Theodore "Ted" Nugent (born December 13, 1948, Detroit, Michigan) (aka The Nuge, Uncle Ted, Terrible Ted, Sweaty Teddy, Deadly Tedly, Great Gonzos, Theodocious Atrocious and The Motor City Madman) is a hard rock guitarist from Detroit, Michigan, originally gaining fame as a member of the Amboy Dukes, and noted for his support for hunting and conservative political views.
Some of his best known songs include "Stranglehold", "Free For All", "Dog Eat Dog", "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang", "Fred Bear", "Cat Scratch Fever", "Motor City Madhouse", "Paralyzed", "Great White Buffalo", and "Wango Tango".
Nugent gained acclaim for his raucous, intense live music, and still performs live.
Born in Detroit, Ted has lived in many places including Los Angeles, and currently resides near Crawford, Texas. Nugent was a longtime resident of Jackson, Michigan. However, in December 2004, he announced he would officially become a resident of Texas in 2005. He and his family moved to China Spring, Texas in mid-2003. Nugent still owns his property in Jackson.
He graduated from St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois in 1966.
Nugent was draft age during the Vietnam war. According to Nugent's current website, he enrolled at Oakland Community College and took a student deferment.
When Nugent turned 30, in 1978, he began a relationship with a 17-year old Hawaiian girl, Pele Massa, and became her legal guardian to comply with laws pertaining to relationships with minors. This was covered in VH1's 1998 Behind the Music featuring Nugent, and included an interview with Massa.
His first wife was Sandra Jezowski, whom he married in 1970 and divorced in 1976. They had two children. Jezowski died in a car crash in 1982.
His second marriage was to Shemane Deziel; they married on 21 January 1989, and have one child.
Nugent fathered a child out of wedlock in 1995, with a Dover, New Hampshire woman, Karen Gutowski, with whom he had a "brief relationship" during his second marriage to Shemane Nugent. He and Gutowski came to an agreement on child support and visitation in late June. The newspaper reported that Nugent will pay Gutowski $3,500 monthly in child support, and she will have sole custody of their son, born in 1995. Terms of Nugent's visitation were not disclosed, but Gutowski later sued Nugent for additional support in 2005. He was served with the subpoena September 5, 2004 when he played at the Meadowbrook Amphitheater in Gilford, New Hampshire with ZZ Top. He remains married to Shemane.
He was appointed to Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association in 1995, a position that he currently holds.
In the late 1990s Nugent began writing for various magazines. He has written for over 20 publications, and is the author of "God, Guns and Rock 'n' Roll" (July 2000), and Kill It and Grill It (2002), a cookbook (co-authored with his wife, Shemane).
In July 2005 Nugent said he was "getting real close to deciding to run" for governor of Michigan. On August 4, 2005 CNN reported that Nugent had withdrawn from the race for 2006, but was keeping his options open for 2010. Nugent also was rumored to be under consideration by the Illinois Republican Party as its candidate in that state's 2004 Senate race.
Ted also suffers from a hearing loss. A November 2005 Rolling Stone article noted Nugent, among others, has publicly acknowledged hearing problems.
To date, he has released over 31 recordings and sold over 35 million albums. Ted Nugent is famous for playing the semi-hollow Gibson Byrdland. Gibson Guitar Corporation has developed a model named for him. He is also known throughout his early career in the 70's for using Fender amps, a large part of his signature sound.
Performing professionally since 1958, Nugent has been touring yearly since 1967, averaging more than 300 shows per year 67-73, 200 per year 74-80, 150 81-89, 127 concerts in 1990, 162 concerts in 1991, 150 concerts in 1993, 180 in 1994, 166 in 1995, 81 in 1996, Summer Blitz '97, '98, Rock Never Stops '99, 133 concerts on #1 Tour in the World with KISS 2K. His was the #1 grossing tour act in the world in 1977, 1978, and 1979. Nugent's 2005 plans include a tour with country music singer-songwriter Toby Keith, whom Nugent met in Iraq while they were both performing in USO-sponsored shows for the coalition troops.
