Ted Nugent

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Ted Nugent
Nugent performing in 2017
Nugent performing in 2017
Background information
Birth nameTheodore Anthony Nugent
Also known asThe Nuge
Motor City Madman
Uncle Ted
Born (1948-12-13) December 13, 1948 (age 75)
Redford, Michigan, U.S.
GenresHard rock
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • political activist
  • Guitar
  • vocals
Years active1963–present
Formerly of

Theodore Anthony Nugent (/ˈnɪnt/; born December 13, 1948) is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, and political activist.[1][2] He goes by several nicknames, including Uncle Ted, The Nuge, and Motor City Madman. Nugent initially gained fame as the lead guitarist and occasional vocalist of The Amboy Dukes, a band formed in 1963 that played psychedelic rock and hard rock. After dissolving the band, he embarked on a successful solo career. His first three solo albums, Ted Nugent (1975), Free-for-All (1976) and Cat Scratch Fever (1977), were certified multi-platinum in the United States. His latest album, Detroit Muscle, was released in 2022.

Nugent is known for his use of the Gibson Byrdland, his bluesy and frenzied guitar playing, and his energetic live shows.[3][4] Despite possessing a distinctive, wide-ranging singing voice, Nugent recorded and toured with other lead singers during much of his early solo career, including Derek St. Holmes, Charlie Huhn, Brian Howe and Meat Loaf, only taking on full lead vocal duties later on.[5] His biggest hit was 1977's "Cat Scratch Fever", on which he sang the lead vocals. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was part of the supergroup Damn Yankees. In 2023, he embarked a farewell tour known as the "Adios Mofo Tour".

Since the 2000s, Nugent has drawn attention for his outspoken conservative political views and his vociferous advocacy of hunting and gun ownership rights.[6][7] He is a board member of the National Rifle Association and a strong supporter of the Republican Party. He has made a number of threatening statements against advocates of gun control; in one case, the Secret Service investigated him based on his comments about President Barack Obama. Since 2015, Nugent has been one of Donald Trump's most outspoken supporters,[8] and has performed at several of Trump's rallies and campaign events.

Early life[edit]

Nugent was born the third of four siblings in Redford, Michigan,[9][10] and raised in Detroit, the son of Marion Dorothy (née Johnson) and Warren Henry Nugent.[11][12][13] He attended William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois, as a freshman in 1963–1964,[14] then transferred to St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois.[15] His maternal grandparents were Swedish.[16]

Draft status[edit]

Nugent grew up in a military family; his father was a career army sergeant. Nugent himself never served in the military, although he came of age during the height of the Vietnam War. In two 1977 and 1990 interviews with High Times magazine and the Detroit Free Press, Nugent claimed he deliberately failed his draft physical by eating nothing but junk food for days beforehand and defecating and urinating in his pants.[17][18][19]

Nugent denied his defecation story in a 2018 appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience; he asserted that he invented the story for his and his band's amusement, as he claimed news sources at the time often published inaccurate information on his band. He also claimed that he was in fact eligible for military service and passed a draft physical in 1969 while he was attending Oakland Community College. Nugent affirmed that his 4-F rating on Wikipedia was "made up".[20][17][21] On The Joe Rogan Experience, Nugent further claimed that he told the excrement story to the High Times just to have fun with its "dirtbag" and "hippie" writers in 1977 because he was "hardcore anti-drug"; however, in 1990 he again detailed his experiences "living inside pants caked with his own excrement" for one week to avoid the draft in an extensive 1990 interview with the Detroit Free Press after the formation of Damn Yankees.[18][19][20] He further stated on The Joe Rogan Experience that in 1969 he passed his draft physical "with flying colors".[20]

Nugent's Selective Service classification record (Selective Service No. 11-101-48-1792[21]) shows he initially qualified for and took student deferments.[17][21] When he was no longer enrolled in community college, he received a draft rating of I-A, until he failed his draft physical on August 28, 1969.[17][21] After that physical, he was rated 1-Y ("registrant qualified for service only in time of war or national emergency") until that classification was abolished in 1971.[17][21] He was subsequently reclassified 4-F, indicating ineligibility for military service under established physical, mental, or moral standards.[17][21] The 1-Y and 4-F classifications were usually reserved for those with significant medical or mental issues.[21]

Nugent told the Detroit Free Press in 1990 that if he had gone to South Vietnam, he would probably have either been killed or would have killed "everybody" including "all the hippies in the foxholes" with friendly fire.[19]

