By Jeb Wright
Wildman Ted Nugent Boards the Midwest Rock ‘N’ Roll Express Tour
The Midwest Rock ’N’ Roll Express, 2013, takes off full throttle on April 18th featuring a trifeca of Rock and Roll royalty in Ted Nugent, Styx and REO Speedwagon. The trio had such a great time on last year’s tour they have decided to keep the fire burning and trek across the good old USA once more.
Classic Rock Revisited caught up with the guitar hero and all around rock and roll son of a bitch, Ted Nugent, to discuss the tour. Right off the bat, we told The Motor City Madman of our newfound respect for REO and Styx for having the balls to follow the hard rocking guitarist on stage, once again. “Make no mistake, those incredible virtuosos in both Styx and REO were, and continue to be, inspired by the same black American musical heroes that my band and I am inspired by.
“I guarantee you that each member of all three bands were lured into the world of music by Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard and, of course, the [Rolling] Stones and the Beatles, who were inspired by Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins and all the original black soul music masters.
“Even the sweetest musical moments by those bands are delivered with real all American gung-ho soulfulness and we couldn't be more proud to bring our tour to the same music loving fun gluttons that love all three bands. Those boys deserve me.”
Ted Nugent, in the 1970’s was best known as a foxtail wearing, guitar playing, long haired guitar god. In 2013, many know of Nugent for his ultra conservative political views. Nugent comments on how he successfully balances both roles in his life, “My music erupts with unbridled fury every day of my life, and for public celebration live on tour more than 75 outrageous ultra-high energy rock-outs a year. Music has been a phenomenal dazzling force to reckon with for more than 50 years of my 64 clean and sober years, and no one can deny our live shows are more ferocious, tighter and more intense these days than ever in history.
“My duty as a ‘we the people’ participant is also more important now than ever when hero warriors of the US Military are sacrificing everything for the US Constitution and The American Way while the corruption, abuse of power and sheer criminality by the current gang of soulless elected punks in office rip us off worse than ever. The power of defiance in my music comes from the absolute American freedoms that I fight constantly for. And I am turning up the heat on all fronts more every day, thank you.”
Like many major rock acts these days, Nugent is offering his fans the backstage, VIP experience of a lifetime on his website, www.tednugent.com. For a price, Nuge-maniacs can purchase a Dangerzone VIP Package that includes a concert ticket, a photo with Nugent, a VIP laminate, a pre-show meet and great with Ted and an 8x10 photo that Nugent will happily autograph.
While that is the meat and potatoes description of the package, Nugent describes the event using his own lingo, “We have a handpicked gaggle of young cheerleaders that teach our Uncle Ted Dangerzone victims how to play Bo Diddley licks, skin varmints, and render herbivores into family sized portions all the while memorizing the lyrics to ‘Wango Tango.’ Then, after subjecting them to the sonic baptism in close proximity to my amplifiers during our raucous set of Motown love songs, we have them load high capacity magazines till their fingers bleed. It is surely a very, very special party.”
Nugent will be surrounded by the same musicians he took on the road last year, including rhythm guitarist/vocalist Derek St. Holmes, drummer Mick Brown and bassist Greg Smith. With Nugent taking the leadoff spot on the tour, his set list will be limited, meaning some fan favorites may have to be left out, including “Great White Buffalo” and “Fred Bear.” “Our biggest challenge is to slam home the best of the best every night, which we do with animal aplomb,” Nugent confidently states. “We also headline a number of shows where we can increase the American soundtrack to defiance to include these two masterpieces, as well as many others. If that wasn't me on stage rocking out, I sure as hell would be in the audience, often, checking this guy out!”
