Ted Nugent

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Ted Nugent
Ted Nugent at the Redneck Country Club, July 6, 2017 MG 9568 (35611667892).jpg
Nugent performing in 2017
Background information
Birth nameTheodore Anthony Nugent
Also known asThe Nuge
Motor City Madman
Uncle Ted
Born (1948-12-13) December 13, 1948 (age 73)
Redford, Michigan, U.S.
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • political activist
  • Guitar
  • vocals
Years active1964–present
Labels Spitfire, Atlantic, Epic
Formerly of
Website tednugent.com

Theodore Anthony Nugent ( /ˈnɪnt/ ; born December 13, 1948) is an American rock musician and activist. He initially gained fame as the lead guitarist and occasional lead vocalist of The Amboy Dukes, a band formed in 1963 that played psychedelic rock [2] [3] and hard rock. [4] [5] After dissolving the band, he embarked on a solo career. His first three solo albums, Ted Nugent (1975), Free-for-All (1976) and Cat Scratch Fever (1977), were certified multi-platinum in the United States. His latest album, Detroit Muscle, was released in 2022.


Nugent is known for his Gibson Byrdland, his bluesy and frenzied guitar playing, and his energetic live shows. [6] Despite possessing a distinctive, wide-ranging singing voice, Nugent recorded and toured with other lead singers during much of his early solo career, including Derek St. Holmes, Charlie Huhn, Brian Howe and Meat Loaf, only taking on full lead vocal duties later on. [7] His biggest hit was 1977's "Cat Scratch Fever", on which he sang the lead vocals. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was part of the supergroup Damn Yankees.

In later years, Nugent has drawn attention for his outspoken conservative political views, as well as his vociferous advocacy of hunting and gun ownership rights. [8] [9] He is a board member of the National Rifle Association and a strong supporter of the Republican Party. He has made a number of controversial and threatening statements against advocates of gun control; in one case, the Secret Service investigated him based on comments about President Barack Obama. [10] [11] [12] [13]

Early life

Nugent was born the third of four siblings in Redford, Michigan, [14] [15] and raised in Detroit, the son of Marion Dorothy (née Johnson) and Warren Henry Nugent. [16] [17] [18] He attended William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois, as a freshman in 1963–64, [19] then transferred to St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois. [20] His maternal grandparents were Swedish. [21]

Draft status

Nugent grew up in a military family; his father was a career army sergeant. Nugent himself never served in the military, although he came of age during the height of the Vietnam War. In two 1977 and 1990 interviews with High Times magazine and the Detroit Free Press , Nugent claimed he deliberately failed his draft physical by eating nothing but junk food for days beforehand and defecating and urinating in his pants. [22] [23] [24]

Nugent denied his defecation story in a 2018 appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience ; he asserted that he invented the story for his and his band's amusement, as he claimed news sources at the time often published inaccurate information on his band. He also claimed that he was in fact eligible for military service and passed a draft physical in 1969 while he was attending Oakland Community College. Nugent affirmed that his 4-F rating on Wikipedia was "made up". [25] [22] [26] On The Joe Rogan Experience, Nugent further claimed that he told the excrement story to the High Times just to have fun with its "dirtbag" and "hippie" writers in 1977 because he was "hardcore anti-drug"; however, in 1990 he again detailed his experiences "living inside pants caked with his own excrement" for one week to avoid the draft in an extensive 1990 interview with the Detroit Free Press after the formation of Damn Yankees. [23] [24] [25] He further stated on The Joe Rogan Experience that in 1969 he passed his draft physical "with flying colors". [25]

Nugent's Selective Service classification record (Selective Service No. 11-101-48-1792 [26] ) shows he initially qualified for and took student deferments. [22] [26] When he was no longer enrolled in community college, he received a draft rating of I-A, until he failed his draft physical on August 28, 1969. [22] [26] After that physical, he was rated 1-Y ("registrant qualified for service only in time of war or national emergency") until that classification was abolished in 1971. [22] [26] He was subsequently reclassified 4-F, indicating ineligibility for military service under established physical, mental, or moral standards. [22] [26] The 1-Y and 4-F classifications were usually reserved for those with significant medical or mental issues. [26]

Nugent told the Detroit Free Press in 1990 that if he had gone to South Vietnam, he would probably have either been killed or would have killed "everybody" including "all the hippies in the foxholes" with friendly fire. [24]

Musical career

Nugent in concert with his signature Gibson Byrdland guitar TedNugentPerforming.jpg
Nugent in concert with his signature Gibson Byrdland guitar

The Amboy Dukes

The first lineup of the Amboy Dukes played at The Cellar, a teen dance club outside of Chicago in Arlington Heights, Illinois, starting in late 1965, while Nugent was a student at St. Viator High School. The Cellar's "house band" at the time had been the Shadows of Knight, although the Amboy Dukes eventually became a staple until the club's closing. [27]

