(Read all about Ted Nugent after the videos)
Theodore Anthony "Ted" Nugent (/ /; born December 13, 1948) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and political activist. Nugent initially gained fame as the lead guitarist of the Amboy Dukes, a band formed in 1963 that played psychedelic rock and hard rock. After playing with the Amboy Dukes, he embarked on a solo career.
Nugent is also noted for conservative political views, his lifelong stance against drug and alcohol abuse and advocacy of hunting and gun ownership rights. He is a board member of the National Rifle Association and a strong supporter of the Republican Party.
Nugent was born in Redford, Michigan, He moved to Palatine, Illinois as a teenager, and has two brothers: John and Jeffrey, and a sister, Kathy. Raised Catholic, Nugent has mentioned his ties with Catholicism many times during interviews, and has stated that he regularly attends church. He attended William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois, then transferred after his freshman year to St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
Nugent has released more than 34 albums and has sold a career total of 30 million records. He was known throughout his early career in the 1970s for using Fender amps, a large part of his signature sound, and for playing the hollow-body Gibson Byrdland guitar.
Performing since 1958, Nugent has been touring annually since 1967, averaging more than 300 shows per year (1967–73), 200 per year (1974–80), 150 (1981–89), 127 concerts in 1990, 162 concerts in 1991, 150 concerts in 1993, 180 in 1994, 166 in 1995, 81 in 1996, Summer Blitz '97, '98, Rock Never Stops '99, 133 concerts with KISS 2K. Nugent's 2005 plans involved a tour with country music singer-songwriter Toby Keith, whom Nugent met in Iraq while they were both performing in USO-sponsored shows for the coalition troops. Nugent toured with local Detroit musician Alex Winston during the summers of 2007 and 2008.
On July 4, 2008, at the DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston, Michigan, Ted Nugent played his 6,000th concert. Derek St. Holmes (original singer for the Ted Nugent band), Johnny Bee Badanjek (drummer for Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels), and Nugent's guitar teacher from 1958 Joe Podorsek all jammed on stage with Nugent for various tunes.
The Amboy Dukes
His first edition of the Amboy Dukes played at The Cellar, a teen dance club outside of Chicago in Arlington Heights, Illinois, starting in late 1965, while Nugent was a student at St. Viator High School. The Cellar's "house band" at the time had been the Shadows of Knight, although the Amboy Dukes eventually became a staple until the club's closing.
The Amboy Dukes' second single was "Journey to the Center of the Mind", which featured lyrics written by the Dukes' second guitarist Steve Farmer. Nugent, an ardent anti-drug campaigner, has always claimed that he had no idea that this song was about drug use. The Amboy Dukes (1967), Journey to the Center of the Mind (1968), Migration and Rusty Day (1969) — all recorded on the Mainstream label — sold moderately well. On April 5, 1968, Nugent along with a group of musicians paid tribute to Martin Luther King by having a folk, rock and blues jam session. Joni Mitchell played first, followed by Buddy Guy, Cactus, and Jimi Hendrix. Other musicians who participated were BB King and Al Kooper.
After settling down on a ranch in Michigan in 1973, Nugent signed a record deal with Frank Zappa's DiscReet Records label and recorded Call of the Wild. The following year, Tooth Fang & Claw (which contained the song "Great White Buffalo", arranged with Rob Grange) established a fan base for Nugent and the other Amboy Dukes. Personnel changes nearly wrecked the band, which became known as Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes. Nugent reunited with the other members of the Amboy Dukes at the 2009 Detroit Music Awards, which took place April 17, 2009. The psychedelic band received a distinguished achievement honor at the event. The Dukes also played together at the ceremony, marking their first public performance in more than 30 years.
See also: Ted Nugent discography
Nugent dropped the Amboy Dukes band name for good in 1975, and signed to Epic Records. Derek St. Holmes (guitar, vocals), Rob Grange (bass) and Clifford Davies (drums) were the primary additional band members for his 1970s multi-platinum albums: Ted Nugent (1975), Free-for-All (1976) and Cat Scratch Fever (1977). These albums produced the popular radio anthems "Hey Baby", "Stranglehold", "Dog Eat Dog", and "Cat Scratch Fever". It was during these three years that Nugent emerged as a guitar hero to hard rock fans, many of whom were unaware of his lengthy apprenticeship with the Amboy Dukes. This band lineup toured extensively, also releasing the multi-platinum live album Double Live Gonzo! (1978), until its breakup in 1978 when St. Holmes and Grange departed. St. Holmes was replaced by Charlie Huhn and Grange by Dave Kiswiney. Davies left around 1982 after staying on to record Weekend Warriors (1978), State of Shock (1979), Scream Dream (1980) and Intensities in 10 Cities (1981). The "Intensities in 10 Cities" album includes the controversial song "Jailbait."
