Classic Rock Spotlight: Ted Nugent

How The Motor City Madman rose to stardom...

Rock guitarist Ted Nugent performing on stage during 23-act crossover concert at the Silverdome.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Rock guitarist Ted Nugent performing on stage during 23-act crossover concert at the Silverdome. (Photo by Kevin Winter/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Ted Nugent was born on December 13, 1948, in Detroit, Michigan, and it didn't take long for Nugent to become fascinated in rock & roll, picking up the guitar at a young age and sticking with it ever since. By the time he was 14, his first band, The Lourds, were playing around Detroit and ended up on bills with The Beau Brummells and The Supremes. When Ted was 15, his family moved to Chicago despite his objections. There, he formed The Amboy Dukes, and when he graduated high school in 1967, he took the band back to Detroit, and in 1968 they had a hit with "Journey To The Center Of The Mind."

Allegations came out that Nugent was going to great lengths to avoid going to war when he turned 18, he claims he was to busy to go to war and wanted to focus on music. When he got the notice for his draft physical, he immediately stopped bathing and shaving, and started eating only unhealthy foods. A week before the physical, he stopped using the bathroom and just went in his pants. Never a drug user, he snorted some lines of crystal meth. When he showed up for the physical, he was a complete mess, telling High Times in a 1977 interview, "I was a walking, talking hunk of human s--t. I made gutter swine hippies look like football players." With all of this, he dodged the war and got to focus on his career.

CLARKSTON, MI - JULY 19:  Ted Nugent performs at DTE Energy Music Theater on July 19, 2014 in Clarkston, Michigan.  (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)
CLARKSTON, MI - JULY 19: Ted Nugent performs at DTE Energy Music Theater on July 19, 2014 in Clarkston, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)

With a constantly changing band, Ted decided to change the band's name to Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes by the '70s. Although none of the bands releases exactly were top of the charts, Nugent and his cohorts remained an in-demand concert draw, as he also set up "guitar duels" on-stage with other Motor City bands like MC5.
Not to long after, Nugent decided to ditch the Amboy Dukes name and set out on his own. His new crew included second guitarist/vocalist Derek St. Holmes, bassist Rob Grange, and drummer Cliff Davies. It didn't take long for members to but heads with Nugent, he wanted complete creative control of the band, and that did not sit well with everyone else. This resulted with St. Holmes leaving the band within the next year. However, he wasn't gone for long. St. Holmes came back just in time for the hit Cat Scratch Fever.

Nugent returned to his solo career, issuing his best album in over a decade, 1995's back-to-basics Spirit of the Wild. He continued to tour well into the 21st century (landing the opening slot on Kiss' Farewell U.S. Tour in 2000), and issued the third live collection of his career, Full Bluntal Nugity, in 2001. That same year, he penned his own autobiography, the perfectly titled God, Guns, & Rock n' Roll. He next embraced the digital realm by releasing the two-disc, 30-track MP3 online song bundle Happy Defiance Day Everyday over the 4th of July weekend in 2010. In 2014 Nugent released his 14th studio album, Shutup & Jam!, which featured a guest appearance from Sammy Hagar.

In addition to music, Nugent has gotten involved in many things such as owning hunting supply stores as well as making instructional video tapes for camping, and even made his own beef jerky called Gonzo Meat Biltong. Most recently Ted has became a voice in politics, hosting a number one morning radio show in his home town Detroit.

Albums:

The Amboy Dukes
1967

Journey to the Center of the Mind
1968

Migration
1969

Call of the Wild
1973

Tooth, Fang & Claw
1974

Ted Nugent
1975

Free-for-All
1976

Call of the Wild/Tooth Fang & Claw
1977

Cat Scratch Fever
1977

Double Live Gonzo!
1978

Weekend Warriors
1978

State of Shock
1979

Scream Dream
1980

Intensities in 10 Cities
1981

Nugent
1982

Penetrator
1984

Little Miss Dangerous
1986

If You Can't Lick 'Em...Lick 'Em
1988

Spirit of the Wild
1995

On the Edge
1996

Live at Hammersmith '79
1997

Loaded for Bear: The Best of Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes
1999

Full Bluntal Nugity
2001

Craveman
2002

Love Grenade
2007

Sweden Rocks
2008

Motor City Mayhem
2009

Ultralive Ballisticrock
2013

Shut Up & Jam!
2014