The Amboy Dukes' second single was "Journey to the Center of the Mind", which featured lyrics written by the Dukes' second guitarist Steve Farmer from the album of the same title whose cover features a diverse array of drug paraphernalia. Nugent, an ardent anti-drug campaigner, has always claimed that he had no idea that this song was about drug use. [28] Early albums The Amboy Dukes (1967), Journey to the Center of the Mind (1968) and Migration (1969)—all recorded on the Mainstream label—sold moderately well. On April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Nugent joined other musicians in a tribute to King by having a folk, rock and blues jam session. Joni Mitchell played first, followed by Buddy Guy, Cactus and Jimi Hendrix. Other musicians who participated were BB King and Al Kooper. [29]

After settling down on a ranch in Michigan in 1973, Nugent signed a record deal with Frank Zappa's DiscReet Records label and recorded Call of the Wild under the revised band name Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes. 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 at this time nearly wrecked the band. Nugent reunited with the other members of the Amboy Dukes at the 2009 Detroit Music Awards, which took place April 17, 2009. The psychedelic band received a distinguished achievement honor at the event. The Dukes also played together at the ceremony, marking their first public performance in more than 30 years. [28]

Solo career

Nugent dropped the Amboy Dukes band name for good in 1975 and signed to Epic Records. Retaining only bassist Rob Grange from the previous Amboy Dukes lineup, Nugent added Derek St. Holmes (guitar, vocals) and Clifford Davies (drums). This quartet remained the primary band members for Nugent's 1970s multi-platinum [30] albums: Ted Nugent (1975), Free-for-All (1976) and Cat Scratch Fever (1977). These albums produced the popular radio anthems "Hey Baby", "Stranglehold", "Dog Eat Dog" and "Cat Scratch Fever". Despite most of the songwriting credits being listed as solely Nugent, St. Holmes claims that many were co-written by the whole band and that Nugent took sole credit as a way to avoid paying them royalties. [31]

It was during these three years that Nugent emerged as a guitar hero to hard rock fans, many of whom were unaware of his lengthy apprenticeship with the Amboy Dukes. [32] This band lineup toured extensively, also releasing the multi-platinum live album Double Live Gonzo! (1978), until its breakup in 1978 when St. Holmes and Grange departed. St. Holmes was replaced by Charlie Huhn and Grange by multiple bassists, with Nugent eventually settling on Dave Kiswiney for a three-album stretch in the 1980s. Davies left around 1982 after staying on to record Weekend Warriors (1978), State of Shock (1979) and Scream Dream (1980), all three of which charted in the US Top 25, plus the live album Intensities in 10 Cities (1981). The Intensities in 10 Cities album includes the controversial song "Jailbait". [33]

On July 8, 1979, Ted was on the rock radio program King Biscuit Flower Hour . This was the original broadcast of Ted's performance of Live at Hammersmith '79 which had been recorded during the second set of a night at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1979. An album of this program was released in 1997. [34]

1980s solo career and Damn Yankees

During the period of 19821988, Nugent released four more solo albums (to declining critical favor and commercial performance) and also began assuming a more prominent role as lead vocalist. In 1989, he joined the supergroup Damn Yankees, with Jack Blades (bass/vocals, of Night Ranger), Tommy Shaw (guitar/vocals, of Styx) and Michael Cartellone (drums). Damn Yankees (1990) was a hit album, going double platinum in the U.S., [35] thanks to the hit power ballad "High Enough". [36] The second and final Damn Yankees album, Don't Tread (1992), reached gold status in the U.S., but was not as well-received as the band's debut and the group dissolved soon after.

Return to solo career

Nugent performing in 2005 Ted Nugent.jpg
Nugent performing in 2005

Returning to a solo career, Nugent released Spirit of the Wild in 1995, his best-reviewed album in quite some time. The album contained the bowhunting anthem "Fred Bear", and also marked the return of Derek St. Holmes to Nugent's studio band. A series of archival releases also came out in the 1990s, keeping Nugent's name in the national consciousness. He also began hosting a radio show in Detroit on WWBR-FM ("102.7 The Bear, Detroit's Rock Animal") and took ownership in several hunting-related businesses. He created TV shows for several networks; Wanted: Ted or Alive on Versus, Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild on PBS and The Outdoor Channel, as well as Surviving Nugent and Supergroup-Damnocracy on VH1. In 2006, Ted Nugent was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame. [37]

Ted Nugent appears on David Crowder Band's 2007 release, Remedy , playing guitar on the song "We Won't Be Quiet". [38] He announced his "Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead" tour on April 21, 2010. [39]

Nugent toured with local Detroit musician Alex Winston during the summers of 2007 and 2008. [40]

On July 4, 2008, at the DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston, Michigan, Ted Nugent played his 6,000th concert. [41] Derek St. Holmes (original singer for the Ted Nugent band), Johnny Bee Badanjek (drummer for Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels) and Nugent's guitar teacher from 1958, Joe Podorsek, all jammed on stage with Nugent for various songs.[ citation needed ]

