One of the wildest rock guitar gods and best concert attraction ever, Motor City madman Ted Nugent found it easier to win fans with his anthemic songs and powerful playing than his deeply entrenched, right wing political views. His pro-gun and pro-hunting stances have infuriated many, but there’s an admirable flipside in the lifestyle department--Nugent is a family man and one of the few hard rockers who has stuck by his lifelong anti-drugs and drink stance throughout his career.
Although “The Nuge” would take formal guitar lessons later in life, he was largely a self-taught musician who began playing at the age of six. At 14, he formed his first band, the Lourds. Their powerful 1964 performance at the Michigan State Fair earned them an opening slot with the Beau Brummels and the Supremes. Later that year, Nugent moved to Chicago, where he became frontman for the Amboy Dukes.
After high school, Nugent returned to Detroit and began recruiting new members for the Dukes. The band quickly signed with Mainstream Records and released a self-titled debut album, which included the Top Ten single “Journey to the Center of the Mind." In the early 1970s, the Amboy Dukes continued to record, while averaging more than 300 concert dates per year. Nugent's popularity, coupled with his expanding stage presence, surpassed that of his fellow band members. Not surprisingly, the band became known as Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes.
In 1975, Nugent decided to pursue a solo career and released his self titled debut on Epic, featuring the hit singles “Stranglehold” and “Hey, Baby.” In 1977, Nugent recorded his most successful album to date — Cat Scratch Fever. Selling more than three million copies, the LP included the now-classic rock anthems “Cat Scratch Fever,” "Workin' Hard, Playin' Hard," and "Out of Control."
Continuing in the theatrical tradition of his performances with the Dukes, Nugent made his biggest impression onstage, and often claimed to have played more gigs per annum than any other artist or group. Ear-piercing guitar work and vocals - "If it's too loud, you're too old" ran one tour motto - were accompanied by a "wild man" image, where the artist appeared in loin-cloth and headband, brandishing the bow and arrow with which he claimed to hunt for food. This craziness was captured perfectly on the platinum-selling Double Live Gonzo.
Nugent’s peaked by the early 80s, and he retreated from the spotlight for a few years before releasing two relatively successful albums, Penetrator (1984) and Little Miss Dangerous (1986). In 1989, he joined forces with rock veterans Tommy Shaw (Styx) and Jack Blades (Night Ranger) to form the pop heavy metal band Damn Yankees, which enjoyed a brief but eventful run over the course of two popular albums.
Avid hunter and political activist, Nugent's outspoken commitment to gun ownership and right-wing politics took a toll on his success in the 1990s. In 1995, he resumed his solo career with the critically-panned album Spirit of the Wild, in which he expressed his deeply held political views and his unique relationship with nature and hunting.
In the summer of 2000, Nugent opened 79 sold-out concerts on the KISS Farewell Tour. That same year, he published a book of essays titled God, Guns and Rock-N-Roll. Nugent currently serves on the boards of more than two dozen political and charitable associations, including the National Rifle Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.