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The Great Gonzo: KNAC.COM’s Ted Nugent Interview

By Frankie Perry, Contributor
Tuesday, January 8, 2002 @ 12:50 AM

Detroit’s Gonzo Guitar Master

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In 1948 a guitar legend was born in Detroit. Little did the city know that they had just unleashed the most defiant, untamed, crazy, Motor City Madman – Ted Nugent. Mastering his weapon of choice, at an early age, Nugent attacked Michigan publicly by 1963 by winning the Michigan Battle of the Bands. From there, Nugent went to war and conquered every battlefield set before him.

In 1967, Nugent’s band The Amboy Dukes were signed to Mainstream Records and “Journey To The Center Of The Mind” became the #16 hit a year later. The song is described as a “mind-expanding seminal psych rock classic” that still stands today. The Amboy Dukes continued to slam out kick-ass hits till 1975, when Nugent pursued his solo career.

Nugent's magnificent self-titled 1975 debut album set the stage for a spectacular career of hell raising Gonzo guitar mayhem. A master guitarist, accomplished songwriter and wild showman, it was no surprise that the success of Ted Nugent led to a rapid fire succession of multi-platinum albums including Free For All (featuring budding musical star Meat Loaf on several cuts), Cat Scratch Fever, Double Live Gonzo!, Weekend Warriors and State Of Shock. Nugent remembers those years, "It was like a runaway freight train. This one just happens to be up your ass. It doesn't matter whether I'm playing a song around a campfire for four of my best hunting buddies in New Mexico or in front of a half a million people at the Cal Jam; I always perform the same way. I was just down in the studio with my new drummer a half an hour ago. How can you not play ‘Motor City Madhouse’ without giving it everything you've got? (laughs) The lick won't let you get away with it. I like to soar with the eagles. I like to go where no one's ever tread before and do things that aren't supposed to be legal on the guitar. I crave that stuff."

”It’s blacker than Ray Charles with his eyes closed and a black cat in his lap riding in a black wagon of coal on a black night during the full eclipse of the moon pulling up to a James Brown Goodfoot gitdown.”
With the start of the ‘80s, music changed and the ‘70s rein for Nugent took a turn for the worse. Nugent, as always, took on the war and went into battle as he always had in the past. He released several studio albums. Keeping up with the times, Nugent then hit the ‘90s and built a new battle machine in the likes of the Super-group Damn Yankees. This group included Tommy Shaw (Styx), Jack Blades (Night Ranger). Damn Yankees had instant success and held the #3 song “High Enough.” Damn Yankees gave Nuge and the boys a new found commercial victory and life was good. All the while holding on to his solo career and leaving room for Nuge’s other great love and what he celebrates as “The Great Spirit Of The Wild.”

Now it’s the turn of the century and Nugent is still on top of the world. With his recent release of Full Bluntal Nugity, you know the Motor City Madman still rules the rock and roll roost. This live album kicks ass and should not be missed. He is also getting ready a new studio album that has been long awaited. I grabbed Uncle Ted, one afternoon, for a chat and boy, can this guy tell ya like it is! Ted was out that morning turkey hunting, then he caught some blue gill for breakfast. When I got him, he had just come in from running with his 12 head of buffalo that reside on his property! The man sure is an early bird! Here is some Q&A for you Nugent fans. I have to say, he is most graphic - so I put in the bottom line for you!

KNAC.COM: When can we expect the new studio album?
NUGE: I’m hoping early 2002.

KNAC.COM: Tell me about the new music on the studio album.
NUGE: It’s blacker than Ray Charles with his eyes closed and a black cat in his lap riding in a black wagon of coal on a black night during the full eclipse of the moon pulling up to a James Brown Goodfoot gitdown.

KNAC.COM: That’s a mouthful! What inspired lyrics?
NUGE: Naked women, howling dogs, pissed off wild boars, Mr. Janet Reno, my knife collection and red-hot barreled machineguns.

KNAC.COM: Sounds like dangerous sex to me! How do you think it compares to earlier works?
NUGE: You’re right! It’s sexier with more grunt, grind and piss and vinegar.

KNAC.COM: What is your take on the "nu" music? (The angry crap!)
NUGE: It’s cute but much too Caucasian for me.

KNAC.COM: Do you think good ole' rock will be in the forefront again?
"Naked women, howling dogs, pissed off wild boars, Mr. Janet Reno, my knife collection and red-hot barreled machineguns.”
NUGE: Based on the last 5000 Nuge Rock-outs, it IS in the forefront unless you're stoned, drunk or a neuter.

KNAC.COM: How was the tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd?
NUGE: I could hardly stand myself!! Marco Mendoza on bass and vocals with Tommy Clufetos on drums is spiritually exhilarating and bombastic! I have a spiritual erection and it feels good.

KNAC.COM: I love erections! Spiritual or otherwise! So, do you get in any hunting while on tour?
NUGE: I arrowed a beautiful New Brunswick black bear in Canada on my day off there!! The rug has landed!!

KNAC.COM: What would be your ultimate tour? (Opening acts, venues, etc.)
NUGE: This is it!! I play every night like a man possessed!! I’m one lucky sonofabitch!

KNAC.COM: I saw you on That ‘70s show, will you do any acting?
NUGE: I don’t act. I am.

KNAC.COM: What is the craziest thing a fan (groupie) ever tried, to get you’re attention or into your pants?
NUGE: I'm allergic to groupies. Too much spandex and mascara. I wouldn’t let my dogs get down wind of ‘em. All my girls must pass a strict personal hygiene screening process.

KNAC.COM: What that process is, remains a secret! But I hope to get him to show me the process! If ya know what I mean!

Since the beginning, Nugent has been blessed with a talent bigger than the imagination. He has a straight forward and no-bullshit attitude that you can only respect. "Since 1959 it's been one big fire-breathing peak for me," explains Nugent. "I don't mean to discount that success to anybody. I acknowledge these incredible highpoints and I thank God for them and I thank my family for putting up with my ass, but you know I'm so deep into it that it's almost like someone has to go ‘Hey Ted, you've made another million dollars, and I go, ,That's neat, I'm goin' deer hunting.’”

For more information on “The Nuge” go to www.tednugent.com or www.spitfirerecords.com and check out Full Bluntal Nugity!

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