On March 14, 2011, Nugent released a new song, "I Still Believe", as a free download via his website to subscribers to his newsletter. Nugent says of the song: "America is a target-rich environment for an independent man addicted to logic, truth and The American Way. 'I Still Believe' throttles the animal spirit of rugged individualism in pure MotorCity ultra high-energy rhythm and blues and rock and roll." [42] [43] In April 2011 Nugent announced that former frontman Derek St. Holmes would be joining his band for Nugent's I Still Believe Tour. [44]

Media appearances

Reality TV

Nugent has starred in his own outdoors television show on the Outdoor Channel, named after his popular song "Spirit of the Wild", since 2001. The song was the theme music to the TV series, in which Nugent took viewers on a variety of wild game hunts using his bow. In the series, he taught and advised hunters and "hands-on" conservationists around the world on the different aspects of hunting and politics. [45] In one episode of Spirit of the Wild, Nugent hits a young deer with a bow. Two game wardens saw the episode, later charging Nugent with 11 misdemeanor violations of California hunting law. Nugent plead guilty to two violations. [46]

In 2003, he was host of the VH1 reality television program 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.[ citation needed ] The success of the two-hour show spawned a four-part miniseries in 2004, titled Surviving Nugent: The Ted Commandments. This time it was filmed on Nugent's ranch in China Spring, Texas.[ citation needed ] During filming, Nugent injured himself with a chainsaw, requiring 44 stitches and a leg brace.[ citation needed ]

In 2003, Nugent also guested on the VH1 program Forever Wild, hosted by Sebastian Bach, former lead vocalist for the band Skid Row. They shot some firearms and walked around Nugent's cabin in the woods. Two years later, in 2005, Nugent hosted a reality-type show, Wanted: Ted or Alive, on what was then called the OLN, or Outdoor Life Network, before it became the NBC Sports Network of the present day.[ citation needed ] In Wanted: Ted or Alive, 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.[ citation needed ]

In 2006, he appeared on VH1's reality show SuperGroup, with Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, Biohazard bassist Evan Seinfeld, ex-Skid Row lead singer Sebastian Bach and John Bonham's son Jason Bonham, who had been the drummer for Bonham, UFO and Foreigner. The name of the supergroup was originally FIST but later was changed to Damnocracy. Bach had lobbied for the name Savage Animal. Captured on film by VH1 was a rare Nugent duet with guitarist Joe Bonamassa at the Sand Dollar Blues Room for a 45-minute blues jam. He starred in another reality show for CMT in August 2009. The show, titled Runnin' Wild ... From Ted Nugent, featured Nugent instructing competitors in the art of survival; the competitors had to use those skills in challenges in which Nugent himself hunted them down. [47]

In 2008, Nugent was a guest on the episode Southwest Road Trip Special of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, where he spoke against obesity and public health care. [48]

Also in 2009, Nugent played guitar at The Alamo for a Tax Day Tea Party hosted by Glenn Beck and Fox News. Most notable in his set was a version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in which he used alternate picking and whammy bar effects. The clip and sound bite of this came to be played extensively on Fox News as well as on The Glenn Beck Program.[ citation needed ]


In 1976, Nugent was in the documentary Demon Lover Diary, about the making of the John Dods' horror/comedy movie The Demon Lover. He is shown supplying real guns for the making of The Demon Lover, as the crew films at Nugent's house.[ citation needed ]

In 1986, he guest starred in an episode of the hit television show Miami Vice entitled "Definitely Miami". Nugent played a villain. His song "Angry Young Man" was featured in the episode. His song "Little Miss Dangerous" was also featured on a Miami Vice episode of the same name, although he did not appear in the episode.[ citation needed ]

In 2001, Nugent appeared as himself in a third-season episode of That '70s Show entitled "Backstage Pass". Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon), who works for radio station WFPP, obtains tickets to the upcoming Ted Nugent concert for the entire gang. Following the concert, her boss Max (Howard Hesseman) gives Donna a backstage pass to meet Nugent, where he volunteers to sit for an interview. Meanwhile, Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson) and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) try to sell unauthorized concert t-shirts accidentally spelled Tad Nugent.[ citation needed ]

Also in 2001, Nugent appeared as himself in the second episode of the short-lived university campus FOX comedy series, Undeclared . In the episode "Full Bluntal Nugety", Nugent is a guest at the university, there to speak on his favorite topics, mainly hunting and gun control. This is where new student Steven Karp (Jay Baruchel) takes his love interest Lizzie (Carla Gallo) on their first date. Karp tries to heckle Nugent during his speech in an attempt to impress Lizzie, with disastrous results. FOX didn't like the idea of Nugent and his political views appearing on this show, so the episode was re-shot and re-edited as "Oh, So You Have a Boyfriend?" which aired without any Ted Nugent content whatsoever. The complete "Full Bluntal Nugety (Director's Cut)" episode is available in its entirety, in the Undeclared DVD box set, including some extra Ted Nugent scenes that had been deleted.[ citation needed ]

