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Ted Nugent

Throughout his lengthy career, guitar wildman Ted Nugent has reveled in the controversy and criticism that always seems to follow in his path. While there's no denying his exceptional talent on the six-string, his knack for penning arena rock anthems, or his standing as one of rock's top live acts, it's his non-musical endeavors that have caused the most condemnation from his detractors (his pro-right wing beliefs, pro-gun advocacy, appreciation of hunting animals, etc.). But by the same token, Nugent is a family man and one of the few hard rockers who has admirably stuck by his lifelong anti-drugs and -drink stance throughout his career.

Born on December 13, 1948, in Detroit, MI, Nugent became interested in rock & roll early in the game, picking up the guitar as a youngster, while his disciplinarian father passed his beliefs down to Nugent. In the '60s, Nugent formed his first bands (including Royal High Boys and Lourdes), drawing inspiration from such British blues-rockers as the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. But it wasn't until the formation of the Amboy Dukes that the Nuge got his first taste of stardom (it was also around this time that Nugent began playing a Gibson Byrdland guitar, a model which would be instantly associated with him throughout his career). The other members of the group didn't exactly share Nugent's clean-living lifestyle, as proven by their psychedelic hit single "Journey to the Center of the Mind," which Nugent claimed he didn't know at the time was about being "under the influence." The band managed to issue several albums throughout the late '60s -- 1967's self-titled debut, 1968's Journey to the Center of the Mind, and 1969's Migration -- as the group fit in well with such other high-energy rock bands to emerge from the Motor City: MC5 and the Stooges in particular.

With bandmembers coming and going at an alarming rate, Nugent remained the only constant member -- eventually officially changing the band's name to Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes by the '70s, and issuing 1971's Survival of the Fittest, 1973's Call of the Wild, and 1974's Tooth, Fang & Claw. While none of these releases exactly stormed the charts, Nugent and his cohorts remained an in-demand concert draw, as he also set up "guitar duels" on-stage around this time (battling with MC5's Wayne Kramer and Mahogany Rush's Frank Marino, among others).

By the mid-'70s, Nugent decided to finally ditch the Amboy Dukes name and set out on his own, assembling a first-rate backing band that included second guitarist/vocalist Derek St. Holmes, bassist Rob Grange, and drummer Cliff Davies. By 1975, the new band was signed to Aerosmith's management company (Leber & Krebs), as well as the same record company, Columbia, resulting in the release of Nugent's self-titled debut in November of the same year. The band immediately struck a chord with the heavy metal/hard rock crowd from coast to coast, due to the band's over-the-top stage show. But the bandmembers' relationship with Nugent was rocky at best -- Nugent wanted complete control of the band, while the others wanted it to be more of a democracy. The end result was St. Holmes leaving the band prior to the sessions of their sophomore effort, 1976's Free-for-All (which saw a then-unknown singer by the name of Meat Loaf filling in for the departed singer).

St. Holmes returned, however, in time for the album's ensuing tour, and by the release of 1977's Cat Scratch Fever (which spawned the hit single title track), Nugent and his band was one of the top rock bands in the U.S. -- storming the charts and selling out arenas coast to coast. By now, Nugent had assumed the stage persona of a caveman -- hitting the stage dressed in nothing but a skimpy loincloth and knee-high boots, and would often begin his show by swinging out on a rope à la Tarzan (!). Like other rock acts of the '70s (Kiss, Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton, etc.), Nugent used a live album to catapult his career to the next level of stardom -- 1978's classic Double Live Gonzo! But despite all the success, the members of his band began deserting him one by one over the course of such albums as 1978's Weekend Warriors, 1979's State of Shock, and 1980's Scream Dream. To add insult to injury, Nugent found himself bankrupt around this time, due to several failed business ventures and poor management.

Nugent continued to tour and crank out albums throughout the '80s (including such forgettable releases as Intensities in 10 Cities, Nugent, Penetrator, Little Miss Dangerous, and If You Can't Lick 'Em...Lick 'Em), but it appeared as through the Nuge was trying to keep pace with the burgeoning pop-metal crowd instead of sticking to the raw and raging rock that brought him success in the first place. Nugent also tried his hand at acting around this time, appearing as a drug dealer in an episode of the hit TV series Miami Vice in 1986. By the end of the decade, Nugent joined the rock supergroup Damn Yankees (joining former Night Ranger bassist/singer Jack Blades, former Styx guitarist/singer Tommy Shaw, and drummer Michael Cartellone) -- resulting in the quartet's self-titled debut in 1990, which became a surprise hit due to their Top Ten power ballad, "High Enough." But ultimately, the union proved to be short-lived; after only one more album (1992's lackluster Don't Tread), the band called it quits.

Nugent returned to his solo career, issuing his best album in over a decade, 1995's back to basics Spirit of the Wild, while several archival releases turned up throughout the '90s: 1993's three-disc box set Out of Control, 1997's Live at Hammersmith '79, as well as his first three albums reissued with added tracks and newly remastered sound in 1999 by the Epic/Legacy label (also issued at the same time was the first truly comprehensive compilation of the Amboy Dukes, the 18-track Loaded for Bear). The Nuge was also the subject of an interesting VH1 Behind the Music episode. He continued to tour well into the 21st century (landing the opening slot on Kiss' Farewell U.S. Tour in 2000), and issued the third live collection of his career, Full Bluntal Nugity, in 2001.

