Ted Nugent, a guitar hero since the 1970s, has become a right-wing icon, thanks to his gun-rights advocacy and conservative politicking all over the media. With the Nuge set to perform Friday in Minneapolis with REO Speedwagon and Styx, we asked him a few questions via e-mail.
Q: What kind of connection do you feel with REO Speedwagon and Styx?
A: Midwest bands have always celebrated the original black musical heroes that created this wonderful, outrageous soundtrack of defiance and fun. Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, James Brown et al. still live in our music, and there is no question that my band, Styx and REO still love the music and put our hearts and souls into every concert. These guys deserve me.
Q: You and Styx’s Tommy Shaw were in the 1990s supergroup Damn Yankees. Do you do any of their tunes together onstage?
A: We slammed out a killer version of “Coming of Age” last year in Maine, and one never knows when or where it may erupt again. Tommy is a killer and Damn Yankee songs are killers. And of course, I’m a killer. No, really.
Q: How many guitars do you have?
A: Many. About one-tenth as many guns as I have.
Q: How many guns is that?
A: Approximately 10 times as many [as] guitars.
Q: What appeals to you about doing your Outdoor Channel hunting show “Spirit of the Wild”?
A: I hunt more than 300 days a year whether we have a TV show or not, so we just go the extra mile to utilize this media to promote the truth about conservation and real hands-on environmental stewardship in a raw, honest, down-to-earth documentary style. … The added bonus of causing animal-rights freaks much anguish makes it all that much more fun.
Q: What effect has your politics had on your music career and vice versa? Has it gained you fans? Cost you fans?