Theodore Anthony "Ted" Nugent (/tɛd ˈnuːdʒɨnt/; born December 13, 1948) is an American rock musician from Detroit, Michigan. Nugent initially gained fame as the lead guitarist of The Amboy Dukes before embarking on a solo career. His hits, mostly coming in the 1970s, such as "Stranglehold", "Cat Scratch Fever", "Wango Tango", and "Great White Buffalo", as well as his 1960s Amboy Dukes hit "Journey to the Center of the Mind" remain popular today.
Nugent is also noted for his staunch conservative political views and his strong advocacy of hunting and gun ownership rights. He is a board member of the National Rifle Association and a strong supporter of the Republican Party.
Nugent was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Marion Dorothy (née Johnson) and Warren Henry Nugent. Nugent's father was an Army staff sergeant, and he was raised in a very strict household. He moved to Palatine, Illinois, as a teenager, and has two brothers: John and Jeffrey, and a sister, Kathy. Raised Catholic, Nugent has mentioned his ties with the Christian faith many times during interviews, and has stated that he regularly attends church. He attended St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois and William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois, where he dropped out his freshman year.
Nugent has released more than 34 albums and has sold a career total of 30 million records. He was known throughout his early career in the 1970s for using Fender amps, a large part of his signature sound, and for playing the hollow-body Gibson Byrdland guitar.
Performing since 1958, Nugent has been touring annually since 1967, averaging more than 300 shows per year (1967–73), 200 per year (1974–80), 150 (1981–89), 127 concerts in 1990, 162 concerts in 1991, 150 concerts in 1993, 180 in 1994, 166 in 1995, 81 in 1996, Summer Blitz '97, '98, Rock Never Stops '99, 133 concerts with KISS 2K. Nugent's 2005 plans involved a tour with country music singer-songwriter Toby Keith, whom Nugent met in Iraq while they were both performing in USO-sponsored shows for the coalition troops. Nugent toured with local Detroit musician Alex Winston during the summers of 2007 and 2008.
On July 4, 2008, at the DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston, Michigan, Ted Nugent played his 6,000th concert. Derek St. Holmes (original singer for the Ted Nugent band), Johnny Bee Badanjek (drummer for Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels), and Nugent's guitar teacher from 1958 Joe Podorsek all jammed on stage with Nugent for various tunes.
His first edition of The Amboy Dukes played at The Cellar, a teen dance club outside of Chicago in Arlington Heights, Illinois, starting in late 1965, while Nugent was a student at St. Viator High School. The Cellar's "house band" at the time had been the Shadows of Knight, although the Amboy Dukes eventually became a staple until the club's closing.
The Amboy Dukes' second single was "Journey to the Center of the Mind", which featured lyrics written by the Dukes' second guitarist Steve Farmer. Nugent, an ardent anti-drug campaigner, has always claimed that he had no idea that this song was about drug use. The Amboy Dukes (1967), Journey to the Center of the Mind (1968) and Migrations ft. Rusty Day (1969) — all recorded on the Mainstream label — sold moderately well. On April 5, 1968, Nugent along with a group of musicians paid tribute to Martin Luther King by having a folk, rock and blues jam session. Joni Mitchell played first, followed by Buddy Guy, Cactus, and Jimi Hendrix. Other musicians who participated were BB King and Al Kooper.
After settling down on a ranch in Michigan in 1973, Nugent signed a record deal with Frank Zappa's DiscReet Records label and recorded Call of the Wild. The following year, Tooth Fang & Claw (which contained the song "Great White Buffalo", arranged with Rob Grange) established a fan base for Nugent and the other Amboy Dukes. Personnel changes nearly wrecked the band, which became known as Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes. Nugent reunited with the other members of the Amboy Dukes at the 2009 Detroit Music Awards, which took place April 17, 2009. The psychedelic band received a distinguished achievement honor at the event. The Dukes also played together at the ceremony, marking their first public performance in more than 30 years.