The Amboy Dukes' second single was Journey to the Center of the Mind, which Nugent, an ardent anti-drug campaigner, claimed he didn't know was about drug use. The Amboy Dukes (1967), Journey to the Center of the Mind (1968) and Migration (1969) - all recorded on the Mainstream™ label - sold moderately well.
After settling down in a ranch in Michigan, in 1973 he signed a record deal with Frank Zappa's new record label DiscReet and recorded Call Of The Wild. The following year, Tooth Fang & Claw (which contained the song "Great White Buffalo"), established a fan base for Nugent and the other Amboy Dukes. Personnel changes nearly wrecked the band, which became known as Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes. Though the group's studio recordings rarely sold well (and Nugent was upset he did not earn fair royalties with Frank Zappa), the band kept a large following.
Ted Nugent dropped the band name and signed to Epic Records in 1975, with Derek St. Holmes (guitar, vocals), Rob Grange ( bass ), and Cliff Davies (drums) - who co produced most of his best loved albums. Ted's solo career was most successful when he released hits such as "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold". This band toured extensively until it's break up in 1978 when St Holmes and Grange departed. St Holmes was replaced by Charlie Huhn and Grange by Dave Kiswiney. Davies finally left around 1982.
During the 1980s Nugent released a series of generally ignored albums. Near the end of the decade, Nugent formed a supergroup, Damn Yankees, with Jack Blades (bass, vocals, formerly of Night Ranger), Tommy Shaw (guitar, vocals, formerly of Styx) and Michael Cartellone (drums). Damn Yankees (1990) was a hit, selling 5 million albums, thanks in no small part to the smash hit power ballad "High Enough." The "High Enough" video featured Nugent in a priest's collar and later in a zebra-striped cape during the guitar solo.
Damn Yankees toured on the heels of the first Persian Gulf War, which Nugent endorsed by shooting flaming arrows at Saddam Hussein in effigy. Several police complaints and at least one arrest resulted from Nugent's actions. Nevertheless, they were a top concert attraction in the early '90s. Another Damn Yankees release, 1992's Don't Tread, was unable to sustain similar momentum.
Returning to a solo career, Nugent released Spirit of the Wild, his best-reviewed album in quite some time. A series of archival releases came out in the 1990s, keeping Nugent's name in the national consciousness. He also began hosting a radio show in Detroit and owns several hunting-related businesses. He also created and currently hosts an outdoors television show called Wanted: Ted or Alive on the Outdoor Life Network.
Since the early 1990s Nugent has become both popular and criticized for his conservative beliefs and his anti-drug and anti-alcohol stances. He is a national spokesman for the DARE program, advocating the "natural highs" to be found in an outdoor lifestyle. He has also hosted the Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids, which combines a curriculum of hands-on hunting, conservation, archery and a strong anti-drug message aimed mainly at underprivileged inner-city children. He is also a spokesman for the National Field Archers Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
An avid hunter, Ted Nugent was a frequent visitor to Canada until the government of Ontario cancelled the spring black bear hunt in 1999. Upset that he could not participate in the hunt, Nugent vowed to never return to Canada. An outspoken advocate of hunting and gun ownership rights and owner of 350 guns, Nugent has served since 1995 on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Nugent was a speaker at the NRA's 2005 National Convention in Houston. He received an enthusiastic reception from the delegates, telling them: "Remember the Alamo! Shoot 'em! To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead. Get a gun and when they attack you, shoot 'em."
Nugent and the animal rights movement have long had an adversarial relationship. In 2000, Bhaskar Sinha was jailed briefly following an incident with Nugent outside a department store in San Francisco in which he allegedly threatened and physically assaulted Nugent, who in turn took Sinha into custody until San Francisco Police arrived and arrested the protester. Nugent has reported receiving death threats against him and his family from animal rights activists. On Penn & Teller's Bullshit! episode about PETA, Nugent claimed, "We've got reports and files with law enforcement across America where animal rights extremists are on record threatening to kill my children on the way to school because we eat pheasant". In 2006 he stated in an interview that "anyone who thinks hunting is terrible can kiss my ass."
