By Night Train©
Photos by Brown Photography
I cannot possibly think of a better date to write this feature than on the 4th of July. I still remember when I purchased my very first rock album; “Scream Dream” by Ted Nugent. This is back in the days when music was still engraved on vinyl or recorded on tapes. I was raised in a family of trained classical musicians. If it wasn’t “classical” music, it simply was not music. I can’t tell you how much I wanted an electric guitar! I had music inside me screaming to get out. The most rebellious years of my life—my youth. I figured if they did not want me to get a guitar and hear it then I would find a way to make them hear one. I still remember coming home after shopping, inserting Ted’s “Scream Dream” into my cassette player and pressing the play button “Machiavellianly” smiling, waiting for “Wango Tango” to kick in. All adults in the room were concerned at the sight of the album cover I purchased; a crazy screaming Tarzan-dressed long-haired dude with guitar arms. Ted’s “Wango Tango” song hit their judgmental eardrums so hard their faces betrayed their complete disapproval. I was pleased with those results. From that day on, they all heard Ted Nugent’s tapes on a daily basis as loud as I could possibly play it. Rock N’ Roll became my peaceful way to express a giant middle finger at anyone trying to limit me or restrain me from expressing what I so deeply needed to say.
If anyone told me back then, ‘One day you will interview this man and write about it,’ I would have told them “you are out of your mind!” How sad are the limits we put on ourselves! I am here to tell you and encourage you to dream big folks. Never give up. Live fully by pursuing your dreams rather than just exist to go through this life listening to what everyone says you should be or do. So long as no one gets hurt, own your dreams. They are yours! Pursue them with all of your might. Certainly, Ted Nugent has done that with his own life and continues to. He would be the first one to encourage you in this way of life. Love him or hate him, this man has accomplished more than a multitude of us would dream of and no one can take that from him. Ever.
Ted is scheduled to perform at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL this coming August 20, 2019. I am expecting the roof to be blown off. I got my tix, and I suggest you get some as well because this is going to be one heck of a party! Multi-platinum guitar legend Ted Nugent released a brand-new full-length album – his first in four years – THE MUSIC MADE ME DO IT via Round Hill Records. The album features Greg Smith (Billy Joel, Alice Cooper, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow) on bass, Jason Hartless (Joe Lynn Turner, Mitch Ryder) on drums, and the Motor City Madman himself on lead guitar and vocals. Accompanying the CD is a bonus DVD, LIVE AT FREEDOM HILL, an electrifying full-length concert captured at Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
THE MUSIC MADE ME DO IT is already receiving rave reviews from the press with My Global Mind confirming Nugent’s “uncanny ability to blend soul-crushing guitar riffs and well-crafted lyrics with sheer primal instinct.”
Of THE MUSIC MADE ME DO IT, Nugent avowed, “The music made me do it in 1955. The music made me do it in 1965. The music made me do it in 1975. The music made me do it in 1985, 1995, 2005, and 2019. Not a damn thing you can do about it and who the hell would want to. Celebrate American shitkicker soul rock ‘n’ roll like you mean it.”
Ted Nugent has carved a permanent place in rock n’ roll history as the ultimate guitar-shredding showman, selling more than 40 million albums and performing in excess of 6,700 (and counting!) high-octane live shows. As a budding musician, Nugent was strongly influenced by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddly and knew he wanted to pursue that type of sound and attitude. Early bands, The Royal Highboys, and The Lourds, paved the way for the Amboy Dukes – and their psychedelic JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE MIND kicked young Ted’s career into hyperdrive. The axe maniac soon broke out as a solo artist, where the guitarist’s prodigious talent, “ear-shattering” volume and over-the-top stage antics quickly earned him the moniker of Motor City Madman.
Cranking out hits like “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Just What The Doctor Ordered,” “Free for All,” and the iconic Stranglehold (my absolute favorite), Ted Nugent garnered international acclaim and truly hit his stride, becoming one of the top-grossing tour acts in America. His no-holds-barred career now spans six decades of multi-platinum hits. The ultimate Road Warrior, touring, and recording continues at Ted’s breakneck pace. Nugent and his inimitable sound have been featured on VH1’s Behind the Music, A&E’s Biography, and more. He was recently named Detroit’s Greatest Guitar Player of All Time by readers of MLive.
So how was my chat with the “Motor City Madman”? Here it is verbatim no filters (sensitive natures advised):
NT: The most meaningful song you wrote? What was it about and why was this song the most meaningful?