He made a guest appearance on the television series Aqua Teen Hunger Force , in the episode "Gee Whiz", on Adult Swim. Locals believe to have seen the face of Jesus in a billboard and they mention how it looks like Ted Nugent. Throughout the episode they think it's Jesus' face, but at the end they discover it was in fact Nugent's. He proceeds to shoot a flaming explosive arrow at Carl (mistaking him for a "varmint"). Ted also appeared in Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy in a sketch where he kills the Ghost of Christmas Past and serves him to guests for dinner.[ citation needed ]

In 2007, Nugent appeared in the music video for Nickelback's song "Rockstar" and in 2008 he played a key role in the Toby Keith film Beer for My Horses as the quiet deputy named Skunk.[ citation needed ]

In 2007, Nugent debated The Simpsons producer Sam Simon on The Howard Stern Show about the ethics of hunting animals. Coincidentally, Nugent would later lend his voice to an over-the-phone appearance in the season 19 episode of The Simpsons, "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", where, in a humorous jab at his political stance, inmate Dwight picks up his call for voting no to the fictional Proposition 87, which bans crossbows in public schools. As part of his pre-recorded message, Nugent asks "If we outlaw crossbows in our public schools, who's going to protect our children from charging elk?". [49]

In 2012, Nugent again appeared as himself on The Simpsons , on the episode "Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson", in which he is nominated as a presidential candidate for the Republican Party. [50]

Other media appearances

On July 30, 2008, Nugent was interviewed on The Alex Jones Show about his book Ted, White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto (2008). [51] [52]

On April 15, 2009, Nugent appeared onstage with his guitar in San Antonio as part of Glenn Beck's coverage of the Tax Day Tea Party protests on the Fox News Channel. He hosted the show with Beck and played music for the protestors at the Alamo.[ citation needed ]

He made an appearance in Guitar Hero World Tour . As part of the "solo guitar career" section, the player engages in a guitar duel with Nugent, after which the song "Stranglehold" is unlocked and Nugent becomes available as a playable character.[ citation needed ]

He was a weekly contributor to the Waco Tribune-Herald until 2009. [53]

On July 9, 2010, Nugent was again interviewed by Jones and criticized the latest policies issued by the Obama administration and the U.S. Supreme Court concerning gun policy. He claimed that rejecting the idea of the right to self-defense being expressed in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which Nugent called "gun control" policies, is most likely to destroy American society. Nugent also claimed similar policies were the cause of the downfall of every society in human history. [54]

Personal life

Nugent is a fan of the Detroit Red Wings in ice hockey, Detroit Pistons in basketball, Detroit Lions in football and Detroit Tigers in baseball. [55] He wore a Detroit Pistons shirt in the Damn Yankees music video for "Come Again".

Nugent suffers from hearing loss. [56] He said in a 2007 interview: "The ear's not too good, especially with background noise, but that's a small price to pay. Believe me the journey was worth it." [57]

Allegations of child sexual abuse

Two women have accused Nugent of having sexual relationships with them when they were under 18 years old. In 1978, Nugent began a relationship with 17-year-old Hawaii native Pele Massa. The age of sexual consent in Hawaii at the time was 16; [58] however, they could not marry due to the age difference. To get around this, Nugent joined Massa's parents in signing documents to make himself her legal guardian. [59] [60] [61] [62] Courtney Love also claims that she performed oral sex on Nugent when she was 12. [63] [64] On a later occasion she said she was 14. [65]

On The Joe Rogan Experience , Nugent denied that he had ever been in romantic relationships with underage girls, other than when he was underage himself. [25] This goes against what Nugent previously said in a Behind the Music episode, where he admitted to several affairs with underage girls. [66] [67]

His song "Jailbait" is about being attracted to and wanting to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. [68]


Nugent has been married twice and has six children with four women. In the late 1960s, prior to his first marriage, Nugent fathered a boy (Ted Mann) and a girl, both of whom he gave up for adoption in infancy. This did not become well known to the public until 2010. The siblings were adopted separately and had no contact with one another. The son learned the identity of his birth father in 2010, through the daughter's quest to make contact with him and their birth parents. According to a news report, over the years Nugent had discussed the existence of these children with his other children. [69]

He was married to his first wife, Sandra Jezowski, from 1970 to 1979. They had two children, son Toby and daughter Sasha. [70] Jezowski died in a single-car crash in 1982. [71]

His second marriage is to Shemane Deziel, whom he met while a guest on Detroit's WLLZ-FM, where she was a member of the news staff. They married on January 21, 1989. Together they have one child, son Rocco Winchester Nugent.

