Whatever happened to kick-ass, guitar-driven, American made rock
& roll? As I took my seat right in front of the bass stacks at
the Star Plaza Theatre I wondered this. I'll tell you what I think
happened to it - those crazy punk kids, tormented by their
inner-drive for self-destruction is what happened to it. Sadly, gone
seem to be the days when a dude, while wailing on guitar, can make a
statement about the fight he has to make to save his freedoms. In
the case of Ted Nugent, his passion is for hunting, and he may curse
those who attempt to make the laws, but still seems to be proud to
be an American because he always knows he can fight to change those
For me, my respect for the Motor City Madman is two-fold. First
and foremost, for his raw musical talent, and secondly for having
the balls to not sit back and cry "oh, my life is horrible, I
think I'll be sad and hope somebody notices my inner pain." Oh
no, he does what every red-blooded American has the right to do and
that is fight for his beliefs. Out front, outspoken, and sometimes
out of his mind on guitar, Ted Nugent shouldn't be cursed for his
beliefs, he should be applauded for standing up for them. And he
should also be applauded for keeping that kick-ass, guitar-driven,
American made rock & roll alive and well. Hey, how's that for
some personal ranting and raving about Ted Nugent? Yea, yea, you're
saying, "come on dude, what about the god-damn show?"
Well, yea, there was a show, and if it is Ted Nugent it can almost
never be anything but incredible.
As the lights go down, the crowd is on their feet, and I'm filled
with a sudden fear. Why? Well, as Ted rode out on a buffalo, I'm
thinking to myself, "Self, I better give him a good review or
else he might sick that buffalo after me!" For those of you who
have only seen buffalo in movies or pictures, let me tell you this -
they are some huge animals, and I mean huge. But there was Ted,
proud as a mama who just gave birth, riding out for the first of his
annual "Whiplash Bash" dates, his yearly cruise around the
midwest around Christmas time. He climbs off the buffalo, dons his
guitar, and as the opening riffs of "Catch Scratch Fever"
fill the air, this is going to be one loud night, one of classics,
one of some preaching, and just one hell of a good night. I'm happy,
I won't have to worry about that Ted sending that buffalo after me
because I can tell already where this review is going.
It's funny, Ted Nugent gets a bad rap from those same critics who
once praised him, but whose musical tastes change from year to year.
They dismiss Ted as old-news, someone who had some catchy
guitar-driven songs, and is too outspoken for the good of humanity,
but tell that to the near sell-out crowd in Indiana this night and
you're just likely to get your ass beat. For a man who has been out
of the musical spotlight for awhile, in terms of press and records,
he still has some of the most loyal, dedicated, and sometimes
completely insane fans. This night, like every Nugent show I have
seen, they loved every minute of Ted's nearly two hour show, and
like every Nugent show I have seen, Ted seemed to love every minute
of Ted's nearly two hour show too.
This was a night of classics, like "Free for All" and a
rip-roaring version of "Stranglehold" as well as tipping
the scale on his latest "Spirit of the Wild" release with
a ramming version of "Fred Bear" and "I Just Want to
go Hunting." The dude is 48 years old and can blow the shit out
of many of the younger generation of rockers, and he even seems to
know it. From the chorus of "Boo's" from the crowd when
asked "You want alternative rock & roll?" to the
laughs and cheers from comments like "How come I look so good
and you don't? You haven't been eating your venison have you?"
and "How about my buffalo?" Ted Nugent kept the crowd on
its feet and rocking the entire night. He flashes his guitar like a
trophy, holding it high and bowing in front of it, and to many, it
might be that, a trophy, but to me it is more of a symbol of a rock
& roll age we have almost lost - but as long as Ted is around I
know it won't die. Thank God.
As he came out on the buffalo one last time for his encore, I'm
thinking I hope he wasn't lying when he said something about heading
back on the road during '97. His fingers are flying over his guitar,
my ears are bleeding, and the crowd is still going crazy, and as he
lets the guitar play on, he grabs his bow, lights the arrow, and
drives the arrow through the heart of the guitar - complete with an
explosion. He may have killed the guitar, but may kick-ass,
guitar-driven, American made rock & roll live on!
Ted Nugent, well, shit, is there anything else he can get but TWO
HUGE, KICK-ASS, GOD BLESS THE AMERICAN GUITAR, THUMBS UP!! Nope.
That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!!! L8R!!!