Ted Nugent says the “greatest compliment” he ever received was being called the n-word

“To this day I use it as a badge of honour.”

Ted Nugent

Image: Kevin Winter / Getty

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

In a recent video posted to his Facebook page, rocker Ted Nugent has said being called the n-word was the “greatest compliment” he ever received.

In the live video, Nugent told the story of how he and his band won a contest to open for the Supremes. “I was a kid. Had no idea about the world of professionalism or music. But we were so dedicated to playing like [Motown session band] the Funk Brothers. Like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard. The authenticity of that black dynamic and emotion and defiance and celebration of ‘free, free at last.’

“So we’re putting our guitars away, [a] Funk Brother, big ol’ black dude comes up, puts his hand on my shoulder and goes, ‘That was great stuff, boys. You keep playing guitar like that, you’re gonna be a n***** when you grow up.’”

Nugent called it “the greatest compliment in the world,” and explained that he took the comment positively. “That word was the perfect expression that we had soul. Perfect expression that a bunch of little white whipper-snappers at least put everything we had into being tight like the Funk Brothers, like James Brown… To this day I use it as a badge of honour,”


Nugent has recently hit back at accusations that he is racist, after claiming to have lost a sponsor for his TV show Spirit Of The Wild thanks to past accusations of racism. In another Facebook video, he said: “Everybody who pays attention – not the ones who call me a racist, but the people who are actually honest and pay attention know that I have paid homage and reverence to the black heroes of music all my life, which means I’m the anti-racist. So if you find somebody who calls Ted Nugent a racist, you are looking at a subhuman piece of shit who lives a lie.”

Nugent is a controversial figure in the music and political world for his outspoken beliefs. In 2014, he called then-president Barack Obama a “communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel.” He later apologised for the use of the term “subhuman mongrel,” saying “This is not the kind of language I would use or endorse in any way.” He later doubled down on the intent behind the quote when asked about it in 2017, saying “ I will never apologize for calling out evil people.”

Nugent has also recently announced the Ted Nugent Guns, Guitars And Hot Rod Cars auction. It will feature a wide range of vintage, prototype and one-of-a-kind guitars. Vintage instruments range from rare 1958 and 1959 Gibson Les Pauls, a 1956 Fender Strat, Black Gibson Byrdland, Gibson Custom Shop Les Pauls, to prototype PRS models and more. There’s also amplifiers, cabinets and stage equipment such as pyrotechnic guns and stage décor.

For more music news, click here.

Related Artists


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.