© Robert Cavuoto
Interviewed by Robert Cavuoto (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Ted Nugent – Ultralive Ballisticrock DVD/CD – If a 20 year old Ted Nugent showed up, I’d kick his ass!
The legendary Motor City Mad Man Ted Nugent rode through the USA on his I Still Believe Tour and on one of his stops in Pennsylvania; he recorded the show for a 2 CD/DVD – Ultralive Ballisticrock due out on October 22nd. At this show like every show, Ted conjures up quite an evening of magic and emotions, pulsating with lots of American pride. With his band of marauders featuring Derek St. Holmes, the original vocalist & rhythm guitarist from the70’s Ted Nugent Band, Greg Smith on bass and Dokken’s Mick Brown on drums they whip the crowd into a frenzy, pulling out all the classic hits from his 35 plus years in Rock n Roll.
Nugent is in classic “Uncle Ted” form on this release. This man has a Rock ’n’ Roll soul like no other, pure Detroit dynamite, infused with a bit of Motown & blues.
I was able to sit down with Uncle Ted to talk about his new DVD, what’s in store for his long awaited studio CD and what he things of people who oppose him!
Myglobalmind: I saw you play in New Jersey for the I Still Believe Tour about two years ago and I really can’t express how this DVD captures the excitement and the energy of that live show.
Ted: Yeah, my band is so good, it’s stupid. Every night is an absolute musical orgy for us, so I’m really glad we captured it. People need this stuff.
Myglobalmind: What prompted the release of Ultralive Ballisticrock?
Ted: We’re touring all the time, we love the music, we know how tight we are, and how energized we are. We know that we deliver a little bit more fire, passion, piss and vinegar than any other band out there. We decided that the world needs to be reminded that garage bands can get old but they don’t have to leave the garage. It was kinda cute how we defy gravity because none of us are kids anymore, but boy, onstage if a 20 year old Ted Nugent showed up, I’d kick his ass.
Myglobalmind: You’re playing to multiple generations of fans now, what’s that like?
Ted: We get a lot of young kids. I’m sure there’s at least three and occasionally four generations out there. It’s really rather compelling. It makes me very proud.
Myglobalmind: Do you remember anything interesting about filming that day?
Ted: You know, once we get on stage, I gotta tell ya, the music is so inebriating that you become out of body. I remember that we were recording and when we got done. I left the stage stumbling in a puddle of sweat. I glanced at the technology all around and I went, “Oh! We just recorded that!” God has blessed me in immeasurable and unlimited ways, but the number one is that he has blessed me to just completely swan dive and immerse myself in given endeavors and it really is out-of-body and that makes the music so pure and raw; and if you’re gonna play Chuck Berry and Bo Diddly music, you better be pure and raw and I really do lose my mind when I’m up there. Not to the point where I’m a danger to anyone, but there is a stream of consciousness and an evocative imagery and vision and cravings that take place on stage when you’re playing my music the way that we play it. I just can’t get away from that and I don’t wanna get away from it. And I think that virtual uninhibitedness is why people are still coming to see us and I know that has inspired Mick Brow [drums] and Greg Smith [bass] and Derek St. Holmes [vocal/guitar] to perform with that same fire every song, every night.
I know that that event and that venue is 100% bow hunters; they’re not just music lovers, they’re also all blood brothers, so I was in friendly turf. Not that any gig isn’t friendly turf, but you know what I mean. If you just hang out with Uncle Ted for the music, that’s perfect! You don’t need anything else! But if you go ahead and you are part of the self evident truth political agenda, that enhances everything, including the music. Now you take it to the “Nth” degree, and of course we all know that “N” stands for “Nugent”, and you add nothing but hunting, fishing, trapping and outdoors NRA members out there. By God, it’d make the Hitler youth rallies look like a discombobulation!
Myglobalmind: Knowing that this DVD was being filmed was there any nervousness or concerns that if you didn’t nail it, you won’t have a DVD?
