Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hot Air:Nugent's World

Outrageous can be good or in this case a career killer or perhaps in my book an go fucking away and for Ted Nugent it's the latter.  Still remains one of the best guitar slingers in the rock world, Mr. Gonzo's anti Obama and hanging around with the FOX news cronies and paling with Sarah Palin has made him a adverbial poison to the ears and upchucking to the guts. But anybody that's over 67, has a creepy old pussy scraper (IE goatee) and talks about this place would have been better had the south won and slavery still in place deserves their place on the blacklist.  But then again Ted's glory years are way back in the 1970s and he hasn't made one listenable album since leaving Epic for the greener and own your own masters time at Atlantic (reissued via Eagle Rock).

Perhaps the turn it up to 10 may have turned his braincells into right wing gibberish.  Even though Nugent never did any hard drugs or booze for that matter (he does have a clean living attitude of living off the land and remains a avid hunter) stories about his avoiding the draft have been legendary. But then again all pure USA conservatives seem to have that mentality too, avoid the draft and then years later turn around with a made in china US Flagpin telling how much they love their country and at the same time loathe a black president, preaching family values to a Texas GOP running for office and slamming the female opponent and basically telling her go back to the kitchen and put out later.  The problem of this country today, especially from the new Marxists masquerading as the new right. Which George Washington himself warned the new country about. But the nadir of Nugent is his continuing to write stupid songs as a sixty something about the sweet pootang that he has continued to recycled time and time again. Girl Scout Cookies anybody?  He may seriously want to boycott the actual cookies since they're everything he's against except for the underage scout that might pop on his doorstep. The UK cover of his last studio album pretty much sums things up when you see it in the used bins. Tacky.

I told this story before but I have come across Nugent by actually stumbling upon his hideaway out in Michigan about 40 years ago, beer can hunting and having a friend of mine being very nervous and asked him what for.  He mentioned that we're on Nugent's land and he's been known to shoot trespassers but we basically chalked that place up at a loss and got off there in record time.  But at that point Nugent was putting together what would be his classic S/T album for Epic.  Breaking free from his original band The Amboy Dukes, the original band was one of the best garage rock bands to come out of the Detroit area, before the riots and eventual downfall of a proud city into a no man's land.  But Nugent had great sidemen as well, he benefited greatly from John Drake being the vocalist (the late Rusty Day later of Cactus took over soon afterwards) and their Mainstream albums varied from garage rock to even the early stages of prog rock. Nugent continue to kick guys out of the bands for overdoing it on the booze and drugs  and by the time they recorded the awful Rock Bottom for Polydor, Nugent was last man standing.      Moving over to DiscReet, Nugent's Call Of The Wild and Tooth Fang And Claw, Nugent to find his sound and stuck FM gold with Great White Buffalo one of the best songs he ever written.  And beginning with the power riffs of Stranglehold, once a FM cult favorite now overplayed classic, Nugent kicked the door open by making his best album ever.

The three albums he made with Derek St Holmes, Rob Grange and the late great Cliff Davies are his legacy and the best musicians he ever had and Double Live Gonzo is either his high watermark for live recordings or his cheesiest, screaming and raving like a looney on the live Motor City Madhouse or OD on feedback on Hibernation but his band revved it up to 100 miles down a dead end road but after that, St Holmes and Grange left and form St. Paradise with the Denny Carmissi from Montrose to make a unremarkable Warner Brothers album.  Nugent managed to find another decent vocalist, Charlie Huhn and Dave Kiswenthy (sic) for the next four album, the uneven Weekend Warriors, the underrated State Of Shock before Nugent took over the vocals for Wango Tango and farewell Intensities In 10 Cities.  By saying bye bye to Cliff Davies once and for all, Nugent's output from here on out was more spike and jive rather than shock and awe.  And for a time in the 90s,  he checked his ego at the door and joined the minor league supergroup Damn Yankees with Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades and made two pop metal albums which are period pieces of that time. Nobody plays Damn Yankees anymore anyway.

Since then Nugent, has gotten more into politics and more into the right wing shock and jive of Rush (Oxycondin Daddy) Limbaugh and appearing regularly on FOX news, and being Ted, outrageous and silly at the same time.  He found time to appear in a VH1 reality show about over the hill musicians trying to make an album and sharing a house and pissing everybody off in the progress. Nugent's albums in the process has him searching for a sound that tried to fit in the keyboard dominated world of the 80s and even his best selling album of the 80s had him trying to ape the Foreigner sound with future Bad Company throat Brian Howe at the helm. A even more dated sound followed with Little Miss Dangerous and after that nobody cared.  Not even Derek St Holmes and Mike Lutz from Brownsville and Denny Carmissi could save the 1994 and Atlantic farewell Call Of The Wild with Nugent's politicking words (which told more of Nugent's future in TV and radio) and lackluster music didn't fit right. Craveman (2002) was quite listenable but the juvenile Love Grenade forever ruined it. The lyrical creepiness is something that a 12 year old kid would think up after coming across a Penthouse for the first time.   

But Nugent is back and not in a good way, once again blowing his horn for family values and GOP Tea head Greg Abbott. And you know we will not hear the last of Terrible Ted from now till 2016 when he can celebrate the last of Obama's days as POTUS whereas recycling yet another song about teenage Cat Scrach Pootang, his drug of choice.  To each their own I guess.  Perhaps his actions may come back to haunt him, having his own 13 year old conquest and having her dad excersing his 2nd amendment right of guns and the right to defend them by splattering his hide all over the place.  It's a fantasy I know, but Ted better hope that never happens.  Even though he didn't do drugs, his chasing underage girls of 13 and writing about it may have tarnished his cred more than his Right Wing extremist views.  He just chose a different vice.

In the meantime, if you can overlook Ted's Right Wingness, A selection of his work.  For better or worse.

The Amboy Dukes (Mainstream 1967) B+
Journey To The Center Of The Mind (Mainstream 1968) A-
Migrations (Mainstream 1969) B+
Marriage On The Rocks/Rock Bottom (Polydor 1970) C+
Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes (Dunhill Compact Classics) B+
Call Of The Wild (DiscReet 1973) B
Tooth, Fang & Claw (Bizarre Planet 1975) B-
Ted Nugent (Epic 1975) A-
Free For All (Epic 1976) B+
Cat Scratch Fever (Epic 1977) B+
Double Live Gonzo (Epic 1978) B-
Weekend Warriors (Epic 1978) B
State Of Shock (Epic 1979) B+  (Later reissued on American Beat-now out of print again)
Live At Hammersmith 1979 (Epic 1979) NR
Wango Tango (Epic 1980) B
Intensities In 10 Cities (Epic 1981) C
Great Gonzos (Epic 1982) B+
Nugent (Atlantic 1982) C
Penetrator (Atlantic 1984) C
Little Miss Dangerous (Atlantic 1986) C
If You Can't Lick Them, Lick Them (Atlantic 1988) C
Spirit Of The Wild (Altantic 1994) C
Loaded For Bear-Best Of The Amboy Dukes (Epic 1999) B+
Craveman (Eagle 2000) B-
Love Grenade (Eagle 2007) D+

Note: The Atlantic albums were reissued via Eagle Records in 2008.

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