WHY THE HATE?: Ted Nugent

WHY THE HATE?: Ted Nugent

"Motor City Madman" Ted Nugent has become a polarizing figure in pop culture, along with heavy metal and hard rock. With sixteen studio albums over an almost fifty year career. Known for his classic rock anthem "Cat Scratch Fever", "The Nuge" has been rocking and delivering his version of hard rock for decades. But over the year, Ted's political views and opinions have begun to polarize him and taint his image in the metal community. But does Nugent deserve the hate that he gets? Today, I am going to look into that in another edition of "Why The Hate?". I will look at Nugent's solo career, as well as look at the man himself and his viewpoints and some of the actions he has done over his career.  


Nugent began his solo career in 1975. Taking bassist Rob Grange from The Amboy Dukes, the band Nugent was in, and began working on his solo album debut. He would round out his solo band with Derek St. Holmes on guitar/vocals, and Clifford Davies on drums. He would release his self-titled debut album in 1975. The album's opening track "Stranglehold" became the opening shot in Nugent's solo career and his sound for the time. An eight minute song with a long, bluesy and technical guitar solo. St. Holmes on vocals and a unique bass tone throughout. This album would start Nugent's successful album run in the 70's. His second album Free-For-All would feature singer Meat Loaf on most of the songs on the album.

The following year would be the album Cat Scratch Fever, which would feature the title track that would make Nugent a name in hard rock. The album would also have another live staple and crowd favorite "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang". He would ride this wave of success with the following albums Weekend Warriors in 1978 and then State of Shock the following year. State of Shock was the first solo album not to go platinum, even though it received a positive response from the fans.

Following those albums would be Scream Dream in 1989. The opening track "Wango Tango" became a popular track and a live staple in Nugent's setlist. Another popular album with the fans and critics, and reigniting the success since Cat Scratch Fever. The album's successor Nugent received mixed criticism, with critics and fans citing it as "mediocre". He would try to rebound with glam metal influences in his eighth album Penetrator, but unfortunately would receive more negative response and the record would be labeled as his most underwhelming record so far in his career. He would try again to capture success with Little Miss Dangerous in 1986.

With his tenth album If You Can't Lick 'Em...Lick 'Em, Nugent would officially take over all vocal duties with this album and going forward. The album would do better then the last two in reviews and feedback from the fanbase. The song's closing track "That's The Story of Love" was co-written by Nugent, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. He would return to his hard rock sound from his earlier releases on 1995's Spirit of The Wild. It would also feature the return of St. Holmes to the band on vocal duties. Nugent would release a new album in 2002, his longest gap between releases, with the album Craveman. The sound of the album continued with the rawer, early records sound. It was recorded as a trio with Nugent, Marco Mendoza on bass guitar and Tommy Clufetos on drums.

He would follow that release five years later with this thirteenth album Love Grenade. The album faced controversy due to the original artwork depicting a women bound and bent over a platter with a grenade in her mouth. The artwork was changed so the label would allow it to be released. The album faces mixed reviews, citing that "Nugent has really changed and just cranking the same album out again and again". With Shutup & Jam!, Nugent would continue his hard rock sound with this album, as well as feature Sammy Hagar on the track "She's Gone". In 2018, he would release The Music Made Me Do It. The album would continue the hard rock trend he had on previous albums, but slightly shift and incorporate more blues rock tendencies to the theme of the record. Songs like "Backstrap Fever" and "Fred Bear" showcase this direction. Nugent's last studio album in 2022, Detroit Muscle, showed Nugent and company return back to hard rock and was met with mixed reviews from the critics and fans.

Nugent would not only just have his solo career. In the late 1980's, Nugent would team up with singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger and drummer Michael Cartellone to form the supergroup Damn Yankees. The band would release two albums. Their 1990 self-titled album would feature the band's biggest hit with the song "High Enough". They would follow that up two years later with the album Don't Tread, which featured the song "Where You Goin' Now".

As part of the VH1 TV show Supergroup, Nugent would join Sebastian Bach on lead vocals, Scott Ian of Anthrax on guitar, Evan Seinfeld of Biohazard on bass, and Jason Bonham on drums to form a band called Damnocracy. The band would perform live with the band performing one of each of the member's main band's songs, two AC/DC covers, as well as one original track "Take It Back".

Musically, does Ted Nugent deserve the hate? To be honest, I don't think it does. He writes traditional hard rock that some people like and some people are meh about. I do prefer his earlier records to be honest, I do agree that in his later albums, it did start to become formulaic and one-note, but some people like his music a lot and to each their own. Musically, I don't think he deserves the hate.

SECOND TOPIC: The Man Himself

Nugent has done some many notable things outside of his musical career. From his viewpoints on guns, politics, animal rights and controversially underage girls.

