By Story and photos by Chris A. ~ Hardrock Haven -
14 June, 2007
In his 40 plus years as a rock musician and guitarist, Ted Nugent has been a consistently "honest" act who's earned everything he's gotten. The guys been at the top, at times the bottom and all points in between. Nugent, who cut his teeth as a founding member of the progressive rock band The Amboy Dukes, in the 1960s exploded to stardom in the mid-70s with his solo-single, "Cat Scratch Fever". He followed that hit up with one of the best live albums ever pressed, "Double-Live Gonzo". In the 80's while most rockers were wearing makeup and spandex, Nugent remained true to his rock and blues roots as he delivered the gospel of "gonzo" rock 'n' roll to the faithful during what many consider a very lack-luster decade for hard rock.
Rock 'n' roll and it's presentation may have changed during the glam hairband days but Nugent never felt compelled to tease his hair or apply eyeliner. Instead he gave his audances what they wanted; intense, rowdy, fun, guitar-based rock. He experimented with other musicians and participated in several projects including "Damn Yankees" but Ted's audiance doesn't want the Nuge in a band being a team-player. Ted fans want Ted doing what he does best, running the show and doing his thing in the Nugent band. In the past decade "Uncle Ted" has experienced a renassance of sorts with creative television shows, his obvious passion for hunting and firearms and his patriotic conservative leanings. Ted's voice can be heard on the radio and he's hailed today as a real-deal, no kidding big-time rock star. While some might contend that some of the Nuge's music is campy or even silly at times with titles like "Yank Me Crank Me", and "Funk U" the fact is Ted understands that not every song has to be a serious composition. With that being said, one simply needs to see Ted perform his tribute tune "Fred Bear" to know that it's a song he performs from his heart. The bottom line for Ted is delivering a great time for his audiance. To that end the guy knows how to rock and he always delivers.
That was certainly the case at Bogarts in Cincinnati Ohio on June 14th, 2007. The Nuge brought his tour to the Queen City of Ohio and absolutely rocked the house. Talk about shock and awe, the Nuge pounced onto the stage with his signature Byrdland moaning and screaming at ungodly decibles. He opened the show with the classic "Journey to the Center of the Mind" reminding those present of the innovative licks and controlled feedback that made him famous way back in the late 1960s. With a big grin on his face and sweat pouring off his still-lean frame, Ted worked his "birdy" to the delight of the rapid audiance. Nugent's show was a mix of classic Ted tunes spinkled with tastes of new songs including "Love Grenade," the title track from his soon-to-be released album. At a Nugent show you get the real deal. He plays hard, works hard and believes what he says and wants to share his passions. It's clear he respects and appreciates his audiance and wants to share not only his music with them, but also the realization that American's live in the greatest country in the world. While not everyone agrees with Ted on his politics, no one can question his patriotism or his love for his country and those who have chosen to protect it in the armed forces. The guys proud to be an American, realizes he blessed on many levels and loves to put a smile on the faces of those who pack concert venues to share an evening with him.
Nugent still bounces and commands the stage like a general commands a battlefield. In fact with Nugents many stage props, including a five-foot hand grenade, a .50 caliber machine gun, sand bags, flags and other assorted weaponry, Ted's stage often resembles a military armory. The visuals are direct, clear and in-your-face as are moments in the show when Ted addresses the audiance on issues of freedom, firearms and hunting. While the music is intense and Nugent's personna is well projected and confident, the not-so-subtle message is clear; live your life to the fullest, protect your rights and appreciate the blessings of being an American. All that and one great rock 'n' roll show too. What's not to love? Make sure YOU catch the Nuge live, you will not be disappointed.