In addition to music, Nugent has gotten involved in politics, hosting a number one morning radio show in Detroit, has run his own hunting camp and issues instructional videotapes (as well as the Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild PBS video series), owns his own hunting supply store, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association, writes columns regularly for a number of different magazines, and even sells his very own beef jerky (called Gonzo Meat Biltong)! In 2001, the Nuge penned his own autobiography, the perfectly titled God, Guns, & Rock n' Roll. He next embraced the digital realm by releasing the two-disc, 30-track MP3 online song bundle Happy Defiance Day Everyday over the 4th of July weekend in 2010. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

blackhawks entrance song
Ted Gonzo Nugent!
Rock on Nuge!
Great showman and has a seamless relationship with his guitar, crossbow and political stance....pu t s me in a Stranglehold . Keep rockin' Terrible Ted!
vegasphonema n
Great guitarist but explain the anti drug thing, he was at iron butterfly's recording of inagodadavda , explain that
He is a beast!
Rock on Uncle Ted! Spirit of the wild!
Only one thing really to say.... NUGE!
In reguards to the staker on our childen!!! Sick mother Fkr!! Teds gonna get you!!!!
You know what to hunt and eat what you kill!! Why do people prey on our children maybe they need an arrow from you!!!! Reno
f**kin get it sweaty teddy.
Keep rockin' on uncle ted
In high school (1982) I got in a fight with a kid who said his grandmother could play guitar better than Ted Nugent. Puuuleeease !!!
I prefer concerts/ live versions.Kin d a like Smoke on the water/studio / Smoke on the water/live Made In Japan.....ju s t preference.
He doesn't get enough credit for his guitar playing. His riffs are some the greatest ever written.
skmathison
Love his music, politics, hunting, and stances, as well as his quick wit. Strangle hold a masterpiece
One off my buddy's is a 3rd cosine to old Ted and he comes to pa everyone in wile to hunt with family.
Great musician, too bad he doesn't have the sense to keep his political opinions to himself...
No one rocks those days like the tedman
no one's guitar sounds like Teds maybe cuz it is as big as a bus
Ted ran when his turn to serve came up, but he can play that f**kin guitar for sure.
milosdad
Loved him on TMS. Respect that his new favorite artist is Bruno Mars. Proves he's about the music.
If anyone caught The Nuge on 'That Metal Show' recently, you can see why he is annoying as f**k. But you can't deny he can still play that big ol' Gibson of his!
Only pansies hate Ted and don't like to hear the truth outspoken.
He is a beast. His political views match our Fore Father's views and those that think he's too extreme have been p**sy whipped by today's pussie politics!
kristenrocks i n g s
saw him open for skynrd 77 or 78 following him ever since
Tjwe
Why is it when you speak the truth you're vilified but yet speak lies like that marionette in office now you're treated as a king. God bless Ted Nugent and God bless the USA.
Follow for follow. Classic hard rock radio.
Don,t read this,because it actually works.You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday, by the love of your life.Tomorro w will be the best day of your life .However,if you don,t post this , you will die in 2 days .Now you,ve started reading this ,don,t stop.This is so scary.Post this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes.When done , press f6 and your lovers name will come up on the screen .This is so scary , because it works.f6
rogerblocke
Left wing Pandora
rogerblocke
Ted Nugent doesn't exactly fit with Pandoras left wing communistic and overtly politically correct views that are at the core of the destruction of America!
dlockwood3
One crazy SOB, but man can he rock!!!!!
Im young so I dont know much about his political views but ive hunted alot all over the world and I look up to him just because of the amount of time he spent in the woods
Gotta love uncle Ted.
*doods
Foods dis is awesome!
Best rock song of its time!
That's what I'm talking about, Rock & Roll!!!!!!!! ! ! !
Ted rocks. I may not agree with his political views. His stand on immigration and being right wing but nonetheless he's a top hard rock guitarist of all time ; regardless of his views.


m244014
Gotta love how the official bio above slams him for his political beliefs. How stupid. The bio should be about his music.
Saw him in germany in late 70 during wang tang days blew the rest away like molly hatchet pat travers and the likes he rocked the stage
ted sucks
Uncle Ted xD one badass guitarist and a hell of a hunter xD and also follow for a follow xD
Ted is an awesome kick-a** guitarist who wrote some totally classic Hard Rock songs - too bad his mind and political beliefs got so wack with age.
fordman1.ck
Ted for President!!
God, this man is talented. Heaven forbid that he's part of a political party you don't like or his ideas aren't yours, that's his opinion. Nonetheless, one of the best guitarists of all time in my opinion in terms of creativity.
james.caslin
Nugent is an IDIOT!!! After this album, all that cat scratch scat is nonsecile fluff BUT Stranglehold done LIVE is a memory from my teens that I'll never forget!!! Outdoor concert in Nashville Speedway w/ Lynard Skynard and 38 special Fireworks and a flame show to blow this addled teenagers mind, that day he was an Iconic wonder to me. A true guitar hero, but still a nit wit.
Flatlander i see your point, but its less Pandora's political bias and more the author of the biography who actually works for a company called Rovi.
He's just a badass dude. You can't describe him any other way.
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