Ah, Ted Nugent. He's truly a gift that keeps giving for a rock critic. At this point, the targets of the 73-year-old rocker's tirades seem practically arbitrary. Dare I say it, but I wouldn't be surprised if I woke up tomorrow to find The Nuge looking to verbally assault a K-Pop band. Why?
Who the hell knows? Who the hells knows with anything this guy says? But if you've been following the drama thus far (and from what I can tell, you are), you probably know by now that someway, somehow, Ted Nugent has a comment… for… everything. It seems like every full moon, The Nuge's almost-always unprovoked and unnecessary howls are always in the realm of public earshot.
The latest shitstorm involving ol' Ted dates back to earlier this year, when he went on a rant on YouTube over a decade-old list of 100 Greatest Guitarists published by Rolling Stone and compiled by journalist David Fricke.
"When you see the Rolling Stone magazine list of greatest guitar players," Nugent griped, "They list Joan Jett but not Tommy Shaw [Styx, Damn Yankees with Nugent]. How do you list the top 100 guitar players and not list [Nugent band guitarist/vocalist] Derek St. Holmes?
"How do you do that? You do that by lying," the tirade continued. "The same way you get Grandmaster Flash in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You do that by lying. You have to be a liar….. You have to have shit for brains and you have to be a soulless, soulless prick to put Joan Jett…[on the list.]”
Now, it can't be underscored enough that these outbursts from Ted fit a familiar pattern of whining that is commonplace of rockers of his generation. The reality is that many of them think they are due recognition and believe a class of elites are standing in their way. (Sound familiar?)
Just last week in a radio interview in Detroit, Nugent took aim at Pantera—again—when asked about cover versions of his 1977 hit "Cat Scratch Fever." Just as he did on YouTube, he bemoaned what he describes as music having no soul—dragging Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer mysteriously into the mix—while practically sculpting a statue of himself in the likeness of James Brown, bragging about he and his band's soul chops.
In that interview, he again name-dropped his musician pals, only this time from the low end: Jack Blades and Michael Cartellone (Damn Yankees) plus drummer Carmine Appice, who overlapped briefly with St. Holmes's tenure, were just a few Nugent mentioned. So The Nuge is clearly using whatever platform he has left to be a sort of pied-piper for forgotten musicians—as he sees it, at least. Which would all be fine and dandy, except Nugent seems naturally compelled to inject racial tension and identity-based demagoguery into the conversation without any real reason other than to incite unrest.
“[I] love Joan. Some of my greatest memories include lesbians," he said, which if was not bizarre enough on its own, Nugent doubled-down by adding, "I love the lesbians; it’s a cocktail of wonderment. [I] love Joan Jett—put another diamond [sic] in the jukebox, baby; great rock and roller—but as a top 100 guitar player… Really?”
In the Detroit radio interview last week, Nugent attempted the same sort of Jedi Mind Trick, where he again described Pantera's cover as "caucasian" and remarked that the band got mad at him for saying so. This combined with his comments about Grandmaster Flash and Jett just further substantiate the ugly pattern that permeates Nugent's promotional appearances.
Jett recently spoke about Nugent's remarks for the first time in a new interview with NME. When asked to comment on Nugent's opinion that Jett shouldn't be included, the switchblade-tongued rocker fired back, "Neither should he."
She continued by saying, "Ted Nugent has to live with being Ted Nugent. He has to be in that body, so that's punishment enough. He's not a tough guy. He plays tough guy, but this is the guy who shit his pants–literally–so he didn't have to go in the Army."
Jett is of course referring to a 1977 interview Nugent gave to High Times in which he proclaims to have pooped himself for a week straight, along with other gross antics, to avoid being drafted. (By the way, why is Mr. Straight-Edge Ted Nugent giving an interview to the pot Bible? Weird.)
Regardless, I've heard a lot of readers ask lately, "Why even bother covering this guy? Forget about him."
Forget about him? In this day in age, fake tough guy or not, we can't afford to forget about him. Here's something that no one should take lightly, also from the poop issue of High Times:
"But you know the funny thing about it? I'd make an incredible army man," Nugent said. "I'd be a colonel before you knew what hit you, and I'd have the baddest bunch of motherfuckin' killers you'd ever seen in my platoon. But I just wasn't into it."
The Nuge just wasn't into it….. then. You know, now they have a name for folks like The Nuge: they're called Oath Keepers.