Ted Nugent

23 Jun

Ted Nugent Collage


Ted Nugent

By: Bob Gersztyn

Ted Nugent 2007

I’ve seen Ted Nugent perform live 2 different times in the course of my life. The first was on Labor Day 1969, a mere 2 weeks after the Woodstock festival, when the Amboy Dukes played on the porch of the Detroit Public Library. I had only been going out with my future wife Kathy, for 3 weeks when I took her to the concert. It was the time period when the band’s hit “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” was still being played by the Motor City’s Β radio stations.Β  It was in rotation on Detroit’s new cutting edge underground FM radio station WABX. They sponsored many of the free concerts that took place at various venues, like this one.

Nugent crowd


The Nuge


Ted Nugent Silverton, Oregon 2007


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The band played on the porch at the top of the steps of the library, while we stood at the foot of the stairs watching “Terrible Ted” wailing on his guitar as he religiously reproduced the guitar solo from the band’s hit song, “Journey To the Center of the Mind,” just like on the record. It always blew my mind the way that musicians were able to reproduce a song, note for note and do it for a whole concert day after day. At the time the drug drenched Hippie culture became part of mainstream America, while the U.S. was embroiled in the war in Vietnam, and anti-war demonstrators protested against it, in the streets and in song.

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Ted Nugent Silverton Gardens 2007

In the Summer of 1971, I moved to Los Angeles, California and got married. I completely left my Hippie and rock & roll past to become a born again Jesus Freak, got married and eventually began a family, as I studied the Bible, history, photography and theology. One day in 1975Β  as I was driving home from my classes at L.I.F.E. Bible college, to become a Protestant Pentecostal minister, I was turning the dial on the AM radio and I heard a mesmerizing guitar solo that I let play as I drove. Β After the tune ended the radio announcer said that it was “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent.Β  I was pleasantly surprised, as I was with the popularity of other Michigan artists, like, Grand Funk Railroad, Bob Seegerm Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop. Over the next 3 decades I heard the Nuge’s hits on the radio and P.A. systems of places that I frequented. At the same time I was later surprised to hear Nugent deny that he used drugs during the 1960’s. When I heard the denial it disappointed me, just like when Bill Clinton said that he never inhaled. I had been a drug user, taking over 100 LSD and mescaline trips during a period of nearly 3 years. So I was disappointed, since I thought that Ted was an enlightened inner space astronaut communicating his experience through music.

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Ted Nugent pointing 2007

Ted Nugent became known as the “Motor City Madman,” and by the 21st century was also known as a right wing conservative Republican, who was even friends with ultra conservative radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh. At the same time he’s sold more than 40 million albums and performed in excess of 6500 concerts during the past 53 years. Nugent began his professional career in 1963, when his band the Lourds opened up for the Supremes at Cobo Hall, in Detroit. Today he spends as much time, if not more, hunting, thanΒ  he does playing music. Firearms and archery equipment are the ying of Nugent’s guitar’s yang.

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Ted Nugent Oregon 2007

So 37 years later, on a hot summer nightΒ  in August 2007, when the Nuge appeared in Silverton, Oregon, about 25 miles from my home in Salem, I decided that I wanted to go see him. At the time I was working as a freelance journalist for a few different publications that I covered music and religion for. So I applied for a press pass and ticket and I got them. When I arrived at the venue, the stage had weapons strewn around from a 50 Caliber tripod mounted machine gun to small caliber rifles, along with camouflage netting, a giant grenade and a skull.

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Ted Nugent Website: http://www.tednugent.com/

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I shot the concert using film, in a Nikon 8008 body, with both a telephoto and wide angle zoom, with both a roll of Fujicolor 200 ISO, as well as a roll of infra-red color slide film, since the show began when it was still light out. Alex Winston, a Detroit, Michigan female singer was opening up with her band before “Terrible Ted” took the stage. The outdoor venue at the Silverton Oregon Gardens was filled to capacity while the sun descended into the horizon while Nugent ripped through his repertoire, churning out hits ranging from “Journey to the Center of the Mind” and “Stranglehold” to “Wango Tango” and “Cat Scratch Fever,” along with everything else afterwards and in between. By the time the encore was over and the lights came on, a couple thousand exhausted and sweat drenched fans trudged back to their vehicles to make the journey back to their homes in the beautiful Pacific Northwest’s Willamette Valley.

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Alex Winston:Β  http://www.atlasmusicgroup.com/artist/MzEwMzQtNjRjYmZh/

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