By: Dennis Cook
"I am a black Jew at a Nazi-Klan rally. Let's get it on."
This is how Ted Nugent tells me he plans to open his upcoming guide to life, Ted, White & Blue: The Nugent Manifesto. He's not shy about sharing his opinions and he has a lot of them. A working musician since the early '60s, Nugent has blossomed into a blue collar cottage industry, the six-gun version of Jimmy Buffett, with television shows, books, bow hunting excursions and, of course, a huge catalog of over 30 albums that have sold more than 35 million copies worldwide. He'll be the first one to tell you he's a phenomenon, and it's kind of hard to argue with him. But, in recent years, Nugent has become a lightning rod for conservative hot button issues, where he's always happy to weigh in.
"The Klan and the Nazis suck, and I am their enemy and I'm gonna fuck 'em up. I'm not obeying your laws and I'm not getting on my knees while you burn a cross on my lawn. I'm gonna shoot you fuckin' dead. I'm a Black Jew at a Nazi-Klan rally and I can't be contained," says Nugent. "There's a line drawn in the sand, and in [Ted, White & Blue] this is how I define it ultimately: On my side is a huge mass of humanity who says we are not going to ask what our country can do for us. We are going to get up early and do what we can for our country. On the other side, you've got sniveling pimps and whores and welfare broads and people who think those are legitimate job descriptions siding with Obama and Hilary. I don't know how a mind or a soul decays to that low. I don't know how that happens."
Undeniably, one of rock's godfathers, Nugent is talented, violent, self-aggrandizing, freewheeling, distressingly patriotic and, above all, a pretty damn good time. And like many good times, he's a bit dangerous, uncomfortable to many and liable to get you slapped if you follow in his footsteps. As he'll be happy to tell you, most men aren't Ted Nugent, who runs the razor's edge between bat shit crazy and scary smart, and you're never quite sure which way he'll lean as he sprints around. Love him or hate him, he demands a reaction, pouring baking soda into our soda pop and shaking us with a wicked smile.
JamBase: You are precisely the smart ass I imagined you'd be.
Nugent: Well, I didn't invent the middle finger but I perfected the motherfucker.
JamBase: I've been a fan of your music since I was a kid. There's something so fucking primal about it.
Nugent: How can you not be? If you have a heart, a soul and a penis, well, I'm your boy.
When people say "cock rock" I think Ted Nugent.
Whoa. Now you're starting to scare me. No, I appreciate that. You love the vitality, the authenticity, the spirit, the defiance, the irreverence, the autonomy. You love the fact that I will not fucking back down. We all have that inside of us but political correctness has just about de-balled 90-percent of the population. Davy Crockett lives and I'll be glad to shoot Mexicans from the wall of the Alamo. If you don't want to shoot 'em with me, then shut the fuck up and load my gun!
Nugent is utterly unafraid to speak his mind. In fact, he often lets loose without a second's pause, uttering things aloud that most of us, even in our darkest moments, know to keep shuttered tight inside. To him, he's just being honest and throwing it all out there to be sorted in the light.
"The bottom line is not just speaking one's mind but before the mouth opens the brain feels a duty to sponge information, evidence and facts, and always put them through the logic meter, based on good will and decency" offers Nugent. "So, when I do speak my mind it's not just a knee-jerk reaction but a well executed delivery of genuine, sincere research so I know what the hell I'm talking about. Big difference, you know? I'm 60-years-old and I don't have many hunches anymore. I very rarely speak my opinion. I'd rather hear my observations of irrefutable occurrences, facts and, again, that dangerous 'L' word – logic. I dare to genuflect at the altar of logic, and someone who tries to pry my knee from the ground is gonna get a crowbar upside the head."
"Logic serves everybody in a positive way. It's the abandonment of logic that's created these squawking critics of me. God sent Michael Moore to find those who oppose me," Nugent continues. "All this energy, all this confidence, all this humility – because I'm humbled by logic – and all the music I've created, even the pre-recorded stuff from '62/'63 jamming with The Lords [Nugent's first band], it was about defiance. I understood what Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry were singing about. I discovered it was about defiance and a celebration of life, and my music and my politics are one and the same. And what is politics other than an individual's pursuit of happiness and demanding from our employees, i.e. elected officials, that they exercise good will, decency and logic in their policymaking? My hand can stroke a puppy and change a diaper, but it can also turn into a fist and knock the shit out of you. It's the same thing, just depending on what the moment's motivation might be."
Rock 'n' roll is often viewed as a numbskull thing, the work of people too dumb for higher pursuits. And while the man who gave us "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" might seem to be the last dude you'd look to for lofty, cogent advice, there's philosophical underpinnings to his pummeling musical assault that go beyond pussy, fighting and carousing. Moreover, step back from the more consciously salacious outbursts and it's hard to dismiss the value of at least some of what he suggests.
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