News Segment


June 7, 2007

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Ted Nugent is sure of himself.

Take, for example, his theory on why he’s still rocking 40 years after recording “Journey to the Center of Your Mind,” his landmark album:

“God loves me more than he loves you.”

On Saturday, Nugent, 59, the hunter/rocker/self-proclaimed agitator of liberals, is bringing epic songs such as “Stranglehold” and “Cat Scratch Fever” to Mesker Amphitheatre.

He called recently from his home in Waco, Texas, for what was supposed to be a Q&A session. But nearly nine minutes in, he wasn’t done with his first A.

He was on a roll, talking about why he exercises his First Amendment rights almost as much as his Second Amendment rights, and about how he feels about a batch of songs he wrote in the last couple of weeks.

“The new songs are just hysterical,” he said.

“They’re so intense, so grinding, so rhythm-and-blues. James Brown would really, really be proud. ‘Love Grenade’ is the title of the record, and that’s the first single. It’s probably my greatest composition ever.”

There’s also “Bridge Over Troubled Daughters,” which Nugent said is “just another hyper guitar lick masterpiece.”

And another song about the “Trail of Tears” called “Geronimo and Me” that he said is “going to become a classic before this tour is over.”

The first single is set to be released June 23, but the songs could pop up in Evansville, Nugent said. There was only one drawback to what he called a “recording jihad.”

“I did, heartbreakingly, cancel a British Columbia bear hunt, which means some poor camper is going to get mauled and it’s my fault because I didn’t adequately reduce the black bear population on Vancouver Island. (Forget) ’em, they’re just Canadians.”

It’s that kind of comment from Nugent that has always riled up some people, especially animal rights activists, and that has kept him in the news nearly 20 years after his last mainstream hit. He was just joking (about the Canadians, not the bears), but he when he talks issues, he gets just as upset as those who disagree with him.

His voice rises as he decries people who drink and drive and kill and rape and rob, who are able to work but still take welfare. The sermon ends with “get a job and get off my … back” before he catches himself, stops, takes a breath, and calmly says, “my point is”

“I wouldn’t have to fight for welform reform, I wouldn’t have to fight for education reform, because I already have the perfect life. I can go out right now, I own property, I can hunt 365 days a year and just kill (stuff) until I turn blue in the face … But if I am so blessed to live in a country where young men and women are dying so I can, how dare I not fight for the freedoms they’re sacrificing their lives for.”

He said people probably think he hunts with a tank, or calls in airstrikes, but he hunts with a bow and arrow. He said the experience calms him, makes him one with nature, and puts him in the right frame of mind to play the guitar–there’s always one handy.

“I was going to say I have more guitars than I have guns, but I’m sorry, it’s not even close,” he said. “I only have about 100 guitars.”

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