Nugent's views translate to his politics, and according to an interview in Independent the "law and order fanatic", "thinks homosexuality is an abomination" and is an outspoken supporter of the Republican Party and the United States military. He holds many of the same views as the Christian Right and is a Christian himself. As a reward for entertaining U.S. troops in Iraq in 2004, he visited Saddam Hussein's war room. "It was a glorious moment. It looked like something out of Star Wars. I saw his gold toilet. I shot a monkey in his bidet."
Nugent lives near President George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas and said he caught Bush's attention at his private inauguration party in 2000. "When he noticed me, he was surrounded by these huge bankrollers from his campaign. He literally swept past all of them and said, 'Laura! Look who's here! 'It's Ted! Then he hugged me and took me by the shoulders. He said, 'Just keep doing what you're doing. Don't think that we don't know what you're up to out here. Stay on course.'"
Yet Nugent does not find Bush conservative enough, thinking the president should take more forceful action on Iraq. "Our failure has been not to Nagasaki them".
Nugent also caused a small degree of outrage in May 2006 from the heavy metal community after he blasted Pantera's cover of his song, "Cat Scratch Fever", claiming it had "No soul, no balls, no feel" and was "caucasian all the way" (Sebastian Bach commented on this, in October 2006 criticizing Nugent. When Vinnie Paul was asked about Nugent's comments, he stated he was shocked and totally surprised by the comments, stating he and Dimebag Darrell had told him they had planned on covering the song and that originally excited Nugent. He also stated Nugent's comments "really bummed him out".
Texas governor Rick Perry, who is friends with Nugent, invited him to perform at a black-tie gala hours after Perry's second inauguration ceremony. Using machine guns as props, Nugent appeared onstage as the final act of the inaugural ball wearing a cutoff T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag and shouting offensive remarks about non-English speakers, according to press reports. The NAACP condemned Nugent's flying of the Confederate flag as a symbol of "the enslavement of African-Americans and more recently the symbol of hate groups and terrorists."Nugent himself has vociferously denied the accusations of racism in the event, describing said accusations as "vicious lies and hateful allegations".
Attracting attention for his outspoken statements on issues ranging from gun politics to biodiversity, Nugent has been a regular guest on such programs as Larry King, Howard Stern, and Politically Incorrect.
In 1986 he guest starred in an episode of the television show Miami Vice. Nugent played the bad guy. His song Little Miss Dangerous was featured in the episode. In 2003 he was host of the VH1 reality television program called Surviving Nugent in which city dwellers such as model Tila Tequila, moved to Nugent's Michigan ranch in order to survive such "backwoods" activities as building an outhouse and skinning a boar. The success of the two hour show spawned a four part mini series in 2004 entitled Surviving Nugent: The Ted Commandments. This time it was filmed on Ted's ranch in China Spring, Texas. During filming Nugent injured himself with a chainsaw, requiring 44 stitches and a leg brace.
In 2004 Nugent was a guest on the VH1 program Forever Wild, hosted by Sebastian Bach (former lead vocalist for the band Skid Row). They did some shooting and walked around Nugent's cabin in the woods.
In 2004 Ted Nugent made a guest appearance on the cult television series on Adult Swim, Aqua Teen Hunger Force in the episode "Gee Whiz".
In 2005 Nugent was the host of a reality-type show entitled Wanted: Ted or Alive on OLN (now the sports channel Versus) where contestants competed for money as well as for opportunities to go hunting with 'Uncle Ted'. The contestants had to kill and clean their own food to survive.
In 2006 he appeared on VH1's reality show SuperGroup, with Scott Ian (Anthrax, guitar), Evan Seinfeld (Biohazard, bass), Sebastian Bach (ex-Skid Row, vocals) and Jason Bonham (Bonham, UFO, Foreigner, drums). The name of the supergroup was originally FIST but later it was changed to Damnocracy. Captured on film by VH1 was a rare Nugent duo with guitar phenom Joe Bonamassa at the Sand Dollar Blues Room for a 45 minute blues jam.