Nugent dropped the Amboy Dukes band name for good in 1975, and signed to Epic Records. Derek St. Holmes (guitar, vocals), Rob Grange (bass) and Clifford Davies (drums) were the primary additional band members for his 1970s multi-platinum albums: Ted Nugent (1975), Free-for-All (1976) and Cat Scratch Fever (1977). These albums produced the popular radio anthems "Hey Baby", "Stranglehold", "Dog Eat Dog", and "Cat Scratch Fever". It was during these three years that Nugent emerged as a guitar hero to hard rock fans, many of whom were unaware of his lengthy apprenticeship with the Amboy Dukes. This band lineup toured extensively, also releasing the multi-platinum live album Double Live Gonzo!, until its breakup in 1978 when St. Holmes and Grange departed. St. Holmes was replaced by Charlie Huhn and Grange by Dave Kiswiney. Davies left around 1982 after staying on to record Weekend Warriors (1978), State of Shock (1979), Scream Dream (1980) and Intensities in 10 Cities (1981).
On July 8, 1979, Ted was on the rock radio program King Biscuit Flower Hour. This was the original broadcast of Ted's performance of Live at Hammersmith '79 which had been recorded during the second set of a night at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1979. An album of this program was released in 1997.
During this era, Nugent was notable for his declarations that he did not drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco or marijuana. In an interview for VH1's Behind The Music, Nugent said this was due to his father's having reprimanded him when he came home smelling of alcohol after a night of drinking. Nugent has been cited as an influence on the straight edge movement, which disavows drinking and recreational drug use.
Nugent has cited his own musical influences as Vanilla Fudge, Jeff Beck, The Ventures, Wayne Cochran, Jimmy Page, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Yardbirds, Duane Eddy, Eric Clapton, Lonnie Mack, Steppenwolf, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, The Animals, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Frank Zappa, and Muddy Waters.
During the period of 1982–89, Nugent released a series of moderately successful solo albums. In 1989, he joined the supergroup Damn Yankees, with Jack Blades (bass/vocals, formerly of Night Ranger), Tommy Shaw (guitar/vocals, formerly of Styx) and Michael Cartellone (drums). Damn Yankees (1990) was a hit, going multi-platinum in the U.S., thanks in no small part to the smash hit power ballad "High Enough". The video for this song featured Nugent in a priest's collar, and later in a zebra-striped cape during the guitar solo. It also saw the first appearance of his 'WhackMaster' hat.
Back to solo
Returning to a solo career, Nugent released Spirit of the Wild in 1995, his best-reviewed album in quite some time. The album also marked the return of Derek St. Holmes to Nugent's studio band. A series of archival releases also came out in the 1990s, keeping Nugent's name in the national consciousness. He also began hosting a radio show in Detroit on WWBR-FM ("102.7 The Bear, Detroit's Rock Animal") and took ownership in several hunting-related businesses. He created TV shows for several networks; Wanted: Ted or Alive on Versus, Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild on PBS and The Outdoor Channel, as well as Surviving Nugent and Supergroup-Damnocracy on VH1.
Ted Nugent appears on David Crowder Band's 2007 release, Remedy, playing guitar on the song "We Won't Be Quiet". He announced his "Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead" tour on April 21, 2010.
On March 14, 2011, Nugent released a new song, "I Still Believe", as a free download via his website to subscribers to his news letter. Nugent says of the song: "America is a target-rich environment for an independent man addicted to logic, truth and The American Way. 'I Still Believe' throttles the animal spirit of rugged individualism in pure MotorCity ultra high-energy rhythm and blues and rock and roll." In April 2011 Nugent announced that former frontman Derek St. Holmes would be joining his band for Nugent's I Still Believe Tour.
In July 2014 Nugent had several shows cancelled by Native American owned casinos, citing "Nugent’s history of racist and hate-filled remarks".
Nugent starred in his own outdoors television show named after his popular song "Spirit of the Wild". The song was the theme music to the TV series in which Nugent took viewers on a variety of wild game hunts using his bow. In the series he teaches and advises hunters and "hands-on" conservationists around the world on the different aspects of hunting and politics, and informs the public on the importance of getting children away from the TV and video games and getting them out beyond the pavement in order to better their lives.
