On the night of Friday, July 16th, The Hard Rock Live will bust wide open when Ted Nugent and his band take the stage for a concert that will undoubtedly blow the roof off. With over 6,000 performances to his credit, Ted Nugent is the undisputed master of the Gibson Byrdland guitar. He is also a fascinating individual who never shys away from controversy, and always stands up for what he believes in.
GTP: When did you discover you had this mammoth talent with the guitar?
TN: “I was born just a few years after Les Paul had just invented the damn thing, but it was Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry who really utilized the instrument, and I was really paying attention. I learned really young and it was raw and pure. I wanted to replicate the emotion and the outrage that I heard. I was so hooked into that whole Motown vibe, and loved the primal scream of the guitar. Even today, I am constantly discovering new sounds, new grinds and patterns…I play every day, 15 minutes here – 15 minutes there, all day long.”
GTP: I know touring is second nature to you, but how are things going on this particular time out on the road?
TN: “It is really hysterical. I am 61 years old now and just had double knee surgery (laughs). My band; Mick Brown on drums and Greg Smith on bass guitar are bringing my music to unprecedented highs. It has never been more intense, or energized, or ferocious. We have so much fun on stage, and are so tuned into each other.”
GTP: What is it about the Gibson that makes it your instrument of choice?
TN: “It has this amazing tone, and it doesn’t sound like anything else. The minute a Ted Nugent lick comes across the radio, you know exactly who it is. The Gibson Byrdland was a masterpiece Jazz instrument, that was meticulously, painstakingly created – a one of a kind. The very first time I heard that guitar, it was 1961 in Detroit and I thought my head was going to blow up! It was the richest, most brutal and twangy sound I had ever heard. I was only about 12 years old. Right then and there, I knew I HAD to have a Byrdland of my own one day. It cost $1,000.00 back then and I did every job I could think of and saved every penny I made. I was so proud…I was able to eventually buy my own.”
GTP: I understand that Gibson will have a Ted Nugent special edition guitar model – what does that mean to you?
TN: “It is still in research and development. But I am very proud to be the one who took that hollow body guitar and made it play such hardcore Rock and Roll. This is a Jazz instrument! (laughs) But I get the most insane noises out of it, and I turn it into this wild, screeching, banshee animal. My Gibson Byrdland will not be unlike the original, and it will be a monster. We are hoping it will be on the market next year, at the same time my next book is released, ‘Stranglehold’ which will document my entire clean and sober, Rock and Roll career.”
GTP: Take me through a day in the life of Ted Nugent
TN: The American Dream is about being the best you can be, and I make it a point to live my life this way. I am surrounded by the best people; my family and staff and crew, my band – and they are so positive and so full of energy. I start the day as the sun comes up, get plenty of exercise and I eat really well, all good quality natural foods, and only wild game and fish. An average day consists of my music, media, politics, trapping and shooting, hunting and fishing and filming everything that we do out in the wild so it can be viewed on my TV show. Not a minute is wasted, and we get so much done. Actually, the Ted Nugent Organization is the polar extreme opposite of our government!”
GTP: As a conservationist Ted, how do you feel about the BP oil spill?
TN: “We pray for everyone down there, and that the magnificent ecosystem can be cleaned up and restored to it’s former beauty. The horror of this situation, the corruption in the government is pandemic… they claim we have an Environmental Protection Agency…couldn’t even protect my lawn! I am so angry and frustrated, I cannot believe that plans were not in place, and at the ready if something were to go wrong – it is mind boggling! In my home we have fire extinguishers and loaded guns in every room, so that we are always safe because things do happen!”
GTP: Can we talk about your involvement with the NRA for a moment?
TN: “If it weren’t for the National Rifle Association, America would have already been forced into unarmed helplessness which is anti-human, anti-American, and represents anti-freedom. Barack Obama’s entire voting record has been to totally disarm American citizens. It has been proven that cities that allow you to carry a loaded gun on your person have dramatically less violent crime…in fact in most cases, crime stops completely. The evidence speaks for itself – more guns equal less crime. Less guns, more crime!”
GTP: Do you have a personal relationship with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Glen Beck? I know you are often on their radio programs.
TN: “We are all stupid busy, but when we are not that way, we cherish and we need our family time. But these guys are my Blood Brothers. We are always there for each other, we fight for the same principals, and we know that our duty is to raise hell. I have the most respect and admiration for all of them. And the Fox Network gets to the bottom of issues and exposes the abusers. Thank God they are not afraid to tell it like it is.”
GTP: In closing Ted, is there anything you would like to leave our readers with, some food for thought perhaps?
TN: “Yes. This July 4th? It is not Independence Day…It is Defiance Day! This must be the battle cry of America, and in November we have to clean house.”