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Ted Nugent

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Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent (born December 13, 1948) aka the Nuge and "the Motor City Madman") is an American guitarist from Detroit, Michigan, originally gaining fame as a member of the Amboy Dukes. Some of his best known songs include "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang," "Cat Scratch Fever," "Great White Buffalo," "Wango Tango," and "I Just Wanno Go Hunting."

The Amboy Dukes' second single was "Journey to the Center of the Mind", which Nugent claimed he didn't know was about drug use. The Amboy Dukes (1967), Journey to the Center of the Mind (1968) and Migration (1969) sold moderately well, establishing 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. Though the group's studio recordings rarely sold well, the band managed to keep a large following.

Nugent dodged the draft during the Vietnam War. In an interview for the Detroit Free Press (July 15, 1990), Nugent described how he avoided the draft: He claims that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last ten days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside pants caked with excrement and stained by his urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment, he says. His quote: “ but if I would have gone over there, I’d have been killed, or I’d have killed, , or I’d have killed all the Hippies in the foxholes… I would have killed everybody.”

Ted Nugent dropped the band name and signed to Epic Records in 1975, with Derek St. Holmes (guitar, vocals), Rob Grange (bass) and Cliff Davies (drums) as his back-up. Ted Nugent was his first solo release; the album was a success among the heavy metal community. Personnel problems led to St. Holmes' departure from the band before the recording of Free For All (1976), with Meat Loaf, then unknown, replacing him. St. Holmes returned for Cat Scratch Fever (1977); the album was another hit, as was the titular single. Nugent had begun dressing as a caveman for live shows, which were growing more and more extravagant. Double Live Gonzo (1978) furthered his fame, though personality and financial problems continued to drive band members away.

During the 1980s, Nugent released a series of generally ignored albums. Near the end of the decade, however, Nugent formed a supergroup, Damn Yankees, with Jack Blades (bass, vocals, formerly of Night Ranger), Tommy Shaw (guitar, vocals, formerly of Styx) and Michael Cartellone (drums). Damn Yankees (1990) was a hit, selling 5 million albums mostly due to the Shaw-Blades songwriting team, which yielded a power-ballad, "High Enough." Damn Yankees toured on the heels of the first Persian Gulf War, which Nugent endorsed by shooting flaming arrows at Saddam Hussein in effigy. Several police complaints and at least one arrest resulted from Nugent's newly discovered patriotism. Nevertheless, they were a top concert attraction in the early '90s. However, another Damn Yankees release, 1992's Don't Tread, was unable to sustain similar momentum.

Returning to his solo career, Nugent released Spirit of the Wild, his best-reviewed album in quite some time. A series of archival releases came out in the 1990s, keeping Nugent's name in the national consciousness; he also began hosting a radio show in Detroit and owns several hunting-related businesses. He also created and hosted an outdoors television show, also called Spirit of the Wild, that currently airs on The Outdoor Channel. Attracting attention for his commentary on issues ranging from gun control to biodiversity, Nugent is a regular guest on popular programs like Larry King, Howard Stern, Politically Incorrect and Rush Limbaugh.

Beginning in the '90s Nugent has became quite popular for his conservative and libertarian beliefs and his anti-drug and anti-alcohol stances. In a 1977 interview with People magazine, Nugent admitted smoking "50 joints and the '60s" and having tried cocaine "once." He is a national spokesman for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (D.A.R.E.), advocating the "natural highs" to be found in an outdoor lifestyle, and for the past 15 years has hosted the Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids which combines a curriculum of hands-on hunting, conservation, archery and a strong anti-drug message. He is also a spokesman for National Field Archers Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Big Brothers & Big Sisters.

Although he holds some libertarian beliefs on issues such as Second Amendment rights, Nugent has been outspoken in his contempt and violent attitude toward those who use drugs, illegal or otherwise, saying that his "level of awareness" is what compelled him to "turn down the drooling, puking, dying punks with their drugs and their alcohol and tobacco," and claiming to "have busted more hippies' noses than all the narcs in the free world. I hate drug abuse." (Source: National Review Online, May 17, 2002, transcript of interview with Larry Kudlow and Jim Cramer.)

An avid hunter, Ted Nugent was a frequent visitor to Canada until the government of Ontario cancelled the spring black bear hunt in 1999. Upset that he could not participate in the hunt, Nugent vowed to never set foot again in what he described as "an idiotic country". An outspoken pro-hunting media crusader, Nugent conducts 5 -10 prime media interviews every week. A longtime advocate of gun ownership rights, Nugent has served since 1995 on the board of directors of The National Rifle Association (NRA), of which he is a Life Member.

Nugent was a speaker at the NRA's 2005 National Convention in Houston. He received an enthusiastic reception from the delegates, telling them: "Remember the Alamo! Shoot 'em! To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead. Get a gun and when they attack you, shoot 'em." (Source: "Ted Nugent to Fellow NRAers: Get Hardcore," Associated Press article, April 17, 2005)

Nugent and the animal rights movement have long had an adversarial relationship. In 2000, Nugent was jailed briefly following an incident outside a department store in San Francisco in which he allegedly spat on, threatened and physically assaulted several anti-fur demonstrators.

Nugent created and produced the award-winning Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild PBS video series, raising in excess of $3,000,000 for PBS affiliates nationwide.

In 2004, Nugent served as host of a VH1 reality television program, Surviving Nugent: The Ted Commandments, in which city dwellers moved to Nugent's Waco, Texas compound in order to survive such "backwoods" activities as building an outhouse and skinning a boar. During filming, Nugent injured himself with a chainsaw, requiring 44 stitches and a leg brace.

Nugent was a longtime resident of Concord, Michigan. However in December 2004, he announced he would officially become a resident of Texas in 2005. He and his family had moved to Crawford, Texas in mid-2003. Nugent continues to own his property in Concord. Even after moving to Texas, Ted stated in a Detroit Newspaper, he would return to run for Governor of Michigan, in the future. Nugent also was rumored to be under consideration by the Illinois Republican Party as its candidate in that state's 2004 Senate race. (Source: Taegan Goddard's Political Wire, July 15, 2004)

Nugent To date, he has released over 31 recordings, and sold over 35 million albums. He continues to advocate his views on personal freedom on the lecture circuit, and as Editor/Publisher of Adventure Outdoors magazine.

Ted Nugent is an award-winning writer for over 20 publications, and author of the New York Times best-seller "God, Guns and Rock 'n' Roll" (July 2000), and "Kill It and Grill It" (2002), a cookbook co-authored with his wife, Shemane.

A recipient of numerous commendations from state police, sheriff departments, FBI, DEA, U.S. Army and police agencies nationwide, Nugent has been a sworn Michigan Deputy Sheriff since 1980, and was a guest speaker at International Law Enforcement Convention by invitation from Director of FBI William Webster, Attorney General Edwin Meese and President Ronald Reagan.

Performing professionally since 1958, Nugent has been touring nonstop yearly since 1967, averaging more than 300 shows per year 67-73, 200 per year 74-80, 150 81-89, 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 on #1 Tour in the World with KISS 2K. His was the #1 grossing tour act in the world in 1977, 1978, and 1979. Nugent's 2005 plans include 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 is also known for his unabashed opinions on many subjects: feminists--"What's a feminist anyways? A fat pig who doesn't get it often enough?"; gun control--"Only a coward supports gun control. You know how to stop carjacking? Shoot the carjacker. If someone is going to kill me for my Buick, I'm gonna shoot until I'm out of ammo - and then I'll call 911"; vegetarians--"Vegetarians are cool. All I eat are vegetarians -- except for the occasional mountain lion steaks."

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