In 2005, Nugent agreed to pay $3,500 in monthly child support for a son fathered with a woman named Karen Gutowski while he was married to Deziel. [72]

Drug and alcohol stances

Since the 1970s, Nugent has promoted anti-drug and anti-alcohol stances. He has been cited as a key influence in the straight edge movement, a punk rock-associated lifestyle that developed in the early 1980s and discourages drug and alcohol use. Henry Rollins, former vocalist for Black Flag, said that he and friend Ian MacKaye (vocalist for Minor Threat and writer of the song "Straight Edge" that gave the movement its name) were inspired by Nugent during their high school years in the 1970s when he was the only major rock star to publicly eschew drug use: "[We] would read about the Nuge and the thing that really rubbed off on us was the fact that he didn't drink or smoke or do drugs ... [Nugent's performance] was the craziest thing we'd ever seen onstage and here's this guy saying, 'I don't get high.' We thought that was so impressive." [73]

Nugent is a national spokesman for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, [74] In 2015, however, he declared his support for the legalization of marijuana for medical use. [75] In 2018, he admitted that he drinks "a little wine". [76]


On April 19, 2021, Nugent announced on Facebook that he had tested positive for COVID-19, which he referred to as the "Chinese shit". [77] He said, "I thought I was dying ... I literally could hardly crawl out of bed the last few days." [78] Nugent had refused to get the vaccine because "nobody knows what's in it" and had denied that the COVID-19 pandemic was real. [79]


Nugent is a vocal supporter of the Republican Party and various associated conservative causes, particularly gun rights and hunter's rights. [80] He is a supporter of former President Donald Trump and has made a number of statements critical of former President Barack Obama, one of which was perceived as potentially threatening and led to Nugent being investigated by the Secret Service. [13] His views have been considered racist. [81] [82] [83] [84]

In an interview in 1990, a few months after the release of Nelson Mandela during the negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa, Nugent stated, "apartheid isn't that cut-and-dry. All men are not created equal." He described black South Africans as "a different breed of man" who "still put bones in their noses, they still walk around naked, they wipe their butts with their hands". [85] [86]

As a reward for entertaining U.S. troops in Iraq in 2004, Nugent visited Saddam Hussein's war room. He commented on Iraq, "Our failure has been not to Nagasaki them." [87]

On July 17, 2008, during the presidential election season and shortly before the Republican presidential nominating convention, Nugent expressed his skepticism about presumptive GOP Presidential nominee John McCain, stating that McCain was "catering to a growing segment of soulless Americans who care less what they can do for their country, but whine louder and louder about what their country must do for them. That is both un-American and pathetic." [88]

At a 2009 West Virginia rally sponsored in part by Massey Energy, Nugent "defended mountaintop removal mining", according to reporters on the scene. "On behalf of the Nugent family, I say, start up the bulldozers and get me some more coal, Massey", Nugent was recorded as saying. [89]

Nugent is an outspoken critic of Islam, which he describes as a "voodoo religion" that "believes in world domination". [90]

During an interview with Piers Morgan, Nugent was asked if he would mind if one of his children came out as gay, saying "Not at all ... I'm repulsed at the concept of man-on-man sex, I think it's against nature. I think it's strange as hell, but if that's what you are, I love you. I'm not going to judge another's morals. I say live and let live. I have friends that are gay." [91] [92]

Nugent clashed in 2014 with Jay Dean, then the mayor of Longview, Texas and an incoming Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives after Dean moved to cancel Nugent's scheduled appearance at the Longview Independence Day concert. Dean said that he finds Nugent's music unsuitable for family-oriented audiences on July 4. Longview hence paid Nugent $16,000, half of the amount he had been promised, to drop him from the concert. Nugent in turn called Dean "racist" and "clueless, dishonest and one of the bad guys." [93]

In 2014, Nugent worked as the treasurer and co-chairman for Sid Miller's campaign for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. [94]

Nugent speaking at a campaign event for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Scottsdale, Arizona Ted Nugent by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Nugent speaking at a campaign event for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Scottsdale, Arizona

Nugent's conservative views have prompted criticism from fellow musicians such as Paul McCartney, [95] David Crosby, [95] and the band Goldfinger, who have a song titled "Fuck Ted Nugent" on their album Open Your Eyes . [96]

Gun rights

Nugent is an advocate of the right to bear arms, but while performing he instructs venues to not allow firearms. [97] When interviewed by Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith in season 5 of TexasMonthlyTalks, he said, "I would rather that the [victim of a violent crime] in Massachusetts last month who was taking her daughter to soccer when they were carjacked by a recidivist maggot, who had been in the prison system all his life but was let out again because we feel sorry for him, maybe he had a bad childhood – instead of her being hijacked and murdered, I'd rather she just shot the bastard dead... But in Massachusetts, somebody decided she can't do that. So she's dead. I would rather she was alive and the carjacker was dead." [98]

Nugent currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association (NRA). [99] [100] In 2016, Nugent posted an image on his Facebook page implying that Jews are behind the push for gun control. [101] Nugent's rant sparked outrage and some called for his NRA resignation. [102]

In March 2018, Nugent criticized the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting who became gun control activists, calling them "mushy brained children" and stating that "the evidence is irrefutable: They have no soul." [103]

