Ted Nugent's bad-boy persona is stamped with a sneer and a swagger that defines the distance between him and other rockers from the late '60s and early '70s. The difference is clear not only in his unapologetic disdain for drugs and his unabashed enthusiasm for guns but also his conservative allegiances. At 61, Nugent shows no sign of mellowing. His grit and defiance are imbedded in a string of albums stretching from the early '70s onward. His latest jaunt, "Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead," convened only after Ted indulged in a favorite pastime — hunting bear. Fortunately, New Times captured a few minutes with the Nuge before his departure.
New Times: So, what can we expect from a Ted Nugent show these days?
Ted Nugent: Sheer terror and the genuine threat that if you fail to dance with adequate animal enthusiasm, there is a very real possibility that violent things could happen upon you! With maximum peace and love, of course! Mick Brown on drums and Greg Smith on bass represent the most dangerous rhythm section a guitarist could ever dream of jamming with, and we create a firestorm of primal R&B and rock 'n' roll outrage every night. My music has never been more fun, more intense, more ferocious in all my life. If you don't have the time of your life at my concert, you need serious help.
Is the hard-rocking Ted Nugent of the mid-'70s the same Ted Nugent we see today?
Like a killer cat, I've become more deadly, more graceful, more efficient, more effective, more brutal, more ferocious, and way more funny.
Now that you're almost eligible for Social Security, do you have any thoughts about slowing down? Have you mellowed at all?
Being clean and sober all my life has given me incredible health and energy, and most importantly, an incredibly intelligent prioritization regimen for quality of life. I rock my ass off royal half the year, then hunt, fish, and trap the other half. I've written four books, two New York Times bestsellers, write regular features for more than 20 sporting publications, a weekly feature for the Washington Times, humanevents.com, and Glenn Beck's Fusion magazine. I conduct more than 1,000 media interviews each year; produce, write, co-edit, direct, and host both Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild and Tooth, Fang and Claw TV shows; run Sunrize Safaris booking and guiding outfit; operate Sunrize Acres and SpiritWild Ranch hunting operations; plus partake in literally hundreds of charity events throughout the year.
No, I have not mellowed. In fact I have to have my horns trimmed three times a week these days, instead of only two a few years back.
When you look back on your lengthy career, what musical memories come to mind?
A throbbing plethora that is not to be shared with an unsuspecting public. You will have to read my book.