Now if we were to catch up with Uncle Ted and not ask him about some of his most famous riffs then shame on us! Luckily, Nuge happily told the tale of two of his greatest riffs. First up is the iconic “Great White Buffalo.” “This was yet another magical moment like the original musical burst of so many of my songs. This amazing lick/song erupted spontaneously during the Call of the Wild recording session around 1972-73,” Nugent says. “As I was tuning up my Blonde Byrdland, that pattern leaped forth with a force to reckon with. Killer bass player, Rob DeLaGrange, stopped me and asked what the hell that was, and I said "I don't know, just jackin’ around, tuning up." He told me to play it again, but I failed to play the lick the same as I had just done moments before and he kept badgering me to re-discover the lick. I didn't. But after recording some other songs, I again went to tune up my Gibson and the lick burst forth again. Rob yelled 'That's it! That's it!' So I played it a few times, showed the guys where I wanted to stop and start it up again, turned on the tape machine and recorded it in one fell swoop, making up the lyrics as I went along; take one!
"We knew it was a killer but could not have known it would become a top requested classic American rock song for more than 40 years and adopted by so many American Indian tribes as their spiritual theme song, based on their historical religious legend of the mystical Great White Buffalo of their prayers...Mighty powerful stuff. I still get goose bumps every night we perform this intense rocker.”
Next up we asked about the all time classic, “Stranglehold.” “Good grief huh,” Nugent muses. “The Amboy Dukes performed upwards of 350 concerts a year after I graduated high school in ‘67 and left our Illinois home back to my beloved Motor City. Our nightly rock outs often exceeded three plus hours and there was a lot of experimental extended and very adventurous jamming that went on in the middle of songs.
“This earth shattering lick came about from a constantly developing jam session and, as usual, the lyrics were inspired by the pulse, in this case, sexually explicit pulse of defiance that permeated so much of me and my music more and more all the time. The song expresses my refusal to abandon my instinctive high energy, R&B driven musical dreams in the face of constant pressure from management, producers, record companies, booking agents et al, to back down on the feedback guitar driven music that I so love.
"Hence, ‘I crushed your face’ to this day, this song is without question THE sexiest, grinding pure animal love song of all time. Not only that,” continues Nugent. “But the ultimate human beings, warriors of the US Military, use this soulful soundtrack for inspiration to kill bad guys, and Kirk Gibson played it just prior to hitting that famous bottom of the 9th homerun, and the Chicago Blackhawks play it every night before attacking the ice to kick maximum ass on their hockey opponents. Then, of course, its use in the movies Rock Star and Invincible pretty much says it all. We can't wait to perform it every night and all real music lovers celebrate it with everything we got constantly; killer tune.”
Nugent also admits that a new album is one the way. “God knows we are eating our hearts out and busting our ass to get back into the studio to capture the new songs I am creating these days. I am confident there will be a new killer record ASAP. Derek and the boys and I are humping madly to jam up a storm, working on my new tunes. I am certain real hard rock soul music lovers will love them.”
While Nugent gears up for the tour, we told him about a recent show by REO Speedwagon where lead vocalist Kevin Cronin told the crowd that neither “Cat Scratch Fever” nor the aforementioned “Stranglehold” were the world’s greatest love song, as Nugent proclaimed on last year’s tour. Cronin corrected Nugent saying “Keep on Loving You” was the best. When told of Cronin’s point of view, Nugent simply shrugged and said matter-of-factly, “There ya have it; gentlemanly sex versus pure animal sex. Make your choice.”
Be sure to check out Ted Nugent, Styx and REO Speedwagon as they crisscross the country on The Midwest Rock ’N’ Roll Express tour.
Midwest Rock ‘n Roll Express Tour Dates:
4/18 – Grand Forks, N.D.
4/19 – Minneapolis, Minn.
4/20 – Moline, Ill.
4/21 – Toledo, Ohio
4/23 – Springfield, Mass.
4/24 – Glens Falls, N.Y.
4/26 – East Rutherford, N.J.
4/27 – Raleigh, N.C.
4/28 – Roanoke, Va.
5/01 – Estero, Fla.
5/03 – St. Augustine, Fla.
5/05 – Atlanta, Ga.
5/08 – Tulsa, Okla.
5/10 – Kansas City, Kan.
5/11 – Lincoln, Neb.
5/14 – Grand Rapids, Mich.
5/15 – Evansville, Ind.
5/17 – Green Bay, Wis.
5/18 – St. Louis, Mo.
5/19 – Burgettstown, Pa.
To purchase a Ted Nugent Dangerzone VIP Package visit: