By: Ted Nugent
Note: This is a draft preview of a chapter in my upcoming new book, tentatively titled “Ted Nugent – Stronghold America.”
I was raised with a permanent list of chores that I was required to accomplish on a daily basis. I didn’t get to vote on which ones I would be willing to do. Had I suggested to my father that certain chores on the list were not doable, he would have roundly knocked my block off, for which I eventually would have been eternally grateful.
After all, it is a parent’s most basic and primary duty not to allow their children to grow up being spineless crybaby wimps, and I have proudly carried on this strong, critical American parenting tradition of raising a family of assets to benefit America’s most productive workforce.
It was 1965, and I had just been yanked away from my American Rock ‘n’ Roll dream in Detroit, where my band The Lourds had won the Michigan Battle of the Bands.
I was devastated. We had rehearsed our a–es off nonstop to get that good, that tight, that powerful, and now I was forced to move to a suburb of Chicago due to my dad being transferred.
First night there I attended a rockout by the Shadows Of Knight at the famous Cellar club in Arlington Heights and immediately determined that my band would have kicked their a– up one side and down the other. These guys were much too tame, much too cute, much to lame to compete with the over-the-top high-energy musical animals of Detroit that were taught by Billy Lee and the Rivieras (soon to become Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels) to play every song, every gig, every night with a ferocious fiery fury.
That first night in my new town I began the formation of my killer band The Amboy Dukes, and within a few weeks, we owned the rock ‘n’ roll air of the Windy City environs.
I was playing a fine sunburst Epiphone Casino hollowbody guitar just like Keith Richards and John Lennon played, but I yearned madly for a mighty Gibson Byrdland like my guitar hero Jimmy McCarty cranked with Mitch Ryder. Problem was, the damn thing cost a thousand dollars, and as things were, it may have well cost a million dollars.
I had always made my own money delivering newspapers, cutting grass, shoveling snow, washing cars, painting fences, raking leaves, babysitting, catching and selling nightcrawlers and always ready, willing and able to perform any and all tasks to remain independent and self-sufficient at all costs.
But a grand! Impossible, I figured.
A chance visit to the Roselle School of Music down the road from our Hoffman Estates home caused immediate hyperventilation, as there, on the wall, glowing like a sign from the heavens, was a blond, natural finish 1965 Gibson Byrdland guitar, calling my name loudly!
The magnificent beauty of a guitar was handcrafted by the master luthiers at the famed Gibson headquarters in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The hand-selected grainy northern spruce top was hand carved to a resonating fluid arch, while the graphic maple back glistened as much as it punched the slender chambered hollowbody tone into voices of the gods.
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It took me a while to catch my breath, but right then and there it was destined to be mine, come hell or high water.
Store owner Lyle Gillman could tell right away that I was hopelessly smitten as he handed her to me to fondle and caress. Being a kind, understanding gentlemen with whom I would embark on a magic musical history-making journey, he cut me a deal for my Epiphone and a hundred bucks down payment, as I agreed to pay 50 bucks a month till she was paid in full.
Here’s how you do it.
I stopped at the first “help wanted” sign I saw at a local gas station. (Gas was 39.9 cents a gallon.) I presented myself clean, polite and making it clear that I would work very hard, be on time and be ready, willing and able to perform any task or chore requested of me.
I didn’t ask about sick days, I didn’t ask about benefits, I didn’t ask how little work I could get away with, I simply did what properly parented Americans did back then and impressed the station owner that for a buck a day I would kick more a– than anyone he had ever hired before.
There were two greaseballs a few years older than I already on duty, but when the first customer pulled in I beat them to the car and filled it up per the customer’s request, washed the windshield, checked the oil, asked if I could check the tire pressure, and handed him his change promptly with a smile.
In between customers I cleaned the gas-pump islands, swept the drive, emptied remnant oil into a single can, cleaned up around the dumpster, then I cleaned the bathroom for what appeared to be the first time in history.
All the while the greaseballs were chuckling how the new kid was working himself silly while they basically enjoyed their time off since I accomplished everything that needed to be done all by my bad-self.
The punks never waited on a single customer because the MotorCity Madman was just too damn fast and efficient for them.
When the owner came to work the next day he looked all around, noted all the obvious unprecedented upgrades and asked who the hell did all this work.
When I proudly stated that I had done it all, he asked me why, and I told him because it needed to be done.
He thanked me and said I would get a 100 percent retroactive raise to two dollars an hour for doing such a good job.
The two lazy a– Democrats whined and blurted out that they had worked there much longer than I had but had never received a raise.
The owner smiled and scowled at the same time, letting them know that they hadn’t put forth jack for effort and didn’t deserve a raise.
The rest, as they say, is history, for that MotorCity Madman, all-American work ethic propelled me and my paid-off Gibson Byrdland to uncharted musical heights of outrage and wonderment, and all these 50-odd years later I continue to carry on the gungho Nugent/American tradition of being the best that I can be, never giving up looking for work and defying the pathetic soullessness of wimps with lists of jobs they’re not willing to do.
Here’s my job description, America: YES! I can do that, and I can do that perfectly.
Plan B is for greaseballs, lazy punks and Obama/Clinton freaks. No thank you.