Nugent: I’m really good at ignoring that stuff. There’s just some things you just have to discard and disregard. It really is primal from the first time we go on stage we play “Street Fighting Man” by the Stones, because we believe in it, we believe in street fighting, we believe in the American Revolution, we believe in fighting for what you believe in and that song is so driving and compelling, before we even play out first note we’re already in the zone. It’s very exciting and ready.
Myglobalmind: The beauty of the set list is that it covers all your classic hits, there something so electrifying about those classic songs with solid riffs. Do you think artists have lost sight of the importance of great riffs?
Nugent: I’m afraid so. I’m really let down, even by great bands like Nickelback. There’s no song identity until the melody comes in. I look back at “Paperback Writer”, “Smokestack Lighting”, “Ticket to Ride”, “Satisfaction”, or “Johnny be Good”, all these classics start with an identifiable guitar pattern. Last night before we started playing “Cat Scratch Fever” obviously the number one guitar lick in the history of the world. I go through the set list of all my intros, I start with “Gonzo”, “Just What the Doctor Ordered”, “Wango Tango”, “Turn it Up”, and “Great White Buffalo”, all these songs and every song has this compelling inescapable grinding guitar lick.
And yes I miss that from music. Do I still love some music that doesn’t have it? Sure I do but nothing quite like those masterpieces that start with this pattern and the band roars in and then you start singing lyrics with a pattern that sounds like the guitar pattern. How cool is that? And I got a bunch of those right now with our next studio album and I can’t wait to get in and make those.
Myglobalmind: That was my next question about a new studio CD. Love Grenade was an outstanding hard rock riff driven CD and was wondering how you are going to follow it up.
Nugent: Perfect example, the songs “Love Grenade”, and “Crave” oh my god, the fact that “Crave” isn’t a bigger song then “Cat Scratch Fever” is an indictment to the end of the music industry clowns out there. Listen to the opening pattern on “Crave”, what a great song.
Myglobalmind: What can we expect from the new CD?
Nugent: Well it’s going to be hard rock and guitar god like music. It’s going to be fun music, sexy music, political music, rouse about defiance, all of the above. It’s all going to be guitar lick oriented, it’s going to be in that same classic pocket of R&B like all my favorite stuff is. We got some real adventurous instrumentals on it as well. We’re going to record it in February or March of next year and hopeful it will be out by next summer.
Myglobalmind: How quickly did you realize the anthemic impact of “Cat Scratch Fever”?
Nugent: No you can’ really predict things like that. I think the first time Tom Werman heard me playing it backstage at a Pittsburgh gig back in 76, he came in running in and said “What’s that”, I just said, “I don’t know I was just playing with my guitar.” That’s how all my licks start, I grab a guitar and amp and start strumming and rhythm blows up off my fingers and is really very exciting because I know is gonna happen every time and it does and its very gratifying from a musician who was brought up from the guitar masters that shows me how to do that.
Myglobalmind: Does keeping things simple – just two guitars, bass and drums – steer you down a certain creative path?
Nugent: Yeah especially when you have a guitar master like Derek St Holmes I mean were both raised in that same motor city guitar god of Jimmy McCarty, from Mitch Ryder’s band and the Great Funk Brothers from Motown, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Plus all the white guys that figured that stuff out and came after those black masters. So Derek and I have a real good communication of musicality so I know I can rely on him. I also like to mention as I do on every interview, that Derek is probably the most underrated guitar player on planet earth. He’s an absolute monster guitar player and to be able to call on him for anything, anywhere, anytime to do any lick, he knows instinctively what works really good together, plus he’s got enough of a different angle that it really makes a nice dissonance when dissonance is called for. So it’s an absolute joy to collaborate with a guy like Derek. We don’t need anything else getting in the way of two guitars.
Myglobalmind: You had double knee surgery recently due to the meniscus-smashing amplifier leaps, how are you feeling?
Nugent: Well I’ve had about a dozen surgeries on both and I’ve also had a stem cell injection done earlier this year in March, it really took away a lot of the pain, but I’m afraid here at the end of the tour, the pain is returning. I don’t complain, I’m going to have them both replaced sometime this next winter and I look forward to that. Everybody who has done it, which seems to be everybody, they all rave about it and say they should have done it earlier.