* A recipient of numerous commendations from state police, sheriff departments, FBI, DEA, U.S. Army and police agencies nationwide, Nugent has been a sworn Michigan Deputy Sheriff since 1980, and was a guest speaker at International Law Enforcement Convention by invitation from Director of FBI William Webster, Attorney General Edwin Meese and President Ronald Reagan.
* Henry Rollins has cited Nugent in the track "It's Kiss! pt2" from the "Talk Is Cheap Vol.2" spoken word album. Rollins, despite being appreciative of Nugent's music, is highly critical of his political stance.
* Nugent is also known for his unabashed opinions on many subjects. Feminists: "What's a feminist anyways? A fat pig who doesn't get it often enough?" Gun control: "Only a coward supports gun control. You know how to stop carjacking? Shoot the carjacker. If someone is going to kill me for my Buick, I'm gonna shoot until I'm out of ammo — and then I'll call 911". Vegetarians: "Vegetarians are cool. All I eat are vegetarians — except for the occasional mountain lion steaks". He has also stated that smokers should have their health plans revoked.
* Ska punk band Goldfinger has recorded a song called "FTN" (abbreviating Fuck Ted Nugent) based on his treatment of animals. The song appears (among other places) on the band's 2002 album, Open Your Eyes.
* In one episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, known as "Gee Whiz", locals believe to see the face of Jesus in a billboard, and mention how Jesus looks like Ted Nugent. Throughout the episode they think it's Jesus's face, but at the end they discover it was in fact Ted Nugent's face in the billboard, and he proceeds to shoot a flaming explosive arrow at Carl (mistaking him for a "varmint").
* Nugent made a guest appearance in a 2001 episode of That '70s Show called "Backstage Pass", where Fez makes t-shirts to sell at a Ted Nugent concert. The shirts were spelled "Tad Nugent".
* In the film Ocean's Eleven, Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney, makes a crack at Rusty's outrageously colored shirt (played by Brad Pitt), remarking: "Ted Nugent called; he wants his shirt back." In Italy, since Ted Nugent is not well known there, this line is dubbed with Elton John instead of Nugent.
* Satirical newspaper The Onion featured a story that "Ted Nugent Talks That Way Even When Buying Socks." The publication featured another story about a new Ted Nugent cologne.
* Nugent once autographed a fan's arm with a bowie knife after the fan had requested it.
* In the Xbox 360 game "Gears of War", there is an achievement that is unlocked by mastering and becoming efficient with a weapon named the torque bow. The achievement's title is "The Nuge".
* In 1978, Stern Pinball released a Ted Nugent themed pinball machine called "Nugent".
* In the late sixties while on tour with the Amboy Dukes, Nugent allegedly turned down a hit on a marijuana joint offered by none other than Jimi Hendrix himself.
* In 2006, Ted Nugent's Stranglehold was heard during the introductions of the Detroit Tigers during the MLB Playoffs.
* Nugent, Ted. God, Guns & Rock and Roll. Regnery Publishing, Inc. (September 25, 2001) ISBN 0-89526-173-1 (316 pages)
* Nugent, Ted and Nugent, Shermane. Kill It & Grill It: A Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish. Regnery Publishing, Inc. (May 2002) ISBN 0-89526-164-2 (250 pages)
* Nugent, Ted. Blood Trails II: The Truth About Bowhunting. Woods N' Water Inc. (November 12, 2004) ISBN 0-9722804-7-2 (256 pages)
* Ted Nugent (1975)
* Free-for-All (1976)
* Cat Scratch Fever (1977)
* Double Live Gonzo! (1978)
* Weekend Warriors (1978)
* State of Shock (1979)
* Scream Dream (1980)
* Intensities in 10 Cities (1981)
* Nugent (1982)
* Penetrator (1984)
* Little Miss Dangerous (1986)
* If You Can't Lick 'Em...Lick 'Em (1988)
* Spirit of the Wild (1995)
* Live at Hammersmith '79 (1997)
* Full Bluntal Nugity (2001)
* Craveman (2002)
* The Ultimate Ted Nugent (2002)
* Hunt Music (2003)