Interviews

Interview: TED NUGENT

Motor City Madman Ted Nugent releases his brand-new single “Come and Take It.” The song is a powerful, patriotic rock anthem that reminds Americans of our sacred 1st and 2nd Amendment rights. Rights that Nugent promotes each day. “Come and Take It” is the first single from the upcoming album Detroit Muscle, which is slated for release this spring on April 29, 2022. The album is produced by Michael Lutz and Nugent.

Watch the “Come and Take It” lyric video here: https://youtu.be/XO74BGKIrSc

Detroit MuscleWhen asked what inspired the new single, Nugent had this to say, “Being the all-time gonzo progenitor of love songs that I am, it is only fitting that I unleash the All-American defiant battle hymn from we the people to punks who dare tread on us. Do you feel the love! Come and take it at your own risk.”

Nugent is primed for the release of Detroit Muscle. He notes, “The mighty Motor City is forever globally known as the epicenter of the ultimate high energy soul-music firestorm, and everybody desperately needs a sucker punch of Detroit Muscle now more than ever. Relax, it’s good for you.”

Interview by Simon Furness


Ted Nugent: How are you doing? Are you Simon?

ANTIHERO: I am Simon, indeed. And lovely to meet you, sir.

Ted Nugent: Okay. If you can hear me and see me then I’m not touching anything.

ANTIHERO: Excellent. And can you hear me, okay?

Ted Nugent: I can, which is astonishing, but I do have my Miracle-Ear hearing aids in, I can hear every word.

ANTIHERO: I’m not surprised with the way you play. There’s no wonder you need them.

Ted Nugent: Well, in 73 years, clean and sober, the ballistic coefficient of my rock and roll and my firearms, samurai, martial arts, lifestyle, there’s been some sonic bombast unleashed upon an unsuspecting public, and I’m the perpetrator thereof. And that’s why you love me, Simon.

ANTIHERO: How are you keeping, Ted?

Ted Nugent: I’m keeping just fine, and in America, it’s called “how’re you feeling”, so I’m feeling and I’m keeping. How are you keeping? By the way, Simon, where are you broadcasting from? Are you in England?

ANTIHERO: I’m keeping good thanks Ted, I’m in England, in Cumbria, which is in the Lake District, just below Scotland.

Ted Nugent: Sure. Well, God, I got to tell you how I miss coming over there and playing for those real music lovers. My God, my memory bank, it throbs with joyous imagery and intensity and spirit because when we unleashed the music that we love, I can tell that every time we’ve come to Britain and Scotland and Ireland all around the world, it’s shared, it’s celebrated, it’s a uniting force, and you be sure to express to everybody how much the Nugent band and the entire Nugent team loves that music spirit that everybody celebrates whenever I show up. But here’s the heartbreak. I am not coming back because I’m allergic. I literally love my home so much and I love being close to my dogs and my incredible wife and my family and my kids and my land and my bed. My bed is number one… I refuse to fly across the pond ever again. But I got to tell you, the last few tours, we have a bunch of people from Europe and Britain and Scotland and Ireland that come over to witness the firestorm of Nuge. So, real music lovers are alive and well, and I’m thanking God for that.

ANTIHERO: That was one of my questions because I was actually there the last time that you came over and you played at the Monsters of Rock at Milton Keynes, it was an amazing show and I have great memories of an exceptional day of music so it was really was a hope that you would come back, but you’ve earned the right to do as you choose.

Ted Nugent: There’s a perfect example. You can tell that I’ve always been surrounded by just the most intense, gifted, music loving monsters in my band, my rhythm section, my cohorts, and the Nugent band, The Damn Yankees, The Amboy Dukes. I’ve been surrounded by the best musicians with the most unbelievable, powerful, never give up work ethic. So, that’s the spirit and that’s why the music is so authoritative and so tight because we learned from James Brown and Little Richard and Wilson Pickett and the Motown Funk Brothers. and even though I deliver it in my own way, what a wonderful way it is, but that’s why people love it because they can tell that we’re dedicated to it. So, that’s that feedback that I love so much and it’s what inspires all my music to this day in 2022.

ANTIHERO: Absolutely. I mean, I first discovered you back in ’78 when Double Live Gonzo came out, and that had such a profound effect on me, and it still does to this day. I even used the opportunity to talk about you in my English oral exam all those years ago so when I say you influenced me is no understatement.

