Ted Nugent has never been a bad guitarist just a tad unimaginative and plodding. Nevertheless, he destroyed any cred he may have once had via his ridiculous antics and "political" statements that have "evolved" from merely cartoonish to damn near dangerous over the years. And, sure, part of it's an act, mere "entertainment." But you could say the same about Ann Coulter. Doesn't make her (or him) any less reprehensible.
It's kind of a shame. The Amboy Dukes were incredibly good. But then came the solo years, during which Ted became a living, breathing parody-caricature of a rock star. I had to review him at least three times during those early years and my most vivid memory of those shows is how loud he was ridiculously, make-your-ears-bleed loud. I later read Ted chuckling in an interview about how he always wore earplugs onstage, unlike most of his audience, which was my first inkling that he may be an asshole. But aside from permanent hearing damage to others, he still seemed harmless if irrelevant.
I grew up in Bad Axe, where the schools still give students a full week off at the beginning of deer hunting season. For some rural families, hunting actually made the difference between having enough food for the winter or not. So, I'm hardly opposed to hunting (even if Bambi still makes me cry) but none of my hunting friends ever made it a personal crusade the way Ted has. Seeing photos of him with dead animals and numerous carcasses piled on top of one another makes Hemingway look like a member of PETA. Obviously, Ted's overcompensating.
Ironically, one of the worst songs on Love Grenade is "Spirit of the Buffalo" (elsewhere, he equates himself with Geronimo and Sitting Bull and titles an instrumental "Eagle Brother"), failing to grasp the concept that it's cretin-like thinking such as his that led to the near-extinction of that noble creature in the first place. (Ted's been bragging that he's going dove hunting next week. Interestingly, Karl Rove is doing the same you can't make this shit up! Maybe they can get together, take their friend "Sure Shot" Cheney along with 'em, and do us all a favor.)
Which brings us to the "politics." On "Stand," he slams Ted Kennedy and Al Sharpton and equates "hippies" with Chairman Mao. OK, then ... A video made the rounds recently in which Ted says he wants to see Hillary Clinton and Obama "suck his machine gun" all of which makes one wish he'd return to singing and writing about pussy and "sweet poontang." Ridiculous and cartoonish, perhaps, but at least sex has something to do with a life force instead of death. But even sex is sick in Terrible Ted's hands now. "Girl Scout Cookies," another plodding underwhelmer, would seem to be an ode to pedophilia (especially disgusting when one considers his daughters have complained that he brought underaged girls home for the night that were younger than they were ... and this guy has a deputy's badge?), while the inside of the CD case features a photo of a half-naked, frightened young woman in a schoolgirl skirt, bound and gagged with a hand grenade in her mouth, kneeling on top of a plate of vegetables. Did I mention this guy remains one of George W. Bush's biggest showbiz supporters?
Ted also remains one of the biggest supporters of the Iraq war, although in true chickenhawk fashion, he has bragged frequently over the years about how he managed to avoid the Vietnam War and flunked his draft physical, going so far as admitting to using methamphetamines to guarantee failure. Funny, this pillar of American virtue regularly condemns drug use. So, why, then, pray tell, has he chosen to cover the Amboy Dukes' classic "Journey to the Center of the Mind" here, aside from featuring at least one song on this album that approaches a decent riff? He shouldn't have bothered, though, as the original is superior to this limp-dicked take.
Rockcrit Johnny Angel tried to pinpoint a new genre he termed "Asshole Rock" to describe all those lousy, archaic-minded, nu-metal bands like Limp Bizkit that sprung up like lice several years ago. The Red Hot Chili Peppers seemed the architects of the form then, but, in many ways, its origins started here in Michigan via the Motor City Madman. Some of this may not be as hard to stomach if the music here did more than suck ... but it doesn't. Ted came up with a decent riff or hook or two decades ago in "Cat Scratch Fever" and such, but these days, he wouldn't know a decent one if it sucked on his manly machine gun. Fuck him.
Bill Holdship is the music editor of Metro Times Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.