In 2003, he was host of the VH1 reality television program Surviving Nugent in which city dwellers such as model Tila Tequila moved to Nugent's Michigan ranch in order to survive such "backwoods" activities as building an outhouse and skinning a boar. The success of the two-hour show spawned a four-part miniseries in 2004 entitled Surviving Nugent: The Ted Commandments. This time it was filmed on Nugent's ranch in China Spring, Texas. During filming, Nugent injured himself with a chainsaw, requiring 44 stitches and a leg brace.
In 2003, Nugent also guested on the VH1 program Forever Wild, hosted by Sebastian Bach (former lead vocalist for the band Skid Row). They shot some firearms and walked around Nugent's cabin in the woods. Two years later he hosted a reality-type show, Wanted: Ted or Alive on OLN (now the NBC Sports Network) where contestants competed for money as well as for opportunities to go hunting with "Uncle Ted." The contestants had to kill and clean their own food to survive.
In 2006, he appeared on VH1's reality show SuperGroup, with Scott Ian (Anthrax, guitar), Evan Seinfeld (Biohazard, bass), Sebastian Bach (ex-Skid Row, vocals) and Jason Bonham (Bonham, UFO, Foreigner, drums). The name of the supergroup was originally FIST but later was changed to Damnocracy. Bach had lobbied for the name Savage Animal. Captured on film by VH1 was a rare Nugent duet with guitarist Joe Bonamassa at the Sand Dollar Blues Room for a 45-minute blues jam. He starred in another reality show for CMT in August 2009. The show, entitled Runnin' Wild ... From Ted Nugent, featured Nugent instructing competitors in the art of survival; the competitors had to use those skills in challenges in which they were hunted down by Nugent.
In 2008, Ted Nugent was on the episode Southwest Road Trip Special of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, where he spoke against obesity and public health care.
Also in 2009, he played guitar at The Alamo for a Tax Day Tea Party hosted by Glenn Beck and Fox News. Most notable in his set was a version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in which he used alternate picking and whammy bar effects. The clip and sound bite of this is played extensively on Fox News as well as on The Glenn Beck Program.
In 1976 Nugent was in the documentary Demon Lover Diary, about the making of the John Dods' horror/comedy movie My Demon Lover. He is shown supplying real guns for the making of My Demon Lover, as the crew films at Nugent's house.
In 1986, he guest starred in an episode of the hit television show Miami Vice entitled "Definitely Miami". Nugent played a villain. His song "Angry Young Man" was featured in the episode. His song "Little Miss Dangerous" was also featured on a Miami Vice episode of the same name, although he did not appear in the episode.
In 2001, Nugent appeared as himself in a third season episode of That '70s Show entitled "Backstage Pass". Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon), who works for radio station WFPP, obtains tickets to the upcoming Ted Nugent concert for the entire gang. Following the concert, her boss Max (Howard Hesseman) gives Donna a backstage pass to meet Nugent, where he volunteers to sit for an interview. Meanwhile, Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson) and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) try to sell unauthorized concert t-shirts accidentally spelled Tad Nugent.
Also in 2001, Nugent appeared as himself in the second episode of the short-lived university campus FOX comedy series, Undeclared. In the episode "Full Bluntal Nugety", Nugent is a guest at the university, there to speak on his favorite topics, mainly hunting and gun control. This is where new student Steven Karp (Jay Baruchel) takes his love interest Lizzie (Carla Gallo) on their first date. Karp tries to heckle Nugent during his speech in an attempt to impress Lizzie, with disastrous results. FOX didn't like the idea of Nugent and his political views appearing on this show, so the episode was re-shot and re-edited as "Oh, So You Have a Boyfriend?" which aired without any Ted Nugent content whatsoever. The complete "Full Bluntal Nugety (Director's Cut)" episode is available in its entirety, in the Undeclared DVD box set, including some extra Ted Nugent scenes that had been deleted.
He made a guest appearance on the cult television series Aqua Teen Hunger Force, in the episode "Gee Whiz", on Adult Swim. Locals believe to have seen the face of Jesus in a billboard, and they mention how it looks like Ted Nugent. Throughout the episode they think it's Jesus' face, but at the end they discover it was in fact Nugent's. He proceeds to shoot a flaming explosive arrow at Carl (mistaking him for a "varmint"). Ted also appeared on Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy when he kills the Ghost of Christmas Past and serves him to guests for dinner.
In 2007, Nugent appeared in the music video for Nickelback's "Rockstar", and in 2008 he played a key role in the Toby Keith movie Beer For My Horses as the quiet deputy named Skunk.
In 2007, Nugent debated The Simpsons producer Sam Simon on the Howard Stern Show about the ethics of hunting animals. Coincidentally, Nugent would later lend his voice to an over-the-phone appearance in the season 19 episode of The Simpsons, "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", where, in a humorous jab at his political stance, inmate Dwight picks up his call for voting no to the fictional Proposition 87, which bans crossbows in public schools. As part of his pre-recorded message, Nugent asks "If we outlaw crossbows in our public schools, who's going to protect our children from charging elk?".
In 2012, Nugent again appeared as himself on The Simpsons, on the January 8th Episode "Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson," where he is nominated as a Presidential candidate for the Republican Party.
Other media appearances
Attracting attention for his outspoken statements on issues ranging from guns to biodiversity, Nugent has been a regular guest on such programs as Larry King Live, The Howard Stern Show, and Politically Incorrect.
In 1978 Ted Nugent appeared on the Midnight Special as host and a performer. Season 7, Episode 8, Aired Nov 24, 1978
In 1980 Ted Nugent appeared on Fridays as the musical guest. He performed "Paralyzed" and "Scream Dream"' Oct. 24, 1980.
He also appeared on Chicago Radio personality, Jonathon Brandmeir's, short lived talk show, "Johnny B. on the Loose".
In 1991, he guest-starred on the PBS science show Newton's Apple in a short comedic feature called Science of the Rich and Famous in which he demonstrates and explains the phenomenon of electric guitar feedback.
On March 13, 2007, Nugent was interviewed on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! and performed the songs "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Rawdogs and Warhogs".
On April 15, 2009, Nugent appeared onstage with his guitar in San Antonio as part of Glenn Beck's coverage of the Tax Day Tea Party protests on the Fox News Channel. He hosted the show with Glenn Beck, and played music for the protestors at the Alamo.
He made an appearance in Guitar Hero World Tour. As part of the solo guitar career, the player engages in a guitar duel with Nugent, after which the song "Stranglehold" is unlocked and Ted becomes available as a playable character.
Nugent was interviewed on the The Alex Jones Show July 30, 2008 about his new book "Ted, White, and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto" (2008). On July 9, 2010 Ted was again interviewed by Alex Jones and he criticized the latest policies issued by the Obama Administration and the Supreme Court concerning gun policy. He claimed that rejecting the idea of the right to self-defense being expressed in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which Nugent called "gun control" policies, are most likely to destroy the American society. Nugent also claimed similar policies were the cause of the downfall of every society in human history.
Nugent appeared on the Penn and Teller: Bullshit! episode on P.E.T.A.
Nugent was portrayed on the January 8, 2012 episode of The Simpsons entitled "Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson".
In the late 1990s, Nugent began writing for various magazines. He has written for more than 20 publications and is the author of New York Times Best Seller God, Guns and Rock 'n' Roll (July 2000), Kill It and Grill It (2002) (co-authored with his wife, Shemane), BloodTrails II: The Truth About Bowhunting (2004), and "Ted, White, and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto" (2008).
In 1996 Nugent joined the WWBR-FM air staff. The Ted Nugent Morning Show on 102.7 FM in Detroit was a success. He and co-host Steve Black (now host of the syndicated radio show Chop Shop and Chop Shop Classic) often shocked Detroit with their opinions.
Nugent is a fan of the Detroit Pistons. He wore a Pistons shirt in the Damn Yankees music video for "Come Again". He is also a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and attends many games with his children and grandchildren.
In a 1977 High Times article, Nugent stated that he took crystal meth and defecated in his pants in order to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War. Nugent reaffirmed this in a 1990 interview with Detroit Free Press, stating that "...a week before his physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside his pants caked with excrement and urine." In other interviews, Nugent has denied this claim, stating that he dodged the draft by enrolling at Oakland Community College to get a student deferment. However, his Selective Service classification record shows ratings of 1-Y and 4-F for 1969 and 1972 respectively, indicating ineligibility for military service under established physical, mental, or moral standards, rather than student deferment.
Nugent has had been married twice and has eight children. In the late 1960s, prior to his first marriage, Nugent fathered a boy, Ted (Mann) and a girl, whom he gave up for adoption in infancy. This did not become public knowledge until 2010. The siblings were adopted separately and had no contact with one another. The son learned the identity of his birth father in 2010 through the daughter's quest to make contact with him and their birth parents. According to a news report, Nugent over the years had discussed the existence of these children with his other children.
He was married to his first wife, Sandra Jezowski, from 1970 to 1979. They had two children, son Theodore Tobias "Toby" Nugent and daughter Sasha Nugent. Sandra died in a car crash in 1982.
In 1978, Nugent began a relationship with seventeen-year-old Hawaii native Pele Massa. Due to the age difference they could not marry so Nugent joined Massa's parents in signing documents to make himself her legal guardian, an arrangement that Spin magazine ranked in October 2000 as #63 on their list of the "100 Sleaziest Moments in Rock".
His second marriage was to Shemane Deziel, whom he met while a guest on Detroit's WLLZ-FM, where she was a member of the news staff. They married on January 21, 1989. Together they have one child, son Rocco Winchester Nugent.
In 2004 Nugent was involved in a child-support lawsuit concerning a child he had with Karen Gutowski in 1995. It was resolved, with Nugent being ordered to pay $3,500 per month in child support.
Nugent also suffers from severe hearing loss. A November 2005 Rolling Stone article noted Nugent, among others, has publicly acknowledged hearing problems. "The ear's not too good, especially with background noise", he said in a 2007 interview. "[But] that's a small price to pay. Believe me the journey was worth it."
Drugs and alcohol stances
Since the early 1990s Nugent has become both popular and criticized for his conservative beliefs and his anti-drug and anti-alcohol stances. He is a national spokesman for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, advocating the "natural highs" to be found in an outdoor lifestyle.
Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) law
Nugent is a strong advocate of the right to bear arms. When interviewed by Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith in season 5 of TexasMonthlyTalks he said, "I would rather that [a victim of violent crime] in Massachusetts last month who was taking her daughter to soccer when they were carjacked by a recidivist maggot, who had been in the prison system all his life but was let out again because we feel sorry for him, maybe he had a bad childhood. Instead of her being hijacked and murdered, I'd rather she just shot the bastard dead... But in Massachusetts, somebody decided she can't do that. So she's dead. I would rather she was alive and the carjacker was dead."
Nugent currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Conflicts with animal rights groups
Nugent once said in an interview, "I'm stymied to come up with anything funnier than people who think animals have rights. Just stick an arrow through their lungs." In 2000, Bhaskar Sinha was jailed briefly following an incident outside a department store in San Francisco in which he threatened and physically assaulted Nugent, who in turn took Sinha into custody until San Francisco Police arrived and arrested the protester. However, protesters claim that Nugent started the altercation by spitting in one of the protester's faces when he was offered an anti-fur flyer.
Nugent has reported receiving death threats against him and his family from animal rights activists. On the Penn & Teller's Bullshit! episode about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Nugent claimed, "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 2006 he stated in an interview that "anyone who thinks hunting is terrible can kiss my ass."
In a 1992 radio interview, Nugent referred to Heidi Prescott of the Fund for Animals as a "worthless whore" and a "shallow slut," asking "who needs to club a seal, when you can club Heidi?" He was ordered by a court to pay Prescott $75,000.
Nugent owns a 340-acre hunting ranch near Jackson, Michigan, called Sunrize Acres. Anti-hunters claim this fenced facility offers "canned" hunts. Nugent has said, "I understand the criticism from those who say canned hunting violates the ethic of fair chase," though he still operates the facility, and refers to it as "high fence hunting". Nugent was interviewed in October 2011 by Field & Stream magazine regarding "canned" hunts.
