Ted Nugent's comment that if Barack Obama is re-elected, the Nuge will "either be dead or in jail by this time next year" has elevated the Motor City Madman to the status of talking point/progressive whipping boy in this year's presidential race. Which is amusing to yours truly, given that he's said considerably more controversial things in the past. To me, eighteen years ago.
Example: He referred to Hillary Clinton as a "toxic cunt."
Here's the complete quote about the then-first lady, from our July 1994 piece: "You probably can't use the term `toxic cunt' in your magazine, but that's what she is. Her very existence insults the spirit of individualism in this country. This bitch is nothing but a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro."
Our interview with Terrible Ted took place during the early days of his rise to prominence as an outspoken conservative. Yet even as he was maneuvering for a national radio-talk-show gig, the "Cat Scratch Fever" tunesmith didn't pussyfoot around the issues of the day, a number of which remain relevant in the 2012 campaign. Take national health care, about which he said, "The government must stay out of my life. If there are weenies who are in the liability column of our nation, tough shit."
And in honor of 4/20, here's his take on drug policies:
"I am militantly against the poisoning of senses, but I'm not going to dictate what you do. However, you get behind the wheel of a car stoned on dope and crash and it's life in prison, cocksucker. By the same token, should a kid going to a Grateful Dead concert who's caught with sugar-cube-encrusted LSD go to prison for life with no parole? Of course not. But should that guy get caned? Yeah. And should he go to prison in an overcrowded cell where a huge, unclean black man will fuck him in the ass every night? Yeah. Now, that sounds cruel, doesn't it? Well, tough fucking shit. These fucking liabilities in our country have had the run of things, but that's over. Over."
Look below to see Nugent's recent comments, followed by our original profile, in its entirety.
"Ted's World" July 27, 1994
"In Ted's world, we want the death penalty to be imposed at the scene of the crime," says veteran guitar-slinger Ted Nugent in a voice somewhere between a bark and a howl. "The only good bad guy is a dead bad guy. You want to rape my daughter, you're a dead piece of shit. We happen to like the concept of overcrowding in prisons. One violent felony and that motherfucker is out of the gene pool."
Like James Brown (see page 69), Nugent has a lot to say about this great land of ours, and he's more than happy to provide his opinions free of charge to anyone and everyone who crosses his path. If he has his way, however, his wit and wisdom (heard on Cat Scratch Fever, Double Live Gonzo! and other staples of Seventies rock radio) soon will pay him more tangible dividends. Thanks to the ratings success of a two-week stint as the morning host at a Dallas radio station earlier this year, Nugent seems to be on the cusp of becoming a rock-and-roll Rush Limbaugh. Or, as he puts it, "The executives at certain mega-networks are all sitting around a giant oak table butt-naked, drooling on themselves and trying to figure out how they're going to afford me. I expect to be on the airwaves nationwide in early '95."
If so, Ted will be one busy guitar god. He's going to tour throughout the remainder of this year and most of next in support of Spirit of the Wild, a solo album to be released by Atlantic Records this fall. He plans to continue editing and publishing Adventure Outdoors, the official magazine (circulation: 75,000) of Ted Nugent World Bowhunters Inc., an organization he founded. And he is set to make dozens of public appearances in support of the Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids, the Ted Nugent Bowhunting School, the Ted Nugent Archers Africa Safari, the National Rifle Association and just about any group that promotes Ted Nugent's brand of environmentalism and conservation--a de facto religion based largely on the premise that shooting and killing large game animals is good, and good for you.
At the same time, Nugent (whose rep took a big hit in some quarters because he spent much of the Eighties in Damn Yankees, a bland rock band featuring the reprehensible Styx veteran Tommy Shaw) has become a sought-after conservative spokesman. He recently served as a panel member on Politically Incorrect on the Comedy Central cable channel and has turned up as a guest on radio programs hosted by Limbaugh and practically every other right-of-center yakker with regular access to a microphone. He views his sudden popularity among these types as both a career opportunity and a vindication of his way of thinking. "Have you ever heard of the pendulum swinging?" he asks. "Have you ever heard of the people forcing their views back into the mainstream? That's what we're experiencing, and I couldn't be happier. Why do you think these network guys are scratching their heads with fucking cheese graters trying to figure out what the fuck I am? Because I am the pulse of America. This is not a Ted thing, this is not a Rush thing, this is not a Ken Hamblin thing. This is an America thing."