In June 2018, Nugent said that "evil, dishonesty and scam artists have always been around and that right now they're liberal, they're Democrat, they're RINOs, they're Hollywood, they're fake news, they're media, they're academia and they're half of our government, at least ... There are rabid coyotes running around, you don't wait till you see one to go get your gun, keep your gun handy. And every time you see one, shoot one." [10] [12]

Animal rights

Nugent, an opponent of animal rights, said in a long interview, "I'm stymied to come up with anything funnier than people who think animals have rights. Just stick an arrow through their lungs." [104] In 2000, Bhaskar Sinha was jailed briefly following an incident outside a department store in San Francisco in which he threatened and physically assaulted Nugent, who in turn took Sinha into custody until San Francisco Police arrived and arrested the protester. However, protesters claim that Nugent started the altercation by spitting in the face of one of the protesters when offered an anti-fur flyer. A San Francisco police officer, who stated that he was on the scene, said that he didn't believe Nugent spat on anyone. [105]

Nugent has reportedly received death threats against him and his family from animal rights activists. On the Penn & Teller's Bullshit! episode about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Nugent said, "We've got reports and files with law enforcement across America where the animal rights extremists are on record threatening to kill my children on the way to school because we eat pheasant." [106]

In a 1992 radio interview, Nugent referred to Heidi Prescott of the Fund for Animals as a "worthless whore" and a "shallow slut", asking "who needs to club a seal, when you can club Heidi?" He was ordered by a court to pay Prescott $75,000. [107]

Nugent defended Kid Rock, a fellow musician and hunter, when he killed a mountain lion in January 2015, calling the people who targeted Rock "braindead squawkers" and that Rock did good by keeping predator numbers low and helping the deer population, which is vital for hunting. [108] In July 2015, Nugent referred to people outraged over the killing of Cecil the lion as "stupid". [109]

Nugent owns a 340-acre hunting ranch near Jackson, Michigan, called Sunrize Acres. [110] Anti-hunters claim this fenced facility offers "canned" hunts. Nugent has said, "I understand the criticism from those who say canned hunting violates the ethic of fair chase", though he still operates the facility and refers to it as "high fence hunting". [111]

In April 2012, Nugent agreed to a plea deal to plead guilty to transporting an illegally killed American black bear in Alaska. [112] His sentence included two years of probation, a prohibition on hunting and fishing in Alaska and on any U.S. Forest Service lands for one year and a fine of $10,000 and he was required to produce and broadcast at his own expense a 30–60 second Public Service Announcement (PSA) on the responsibilities of hunters. [113] [114] The judge in the case, Michael A. Thompson (Alaska), admitted in court that he himself had never heard of the law in which Nugent was charged. [115] Nugent explained his side of the situation in an interview with Deer & Deer Hunting. [116]

Nugent was a vocal opponent of a proposition to reintroduce gray wolves into Colorado passed in 2020. He urged Colorado citizens to vote against the proposition which had widespread support from environmental groups. [117]

Obama administration

Nugent was particularly critical of former President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying they "should be tried for treason & hung", [118] among other comments [119] [120] directed towards them. On Facebook, he shared a video depiction of Clinton being shot by her 2016 Democratic presidential primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, commenting "I got your gun control right here bitch." [118]

At a concert on August 22, 2007, while wielding what appeared to be assault-like rifles, Nugent said in reference of Obama, "suck on my machine gun". In the same gun-wielding rant, Nugent said of Dianne Feinstein, "ride one of these you worthless whore". [121]

In January 2014, Nugent called Obama a "communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel". [122] That February, Nugent endorsed Greg Abbott in the Republican primary election for Texas Governor. Abbott, however, distanced himself from Nugent due to the "subhuman mongrel" comment, saying, "This is not the kind of language I would use or endorse in any way." [123] After being further chastised about it by Senator Rand Paul, Nugent apologized for the comment. [124] However, when asked in April 2017 if he regretted his comments about Obama, he replied "No! I will never apologize for calling out evil people." [125]

On April 17, 2012, while stumping for Obama's opponent Mitt Romney at the 2012 NRA Convention, Nugent said, "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year." [126] Nugent received a visit from the Secret Service for these remarks. [13] Following these comments, commanders at Fort Knox opted not to allow him to perform at a previously scheduled event. [127]

On February 12, 2013, Nugent attended the State of the Union address given by President Obama. He was the guest of U.S. Representative Steve Stockman of Texas's 36th congressional district. [128]

Donald Trump

Nugent at the White House in April 2017 Ted Nugent at White House in April 2017.jpg
Nugent at the White House in April 2017

In February 2016, Ted Nugent praised Trump's 2016 Republican Presidential Primary opponent Ted Cruz, stating "My dream would be if Ted Cruz became president tonight. I really admire Ted Cruz, on many levels." [129] Nugent later endorsed Donald Trump and during the last week of the U.S. presidential election campaign performed at a number of Trump rallies in Michigan, including Trump's final campaign rally in Grand Rapids.