Illegal hunting charges
In September 2009, Nugent embarked on a hunt near Somerset, El Dorado County, California. He was accompanied by a guide and a cameraman, filming for his Outdoor Channel show "Spirit of the Wild." The video taken appeared in an episode of the show first broadcast on February 9, 2010. California Fish and Game wardens who watched the broadcast noticed that it showed Nugent killing a very young buck which had been attracted by commercial bait. Both the killing of such a young deer and the use of bait are crimes under California state law. On August 13, 2010, he pled no contest in Yuba County to two misdemeanors: illegally baiting a deer, and failing to have a deer tag signed by a government official after a kill. He was fined USD $1,750 by the court and was banned from hunting in California until June 2012.
In April 2012 Nugent signed a plea bargaining agreement to plead guilty to two misdemeanors for illegally taking a bear after shooting one earlier at a bait station. He was fined $10,000, banned from hunting in Alaska and on Federal land for one year, and must complete two years on federal probation.
Nugent is a strong and vocal supporter of the U.S. Republican Party and various associated conservative causes, particularly gun rights and hunter's rights. He is known for his outspoken, often outrageous political statements: in 2007 and 2008, during a period of years when he publicly speculated about running for governor of Michigan, Nugent singled out prominent Democratic Party politicians with violent or vulgar rhetoric or gestures. At a concert on August 21, 2007, Nugent made indecent and obscene comments about Democratic Party presidential aspirants Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and California's senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. He complained, "Obama's a piece of shit, and I told him to suck on my machine gun." Referring to Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm (in office 2003-11), during performances he would frequently interject "Jennifer Granholm, kiss my ass" into his songs, and shoot an arrow at her likeness. In a 2007 interview, in discussing running for governor of Michigan, he stated that Granholm "is not doing an ugly job, but as the perfect woman, she is scrotumless".
Although Nugent has never run for government office, in the 2000s, he publicly speculated about doing so on several occasions. In May 2005, he announced he was "getting real close to deciding to run" for governor of Michigan in 2006, while in 2007, he talked about running for that office in 2010. During the latter period, he stated, "Michigan was once a great state. Michigan was a state that rewarded the entrepreneur and the most productive, work-ethic families of the state. Now the pimps and the whores and the welfare brats are basically the state's babies." Earlier, Nugent had been rumored to be under consideration by the Illinois Republican Party as its candidate in that state's 2004 Senate race, given his roots in Palatine, Illinois.
In May 2007 Nugent criticized rap metal band Rage Against the Machine after singer Zach de la Rocha's onstage proclamation at the 2007 Coachella festival that the "current administration . . . should be hung and tried and shot." Nugent appeared on the Hannity & Colmes program on Fox News and said "We've disagreed with a lot of administrations in the past, but none of our rhetoric included threatening lives, these guys are over the top, but they're the lunatic fringe that even your average Democrat and liberal doesn't agree with. But unfortunately, nobody is silencing these guys — or not necessarily silencing, but condemning this outrageous violence that they're recommending." Critics cited this as hypocritical given his many aggressive and controversial political statements and described him as a conservative extremist.
In July 2008, Nugent declared "I was serious when I threatened to run for office in the past if I cannot find a candidate who respects the U.S. Constitution and our sacred Bill of Rights." When asked by Imagineer magazine in a 2010 interview about what he would do if elected to political office, he responded: "Slash the living hell out of the waste and corruption and the outrageous army of do-nothing bureaucrats. I would fire every government worker whose job I would deem to be redundant and wasteful. No able-bodied human being would ever get a handout again."
On July 17, 2008, during the presidential election season and shortly before the Republican presidential nominating convention, Nugent expressed his skepticism about presumptive GOP Presidential nominee John McCain stating that McCain was "catering to a growing segment of soulless Americans who care less what they can do for their country, but whine louder and louder about what their country must do for them. That is both un-American and pathetic." He was a weekly contributor to the newspaper, the Waco Tribune-Herald until 2009. He has been a special deputy sheriff in Lake County, Michigan since 1982 and he also has been a reserve deputy constable in McLennan County, Texas.