During an interview for VH1's Behind The Music, in 1978 Nugent began a relationship with a 17-year old girl named Pele Massa after he was divorced from his wife. Nugent was 30 years old at the time of meeting her. Due to the age difference, it was illegal to marry in the state of Hawaii where Massa was from. To get around this, Nugent joined Massa's parents in signing documents to make himself her legal guardian. There is no documentation according to snopes.com confirming that they did get married, but the couple did separate in 1986. With a lot of retrospective, and the popularity of movements like the #MeToo movement, this is just cringe and unjustifiable. For Nugent to be very nonchalant about it during the piece is very concerning and very creepy. There have also been accusations from Hole guitarist Courtney Love stating that she performed sexual acts on Nugent when she was 12-14, but this hasn't been confirmed and are only accusations.

Ted is a noted gun lover and supporter of gun rights, mainly a preponent of the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights, which gives an American the right to bare arms. He was on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association (NRA) from 1995 to 2021. With viewpoints promoting gun violence in self-defense, he also got some backlash after the 2018 Parkland High School shooting where seventeen people were killed and seventeen were injured. He called the survivors of the incident, who would become gun control activists following the shooting, "mushy brained children", and further stating that "they have no soul" after going after the NRA. Stating that "the gun-control measures they support amount to 'spiritual suicide'." To go after the victims and survivors of a tragedy involving gun violence is just low. It's narrow-minded and idiotic to not only go after someone who just went through something horrific and traumatizing, but to spin it to be about you and your beliefs is even uncalled for.

Nugent is also an avid hunter and has faced many criticisms from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for his views on hunting and animal rights. Nugent has been quoted on TV stating that:

"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."

In a radio interview in 1992, Nugent called Heidi Prescott of the Fund for Animals as "worthless whore" and a "shallow slut". He would follow those remarks asking "who needs to club a seal, when you can club Heidi?". After being fined for his remarks, he was ordered by a court to pay Prescott $75,000.

Nugent with former U.S. President Donald Trump

Lastly, Ted is a very prominent figure in the Republican party. Heavily criticizing former U.S president Barack Obama and his political views. He even mockingly and threatening Obama onstage in 2007 stating "Obama, he's a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun," In 2012, while campaigning in support of Mitt Romney, who was running against Obama at the time at an 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."

Nugent would receive a visit from the Secret Service for these remarks and due to his remarks, he would lose speaking and performance gigs following the incident. He also supported and promoted Donald Trump during his presidential run and continues to support him in his current re-election run.

Recently at the time of this writing, Nugent and his wife Shemane on their podcast The Spirit Campfire, led a prayer session, apologizing for their actions, but turning it into a political ploy in a way:

“God, we apologize. We apologize for being so spoiled, so disconnected, so irresponsible to support the evil that we have allowed, where men can enter women’s bathrooms and locker rooms and destroy women’s athletic records, and there is a segment of humanity that actually stands for that evil.
“We are sorry that we have allowed our government to become so evil that they are importing people to rape, carjack, murder and traffic children for demonic sex. We are so apologetic, but we promise you, God, we are not gonna take it anymore, and we are going to rise up and fulfill our ‘we the people’ responsibility to monitor the conduct and constitutional oath adherence and respect and reverence by those that we have heretofore mistakenly put into that kind of power.”

Politics and religion are such a divisive issue to discuss and to combine them in a "prayer ploy" is such a vomit-inducing level of cringe and taking advantage of people who take religion very seriously. To tie it to political gain, and pushing viewpoints during prayer is very cult-esque. Times are changing and people are evolving their ideology, sexual preferences and acceptance in new thoughts. It seems like Nugent is not ready to accept or evolve with the times. I cannot stand these kind of acts in politics or day-to-day life. I understand it was done for views and press, which it did, but it's clickbait bullshit that instantly makes you go UGH as you read it and realize you've been dooped that there isn't true sincerity or repentance, but just an agenda.

So, at the end of the day, does Ted Nugent deserve the hate? Musically, his early albums are decent records, but I do agree there isn't a lot of evolution past Cat Scratch Fever, but it's ok or meh in my opinion. Almost a "if it ain't broke" mentality. As a person and his viewpoints, yes he deserves the hate that he gets. While doing my research for this article, I just got more disgusted or unhappy with more things that Nugent either endorses, said or did in his fifty year career. For the 17 year old girl incident ALONE deserves some of the hate, but his political viewpoints and speaking "the quiet part loud and the loud part quiet" mindset is just bad. Over the years with his political views and thoughts, he has basically turned into the "Uncle Ted" role who vents about something he saw on Fox News which the family doesn't care about while they are just trying to eat Thanksgiving. Nugent for me is a perfect example of what I call a "music-only performer" where I only want to hear your music live. I don't care about your political message, your opinions, your views on current news. Just shut up, play the hits and get off the stage. In my opinion, Ted Nugent overall deserves the hate.

Do you think "The Nuge" deserves the hate? Do you agree/disagree and why? Let us know in our social media as well as what band/artist you think we should do next in this series. Cast your vote as well in the poll below and see if your fellow metalheads agree with you. I'm Justin, You're Friendly Neighborhood Metalhead, and this has been another edition of Why The Hate?

Does Ted Nugent Deserve The Hate? - Online Poll - StrawPoll
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