Musical career[edit]

Nugent in concert with his signature Gibson Byrdland guitar

The Amboy Dukes[edit]

The first lineup 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.[22]

The Amboy Dukes' second single was "Journey to the Center of the Mind", which featured lyrics written by the Dukes' second guitarist Steve Farmer from the album of the same title whose cover features a diverse array of drug paraphernalia. Nugent, an ardent anti-drug campaigner, has always claimed that he had no idea that this song was about drug use.[23] Early albums The Amboy Dukes (1967), Journey to the Center of the Mind (1968) and Migration (1969)—all recorded on the Mainstream label—sold moderately well. On April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Nugent joined other musicians in a tribute to 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.[24]

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 under the revised band name Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes. The following year, Tooth Fang & Claw (which contained the song "Great White Buffalo") established a fan base for Nugent and the other Amboy Dukes. Personnel changes at this time nearly wrecked the band. 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.[23]

Solo career[edit]

Nugent dropped the Amboy Dukes band name for good in 1975 and signed to Epic Records. Retaining only bassist Rob Grange from the previous Amboy Dukes lineup, Nugent added Derek St. Holmes (guitar, vocals) and Clifford Davies (drums). This quartet remained the primary band members for Nugent's 1970s multi-platinum[25] 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". Despite most of the songwriting credits being listed as solely Nugent, St. Holmes claims that many were co-written by the whole band and that Nugent took sole credit as a way to avoid paying them royalties.[26]

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.[27] This band lineup toured extensively, also releasing the multi-platinum live album Double Live Gonzo! (1978), until its breakup in 1978 when St. Holmes and Grange departed. St. Holmes was replaced by Charlie Huhn and Grange by multiple bassists, with Nugent eventually settling on Dave Kiswiney for a three-album stretch in the 1980s. Davies left around 1982 after staying on to record Weekend Warriors (1978), State of Shock (1979) and Scream Dream (1980), all three of which charted in the US Top 25, plus the live album Intensities in 10 Cities (1981). The Intensities in 10 Cities album includes the controversial song "Jailbait".[28]

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.[29]

1980s solo career and Damn Yankees[edit]

During the period of 1982–1988, Nugent released four more solo albums (to declining critical favor and commercial performance) and also began assuming a more prominent role as lead vocalist. In 1989, he joined the supergroup Damn Yankees, with Jack Blades (bass/vocals, of Night Ranger), Tommy Shaw (guitar/vocals, of Styx) and Michael Cartellone (drums). Damn Yankees (1990) was a hit album, going double platinum in the U.S.,[30] thanks to the hit power ballad "High Enough".[31] The second and final Damn Yankees album, Don't Tread (1992), reached gold status in the U.S., but was not as well-received as the band's debut and the group dissolved soon after.

Return to solo career[edit]

Nugent performing in 2005

Returning to a solo career, Nugent released Spirit of the Wild in 1995, his best-reviewed album in quite some time. The album contained the bowhunting anthem "Fred Bear", and 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, and Surviving Nugent and Supergroup-Damnocracy on VH1. In 2006, Nugent was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.[32]

Ted Nugent appears on David Crowder Band's 2007 release, Remedy, playing guitar on the song "We Won't Be Quiet".[33] He announced his "Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead" tour on April 21, 2010.[34]

Nugent toured with local Detroit musician Alex Winston during the summers of 2007 and 2008.[35]

On July 4, 2008, at the DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston, Michigan, Ted Nugent played his 6,000th concert.[36] 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 songs.[citation needed]

On March 14, 2011, Nugent released a new song, "I Still Believe", as a free download via his website to subscribers to his newsletter. 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."[37][38] In April 2011 Nugent announced that former frontman Derek St. Holmes would be joining his band for Nugent's I Still Believe Tour.[39]

On April 13, 2023, Nugent announced that his upcoming "Adios Mofo" tour would be his last, stating that "the logistics are just too complicated" in reference to being away from his dogs and grandchildren. However, he will continue to record music.[40]

Media appearances[edit]

Reality TV[edit]

Nugent has starred in his own outdoors television show on the Outdoor Channel, named after his popular song "Spirit of the Wild", since 2001. 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 taught and advised hunters and "hands-on" conservationists around the world on the different aspects of hunting and politics.[41] In one episode of Spirit of the Wild, Nugent hits a young deer with a bow. Two game wardens saw the episode, later charging Nugent with 11 misdemeanor violations of California hunting law. Nugent pleaded guilty to two violations.[42]

