Ted Nugent loves KC, hates liberals and music biz
By TIMOTHY FINN
The Kansas City Star
He will turn 60 in December, and some people will tell you that the older they get, the less they care about what other people think.
But Ted Nugent has never really cared what anybody thinks about him, and for nearly 40 years he has been as known for his brash, sometimes crude outspokenness as he has for his unbridled live shows. In the last 10 years or so, he has become an uncensored spokesman for the National Rifle Association and for other conservative causes. He has also been a staunch supporter of President Bush, the Republican Party and the Iraq war.
Nugent ignited more controversy last year when, during a concert in California, he brandished two semi-automatic rifles and went on a tirade. He called Barack Obama a "piece of ..." and told him to "suck on my machine gun." He also called Hillary Clinton a "worthless ... " and said she and some of her female Democratic colleagues in the U.S. Senate should "ride one of these into the sunset." His remarks stirred a minimal amount of controversy. Most people chalked it up to Ted being Ted.
Via a list of e-mail questions that he answered while he was on tour in Europe recently, Nugent discussed the world of music and politics and his Obama/Clinton comment. As expected, he was unwavering and unapologetic.
Do you have any specific or special memories of Kansas City? If so, what are a couple or few?
I know that every time I've ever rocked KC it has been a full-on glorious rock 'n' roll. KC knows how to rock like animals. Then there was the time at Royals Stadium where a pigeon flew in front of my amps and blew up. Everybody loves squab.
How is the music industry better than it was 30 years ago? How is it worse?
There is no music industry today. The music industry used to be record companies, radio, retail, concert promoters and venue operators who all loved the music and worked together. It simply doesn't exist anymore. It is more a fragmented fashion fiasco where the music just doesn't matter anymore. Thank God there are still gung-ho music lovers still flocking to concerts for real music.
Are you a better rock star now than you were in the 1970s? If so, how?
I have never been a rock star. I happen to be a very hard working bow-hunter American who puts his heart and soul into creating moving R&B music with the world's greatest musicians that care only about the music. Without question my music is tighter, more powerful, sexier and intense today than it or any music has ever been. Mick Brown on drums and Greg Smith on bass are every dedicated guitarist's dream.
How has living in Detroit and Michigan influenced you and your music?
The absolute authority of Motown's mighty Funk Brothers has defined the spirit and soul of music forever. Along with the sheer animal energy of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, my music took on a life of its own way back in the beginning of 1960. Detroit is all about soul, spirit, attitude and sex. It is perfect.
You've done some reality TV shows that focused on your love for hunting and the outdoors ("Surviving Nugent," "Wanted: Ted or Alive"). What was the most outrageous thing that happened during one of those shows, and was the experience rewarding for you?
They were all extremely rewarding to me and everyone who paid attention in that we celebrated the critical importance of being honest about our cause and effect on ourselves, each other and the good earth. That people would order leg of lamb, then feign shock when I killed the lamb puts the inescapable illuminating spotlight on the cockroaches of denial and hypocrisy. It is a beautiful thing.
You have always been outspoken, especially politically. What is your opinion on how the war in Iraq has been administered? Do you still think we should have "Nagasakied" the place, as you once said?
I would give Bush a C+ overall, but it is the curse of political correctness that we have unnecessarily paid in the lives of brave U.S. military heroes by not unleashing the total might of our armed forces effectively. We should have devastated, virtually annihilated the enemy and everyone and everything that facilitated them in any way, way back when our U.S. Marine base was blown up in Beirut. Having done so, I am convinced there would have been no Somalia, U.S. Cole, U.S. embassy bombings and no 9/11. Worrying about hurting feelings gets you killed.
What's the difference between your calling Hillary Clinton a name and telling Barack Obama (and other Democratic senators) to suck on a machine gun and the Dixie Chicks saying they were ashamed to be from Texas, like President Bush?
I was much more passionate and entertaining.
What makes you feel so resolute that the Democrats are bad/wrong and Republicans are good/right?
It can be boiled down to the simple reality that the liberal Democrats would forbid law-abiding Americans the right to keep and bear arms but have the arrogance to force us to pay for their armed security. A well defined Marxist modus operandi if ever there were one.
What makes you feel proud and positive about the future of America?
That the most productive, conscientious Americans are still the majority and can accomplish anything we are unleashed to do.
Will you ever run for political office?
I had a bumper crop of crowbars this year. I should probably put them to good use soon.
Ted Nugent headlines a show Sunday night at the Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway. Alex Winston opens at 8 p.m. Tickets to the all-ages show cost $35 to $75. Visit ticketmaster.com (816-931-3330).