dream like Martin Luther King
In my heart I hear that man sing
So I climb up his mountain and I shout it out loud
I got a dream, I swear to God.”

KNAC.COM: Great close.

NUGENT: Alright, man. Charlie, thanks for the time and carry on. I look forward to seeing you out there.

KNAC.COM: I look forward to seeing you. Thanks, Ted.

NUGENT: Live it up.

http://www.tednugent.com/
https://www.facebook.com/tednugent


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