Ted Nugent: Well, and it’s something for me. I thank God every day for my health and my attitude and my spirit and gift of life. So, I live life to the fullest, which is why you love the music.

ANTIHERO: Of course, we do Ted.

Ted Nugent: … no matter what I do, I come from Detroit with the epicentre of productivity and work ethic following World War II where the good GIs and the good Brits, the real warriors for freedom crushed the evil Japanese Empire and the evil Nazis, and that spirit of good over evil and the work ethic that created that positive force, that’s where my music comes from.

ANTIHERO: I absolutely get you.

Ted Nugent: Well, I got a silver beard and I’m an old man. I’m 73. But Jason Hartless, the world’s greatest drummer from Detroit, what a monster, and Greg Smith, another example, the bass player from Heaven and Hell, and those guys… We were recording the Detroit Muscle record in my swamp barn in Michigan, and the energy level, it’s out of body. I mean, we consider creating music a martial art. We’re like samurai music freaks. And so, I think it was Jason that says… Because when I get in there, I put on my Byrdland, my Gibson Byrdland, it’s out of body experience, it’s on a different plane of effervescence and energy, and it’s superhuman moments., and Jason, I think said, if the 20-year-old Ted Nugent showed up, you’d kick his ass. And I think he’s right because I’ve taken really good care of myself.

ANTIHERO: Well, isn’t that a wonderful thing?

Ted Nugent: That’s the foundation of energy and health and quality of life, believe me when I tell you, but the energy that we create because of our love of the music and demand upon ourselves to deliver it as authoritative and tight and energized and pure and up and throttling that groove, that Motown Funk Brother inspiration, the James Brown energy inspiration, it’s not only never waned, but it also increases every year. So, what a lucky guy I am. Thank you, Lord, for giving me another day.

ANTIHERO: Going back and touching on icons, unfortunately, a few weeks ago we lost Meat Loaf, and I know he sang on your 1976 album Free For All. What are your memories of recording with Meat?

Ted Nugent: Well, it’s important to reminisce. I’ve lost so many friends. My original singer from 1959, John Drake, who ended up singing with the Amboy Dukes, and just a super musical force in Detroit, we lost him last year. We lost my drummer Gunner Ross who played on the Fred Bear song. Just an amazing piece of spiritual, emotional, authoritative music. We lost so many… When Meat Loaf died, he and I had a great relationship, so let’s reminisce where that started. When I brought the Amboy Dukes back home to Detroit after graduating from high school in 1967, we played every night. I mean, we did 300 plus concerts a year, and any night we didn’t do a concert, we jammed. I mean, it was an unbelievable force of musical love and adventure. So, we heard about a duo called Stoney and Meat Loaf, and everybody was raving how powerful and how soulful they were. Well, Stoney, this beautiful redhead, incredible singer, she ended up singing background for Bob Seger down the road.

But when the Amboy Dukes had them open up for our concerts at the clubs and the Crow’s Nest and all the hullabaloo and the shindig we played every night, and there’s this huge, big guy and his name was Meat Loaf. And he had so much soul, so much vitality, so much energy, and so much dedication to deliver the absolute best, every song, every night, which is what you see my band does. Every night has always been the most important concert of our life. This performance of Dog Eat Dog, the most important song in the history of the world. So, we saw that in Meat Loaf, so when it came time and I’m unleashing these new jams, creating the Free For All songs, which are all spontaneous… A guy asked me, “How do I write my songs?” and I don’t write my songs, I ejaculate them.I just sit down with my guitar and grinds and grooves and patterns. And they inspire lyric cadence, and I start singing. And I end up writing the lyrics after I’ve sang them, and I got to go back and remember what I sang.

My point is that I saw this authenticity in Meat Loaf. And when it came time to record my new beloved compositions on Free For all, I thought of Meat Loaf’s incredible rhythm and blues, soul, gospel, rock and roll, almost Pavarotti type capabilities in his vocal talents and how he pushed and pushed himself. So, when it came time to sing a song like Hammer Down and Street Rats, I knew that this was the guy for me. So, it was a great relationship.

