- By David Lindquist
Ted Nugent says he has three reasons to look forward to his appearance at this weekend's Rib America Festival:
*The Michigan native played his first show in Indianapolis in 1967, and refers to the city as "home stomping ground."
*Sunday's performance will be his last show of 2008.
*He looks forward to any event that combines meat and music.
"I love playing anywhere; I love it all," he says during a phone interview. "But you add the word 'rib' to my gig, and my guitar will not gently weep. The boys will play some serious soul music that night, I promise you."
Nugent's career highlights include playing psychedelic rock with the Amboy Dukes in the 1960s, enjoying mainstream solo success with hit single "Cat Scratch Fever" in the 1970s and collaborating with Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades in 1990s supergroup Damn Yankees.
Ted Nugent will perform Sunday at Rib America Festival (Photo provided by Mitch Schneider Organization)
But at age 60, an offstage lifestyle defines the Motor City Madman. When he's not playing guitar, he hunts. Nugent's views on gun rights and killing wild game have reached the masses through his "Spirit of the Wild" television show and "Kill It & Grill It" cookbook.
The controversial activist calls himself the "tip of the culture-war spear."
He also says people who share his views are setting attendance records when he plays food-related events.
"Real barbecue America shows up," Nugent says.
Festival vendors earn the musician's respect because they "diligently scrutinize the source and the quality of the meat, the charcoal and the wood," he says.
Meanwhile, fellow outdoor enthusiasts really fire him up. At a recent performance, a young fan gave Nugent a bag of bluegill jerky.
"I don't think Jerry Garcia was ever brought the gift of smoked flesh at a concert," he says.
For attendees of the four-day Rib America Festival, racks of ribs and pulled-pork sandwiches highlight the dining options.
Nugent says he'll sample pork from Rib America vendors, but he prefers the naturally sweet taste of wild boar. (See sidebar for his recipe.)
"Wild boar is sweet because of white fat from eating nuts and berries and flora and fauna -- even carrion, grubs and worms," he says.
According to Nugent, free-range meals are a celebration.
"Setting fire underneath meat is one of the most beautiful, perfect, primal celebrations known to man," he says.
Rib America Festival
When: 11.a.m. to 11.p.m. today, 11.a.m. to midnight Saturday, 11.a.m. to 11.p.m. Sunday, noon to 8.p.m. Monday.
Where: Military Park, New York and West streets.
Tickets: Admission is free before 5.p.m. today and before 1.p.m. Saturday through Monday. Admission is $5 after 5.p.m. today and after 1.p.m. Saturday through Monday. Admission is free at all times for children 12 and younger.
Food: To purchase food and drinks, you must first buy tickets that are sold in quantities of seven for $10, or two for $3. Rib samplers will be sold for four to five tickets, and sandwiches will be priced at five to seven tickets.
Friday: Stereo Deluxe, 5.p.m.; Beatlemania Live!, 6:30.p.m.; Peter Frampton, 9.p.m.
Saturday: Rick Stump, noon; Shooter Jennings, 2:30.p.m.; Cowboy Mouth, 5.p.m.; Dennis DeYoung, 7:30.p.m.; Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 10.p.m.
Sunday: the Elms, noon; the Why Store, 1:30.p.m.; Blind Melon, 4.p.m.; Jonny Lang 6:30.p.m., Ted Nugent 9.p.m.
Monday: Casey Jamerson, noon; the Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band, 1:30.p.m.; Blue Oyster Cult, 3:30.p.m.; .38 Special, 6.p.m.
For more information, visit www.ribamerica.com.
Looking for an exotic recipe for your Labor Day weekend barbecue? Here's a recipe reprinted from "Kill It & Grill It: A Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish," by Ted and Shemane Nugent. (2002, Regnery Publishing).
"Only a few campers are fortunate enough to enjoy this delicious game meat; the rest must be content with domestic pork chops. but if you should bag a wild boar, serve it this way:"
Salt and pepper 4 chops. Sprinkle with flour and brown well on both sides in 3 tablespoons of hot fat. Core (but do not peel) 2 pounds of apples and cut in thick slices. Put a dash of paprika and 6 raisins on top of each browned chop. Then cover with the apple slices, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 61/47 cup of hot water.
Cover skillet and simmer until well done, about 40 minutes. Cook 1 large or 2 small chops per person.