On July 8, 1979, Ted was on the rock radio program King Biscuit Flower Hour. This was the original broadcast of Ted's performance of Live at Hammersmith '79 which had been recorded during the second set of a night at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1979. An album of this program was released in 1997.
During this era, Nugent was notable for his declarations that he did not drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco or marijuana. In an interview for VH1's Behind The Music, Nugent said this was due to his father's having reprimanded him when he came home smelling of alcohol after a night of drinking. Nugent has been cited as an influence on the straight edge movement, which disavows drinking and recreational drug use.
During the period of 1982–89, Nugent released a series of moderately successful solo albums. In 1989, he joined the supergroup Damn Yankees, with Jack Blades (bass/vocals, of Night Ranger), Tommy Shaw (guitar/vocals, of Styx) and Michael Cartellone (drums). Damn Yankees (1990) was a hit, going multi-platinum in the U.S., thanks in no small part to the smash hit power ballad "High Enough". The video for this song featured Nugent in a priest's collar, and later in a zebra-striped cape during the guitar solo. It also saw the first appearance of his 'WhackMaster' hat.
Return to solo career
Returning to a solo career, Nugent released Spirit of the Wild in 1995, his best-reviewed album in quite some time. The album also marked the return of Derek St. Holmes to Nugent's studio band. A series of archival releases also came out in the 1990s, keeping Nugent's name in the national consciousness. He also began hosting a radio show in Detroit on WWBR-FM ("102.7 The Bear, Detroit's Rock Animal") and took ownership in several hunting-related businesses. He created TV shows for several networks; Wanted: Ted or Alive on Versus, Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild on PBS and The Outdoor Channel, as well as Surviving Nugent and Supergroup-Damnocracy on VH1.
Ted Nugent appears on David Crowder Band's 2007 release, Remedy, playing guitar on the song "We Won't Be Quiet". He announced his "Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead" tour on April 21, 2010.
On March 14, 2011, Nugent released a new song, "I Still Believe", as a free download via his website to subscribers to his news letter. Nugent says of the song: "America is a target-rich environment for an independent man addicted to logic, truth and The American Way. 'I Still Believe' throttles the animal spirit of rugged individualism in pure MotorCity ultra high-energy rhythm and blues and rock and roll." In April 2011 Nugent announced that former frontman Derek St. Holmes would be joining his band for Nugent's I Still Believe Tour.
Nugent starred in his own outdoors television show, named after his popular song "Spirit of the Wild". The song was the theme music to the TV series, in which Nugent took viewers on a variety of wild game hunts using his bow. In the series, he taught and advised hunters and "hands-on" conservationists around the world on the different aspects of hunting and politics, and informed the public on the importance of getting children away from the TV and video games and getting them out beyond the pavement in order to better their lives.
In 2003, he was host of the VH1 reality television program Surviving Nugent, in which city dwellers such as model Tila Tequila moved to Nugent's Michigan ranch in order to survive such "backwoods" activities as building an outhouse and skinning a boar. The success of the two-hour show spawned a four-part miniseries in 2004, titled Surviving Nugent: The Ted Commandments. This time it was filmed on Nugent's ranch in China Spring, Texas. During filming, Nugent injured himself with a chainsaw, requiring 44 stitches and a leg brace.
In 2003, Nugent also guested on the VH1 program Forever Wild, hosted by Sebastian Bach, former lead vocalist for the band Skid Row. They shot some firearms and walked around Nugent's cabin in the woods. Two years later, in 2005, Nugent hosted a reality-type show, Wanted: Ted or Alive, on what was then called the OLN, or Outdoor Life Network, before it became the NBC Sports Network of the present day. In Wanted: Ted or Alive, contestants competed for money as well as for opportunities to go hunting with "Uncle Ted." The contestants had to kill and clean their own food to survive.