And it’s kind of funny, Simon. In fact, it’s not funny. It’s kind of sad because I would reach out to Meat Loaf over the years, and I would never get a call back. I don’t know if people believe the lies and the hate that’s levelled at me all the time, but even in his legacy, they would mention all the stairsteps of his career and they never mentioned that his launching pad was on the Ted Nugent Free For All album. So, I’ve never understood that. And there’s no sour grapes or bad feelings. It’s just seemed to be a dishonesty that permeates our society today, certainly in the government, certainly your government, certainly my embarrassing government.

ANTIHERO: Yeah, I can’t disagree with that Ted.

Ted Nugent: But all I can say is that Meat Loaf was the real McCoy, and he represented the American shit kicker, heart and soul, authoritative, passionate, be the best that you can be musical force. And we love him, and we miss him.

ANTIHERO: Absolutely. I mean, and when you think of him, as well, it’s like a lot of people that are go-to fans just think of Bat Out of Hell only, but he did leave quite a legacy, obviously, starting with yourself before he did what he did, there’s a lot still to discover that he created if you like.

Ted Nugent: don’t ever underestimate one of the most important talents of a human being, and believe me when I tell you this, is a great sense of humor. And again, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful effervescent fire-breathing sense of humor, and the same goes to Meat Loaf. He was a funny… It was like every time you hung out with Meat Loaf, it was like a campfire. Uninhibited and funny and cocky and smart. So, let’s not underestimate beyond his musical forces that as a human being he was just a great all-around human being. What a nice, nice man.

ANTIHERO: Looking right to the now, Ted, in April, you’ve got a new album coming out titled Detroit Muscle, which is very exciting. What can you tell us about the new album?

Ted Nugent: Well, have you heard any of it, Simon?

ANTIHERO: I’ve heard the two songs that have come from it already. Yeah. Both “American Campfire” and “Come and Take it”.

Ted Nugent: How cool is Come and Take It? How cool are the guitar riffs? Here’s the lick for the title track Detroit Muscle. I don’t know how this sounds on this technology, but in this room, it’s stunning. But here’s what happens when I get in from my outdoor lifestyle. I just did all my chores this morning, I wore out my dogs, I got the tractor going. We’re going to put in some spring food plots for the wildlife. I went down and checked the river, and I filled some feeders for the wildlife. It’s like a one-ton bird feeder. I feed all the wildlife so I can maximize the health and condition of my beloved outdoor lifestyle. But when I come in, what Detroit Muscle represents, what every recording you ever heard me on represents, is that when I come in and grab this wonderful Gibson Byrdland guitar, I am so purified.

Now, a lot of people think that’s bragging. Well, I’m not bragging. It’s quite humbling. Because if you understand and respect the healing powers of nature and you pursue those healing powers of nature as a participant… I hunt, I fish, I trap. When I fish, I balance the water population and keep it healthy. When I hunt, I manage the wildlife herds to balance them within the caring capacity of their habitat. And then I get the greatest diet in the world benefit. It’s the most pure, wonderful environmentally beneficial diet on the planet. And when I trap, I mitigate disease and overpopulation of fur bears. And then I use natural organic products instead of petroleum-based products. So, what I do as a hunter, fisherman, and trapper is a pure, natural, organic lifestyle, how anybody could find fault with that as a manifestation of a cultural abandonment. And my point being is that when I get in after being purified in the great outdoors, I’m as far away from the music as you can possibly be.

ANTIHERO: I can imagine.

Ted Nugent: I’m as far away from the ugly criminal politics as you can possibly be. So, I come in, the best word to describe it is purified. I pick up my guitar and the Detroit Muscle just happened to come out. (Proceeds to play the riff from DM)

I Cannot sit down and think about, “What kind of lick should I play? I don’t know. What key should it be? Geez, what should the tempo be?” You’ll start making Ferris wheel cartoon music, otherwise known as country music. You have to be raw and be dirty and earthly, down to earth, grounded, and then you come in, it’s like I’m an old man, but when I pick up my guitar, it’s like a teenager’s first piece of ass. Just as primal and pure and raw as can be. So, that describes not just the new Detroit Muscle album, but all my recordings. There’s a rawness, there’s an energy, there’s primality, there’s a purity, there’s a defiant middle finger on fire. To all the best music in the world, thank you, Little Richard. Thank you, James Brown, and Wilson Pickett. Thank you, Motown. All this energy comes from the purification and the escapeism of the music.