On April 19, 2017, Nugent in the company of Kid Rock and Sarah Palin, had a "long-planned" visit at the White House. According to Nugent, the visit lasted four hours and was like "a family reunion." Nugent described it as "a wonderful personal tour of every room" followed by photo sessions and dinner with Trump. [130]

Potential runs for office

Referring to Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm (in office 2003–2011), during performances he would frequently interject "Jennifer Granholm, kiss my ass" into his songs and shoot an arrow at her likeness. In a 2007 interview, in discussing running for governor of Michigan, he stated that Granholm "is not doing an ugly job, but as the perfect woman, she is scrotumless". [131]

Although Nugent has never run for government office, in the 2000s, he publicly speculated about doing so on several occasions. In May 2005, he announced he was "getting real close to deciding to run" for governor of Michigan in 2006; while in 2007, he talked about running for that office in 2010. During the latter period, he stated, "Michigan was once a great state. Michigan was a state that rewarded the entrepreneur and the most productive, work-ethic families of the state. Now the pimps and the whores and the welfare brats are basically the state's babies." [57] Earlier, Nugent had been rumored to be under consideration by the Illinois Republican Party as its candidate in that state's 2004 Senate race, given his roots in Illinois. [20]

In July 2008, Nugent declared "I was serious when I threatened to run for office in the past if I cannot find a candidate who respects the U.S. Constitution and our sacred Bill of Rights." [88] When asked by Imagineer magazine in a 2010 interview about what he would do if elected to political office, he responded: "Slash the living hell out of the waste and corruption and the outrageous army of do-nothing bureaucrats. I would fire every government worker whose job I would deem to be redundant and wasteful. No able-bodied human being would ever get a handout again." [132]

In a July 2013 interview with The Washington Post , Nugent expressed interest in possibly running for President of the United States as a Republican in the 2016 election. [133] He never sought the office.

Band members

Current members

Former members

Timeline of members

Ted Nugent



The Amboy Dukes

Damn Yankees

Published books

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Amboy Dukes</span> American rock band

The Amboy Dukes were an American rock band formed in 1964 in Chicago, Illinois, and later based in Detroit, Michigan. They are known for their only hit single "Journey to the Center of the Mind". The band's name comes from the title of a novel by Irving Shulman. In the UK, the group's records were released under the name of The American Amboy Dukes, because of the existence of a British group with the same name. The band went through a number of personnel changes during its active years, the only constant being lead guitarist and composer Ted Nugent. The band transitioned to being Nugent's backing band before he discontinued the name in 1975.

<i>Ted Nugent</i> (album) 1975 studio album by Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent is the debut studio album by American rock musician Ted Nugent. The album was released in September 1975 by Epic Records. It was Nugent's first release after the disbanding from his former group The Amboy Dukes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Damn Yankees (band)</span> American rock music supergroup

Damn Yankees was an American rock supergroup formed in 1989 consisting of Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, Ted Nugent of The Amboy Dukes, and Michael Cartellone.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Derek St. Holmes</span> American singer and guitarist (born 1953)

Derek St. Holmes is an American musician, best known as the vocalist and rhythm guitar player for Ted Nugent's early solo career. After splitting from Nugent in 1978, St. Holmes worked with various artists, most notably the Whitford/St. Holmes project with Brad Whitford, who had recently parted ways with Aerosmith.

<i>Tooth, Fang & Claw</i> 1974 studio album by Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes

Tooth, Fang & Claw is the seventh and final studio album by The Amboy Dukes, credited as "Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes". The band's second release on DiscReet Records, it was the final album released under the Amboy Dukes name before Ted Nugent launched his solo career the following year.

<i>The Amboy Dukes</i> (album) 1967 studio album by The Amboy Dukes

The Amboy Dukes is the debut studio album by American rock band The Amboy Dukes. It was released in November 1967 on Mainstream Records. The Amboy Dukes interested a record label that primarily produced jazz albums. Ted Nugent assembled a new band of local Detroit players to secure a recording contract with them. He immediately brought in the soulful baritone voice of John (J.B.) Drake as lead vocalist. He had a long history with Drake in a local band called The Lourds. Nugent and Drake then recruited the remaining players. Steve Farmer was known as a rhythm guitarist, lyricist, composer and vocalist and was a natural fit with Nugent. He came from a local group called The Gang. Dave Palmer was a drummer and percussionist with experience in two local bands, The Galaxy Five and The Citations. Bill White played bass guitar and Rick Lober was an eclectic keyboardist rounding out the new group.

<i>Spirit of the Wild</i> 1995 studio album by Ted Nugent

Spirit of the Wild is the eleventh studio album by American hard rock musician Ted Nugent. It was released in May 1995 by Atlantic Records. The album was produced by Mike Lutz from the Brownsville Station rock band and engineered by Lutz and Jim Vitti. It is Nugent's only album released in the 1990s.

<i>Call of the Wild</i> (Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes album) 1973 studio album by Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes

Call of the Wild is the sixth and penultimate album by The Amboy Dukes, credited as "Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes". Recorded in the summer of 1973, it is the first of two albums released on Frank Zappa's DiscReet Records, followed by Tooth Fang & Claw, the band's final album, in 1974. In 1977, both albums were reissued by Warner Bros as the compilation Two Originals of... Ted Nugent.

