Motor City Madman

Ted Nugent tells it like he sees it

Motor City Madman Ted Nugent is one of rock's most outspoken voices. The fervent conservative regularly appears on TV to debate today's most pressing issues. He's now on tour with Styx and REO Speedwagon. Nugent talked to us about why he's endorsing Mitt Romney in the upcoming presidential election (shocker!) and how he still gets a thrill from performing his signature song "Cat Scratch Fever."

You attended a Jesuit high school. Who was the most eccentric teacher you had?

The mighty Dean of Discipline, Father Gillgalen, a large, feisty roustabout who took no crap and guided his young men wisely to be the best that we could be or get our ass kicked in the process. Great man, but surely a character.

You've played more than 6,000 shows during the course of your career. Which ones would rank in your Top 5?

I would have to say the last five we did this week were the best-ever for all the right reasons. My killer band gets tighter, more intense, and dynamic every night, and the audiences are powerfully inspiring. I expect my all-time five best concerts will be the next five we do next week. We really are that focused.

In the 2011 song "I Still Believe," you sing about how you still believe in the American Dream. President Obama is a firm believer in the American Dream too. Do the both of you essentially want the same thing for our country?

I couldn't disagree more. The evidence is irrefutable that a man raised by communists, educated by socialists, preached to and married by a venomous America hater, and aligned with Mao Tse Tung fans couldn't possibly believe in the real American Dream. I mean, c'mon, the guy quotes Mao, the founder of communism, then visits the Vietnam Memorial feigning respect for those American heroes who died fighting Mao's dream and you fail to admit that this man is the enemy of America? That's rich and very sad. My American Dream is based on the self-evident truths and God-given individual rights outlined and guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. My dream is polar opposite of this president and his gang of gun-runners.

You argued vehemently with CNN's Piers Morgan when he interviewed you about gun control last year. Was your interaction with him offscreen as heated, or did you get along pretty well when the cameras weren't rolling?

Piers has a job to do, and like all lefty media he must play devil's advocate to carry on a debate. Of course, anyone who disagrees with me will have to side with the devil. He's a nice enough man, just mistakenly going down the wrong path in life.

While some bands refuse to play their hits, you really enjoy playing "Cat Scratch Fever" live. What sustains your enthusiasm for the tune?

I was wise enough to balance my life way back in the uninhibited outrage of my youth so as to escape the incessant throttling of my over-the-top intense music. By healing with nature every hunting season, I cleanse my soul and debrief myself back into the slobbering garage-band purity of spontaneous musical adventure for each tour. I get more of a kick out of performing my oldest songs now than I ever have, as intensified by the collaborative performance of my incredible band. We are on a mission of God.

When you began your career as a rock singer and guitarist, did you ever think you'd end up as a reality TV star and political spokesperson?

I was so intoxicated by the original musical power of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, et al., that very little thought process occurred whatsoever. The beauty of my musical life is that it started raw and remains raw, so there is zero second-guessing. I have miraculously maintained a pure Lewis and Clark spirit of exploratory adventure with my music to this very day, and the same can be said about my activism. To stand up for what you believe in, particularly when one clearly grasps the concept of self-government, is as natural and instinctive as life itself. I do what must be done by anyone who pays attention and cares. Sheep need not apply.

Over the years, you've made cameos in TV shows, movies, and music videos. Which of those appearances ranks as your favorite?

They were all fun, but I was at my most adorable in Miami Vice in 1985. I so thoroughly kicked Don Johnson's ass.

You must be excited to be out on a long summer tour during an election year. Do you see the tour as an opportunity to round up support for conservative candidates?

I've toured like an animal possessed every summer, except 2009, since 1967. It is an essential ritual of the spirit for my band and me. That it is an election year does inspire a serious duty to galvanize my fellow Americans to do their research and register and vote, so I do turn up the activism heat during an election tour.

I know what you think about Obama. What do you think of Mitt Romney?

Mitt Romney is a great American and would make a monstrously superior president to Obama, or anyone else I can think of.

Have you ever met a liberal you didn't want to shoot?

I don't want to shoot anyone unless they threaten my life or the life of an innocent. I have some liberal friends and will fix most of them eventually. I've already fixed most of them.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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