Politics are a responsibility I’m in charge of my life, and some punk-ass politician who thinks he has control over my capability of self-defense, I will crush that son of a bitch because that son of bitch works for me, and I’m the guy who reminds him. People go, “Oh, Nugent’s radical.” You’re damn right I am.” I met King George’s punks at Concord Bridge, and I shot them in the face. You Pearl Harbor me, I’ll Nagasaki you. Any questions call 1-800-numbnut, and Michael Moore will explain why personal hygiene is superfluous. Kiss my flame-throwing ass. My point is, is that attitude is all over my music, which is why you love me. Because if you were allowed to be a British Ted Nugent, they’d put you in jail.

ANTIHERO: You’re right.

Ted Nugent: So, I got a whole bunch of these. In fact, I don’t know if this is supposed to be PG-13 or not, but who gives a shit? I have a bumper crop of “fuck yous” this year, Simon. If you need some, I’ll airlift them over to you like we did during the Normandy invasion.

ANTIHERO: We’re kind of all feeling that, Ted.

Ted Nugent: My music is fun, it’s defiant, it’s raw, and it’s because of Greg Smith on the bass guitar and because of Jason Hartless on the drums, and Michael Lutz, the Brownsville Station, author of Smoking in the Boys Room. Tim and Andy Paddlin, we get in my swamp barn with all this recording apparatus, and it’s a firestorm. It’s like the first time of every great moment of your life every time we start playing these songs. So, when you hear the title track Detroit Muscle, when you hear Born in the Motor City, when you hear Driving Blind… I know you love my instrumentals. I love my instrumentals. All through my career there’s been beautiful, beautiful, special earthly instrumentals. Well, there’s a new one called Winter Spring Summer Fall.

ANTIHERO: I was going to ask you about that song.

DreamHost

Ted Nugent: Because that’s my life. I participate in God’s natural creation miracle, doing spring things in the spring. I plant, I optimize wildlife habitat. In the summer, I optimized the growing season for the wildlife and for my clean air, soil, and water quality. What a wild man I am! Then in the fall, I harvest the surplus and donate tons of venison to soup kitchens and homeless shelters. I give venison to all my neighbors and that’s all we eat. And then the winter, I optimize the carrying capacity of the food being gone for the wildlife and I supplement it. So, when I live that life, this happens on the guitar. And it goes on, but it’s beautiful. But it’s also grooving and it’s also grunting and grinding. So, that’s what Detroit Muscle is wall to wall… When you hear the song Feedback Grindfire, it’s going to scare you because it’s so intense. It’s like an A-10 Warthog guitar. It’s like what Jason and Greg put into every song, every lick… I’m telling you I’m a lucky, lucky son of a bitch to have these talented work ethic forces like Jason and Greg.

And going back to the original Amboy Dukes, The Damn Yankees, Rob and Cliff and Derek, and the first solo album. All these incredible musicians, Carmine Appice, Tommy Aldridge, Tommy Clufetos, Mick Brown, I’ve jammed with all the best of drummers, Chad Smith, and Steve Jordan. I could name all the best drummers in the world and the best bass players. Marco Mendoza and Johnny Gunnell and Dave Kiswiney. I mean, I’ve had these in… When I unleash one of my new licks and I start singing it, every musician I’ve ever been surrounded with plays and they charge into it and they immediately enhance and fortify what I’m creating. I’m the luckiest guitar player in the world. You know it. I see you nodding your head.

ANTIHERO: Oh God. Yeah.

Ted Nugent: You know that’s how it’s delivered. You can’t escape my music because it’s so passionate and compassionate from the musicians at my side. So, the whole Detroit album is just a firestorm. You’re going to love this shit.

ANTIHERO: I mean, I play a little bit as well, and I know that feeling of creating something new. When you’ve got that connection between the people in the room it just happens… It’s not something that you can manufacture. Is it? It’s pretty special.