In 2003, he was host of the VH1 reality television program Surviving Nugent, in which city dwellers moved in to Nugent's Michigan ranch.[43] During filming, Nugent injured himself with a chainsaw, requiring 40 stitches and a leg brace.[44]

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, in 2005, Nugent hosted a reality-type show, Wanted: Ted or Alive, on what was then called the OLN, or Outdoor Life Network, before it became the NBC Sports Network of the present day.[citation needed] In Wanted: Ted or Alive, contestants competed for money and opportunities to go hunting with "Uncle Ted". The contestants had to kill and clean their own food to survive.[citation needed]

In 2006, he appeared on VH1's reality show SuperGroup, with Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, Biohazard bassist Evan Seinfeld, ex-Skid Row lead singer Sebastian Bach and John Bonham's son Jason Bonham, who had been the drummer for Bonham, UFO and Foreigner. 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, titled 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 Nugent himself hunted them down.[45]

In 2008, Nugent was a guest on the episode Southwest Road Trip Special of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, where he spoke against obesity and public health care.[46]


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.[47]

In 2001, Nugent appeared as himself in a third-season episode of That '70s Show entitled "Backstage Pass".[48]

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. FOX did not 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.[citation needed]

Nugent made a guest appearance on the 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 is 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").[citation needed]

In 2007, Nugent appeared in the music video for Nickelback's song "Rockstar".[49] The same year, 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?".[50]

Nugent made his feature film debut in 2008 in the Toby Keith film Beer for My Horses,[51] playing the role of Skunk, a "long-haired, over-the-top rock 'n' roll deputy sheriff in Jackson County, Oklahoma, who loves bowhunting and guns".[52]

In 2012, Nugent again appeared as himself on The Simpsons, on the episode "Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson", in which he is nominated as a presidential candidate for the Republican Party.[53]

Other media appearances[edit]

On July 30, 2008, Nugent was interviewed on The Alex Jones Show about his book Ted, White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto (2008).[54][55]

He made an appearance in Guitar Hero World Tour. As part of the "solo guitar career" section, the player engages in a guitar duel with Nugent, after which the song "Stranglehold" is unlocked and Nugent becomes available as a playable character.[56]

He was a weekly contributor to the Waco Tribune-Herald until 2009.[57]

On July 9, 2010, Nugent was again interviewed by Jones and criticized the latest policies issued by the Obama administration and the U.S. 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, is most likely to destroy American society. Nugent also claimed similar policies were the cause of the downfall of every society in human history.[58]

Personal life[edit]

Nugent is a fan of the Detroit Red Wings in ice hockey, Detroit Pistons in basketball, Detroit Lions in football and Detroit Tigers in baseball.[59]

Family and relationships[edit]

Nugent has been married twice and has six children with four women. In the late 1960s, prior to his first marriage, Nugent fathered a boy (Ted Mann) and a girl (Louisa Savarese), both of whom he gave up for adoption in infancy. This did not become well known to the public 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, over the years Nugent had discussed the existence of these children with his other children.[60]

He was married to his first wife, Sandra Jezowski, from 1970 to 1979. They had two children, son Toby and daughter Sasha.[61] Jezowski died in a single-car crash in 1982.[62]

His second marriage is 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 2005, Nugent agreed to pay $3,500 in monthly child support for a son fathered with a woman named Karen Gutowski while he was married to Deziel.[63]

Relationships with teen aged girls[edit]

Nugent's 1981 song "Jailbait" describes having sex with a 13-year-old girl.[64][65] Nugent admitted to several affairs with underage girls in a Behind the Music episode.[66][67] Musician Courtney Love claims that she performed oral sex on Nugent when she was 12.[68][69] On a later occasion she said she was 14.[70]

In 1978, Nugent began a relationship with 17-year-old Hawaii native Pele Massa. However, they could not marry due to the age difference. To get around this, Nugent joined Massa's parents in signing documents to make himself her legal guardian.[71][72][73][74]

Stances on drugs and alcohol[edit]