So what are the American people really thinking about the hot topics of the day? Nugent knows.
About Haiti: "We should put razor wire around our borders and give the finger to any piece of shit who wants to come here."
About the change of leadership in North Korea: "If Korea is a threat, squash them. If they appear to be developing a threat, squash them."
About Bill Clinton: "Americans hate Bill Clinton. We hate what he represents. We are insulted by his un-American, socialistic viewpoints and his attempts to shove socialist policy up our ass."
About Hillary Clinton: "You probably can't use the term `toxic cunt' in your magazine, but that's what she is. Her very existence insults the spirit of individualism in this country. This bitch is nothing but a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro."
About national health care: "The government must stay out of my life. If there are weenies who are in the liability column of our nation, tough shit."
About Social Security: "To be forced to have a Social Security number in this country is illegal. It's against the Constitution. I can't tell you the specific language, but I reviewed it, and I know it's illegal. The clusterfuck that is Social Security insults people who work hard for their living."
About the alleged left-wing slant of the media: "Oh, you mean the overt epidemic of socialist, communist journalism in this country? It's so embarrassing and inept that I don't know whether to throw up or laugh."
Nugent doesn't adhere to the hard-right party line on every issue. For instance, he has supported the concept of euthanasia ever since the death of his mother, who he says went from "a 175-pound queen of the forest who inspired every moment of my life to an 80-pound, frail, diseased, cancer-riddled victim." He believes in a woman's right to choose to have an abortion: "No one can decide that for someone. I consider it preposterous that some people think they should be able to." He even stands up for homosexuals, in a manner of speaking. "I don't care if you want to warm up a vat of peanut butter and have a goat piss in it and do a swan dive into it," he says. "But don't splash it on me, motherfucker."
As for drug laws, Nugent would liberalize them--sort of. "I am militantly against the poisoning of senses," he insists, "but I'm not going to dictate what you do. However, you get behind the wheel of a car stoned on dope and crash and it's life in prison, cocksucker. By the same token, should a kid going to a Grateful Dead concert who's caught with sugar-cube-encrusted LSD go to prison for life with no parole? Of course not. But should that guy get caned? Yeah. And should he go to prison in an overcrowded cell where a huge, unclean black man will fuck him in the ass every night? Yeah. Now, that sounds cruel, doesn't it? Well, tough fucking shit. These fucking liabilities in our country have had the run of things, but that's over. Over."
As he waits for this brave new world to be born, Nugent insists that he still has time to rock and roll. "I am the funniest white man in America, so you might as well enjoy me," he announces. "When I hit the stage or get on the radio, I'm an entertainer--and I'm one alive son of a bitch. I'm running on all twelve cylinders. I'm fortunate that I'm able to put my whole heart and soul into endeavors that I genuinely crave. I crave rock and roll, I crave hunting, I crave spending time with my family. I'm just lucky that I get to do the breaststroke in the white-water rapids of all my most exciting, adventurous, desirable zones."
Musically, the Nuge says, that means he's going back to the wild, untamed, sexually rampant themes that made him a legend with horny high school students from coast to coast. There'll be no concessions to the age of sensitivity from him. And if you're a woman who feels that his lyrics to ditties such as the immortal "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" are sexist, Nugent says, "Fuck you and go to a Garth Brooks show. Kiss my dog's dead, diseased, rotting ass. If you don't have a sense of humor, you're not allowed in Ted's world. I don't objectify women. I'd like to think that I'm optimizing their hardware.
"I'm not afraid to speak my piece, and I think I have some stuff that really has to be said. I'm not running for office. I'm running for America."
Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Photos: 4/20 at CU-Boulder scenes you won't see this year."