At a 2009 West Virginia rally sponsored in part by Massey Energy, Nugent "defended mountaintop removal mining," according to reporters on the scene. "On behalf of the Nugent family, I say, start up the bulldozers and get me some more coal, Massey," Nugent was recorded as saying. Nugent is an outspoken critic of Islam, which he describes as a "voodoo religion" which "believes in world domination".
During an interview with Piers Morgan, Nugent denied that he considered himself homophobic, saying "I’m repulsed at the concept of man-on-man sex, I think it’s against nature. I think it’s strange as hell, but if that’s what you are I love you. I’m not going to judge another’s morals. I say live and let live. I have friends that are gay." As a reward for entertaining U.S. troops in Iraq in 2004, he visited Saddam Hussein's war room. "It was a glorious moment. It looked like something out of Star Wars. I saw his gold toilet. I shat in his bidet." Nugent also said: "Our failure has been not to Nagasaki them."
Nugent was initially scheduled to speak at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally on August 28, 2010, but subsequently cancelled because of a scheduling conflict.
At a Republican event in February 2012, Nugent said, "The whole world sucks, but America still sucks less," followed by, "But with this administration, we are catching up."
On March 2, 2012, Nugent endorsed Mitt Romney for president.
On April 17, 2012 in a Romney stump speech at the 2012 NRA Convention in St. Louis, Nugent said, "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year." He also compared the Obama administration to coyotes who needed to be shot, and encouraged voters to "chop Democrats' heads off in November." Nugent received a visit from the Secret Service for these remarks. Following these comments, commanders at Fort Knox opted not to allow him to perform at a previously scheduled event with REO Speedwagon and Styx.
Following the reelection of President Obama on November 6, 2012, Nugent posted several angry tweets on Twitter:
- "Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav a president to destroy America" (Posted November 7, 2012 10:36 am)
- "What subhuman varmint believes others must pay for their obesity booze cellphones birthcontrol abortions & lives" (Posted November 7, 2012 11:30 am)
- "Goodluk America u just voted for economic & spiritual suicide. Soulless fools" (Posted November 7, 2012 11:34 am)
On February 12, 2013, Nugent attended the State of the Union address given by President Obama. He was the guest of U.S. Representative Steve Stockman of Texas's 36th congressional district. A year later, Stockman challenged U.S. Senator John Cornyn in the Texas Republican primary.
In a July 2013 interview with The Washington Post Nugent expressed interest in possibly running for President of the United States as a Republican in the 2016 election.
In a January 2014 interview at a Las Vegas hunting and outdoor trade show, recorded by Guns.com, Nugent was recorded stating, "I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America". After being chastised by Rand Paul, Nugent apologized for his "subhuman mongrel" statement.
In February 2014, Nugent endorsed Greg Abbott, the Attorney General of Texas, in the March 4 Republican primary election to succeed retiring Texas Governor Rick Perry. Abbott defended the outspoken remarks made by the musician, whom he termed a "fighter for freedom".
- Nugent, Ted. Blood Trails: The Truth About Bowhunting Ted Nugent (1991) ISBN B0006ORP2G (146 pages)
- Nugent, Ted. God, Guns & Rock and Roll. Regnery Publishing, Inc. (August 21, 2000) ISBN 0-89526-173-1 (316 pages)
- Nugent, Ted. Blood Trails II: The Truth About Bowhunting. Woods N' Water Inc. (November 12, 2004) ISBN 0-9722804-7-2 (256 pages)
- Nugent, Ted and Nugent, Shemane. Kill It & Grill It: A Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish. Regnery Publishing, Inc. (June 25, 2005) ISBN 0-89526-164-2 (250 pages)
- Nugent, Ted. Ted, White, and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto . Regnery Publishing Inc. (November 12, 2008) ISBN 978-1-59698-555-1 (256 pages)
- Nugent, Ted (March 13, 2001). "Cat Scratch Thiever: Hey Napster, get your greasy paws off my intellectual property.". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- Nugent, Ted (July 31, 2013). "The greatest phony America's ever known". WorldNetDaily.com. Retrieved 2013-08-03.