Ted: “I have so many wonderful songs that I absolutely crave and each one played a powerful role in my American musical dream. Everyone by now knows my love and admiration for the great Fred Bear and the emotion in that song every time I unleash it. We captured its essence on both the original, and on the new definitive acoustic performance with all the fire and passion celebrated by all hands-on conservation families that grasp, participate, and cherish this perfect hunting lifestyle. Every song we perform gets a musician’s dream response, but the mighty FRED BEAR song connects deeply with audiences across the land.”
NT: Best memories as a child? Why? How has it impacted you up to this day?
Ted: “I was born in 1948 to a father already following in the footsteps of the great Fred Bear. The mystical flight of the arrow took hold of me immediately and expanded each year of my life. Kid’s bow and arrow sets and Wham-O slingshots quickly morphed to yew longbows and eventually Wing, Bear, and Shakespeare recurves. Hunting adventures and fun sport meat trophies – pure predator lessons on squirrels and river rats along our Detroit neighborhood Rouge River wildlife kingdom expanded to annual family bowhunting safaris “Up North” and the life-changing introduction to Fred Bear, and as they say, the rest is history. My extreme fascination with wildlife, wildness, bowhunting, and my dedication to the healthiest diet available to mankind today is more exciting than at any time in my 70-year American Dream.”
NT: If you had an opportunity again, would you enlist in the military?
Ted: “When I was of military age, I was clueless about the history of war or the U.S. military. Knowing what I know now about U.S. warriors for freedom and their dedication and sacrifice for our American dream, if I could go back in time, I would certainly have enlisted for World War II, and the war on terror for the glaringly obvious duty of good defeating evil. I was not drafted during the Vietnam War, but I have served my country and the warriors to the best of my ability my entire adult life. There can be no better definition of my commitment to all those U.S. military heroes than my respect for and acceptance by them. I have personally touched and been inspired by literally thousands of these selfless people.”
NT: Do you ride motorcycles? If so, what is it? Favorite rides and what feelings do riding cause from within?
Ted: “I don’t ride, but many of my friends do. My manager is a long-time rider, and I have friends who are passionate collectors of all-things Harley-Davidson.”
NT: Among other things you are also known to be a political activist. What do you want to say to our readership of all political spectrums?
Ted: “We see the three arms of our government that were put in place for checks and balances turning into one big ugly unaccountable monster that believes it can get away with anything it damn well pleases. And let this be a warning to our elected employees out there; we are fed up and we’re not going to take it anymore. Thank God for the great President Donald Trump finally doing something America can be proud of.”
NT: The most powerful meaningful things you taught your children? How has it impacted them?
Ted: “Dedicate your entire life to be solidly [rooted] in the asset column by being the absolute best you can be, clean and sober, for your family, neighbors, community, country and the good earth. Aspire to an omniscient level of awareness so you can be accountable for every step you take and every decision you make in life. All my sons and daughters are wonderful, positive, caring, loving, hardworking, cocky, funny, ass-kicking productive Americans.”
NT: How do you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave behind for your family, friends, and fans?
Ted: “I will be remembered by all the wonderful people who actually know me as the loving, giving, caring, hardworking, take no shit patriotic American who never gave up and created nonstop amazing shitkicker soul-music. That’s my legacy and it is untouchable.”
NT: If you had an opportunity to serve on a humanitarian mission, what would it be, where and how?
Ted: “I’ve had that opportunity! On a USO tour with Toby Keith, I traveled to every military camp throughout Iraq and Afghanistan and beyond, performing for and connecting with our brave military hero warriors. It was certainly a highlight of my life.”
NT: What do you look forward to doing in your spare time during your tour?
Ted: “When I am on tour it is 100% dedicated to the music every night. The rest of the year, I hunt, fish, trap, and participate in God’s miraculous tooth fang and claw creation as the reasoning predator He made me.”
NT: Favorite wild meat recipe?
Ted: “My NUGE RECIPE FOR THE SOUL AND GUTS by Chef Nuge; Kill legal game cleanly. Handle with tender loving care. Add fire. Share with family and friends. Devour.”
Today, every single one of my children has their own electric guitar. Do I have one? I have a good old acoustic that I’ve been playing on and off since 1990. Pursue your dreams folks! Relentlessly! See you at the concert August 20, 2019, at Ruth Eckerd Hall and tell them Night Train sent ya.
Night Train invites you to connect on www.facebook.com/FloridaNightTrain