Ted Nugent: It’s as pure of an instinct. I don’t think I’ve ever said the following words. I do a lot of interviews, so I repeat a lot of stuff because a lot of the questions are the repeat questions and the honest answer to the given question is always going to be the same thing. If you ask me how much one and one is, I’ll always tell you two. But I’ve never said the following. I’m inspired when I talk about the things, I love with somebody who love the things that we love. You know what music, adventure, and creativity is as pure as? The birth of a child, the sex that created that child, self-defense, standing up to good over evil, good people against Nazis and Japs. What I feel, and I’ve never had to really… I’ve defended myself. I’ve never had to really hurt anybody. I’ve neutralized a few people. But there are some instincts that are powerful. Survival, self-defense, standing up for your beliefs. King George, punk ass. Writing down self-evident truths, God-given rights, Constitution, Bill of Rights. When somebody thinks they can mandate a mask, I’ll punch that motherfucker right in the throat. You come near me with a mandate, and I will crush you because you know who can give me a mandate? God and Mrs. Nugent, that’s it.

ANTIHERO: That’s fair enough and who would argue with that Ted.

Ted Nugent: So, this is the music. My music is all of this. And if what I’m saying isn’t pure. I don’t know what is. And here’s the fascinating point. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.

And I’m telling you things that people will hate me for, so they hate me for self-defense, for keeping and bearing arms, they hate me for managing wildlife to be healthy and thriving and to provide pure organic venison to homeless shelters. And so, that’s why they hate me . It’s hysterical. So, here’s the bottom line. What you hear on Detroit Muscle it’s all my records, all my music, all my beliefs, is that the love that I am bombarded with every day at the feed mill, people thank me for standing up for freedom and their first amendment, their second amendment. When a cop is killed in the line of duty, I call the family and I help them. I’m surrounded by such perfect love that when you witness the evil of a Joe Biden or a Justin Trudeau, Castro’s son, Fidel Castro’s son, when you witness who hates me, it’s like I’m Mother Teresa with a Glock. They hate me for doing all the really good things in life.

So, that confidence… If you notice I have an ample supply of confidence, that positive spirit that I’m flooded with every day, it ends up coming out in my music, and that’s why I think it’s so appreciated by good people. And a lot of people that don’t agree with everything I say, of course, they’re wrong, but if you don’t have to agree with what I say, you can still celebrate the spirit of the music that Greg and Jason and all my incredible musicians deliver. And I think that’s what bonds us. It doesn’t matter… I never judge by color or ethnicity or religion. I judge by content of character and adequate cockiness. So, that puts you here in my music.

ANTIHERO: Excellent. And I was going to talk about the instruments that you used on the album. Obviously, you’ve been sitting there with a Byrdland, which I was going to ask about. I wondered which guitars you’d used this time around, possibly Les Pauls rather than going with the Byrdland, but you’ve answered my question by playing that beautiful guitar.

Ted Nugent: But remember, nothing is sacred. I’m a spontaneous guy. As a guy that kills deer with a sharp stick… I mean, I hunt big game with a bow and arrow. There’s nothing more primal. So, I have to improvise, adapt, and overcome to try to outguess/wit/maneuver these creatures that God made specifically to avoid guitar players with a bow and arrow. So, it’s quite a challenge. My point is, is that you have to be fast on your feet. So, on the new record… And all my records, I’m working hard, playing hard. Remember that song? I think it was Cat Scratch. Oh my God. What a phenomenal vocal by Derek St. Holmes and Cliff Davies and Rob Grange. My God, what a force.

My point is I owned a ’54 Fender Stratocaster that Al Nally, Barb and Al Nally gave me back in 1970. And for the beginning of working hard and playing hard, I wanted to get this really clean sound. So, I grabbed that Fender Stratocaster and it was the only time I’ve ever used a strat in a recording session, but I improvised. I heard it. I heard that really unique Fender sound. On the new record Detroit Muscle, when you hear my Les Paul, my 1959 holy grail Les Paul on Driving Blind… And again, it has a unique voice, but I’ll set up the Byrdland so it’s almost a crisp Les Paul sound. It’s really almost jazzy. But you’ll hear the Les Paul on Driving Blind and Born in the Motor City. So, yeah, I do use my Les Pauls. I got quite an arsenal of unbelievable Gibson Byrdlands. Paul Reed Smith, I’ve used the Paul Reed Smith. This is the first album in a long time I did not use the Paul Reed Smith guitar, but again, they’re masterpieces. It’s all about situational awareness, communicating with Jason and Greg, and Michael and Andy and Tim, because they all give input. I have no yes men. If you yes me and bullshit me, you’re fired. We’re all yes men to the music. In fact, we’re not even really yes men because we’re critical thinkers. Ah, the missing talent of humanity, critical thinking. But it’s my baby, so I get a lot of input, I’m the final decision maker because the song’s my baby. But it there is a Les Paul when I think the Les Paul works. And there’s a Paul Reed Smith when a Paul Reed Smith works. And there’s the Fender Strat. But most of my stuff is with my beloved Gibson Byrdland, it’s such an animal sound. When you hear the song Feedback Grindfire, there are no other guitars do this kind of stuff.

