On Tour: Ted Nugent At Rib Fest
Gun man: Rocker Ted Nugent calls himself the "tip of the culture-war spear." Besides being a musician, he has starred in a television series focused on hunting wild game, and has produced a cookbook for preparing what one kills. (Submitted photo)
Ted Nugent didn't know his music was part of the warm-up routine for Michael Phelps until the Beijing Olympics, but the Motor City Madman says it only makes sense.
"My music is a clenched-fist soundtrack of autonomy and rugged individualism," Nugent says in a phone interview.
"I've always raved about being the best you can be. I'm very honored that some of the world's greatest at being the best they can be find that energy and that defiance factor in my music."
Nugent is set to perform Aug. 31 at Rib America Festival at Military Park, his last show of 2008, and he's looking forward to it.
"I love playing anywhere; I love it all," he says. "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 played psychedelic rock with the Amboy Dukes in the 1960s, enjoyed mainstream solo success with hit single "Cat Scratch Fever" in the 1970s and collaborated with Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades in 1990s supergroup Damn Yankees.
But his offstage lifestyle defines Nugent at age 60. When he's not playing guitar, he hunts.
Nugent's views on gun rights and killing wild game 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 festivals.
"Real barbecue America shows up," Nugent says.
Rib America 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.
Rib America Festival
Who: Ted Nugent, .38 Special, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Peter Frampton, Jonny Lang, Dennis Young, Blue Oyster Cult and others.
When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 29, 11 a.m. to midnight Aug. 30, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 31, noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 1.
Where: Military Park, New York and West streets.
Info: Visit www.ribamerica.com.