They don't call him the Motor City Madman for nothing. Ted Nugent, who turns 65 on December 13, may be getting long in the tooth, but he's still got the bite of a rabid pitbull and still attacks a guitar like it was a wild boar. Put simply, Nugent hasn't mellowed with age. If anything, he has become feistier and more confrontational, aiming his verbal crosshairs most directly at President Obama.
In an October 9 interview with the Associated Press, Nugent called the president a "monster in the White House" who "wouldn't qualify to drive my tour bus." And that's not even the worst potshot he's taken at the president.
Late last year at a gun trade show in Las Vegas he told Guns.com, "[Obama] is an evil, dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom, and we need to fix this as soon as possible."
Then in February, he wrote a column on WND.com, "The Ted Offensive," in which he asserted Obama is chiefly responsible for the financial setbacks suffered by African Americans. "The guy who received roughly 93 percent of black American votes, is the clear and present engineer of the destruction of black America," Nugent wrote. "It pains me deeply to witness this self-inflicted destructo derby. The destruction of blacks has been engineered by President Obama's party for at least the last 50 years.
"The New Deal was a raw deal, and the Great Society experiment didn't turn out to be so great after all. It has been an unmitigated disaster for black Americans. The truth is that the Democratic Party has been the engineer of the destruction of black Americans, and everyone knows it except the very people who need to know it the most – black Americans."
But the Nuge's wildest moments over the past 40 years haven't been limited to his attacks against liberals and Democrats. He has been equally impulsive and controversial whether performing on stage, hunting in the wilderness, or speaking his mind. Here are the top 11 ('cause rock 'n' roll goes to 11) loose-cannon moments that demonstrate that, regardless of what you think of his right wing, reactionary, survivalist agenda, it's hard not to be amazed and amused by the rock 'n' roll patriot who always speaks before he thinks.
11. Forget Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford riding motorcycles onstage. At various points in his career Ted Nugent has ridden a live buffalo before starting the pyrotechnics. We're assuming he didn't shoot and eat his transportation after the show.
10. Let's not forget that Nugent was performing onstage in a loincloth back in the late '70s, years before New York band Manowar took the stage as Norsemen in fur underwear and battle gear.
9. When Piers Morgan interviewed Nugent on CNN about homosexuality and gun control, Nugent went to town. He insisted he wasn't homophobic, responding he's a hetrophiliac. "That means I'm hopelessly addicted to women," he said, then added, "If you're gay, have a nice day. I don't give a rat's ass." He added he wouldn't mind if one of his kids admitted he was gay, then added, "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." Of course, the discussion about banning guns was far more heated. When Morgan said, "If there aren't any guns, nobody gets shot," Nugent fired back, "and if there isn't any water nobody will drown."
"Why would you ban water?," asked Morgan, and Nugent retorted, "To stop the drownings. We want the poor, fat children to float." At the end of the interview, the Nuge whipped out his guitar and jammed an impromptu blues tune. Don’t miss this clip.
8. When questioned over the phone about Rush Limbaugh's alleged drug use, Nugent dug into Phoenix New Times reporter Martin Cizmar. "Martin, I gotta tell you. When I see you I'm going to have to slap the s--t out of you! I'll buy you a mocha, then I'll knee-cap you. Because that is so soulless. What a far-reaching fantasy."
7. "If Mitt Romney is to win, he needs at least some of the moderate vote. You are many things; you are not moderate," TV reporter Jeff Glor said to Nugent on CBS This Morning. That's all it took for the Motor City Madman to fly into a rage. "Call me when you sit down across from someone who has more families with dying little boys and girls who get a call to take them on their last fishing trip in life," he screamed. "Call me when you meet someone who does that more than I do because that's really moderate! You know what that is? Thatls extreme!" Nugent later called Glor and apologized for flipping out, blaming his behavior on a painful kidney stone that he had removed in the emergency room immediately after the interview.
6. On June 16, 1978, Ted Nugent and liberal feminist Patti Smith were both at WABX radio station in Detroit with DJ Jerry Lubin, and the Nuge allegedly groped Smith while Lubin was on the air. The DJ had just finished playing Nuge's "Snakeskin Cowboys" and was making idle banter when the following exchange occurred. Thanks to retroactivekaos.weebly.com for the transcript:
(Patti Smith enters)
Nugent: There she is! Have a seat. Patti's gonna make a statement.
Nugent: She's gonna make a statement.
Smith: It's one o' clock.
Nugent: One o' clock, my rectum, honey. Gimme da mic!
Smith: It's one o' clock.
Nugent: You're from New York, I'm from Detroit.
Smith: I ain't from New York.
(Scuffling and unintelligible words)
Lubin: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute, guys. (Smirky tone) We can't have any fights here in the studio.
(Scuffling and unintelligible words)
Smith: Don't touch me! Don't touch me!
Nugent: I know you said that last time.
Smith: Get your #*&%in' hands off me!
(Scuffling...Note: Some sources say that Nugent groped Smith and she then punched Nugent in the chest)
Nugent: Look at this...on the air.
Smith: Get your hands off me...and out.
Nugent: Arite, arite. We got it.
Turntable starts abruptly. Ted Nugent: "Cat Scratch Fever"
5. Following his harsh words about President Obama, Nugent decided to pay tribute to his African American influences by calling his 2013 tour "Ted Nugent Black Power 2013." He made the strange announcement in February on the conservative website World Net Daily. "The tapestry of black America is rich and vibrant," he began. "I don't celebrate Black History Month. I celebrate it every day, as my very black-inspired musical dreams could not have been successful were it not for black Americans."
He added that his "fire-breathing" musical career was launched by black musicians, including Bo Diddley, Little Richard, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Albert King, BB King, Freddie King, the Funk Brothers, and Chuck Berry. "The music these gentlemen created gave birth to my music and all great, moving, soulful music. We owe it all to them."
Instead of continuing his presentation of positivity, he spun off into yet another attack of the Obama Administration. "Regrettably, the study of modern-day black history by future historians will not be bright or rich. I predict the fundamental blame for this will be laid at the feet of the Democratic Party."
Then, the Nuge went off on another weird tangent: "There is no doubt that my 2013 tour will be the best of my life," he wrote. "With world-class virtuosos paying tribute to our black heroes nightly, it is only fitting that this year's tour is aptly titled, 'Ted Nugent Black Power 2013.' Say it loud: my music is black and I'm proud!"
Surely, when he heard that, Chuck Berry was either livid or peeing himself with laughter.
4. In May 2009, Nugent admitted to unlawfully shooting, killing, and transporting a bear in Anchorage, Alaska during a six-day hunt for his show "Spirit of the Wild." Apparently, hunters are only allowed to shoot one bear per season and the rocker had already shot a bear in a bow hunt. Nugent agreed to pay a $10,000 fine, and consented to a two-year probation, which specified that he could not hunt or fish in Alaska or Forest Service properties for one year. He also agreed to create a public service announcement that he would broadcast on his show every second week. He also agreed to pay the state $600 for the taking the bear illegally.
3. When he was in the supergroup Damn Yankees, Nugent was arrested after a 1993 concert in Cincinnati for shooting flaming arrows offstage during the song "Cat Scratch Fever." He was charged with a misdemeanor fire code violation for "using an open flame in a prohibited area." The rocker was given a three-day suspended jail sentence and fined $1,000. Nugent told the Reading Eagle, "I think it was a vulgarity against our common law and order. What [the judge] exposed there was an embarrassing, shallow attitude towards people like myself, who really support law and order."
2. Lots of rockers like young chicks. Fair enough. But Nugent was 30 years old in 1978 when he fell for 17-year-old Hawaiian girl Pele Massa, who he called his "muse." Since she was too young to legally marry, the Nuge made an agreement with Massa's parents to become her legal guardian. The couple hung in for a decade, but the relationship ended due to Nugent's infidelity. In 1989, Nugent married his current wife Shemaine Deziel, who was arrested August 29, 2013 at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport for bringing a handgun in a carry-on bag into one of the airport terminals. You know what they say about birds of a feather: they get shot mid-flight by gun-brandishing hunters like Nugent and his wife.
1. At an NRA rally in April 2012, Nugent exercised his right to free speech by declaring, "I'll tell you this right now. If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year." He continued by telling the NRA supporters, "If you can't go home and get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil America-hating administration, I don't even know what you're made of…we're done. We'll be a suburb of Indonesia next year." In reaction to his rhetoric, the Secret Service launched an investigation into Nugent's conduct.
And the U.S. Army canceled Nugent's appearance at a June 23 annual concert they sponsored at Fort Knox. On conservative radio host Dana Loesch's program, Nuge replied, "I'm a black Jew at a Nazi-Klan rally. And there are some power-abusing, corrupt monsters in our federal government that despise me because I have the audacity to speak the truth."
The Secret Service ultimately closed its investigation, concluding that Nugent was not a danger to the president.