ANTIHERO: There’s something about the Byrdland that I totally associate with you alone.

Ted Nugent: It just makes wonderful noises. And without any pedals. I have no pedals. I’ve just played through an old 1970 custom 35-watt 12 inch speaker. My point is, is that the music dictates where I go with it. So, you will hear the Les Paul and you’ll immediately notice… You’re a guitar player, right?

ANTIHERO: Yes, I am.

Ted Nugent: Well, you’ll immediately go, “That’s that Byrdland. That’s that Les Paul right there.” So, there’s a lot of adventure on the record. My brother died two years ago. Just a wonderful man. John Nugent. John Arthur Nugent. And it was such an emotional tsunami. I can’t even talk about it right now. So, a song called Leave the Lights On. It’s a beautiful song that you can tell how much I love and miss my brother…It’s really, pure, it’s a song that doesn’t say goodbye to John, but that we love you and you’ll always be with us. So whatever humans are capable of. I’m capable of.

ANTIHERO: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, obviously, we talked about the new stuff. What are your favorites of the old classics? Which ones do you love playing the most? You’ve played almost 7,000 shows now, so is there a go-to that really is still important to you?

Ted Nugent: Simon, I’m asked that question all the time and it’s like asking me who my favorite kid is. It’s like asking me what’s my favorite gun. One that’s loaded and close by, which guns will always be loaded and will always close by. How do you not love playing these songs? And by the way, does the guitar sound like Ted Nugent guitar on this technology?

ANTIHERO: Absolutely it does. It sounds really good. It’s picking up well, I only wish I was right there with you, for me this is such a privilege to hear these classics first hand, an audience of one Ted.

Ted Nugent: Who could not want to play this every night? Proceeds to play snippets of Cat Scratch Fever, Wango Tango, Stranglehold, Free For All, Great White Buffalo, the list goes on…

I get goosebumps on my goosebumps

I’d be up there for six hours. How about the Fred Bear song? I mean a lot of people might not know this song in England, but the Fred Bear song is the most requested Ted Nugent song of all in America.

ANTIHERO: Yeah. Superb track it is too.

Ted Nugent: They’re all my favorite song. In fact, on the new record, Come and Take It, American Campfire, Feedback Grindfire, Born in the Motor City, these songs are out of control, fun, intense. So, yeah, I’m a lucky son of a bitch and if the communist Chinese that infest my government get the hell out of our way we’ll have the greatest tour of my life, it’ll be a clusterfuck.

ANTIHERO: When you first discovered music, when you first found your own thing, what was the first music that you chose to love?

Ted Nugent: Well, how could you escape what Chuck Barry and Bo Diddley and Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis did. They invented this new outrageous grinding cadence and uppity electric guitar sonic bombast. Nobody had ever used guitars like that. There were the ventures and there was… There was Lonnie Mack and Duane Eddy. But what Chuck Berry and Little Richard and Bo Diddley and certainly Jerry Lee Lewis, and what Elvis delivered via the Black music. Elvis genuflected at the altar of Black musical forces. There would be no rock and roll, there’d be no meaningful music. I mean, I love Mozart and I love Beethoven, but when it comes to uppity, intense, defiant, fun, those founding fathers, they imprinted on us all and I don’t care who you talk to, Billy Joel or Steven Tyler, I don’t care who you talk to, Sammy Hager, they will all reference the same people I just mentioned. And I guarantee when Sammy Hager jams with The Circle, and when I get up with Sammy Hager and when I get up with ZZ Top on stage or a new guy named Tim Montana, believe me, Chuck Barry and Bo Diddley and Little Richard and James Brown and Wilson Pickett and the Motown Funk Brothers, it’s in everything we do.

