Ted Nugent, a.k.a. the Motor City Madman, can still rock a house at 61. Known as one of the first guitar gods of the '70s with his gonzo, over-the-top stage presence, thrashing solos and larger than life persona, Nugent strummed to the top of the arena circuit with such hits as Cat Scratch Fever, Free for All and Stranglehold. Known for his straightforward approach, conservatism, hunting (which has riled some feathers) and declarations that he neither drinks nor does drugs, Nugent is truly unique in the rock world. We spoke to the Michigan native while he was prepping for his Tuesday night show at Revolution Live.
What's your strategy to keep going at this pace?
Clean and sober, eating really smart, all wild game all the time, getting plenty of battery recharging rest and remaining in touch with the Great Spirit by re-creating my mind, body and soul every natural, pure hunting season.
Your stage style revolutionized the modern guitar god.
Chuck [Berry] and Bo [Diddley] taught me everything I know. I just kicked up the sexuality and fun factor to a more ferocious animal level. It is how we are made, and I provide the ultimate American Dream soundtrack of defiance and individuality. It is beautiful, is it not?
What is your songwriting process?
I wildly jam on my guitars every day, and driven by a demand for ultimate independence and autonomy, explosive, grinding, soulful patterns erupt every time. My passion for life comes flaming out of my guitar, and I instinctively follow the energy of the licks and lyrics and imagery blaze away. It is mighty exciting; more now than ever, really.
You have done a lot of work with DARE and MADD. Tell us a little about that.
I do what I can to raise hell. . . . Every day is a sacred gift, and the joys of life are worth every possible effort to live clean, sober, healthy and happy. Puking, stumbling and dying does not a party make.
What can fans expect at the show?
Ferocious high energy, brutality and relentless animal grind. Me and my boys kill nightly. Mick Brown and Greg Smith are the ultimate rhythm section from hell. We will trample and hurdle like dogs in heat!
The 61 year old rocker Ted Nugent performs in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Duane Sycz.