In 2006, he appeared on VH1's reality show SuperGroup, with Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, Biohazard bassist Evan Seinfeld, ex-Skid Row lead singer Sebastian Bach, and John Bonham's son Jason Bonham, who had been the drummer for Bonham, UFO, and Foreigner. The name of the supergroup was originally FIST but later was changed to Damnocracy. Bach had lobbied for the name Savage Animal. Captured on film by VH1 was a rare Nugent duet with guitarist Joe Bonamassa at the Sand Dollar Blues Room for a 45-minute blues jam. He starred in another reality show for CMT in August 2009. The show, titled Runnin' Wild ... From Ted Nugent, featured Nugent instructing competitors in the art of survival; the competitors had to use those skills in challenges in which Nugent himself hunted them down.
In 2008, Nugent was a guest on the episode Southwest Road Trip Special of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, where he spoke against obesity and public health care.
Also in 2009, Nugent played guitar at The Alamo for a Tax Day Tea Party hosted by Glenn Beck and Fox News. Most notable in his set was a version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in which he used alternate picking and whammy bar effects. The clip and sound bite of this came to be played extensively on Fox News as well as on The Glenn Beck Program.
In 1976 Nugent was in the documentary Demon Lover Diary, about the making of the John Dods' horror/comedy movie My Demon Lover. He is shown supplying real guns for the making of My Demon Lover, as the crew films at Nugent's house.
In 1986, he guest starred in an episode of the hit television show Miami Vice entitled "Definitely Miami". Nugent played a villain. His song "Angry Young Man" was featured in the episode. His song "Little Miss Dangerous" was also featured on a Miami Vice episode of the same name, although he did not appear in the episode.
In 2001, Nugent appeared as himself in a third season episode of That '70s Show entitled "Backstage Pass". Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon), who works for radio station WFPP, obtains tickets to the upcoming Ted Nugent concert for the entire gang. Following the concert, her boss Max (Howard Hesseman) gives Donna a backstage pass to meet Nugent, where he volunteers to sit for an interview. Meanwhile, Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson) and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) try to sell unauthorized concert t-shirts accidentally spelled Tad Nugent.
Also in 2001, Nugent appeared as himself in the second episode of the short-lived university campus FOX comedy series, Undeclared. In the episode "Full Bluntal Nugety", Nugent is a guest at the university, there to speak on his favorite topics, mainly hunting and gun control. This is where new student Steven Karp (Jay Baruchel) takes his love interest Lizzie (Carla Gallo) on their first date. Karp tries to heckle Nugent during his speech in an attempt to impress Lizzie, with disastrous results. FOX didn't like the idea of Nugent and his political views appearing on this show, so the episode was re-shot and re-edited as "Oh, So You Have a Boyfriend?" which aired without any Ted Nugent content whatsoever. The complete "Full Bluntal Nugety (Director's Cut)" episode is available in its entirety, in the Undeclared DVD box set, including some extra Ted Nugent scenes that had been deleted.
He made a guest appearance on the cult television series Aqua Teen Hunger Force, in the episode "Gee Whiz", on Adult Swim. Locals believe to have seen the face of Jesus in a billboard, and they mention how it looks like Ted Nugent. Throughout the episode they think it's Jesus' face, but at the end they discover it was in fact Nugent's. He proceeds to shoot a flaming explosive arrow at Carl (mistaking him for a "varmint"). Ted also appeared on Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy when he kills the Ghost of Christmas Past and serves him to guests for dinner.
In 2007, Nugent appeared in the music video for Nickelback's "Rockstar", and in 2008 he played a key role in the Toby Keith movie Beer For My Horses as the quiet deputy named Skunk.
In 2007, Nugent debated The Simpsons producer Sam Simon on the Howard Stern Show about the ethics of hunting animals. Coincidentally, Nugent would later lend his voice to an over-the-phone appearance in the season 19 episode of The Simpsons, "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", where, in a humorous jab at his political stance, inmate Dwight picks up his call for voting no to the fictional Proposition 87, which bans crossbows in public schools. As part of his pre-recorded message, Nugent asks "If we outlaw crossbows in our public schools, who's going to protect our children from charging elk?".
In 2012, Nugent again appeared as himself on The Simpsons, on January 8 Episode "Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson," where he is nominated as a Presidential candidate for the Republican Party.