So, I was born in 1948. Elvis was already cranking by ’53, I suspect, when I was five, six years old, and when I got wind of it, much to the chagrin of my dad, then I got a smack in the head by Chuck Berry, I couldn’t have told you why. Now I know why, but it was so different, so primal. I keep using the word primal. And let me make sure everybody knows this, and I’m the only guy who can tell you this, though everybody knows it, but they might not be able to articulate it. Rock and roll came from the heartbreak of the blues by Blacks who were mistreated in such an evil, evil, soulless, nasty way as slaves. They knew in their heart that they could not be owned by another man, but somehow society thought they could be. So, there was this pain and suffering that came out of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters and Mose Allison and Robert Johnson, the heartbreak that a man thinks he can own me. I know they can’t own me, but they do. I have to find a way to break these shackles.

You and I, we can only contemplate what that must be like. Of course, as a Brit, and as an American with Joe Biden in the driver’s seat, what a punk, we’re subjected to horrible, horrible controls and censorship. But it pales in comparison to a human being who was owned by another man. So, their emotion made the most important music in the world, delivering heartbreak and anger and frustration and confusion. Well, once there was the Emancipation Proclamation, even though Jim Crow still existed, now they took this pain and suffering and I give you Chuck Berry, celebrating a middle finger on fire against oppression by their own people in Africa, Blacks enslaving Blacks, and then Whites thinking they can own people. No, you can’t. So, that’s where Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley came from. And James Brown.

So, that’s why that music, it came from the purest of truth, knowing that you’re free and anything in your way you need to crush it. That’s why I’m so inspired to crush evil today. Again, I’m not comparing the evil I’m fighting against to slavery, but incrementally, we saw how the Nazis did accomplish something worse than slavery because people turned away from discomforting in information. I don’t turn away from discomfort information. I’m the great white buffalo. I like storms. I look for storms. You give me the best storm you got and I’m not going the other way, I’m coming right into your ass. I’m taking that blizzard; I’m walking right into that blizzard. That’s an American shit-kicker spirit.

So, the origins that I was bombarded with upon birth by the Black authoritative blues and gospel turning into rhythm and blues, defiance, and rock and roll defiance, I didn’t have to know why. It was so natural. It was as natural as your first wet dream. You had no control over the situation. So, I was inspired by those guys, especially how a white guy, like the great Elvis Presley, was able to deliver it. And then, of course, the Stones and The Beatles and The Kinks and The Who, that British invasion was actually a return of American Black music. The first Stones album had a Motown song, a Bo Diddley song and a Chuck Berry song. And the same with The Beatles. So, those musicians especially under the thumb of British control, their instincts to defy that were powerful, and they still are. You see the protests, you see these great Canadian truckers saying, “Fuck you. You can’t mandate jack shit in my life. I’m a free man, you punk.” It’s a beautiful time. So, there’s going to be some great music.

I’d like to think that Detroit Muscle has a whole bunch of flame-throwing going on because of the defiance that is now reinvigorated around the world against punk-ass tyrants and kings and emperors. Every king can kiss my ass. Every tyrant can kiss my ass. Every emperor can kiss my ass. Except before you get close enough to kiss my ass, I’m going to cut you down because you don’t have control over human beings. The human beings have control over our own destiny. And if you try to mess with it, I’ll cut you in half, King George. So, that’s beautiful… It’s almost like a spiritual ballet. I’m like a ballerina doing a pirouette on a king’s face. So, this is why that music struck all of us. You can’t escape that.

ANTIHERO: No, it’s true. There’s an honesty to it, Ted.

Ted Nugent: That’s what gives us AC/DC and ZZ Top and Aerosmith and Ted Nugent and Montrose and Journey and Foreigner and Cheap Trick and Heart. That’s the impetus for the best music in the world, and it’s alive and well today. Unfortunately, there’s not many new artists that really deliver that, but thank God for us classic guys.

ANTIHERO: there’s a lot of beige music out there at the moment, but that certainly isn’t my bag. So, when you come along with something new, much as some of the other bands that you’ve talked about, it’s just such a relief to get some real honest quality music again.