Since the 1970s, Nugent has promoted anti-drug and anti-alcohol stances. He has been cited as a key influence in the straight edge movement, a punk rock-associated lifestyle that developed in the early 1980s and discourages drug and alcohol use. Henry Rollins, former vocalist for Black Flag, said that he and friend Ian MacKaye (vocalist for Minor Threat and writer of the song "Straight Edge" that gave the movement its name) were inspired by Nugent during their high school years in the 1970s when he was the only major rock star to publicly eschew drug use: "[We] would read about the Nuge and the thing that really rubbed off on us was the fact that he didn't drink or smoke or do drugs ... [Nugent's performance] was the craziest thing we'd ever seen onstage and here's this guy saying, 'I don't get high.' We thought that was so impressive."[75]

Nugent is a national spokesman for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program,[76] In 2015, however, he declared his support for the legalization of marijuana for medical use.[77] In 2018, he admitted that he drinks "a little wine".[78]


Nugent suffers from hearing loss.[79] He said in a 2007 interview: "The ear's not too good, especially with background noise, but that's a small price to pay. Believe me the journey was worth it."[80]

On April 19, 2021, Nugent announced on Facebook that he had tested positive for COVID-19, which he referred to as the "Chinese shit".[81] He said, "I thought I was dying ... I literally could hardly crawl out of bed the last few days."[82] Nugent had refused to get the vaccine saying, "nobody knows what's in it", and had denied that the COVID-19 pandemic was real.[83] At a rally in Austin on April 29, 2023 (which focused on border security for Texas), a protester heckled at Nugent about the vaccine. Nugent responded by telling the person to "bring your needle up here, I'll shove it up your ass."[84]


Nugent is a vocal supporter of the Republican Party and various associated conservative causes, particularly gun rights and hunter's rights.[85] He is a supporter of former President Donald Trump and has made a number of statements critical of former President Barack Obama, one of which was perceived as potentially threatening and led to Nugent being investigated by the Secret Service.[86][87][88][89] His views have been considered racist by some.[90][91][92][93]

In an interview in 1990, a few months after the release of Nelson Mandela during the negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa, Nugent stated, "apartheid isn't that cut-and-dry. All men are not created equal." He described black South Africans as "a different breed of man" who "still put bones in their noses, they still walk around naked, they wipe their butts with their hands".[94][95]

As a reward for entertaining U.S. troops in Iraq in 2004, Nugent visited Saddam Hussein's war room. He commented on Iraq, "Our failure has been not to Nagasaki them."[96]

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."[97]

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.[98]

Nugent has criticized Islam, which he described as a "voodoo religion" that "believes in world domination".[99]

During an interview with Piers Morgan, Nugent was asked if he would mind if one of his children came out as gay, saying "Not at all ... 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."[100][101] While speaking at a rally for Donald Trump in 2023, Nugent shouted "I want my money back, I didn't authorize any money to Ukraine, to some homosexual weirdo."[102]

Nugent is also a staunch critic of Black Lives Matter, stating "Black Lives [Matter] don't give a shit about Black lives" and that they are a "terrorist organization".[103][104]

Nugent clashed in 2014 with Jay Dean, then the mayor of Longview, Texas and an incoming Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives after Dean moved to cancel Nugent's scheduled appearance at the Longview Independence Day concert. Dean said that he finds Nugent's music unsuitable for family-oriented audiences on July 4. Longview hence paid Nugent $16,000, half of the amount he had been promised, to drop him from the concert. Nugent in turn called Dean "racist" and "clueless, dishonest and one of the bad guys."[105]

In 2014, Nugent worked as the treasurer and co-chairman for Sid Miller's campaign for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.[106]

Nugent speaking at a campaign event for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Scottsdale, Arizona

Nugent's conservative views have prompted criticism from fellow musicians such as Paul McCartney,[107] David Crosby,[107] and the band Goldfinger, who have a song titled "Fuck Ted Nugent" on their album Open Your Eyes.[108]

Gun rights[edit]

Nugent is an 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 the [victim of a 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."[109]

Nugent currently[when?] serves on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association (NRA).[110][111] In 2016, Nugent posted an image on his Facebook page implying that Jews are behind the push for gun control.[112] Nugent's rant sparked outrage and some called for his NRA resignation.[113]

In March 2018, Nugent criticized the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting who became gun control activists, calling them "mushy brained children" and stating that "the evidence is irrefutable: They have no soul."[114]

In June 2018, Nugent said that "evil, dishonesty and scam artists have always been around and that right now they're liberal, they're Democrat, they're RINOs, they're Hollywood, they're fake news, they're media, they're academia and they're half of our government, at least ... There are rabid coyotes running around, you don't wait till you see one to go get your gun, keep your gun handy. And every time you see one, shoot one."[86][88]