<i>Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom</i> 1970 studio album by The Amboy Dukes

Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom is the fourth album by American rock band The Amboy Dukes, released in 1970. It is the first of two albums released on the Polydor label. The album peaked at #191. There were no accompanying singles released by the record company. There was no "designated" lead vocalist for this album as with all the previous Dukes albums. Keyboardist Solomon contributed most of the vocals. The original album contained a lyric sheet, but the re-release on Polydor PD-1-6073 did not.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charlie Huhn</span> American rock singer and guitarist

Charles Huhn is an American rock singer and guitarist. He got his start playing with Vic Amato, Andy Dennen and Al Lesert in the band Cirrus, in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan, playing many gigs in West Michigan before joining Ted Nugent in 1978.

<i>Love Grenade</i> 2007 studio album by Ted Nugent

Love Grenade is the 13th solo studio album by American rock and roll musician Ted Nugent. It was released on September 4, 2007. It was recorded at DRS Studios in Waco, Texas. Sales figures, however, have been low, with the album only selling 360,000 copies in its first week, landing it at No. 186 on the Billboard 200.

Detroit was a spinoff of rock group The Detroit Wheels. This revised version of that band was formed by Mitch Ryder as a successor to The Wheels in 1970. The only original Wheel in the group was the drummer Johnny "Bee" Badanjek; other members were guitarists Steve Hunter and Brett Tuggle, organist Harry Phillips and bassists W.R. Cooke and John Sauter. A single album was released by this grouping, a 1971 self-titled LP issued on Paramount Records. They had a hit with their version of the Lou Reed - penned song "Rock & Roll", which Reed liked enough to ask Steve Hunter to join his backing band. Ryder quit the group because of voice problems in 1972, and Detroit vocalist Rusty Day took over his spot; without Ryder, the group floundered, and eventually broke up in 1974.

Steven O. Farmer was an American guitarist, composer and lyricist, best known for his composition with Ted Nugent in 1968, "Journey to the Center of the Mind", performed by their group The Amboy Dukes. Farmer wrote the lyrics to the hit song, which peaked at #16 in the charts. He also co-wrote with Nugent, or self composed, 22 compositions on the first three albums by The Amboy Dukes.

<i>Survival of the Fittest Live</i> 1971 live album by Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes

Survival of the Fittest Live is the fifth album by The Amboy Dukes. Released in 1971, it was the band's second album on Polydor Records, and the first where the band was credited as "Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes". It was the second Polydor album to chart, and it peaked at #129. There were no accompanying singles released by the record company. The performance was recorded live at the Eastown Theater in Detroit, Michigan, on July 31 and August 1, 1970. Keyboardist Andy Solomon, again, contributed most of the vocals. Except "Prodigal Man" none of songs were previously released.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rick Lober</span> American rock keyboardist

Rick Lober is an American musician who was the original keyboardist for the psychedelic rock band The Amboy Dukes in the 1960s. The group is known for its only hit "Journey to the Center of the Mind". His bandmates were Ted Nugent, Steve Farmer, John Drake, Dave Palmer and Bill White.

Rob Grange is an American bassist, best known for his work with psychedelic rock band The Amboy Dukes and with Ted Nugent, as well as his unique phase bass lines in the song "Stranglehold".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jason Hartless</span> American drummer

Jason Hartless is an American musician, best known for being the drummer for guitarist and fellow Detroit native Ted Nugent. He has also toured and/or recorded with Eric Martin (musician), Pop Evil, Sponge, Mitch Ryder, Tantric, Insane Clown Posse, Warrior Soul and Joe Lynn Turner.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Journey to the Center of the Mind (song)</span> 1968 single by the Amboy Dukes

"Journey to the Center of the Mind" is a song released by the Amboy Dukes in 1968. It reached number 16 on the Billboard charts in 1968 and number 19 in Canada.

The Grifs were an American garage rock band from Charlotte, North Carolina, who were active in the 1960s. Their song, "Catch a Ride" became the number one hit in Charlotte and did well in markets around the Carolinas, and reached number one in Birmingham, Alabama. The group was able to secure airplay in northern markets, such as in Lansing, Michigan, where it reached number one, as well as in the Detroit area and parts of Canada. They were invited to open for the Amboy Dukes in Detroit, where they began to play frequent engagements in the Michigan region, and recorded their second single, "Keep Dreaming", in Detroit. Just when the Grifs prospects looked hopeful, drummer Roy Skinner departed and guitarist Mike Wingate received a draft notice to go to Vietnam. By early 1968, the group folded. Their work is now highly regarded by garage rock enthusiasts and several of their songs have appeared on compilations.

John Sauter is an American rock and blues musician and bass guitarist from Decatur, Illinois. He has played in Mitch Ryder's band Detroit and with Ted Nugent.


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