Ted Nugent Brings Attitude, Rock 'n' Roll to Poughkeepsie
By Blaise Schweitzer,
Ted Nugent is coming to The Chance in Poughkeepsie on Monday, bringing his Detroit brand of hard-edged guitar-playing, R&B, rock 'n' roll and a hard-won reputation for outlandishness.
Although born in 1948, Nugent is a multi-media experimenter, with several self-referential reality television series under his belt - most advancing his gun-loving, macho brand of anti-liberal beliefs. Nugent even has a cookbook to his name "Kill it and Grill it." Somehow he has never been invited to come speak about it at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
"Their loss. I am considered god of BBQ in most of the free world," he said from Wisconsin in an e-mail interview last week.
Ted Nugent (Duane Sycz photo)
Nonetheless, Nugent has some culinary credibility as this year he appeared on CIA grad Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations."
Nugent's entrée to celebrity came when he joined the Amboy Dukes in 1967, performing some 300 concerts a year in those early days. His hits include "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Strangehold." He has slowed down, somewhat, to fit in all his non-music related acting and reality television work.
Still, this July 4, Nugent performed in his 6,000th concert. That's an average of 146 concerts a year over his 41-year-career.
Not bad longevity for someone who plays with guns and chainsaws and picks fights with animal rights activists. During filming of his 2004 reality television series "Surviving Nugent: The Ted Commandments," Nugent slashed open his leg, requiring 41 stitches.
Quoting Dirty Harry, a character in the 1971 Clint Eastwood vehicle that showcased the most powerful handgun made at the time, Nugent said, "It is indeed a good man who knows his limitations."
Last week Nugent suggested that the wiser choice when dealing with "macho chores" that involve chainsaws is to hire someone else to do the work.
That's not to say that safety concerns have featured strongly in Nugent's life.
Even his strong opposition to drugs and alcohol wouldn't be enough keep him from hunting with Dick Cheney, if given an invitation. Although Cheney has said he had a beer before shooting and wounding one of his hunting companions in 2006, Nugent said "hell yes" when asked if he'd hunt with Cheney.
"Dick Cheney is a good hunter. He has had one moment of negligence in more than 50 hunting seasons. Damn good record," Nugent said.
Nugent usually lines up with Republicans, especially if they like guns. He makes an exception for presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, even though McCain has defended gun owners. "He ain't bold enough," Nugent said.
That doesn't mean he likes Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, however. "He ain't American enough," he said.
Much of Nugent's televised involvement with gunplay has been supervisory, as when he hosted the 2005 reality-esque "Wanted, Ted or Alive" where contestants were required to kill and clean their own food to survive. Survive? They would win a hunting trip with "Uncle Ted."
Even discussions about Nugent's music often circles back to gunplay or archery. Asked whether he has varied or updated any of his classic hits for contemporary concerts, Nugent blustered.
"My masterpieces are sacred," he said. "Mess with my songs and I will pin-cushion your ass with goat piss-soaked arrows."
Beware Poughkeepsie hucksters. Nugent can also get violent when coming across people selling Nugent T-shirts or knock-off recordings without his permission. According to an opinion piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal in 2001, Nugent and his brother, Johnny, regularly seize unapproved Nugent merchandise from those selling outside his concerts.
Although irreverent about almost everything, Nugent was capable of giving nods to musicians who he respects. His guitar gods?
His list included Chuck Berry, Bo Diddly, Lonnie Mack, Billy Gibbons, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Rick Derringer and Jimmy McCarty, among others.
It did not take long for Nugent to get back to self-praise, though.
Nugent promised those who come to The Chance on Monday will get a taste of his rock 'n' roll - barring an unforseen accident.
"We are the only band in the world to carry on the essence of James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, Bo Diddly, Chuck Berry and Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders. We play all my classics with breathtaking passion and an unprecedented tightness and energy, plus throw in some of the classic Motown and Stax/Volt masterpieces," he said. "We are the last of the real black musicians."
If You Go
What: Ted Nugent and Rolling Thunder
Where: The Chance, 6 Crannel St. Poughkeepsie
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Cost: $35 through box office OR www.TicketWeb.com (additional $9.96 service fee)