Myglobalmind: I read that your recent Connecticut show was met with some protesters, how did the show go?
Nugent: They are liars they claim I’m a racist which is just the haters hurdling the nastiest term at someone. Everybody with a brain knows I’m not a racist. But when you quote the FBI and The Department of Justice in the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case, the lunatic fringe just has a hyper fit. So they can’t argue with me so they gotta bring in the communist party people, which they all we’re, they had the communist party regalia on, and they we’re all just spewing hate.
And dare I say, it was probably one of the greatest concerts of my life. The place was sold out with support from people who support self evident truth good will and decency, and honestly my haters are all dishonest. Everything they hurl at me is a lie. I did not fall in the trap, I did not molest children and I’m not a racist. I gotta tell you the world of Al-not-so-Sharpton along with the President are scam artists. The President who is a racist and he brought color into a court case which was brutally inappropriate and a gun running Attorney General, when you have that kind of sub-human indecency in positions of authoritative power abuse on unprecedented levels, I couldn’t be more proud that these people hate me because I’m the good, they’re the evil and never the two shall meet.
Myglobalmind: Do you think you are more popularly known in US households as a musician, hunter, or controversial political activists?
Nugent: Well you know the music is universal. I’m stocked all the time with brushing accolades, and love about the music and equally as much for standing up for the important issues like conservation, hunting rights, gun rights, accountability form government. Everybody knows that our government is rich with criminal power, abuse, dishonesty and fraud scams from hell. You just have to shut down the President and his Acorn. He’s getting the IRS, one of the most powerful agencies in America to target political opponents? This is acceptable by someone? So people consistently come up to me and thank me cause I write for a number of conservative websites, I write for a lot of sporting publications and blogs, I’m very involved and very active. I have the best people in the world at my side, the heroes of the military and their families, law enforcement, teachers, cops, welders, mechanics, CEOs, ranchers, farmers and people who really bust their ass to be the best that they can be and productive as possible.
They are heartbroken and angered by people who refuse to be productive, they’re the one’s going through hard times, they literally have a gang out there of Obama supporters who have a list of jobs they are not willing to do. Can you imagine if you needed to support your family and having a list of jobs that you are not willing to do? I can’t comprehend it, it’s incomprehensible. How about an increase population of Americans who have “given up looking for work”, really? That exists in America? It’s not a French thing? This is heartbreaking. So I really am polarizing cause I stand up for the truth, and liars have been polarized, just like last night, all kinds of heroes, old guys who we’re in the US Army in Korea, in Vietnam and Desert Storm, these guys come out of the woodwork to thank me for what they and their buddies sacrifice for, and then the parents of a mentally disabled child last request was to go hunting with me. And these are the people I hang with, not the scam artists out there like Al-not-so-Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan. Let’s stop and think and be honest here, the President of the United States and the Attorney General have sided with The Black Panthers? Are you kidding me? And I’m the racist? Oh my god, so people love to stand in the shadow of my scrotum because my balls are oversize and block out the sunlight and they get a kick out of my tenacity and intransigence. People like Piers Morgan – liars and idiots and it pains me to say this, I wish I didn’t have to say this, I wish none of this existed. But I’m going to keep fighting so it doesn’t exist.
Myglobalmind: What moment in your career is unforgettable?
Nugent: Life will not last long enough for me to discuss even one percent of it, everyday is just phenomenal. From the little kids who are terminally ill and who ask to come to a concert, and go hunting with me. That a dying six year old girl thinks the world of you and wants to spend his last days with you before she dies? I mean you gotta be kidding me, is there more powerful consideration? The family would welcome me into their light at that time, and it happens all the time.
Or a Navy Seal who puts in his will that he wants to have the song “Fred Bear” played at his funeral? Wow jeez I don’t visit the mountain top, I live on it. I can tell you thousands of stories. like this. [Long pause] When I returned home with the remains of a Lt Coronel Eric McCray from Fallujah, and the conversation I had with his family. Or standing there while Private First Class Todd Balding bled to death in front of me and Toby Keith as we were invited in the room for that last few minutes of his live. I don’t know what else you could ask for!