Say what you will about his politics, but there's no denying the fact that Ted Nugent has firmly solidified his place in the annals of music history. Bastardizing the honky tonk from his stints with the Amboy Dukes and Damn Yankees to his hugely successful solo career, the Motor City Madman has performed well more than 6,500 shows over the course of his career - including a recent performance at Sweden Rock Festival in front of 40,000 rock hungry fans.
Whether it’s his music or his politics, Nugent does things on his own terms, and certainly isn’t afraid to tell you how he really feels.
Perhaps it’s one of the reasons why Nugent’s first studio album in seven years, “Shut Up & Jam!” (releasing July 8th) is so powerful. Relishing his spot in the eye of the storm and being on the front lines of the culture war and scourge of political correctness and denial, Nugent once again channels the blues masters that inspired his own guitar prowess while continuing to wave the flag for a love of God and country.
I spoke with Nugent about “Shut Up & Jam!” as well as got his take on the current State of the Union.
It’s been seven years since “Love Grenade”. What was the decision behind releasing a new studio album?
It wasn’t really a decision. The fact is, I’m so involved with so many different aspects of my life and tour like an animal every summer that I just didn’t put the logistics together to record this material. A lot of the songs on “Shut Up & Jam!” are actually a few years old. I’ve been messing around with “Do-Rags and a .45” for at least ten years. “I Still Believe” and “Never Stop Believing” are at least seven years old. “I Love My Bbq” and “Semper Fi” I’ve been working with for a few years. But there are a few new songs on the album. “Fear Itself” is a brand new song and “Everything Matters” is a song that was written at the beginning of this year. These songs all have a fire in them and I finally couldn’t wait any longer. I knew now was the right time to capture them.
What’s the secret to your killer guitar riffs?
It all goes back to the Amboy Dukes and even the Damn Yankees and Ted Nugent band. If you ask any of the guys they’ll tell you. Whenever I pick up my guitar really fun, garage band variations of what Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and the original Boogie-Woogie, Honky Tonk guys did comes out – and this album reeks of that! You really feel that original rhythm and blues structure and pulse in a lot of these songs because those original black artists all inspired me with their work ethic and musical prowess.
Is it ok if we talk a little politics?
Absolutely! But first, let me make something perfectly clear. I am really let down by my fellow Americans who avoid politics or whine “Ah! Stop being so political!” Let me explain what politics are to those who haven’t been educated by our failed education system.
“Politics” in America are the responsibility of “We the People” to remain engaged and a force to reckon with as we direct and demand accountability from our PAID elected officials to adhere to their oath to the U.S. Constitution. “We the People” is not a selective, segregated vision. “We the People” is supposed to be every American who cherishes, values, respects and earns this unique freedom by actually participating in an experiment in self-government. All of us have a moral, intellectual and spiritual obligation to remain in touch with our elected officials.
The fact that Barack Obama, Eric Holder, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi all hold the most powerful positions in the world is insanity. These are strange creatures that are attempting to fundamentally transform America into a SHIT HOLE! But I (as a “We the People” participant) will not let them do it without warrior-like resistance. I am a political animal because an American is supposed to be one. People who avoid politics are avoiding their duty and responsibility as a good American to demand accountability from our employees in elected office.
If you had Obama, Clinton and Holder all in the same room with you, what would be the first thing you would do?
I’d probably pace back and forth and then start off by saying “What in God’s name are you people doing? Why are you lying?” Then I would play them tapes of all of their lies and show them the historical evidence that shows how their fundamental transformation vision has destroyed every society it has touched.
The statistics are irrefutable and inescapable. Whenever liberal democrats run things, it’s a WRECK! It’s like their dream of having a gun-free zone – it already exists! It’s Chicago. And since you and I have gotten on the phone James, twenty people have been shot! Why would you want more of that?
What are your thoughts about what’s going on in Iraq right now?
It’s a perfect example of what I’ve just outlined. The insane community organizer rules of engagement. The fact is, the Middle East is a series of training areas for people who want to pull off another 9/11. You don’t reasonably secure the nucleus of terrorist training and then just leave. You don’t abandon them and let them use all of our equipment and have it eventually find its way into the hands of the enemy. Why do you think there are still American forces in Germany and Japan? Because the Japanese empire and the Nazi’s were PURE EVIL! We’re there to keep our eyes on them, and if we ever see any more of that Japanese empire or Nazi bullshit – we will nip it in the bud. But we didn’t do that in Iraq? That’s insanity!
Do you think something like term limits for all members of Congress would help?
In a world with this course of apathy and where people are not paying attention term limits is a good idea. But that’s not going for the real cause. That’s going for one of the effects. The real cause is that “We the People” don’t monitor the activities of our elected officials. My problem with term limits is that if citizens really monitored their congressmen properly, they would know if he’s not doing a good job or less than a good job. And if he’s not doing a good job you don’t need term limits – you vote him OUT!
But what if he’s doing a great job and he’s steam rolling the status quo? What if he IS getting accountability and IS cutting the waste, corruption and fraud? Well then you don’t want to term limit him out – you want to keep him IN! I think term limits are an escape hatch for a nation of wimps. If we can’t monitor them like we’re supposed to, it’s counter-productive.
Do you think there’s hope for America?
Absolutely. I travel and hang out with people everywhere. I don’t just rock and roll and then order room service. I’m on the phone with people and meet with working class people and community leaders and get a pulse of every city I’m in. I meet with these people and hear what they’ve witnessed and what they believe and I know that they’re getting fed up. I think we can take this country back and stop the hemorrhaging debt atrocity and teach people to instead being blood-suckers waiting for a hand out to be productive. I really do believe that.
Shut Up & Jam! will be released July 8th
For more on Ted Nugent: www.tednugent.com