Ted Nugent: Well, there’s other bands. I fail to mention a lot, like Triumph out of Canada, how about Iron Maiden? I mean, I’m not a heavy metal fan, but their music is so infectious because they believe, they are honest with their music and their musical adventure is just some of the best music in the world. We could go on and name so many bands. I love what Judas Priest did. I love all these different bands. Metallica. I mean, again, I’m not a fan of heavy metal, but I am when they put rhythm in it, and certainly Iron Maiden and Metallica and so many of those bands are so rhythmical and so authoritative, and you can tell they practice. They put their heart and soul into it, so Chuck Berry is in there. There’s a Howlin’ Wolf in there too.

ANTIHERO: Ted, I’ve taken enough of your time because you’re probably going to be talking all day to a lot of people, but it’s been a real pleasure to catch up today. And you’ve fulfilled one of my dreams.

Ted Nugent: Well, thank you, Simon. I love to talk to people who love music, and I’m really inspired when people love my music because I love my music. But again, the big salute goes to you people and the real music lovers that demand the best every time, and again, I cannot overstate or overemphasize the incredible work ethic and talents of all my fellow musicians, going back to the Amboy Dukes. I could name every drummer, every bass player, every guitar player, every vocalist, every keyboard player. They’ve all been a dream. You go back and listen to that Amboy Dukes music; we were teenagers Simon. Go back and listen to Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels. They were teenagers. Weren’t The Beatles and the stones teenagers, I think so.

ANTIHERO: Yeah. Absolutely they were.

Ted Nugent: So, that rawness, but the work ethic, nobody has really given a spotlight on the incredible work ethic of these musicians. And I know Iron Maiden practice their asses off. ZZ Top practices, Aerosmith practices, AC/DC, they want to make sure they deliver the beast. And certainly, every Ted Nugent band, I think I’ve had the best musicians at my side throughout my life. And Detroit Muscle keeps that intensity. In fact, it’s more intense. Wait till you hear these songs. I mean, even just hearing Come and Take It and American Campfire, you got to love… That’s as raw as a kid playing his first guitar.

Music has to be timeless, and rhythms are timeless, and statements are timeless. Listen to the lyrics in Stormtroopin’ 1976. They’re more appropriate today than ever. Listen to the lyrics to Great White Buffalo from 1970. They’re more appropriate today than at any time. So, I’m proud of this record, I’m proud of my band, I’m proud of my team, and I’m proud of the music lovers around the world like yourself. Thank you for letting me blabber on about the things that we both love.

ANTIHERO: it’s been a real pleasure to talk to somebody that’s so enthusiastic about the thing that has always made me tick.

Ted Nugent: Well, thank you, Simon. God bless everybody. I miss you over in England, but if the communist Chinese get out of our way, Joe Biden and the other communist Chinese, if they get the hell out of our way, we’re going to have the best tour of our life this year. And I do have friends all over Europe and Ireland and Scotland and England. I love you madly. I miss you painfully. But a lot of them, not a lot of them, but some, they come over to witness the Ted Nugent tour here in the States because I’m really allergic to travel. I love to play the music, but I hate hotels.

ANTIHERO: That’s fair enough.

Ted Nugent: I won’t go to airports. I fly private because I’m not taking my gun off for anybody. Unarmed and helpless is really unarmed and helpless, and everybody who’s been raped and carjacked and murdered lately, they all have one thing in common, they’re all unarmed and helpless. And if a man thinks he can demand you to be unarmed and helpless, that punk needs to be eliminated because you and I are in charge of our God-given individual rights and that includes keeping and bearing arms. What a tragedy, huh? I got enough guns for everybody, Simon. They’re all loaded. So, God bless you over there and enjoy and celebrate Detroit Muscle because of my great team.

ANTIHERO: We will do. Thank you very much Ted, and all the very best. You take care, and good luck with the tour.

Ted Nugent: Yeah. Same to you Simon. God bless all my fellow rock and rollers out there.

DreamHost

AntiHero Magazine

AntiHero Magazine is made up of a staff of enthusiastic music journalists and photographers that offer the latest metal/rock related music news, exclusive interviews, album reviews, show reviews, Film and DVD reviews, concert photography, as well as information on music gear, festivals, tours, culture, booze and more! - Author: AntiHero Magazine

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