At 57, the rock star/hunter/would-be politician is still going strong.
BY DAVID HILTBRAND - The Philadelphia Inquirer
He's a walking, stalking contradiction: a long-haired, head-banging rocker who is also on the National Rifle Association's board of directors, a guitar god who says he has never ingested drugs or alcohol, a Detroit-bred guy who espouses a primitive, hunting-gathering lifestyle.
As the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent has sold more than 30 million albums. But at 57, he is increasingly better known as a latter-day King of the Jungle.
"It's irrefutably the right thing to do to be a hands-on conservationist, to monitor the good Mother Earth's health," he says on the phone from his spread in Crawford, Texas, a few miles from the presidential ranch. "Not to mention the joys and stimuli of the shooting sports, of being independent and gathering your own food and shelter and medicine."
It's early in the morning, but Nugent already has taken his all-terrain vehicle out to check the trap lines on his property.
"I trapped a beautiful red fox today. I trap coyote, skunks, bobcats and various vermin," he says. "When I go out, I pack a cooler with an apple, a couple of oranges, a jug of water and some wild boar sausages. All the stuff we have at home, we kill ourselves."
While no one was paying attention, Nugent, the rock star who will perform Sunday at the Cotillion, has been establishing a hearty second career as an organic carnivore.
He has no trouble reconciling his two callings. He typically tours during the summer months and hunts the rest of the year.
"Last year, I did over 100 concerts," says the rocker famous for guitar squalls like "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Wango Tango." "I still crave the inspiration of performing. And nothing makes you want to get more loud and obnoxious than sitting in a tree stand for days."
Nugent credits his back-to-basics approach for his robust health.
"I'm climbing trees and running with the dogs," he says. "I look back at my dad. When he was 57, he was 57. Everything I'm doing today, I was doing at 27. I attribute it to the purity of my natural game diet."
It's a lifestyle he promotes in "Kill It & Grill It: A Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish," which he wrote with his wife, Shemane, and "Blood Trails II: The Truth About Bowhunting."
Given his notoriety, his ready wit, his strong opinions, and his mix of patriotism and pragmatism, perhaps it's inevitable that Nugent would throw his camo cowboy hat into the political ring. He nearly ran for governor of Michigan this year and is planning to enter the race in 2010.
"There would be no handouts to any able-bodied citizen," he says, spelling out his platform. "And if you conduct yourself in a fashion to make yourself a liability -- if you drink and drive and crash and lose your leg, we're not paying for your wheelchair. We'll give it to a kid with leukemia. When you make bad decisions, you don't benefit at the expense of the people who conduct themselves in a responsible fashion."