Animal rights[edit]

Nugent, an opponent of animal rights, said in a long interview, "I'm stymied to come up with anything funnier than people who think animals have rights. Just stick an arrow through their lungs."[115] 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 the face of one of the protesters when offered an anti-fur flyer. A San Francisco police officer, who stated that he was on the scene, said that he did not believe Nugent spat on anyone.[116]

Nugent has reportedly received 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 said, "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."[117]

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.[118]

Nugent defended Kid Rock, a fellow musician and hunter, when he killed a mountain lion in January 2015, calling the people who targeted Rock "braindead squawkers" and that Rock did good by keeping predator numbers low and helping the deer population, which is vital for hunting.[119] In July 2015, Nugent referred to people outraged over the killing of Cecil the lion as "stupid".[120]

Nugent owns a 340-acre hunting ranch near Jackson, Michigan, called Sunrize Acres.[121] 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".[122]

In April 2012, Nugent agreed to a plea deal to plead guilty to transporting an illegally killed American black bear in Alaska.[123] His sentence included two years of probation, a prohibition on hunting and fishing in Alaska and on any U.S. Forest Service lands for one year and a fine of $10,000 and he was required to produce and broadcast at his own expense a 30–60 second Public Service Announcement (PSA) on the responsibilities of hunters.[124][125] The judge in the case, Michael A. Thompson (Alaska), admitted in court that he himself had never heard of the law in which Nugent was charged.[126] Nugent explained his side of the situation in an interview with Deer & Deer Hunting.[127]

Nugent was a vocal opponent of a proposition to reintroduce gray wolves into Colorado passed in 2020. He urged Colorado citizens to vote against the proposition, which had widespread support from environmental groups.[128]

Obama administration[edit]

Nugent was particularly critical of former President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying they "should be tried for treason & hung",[129] among other comments[130][131] directed towards them. On Facebook, he shared a video depiction of Clinton being shot by her 2016 Democratic presidential primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, commenting "I got your gun control right here bitch."[129]

At a concert on August 22, 2007, while wielding what appeared to be assault-like rifles, Nugent said in reference of Obama, "suck on my machine gun". In the same gun-wielding rant, Nugent said of Dianne Feinstein, "ride one of these you worthless whore".[132]

In January 2014, Nugent called Obama a "communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel".[133] That February, Nugent endorsed Greg Abbott in the Republican primary election for Texas Governor. Abbott, however, distanced himself from Nugent due to the "subhuman mongrel" comment, saying, "This is not the kind of language I would use or endorse in any way."[134] After being further chastised about it by Senator Rand Paul, Nugent apologized for the comment.[135] However, when asked in April 2017 if he regretted his comments about Obama, he replied "No! I will never apologize for calling out evil people."[136]

On April 17, 2012, while campaigning for Obama's opponent, Mitt Romney, at the 2012 NRA Convention, Nugent said, "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."[137] Nugent received a visit from the Secret Service for these remarks.[89] Following these comments, commanders at Fort Knox opted not to allow him to perform at a previously scheduled event.[138]

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.[139]

Donald Trump[edit]

Nugent at the White House in April 2017

In February 2016, Ted Nugent praised Trump's 2016 Republican Presidential Primary opponent Ted Cruz, stating "My dream would be if Ted Cruz became president tonight. I really admire Ted Cruz, on many levels."[140] Nugent later endorsed Donald Trump and during the last week of the U.S. presidential election campaign performed at a number of Trump rallies in Michigan, including Trump's final campaign rally in Grand Rapids.

On April 19, 2017, alongside Kid Rock and Sarah Palin, Nugent had a "long-planned" visit at the White House. According to Nugent, the visit lasted four hours and was like "a family reunion." Nugent described it as "a wonderful personal tour of every room" followed by photo sessions and dinner with Trump.[141]

Potential runs for office[edit]

Referring to Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm (in office 2003–2011), 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".[142]

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."[80] 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 Illinois.[15]

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."[97] 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."[143]

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.[144] He never sought the office.

Band members[edit]

Current members

  • Ted Nugent – lead and rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals, bass, percussion (1974–present)
  • Jason Hartless – drums, backing vocals[145] (2016–present)[146]
  • Johnny Schoen – bass, backing vocals (2023–present)[147]

Former members

Timeline of members[edit]



Published books[edit]

  • 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)


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