IF YOU GO
What: Ted Nugent featuring Laura Wilde.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Where: Track 29, 1400 Market St.
Admission: $35, plus convenience fees.
With links to his political writings and Outdoor Channel hunting show displayed prominently on his website, it doesn't take long to realize Detroit-born wildman Ted Nugent isn't shy about sharing his opinions.
Outspokenness -- as much as feverishly intense guitar work on "Stranglehold" and "Cat Scratch Fever" -- has defined the Motor City Madman's career since he first entered the spotlight at the head of Detroit acid rockers the Amboy Dukes in the late '60s.
Tuesday, Nugent, 63, will perform at Track 29 as he nears the conclusion of his summer Great White Buffalo Tour, named for a song by the same name appearing on his 1978 live opus, "Double Live Gonzo."
Nugent took time to write emailed responses to questions about his influences, why he feels a duty to share his opinions and how he keeps his energy up.
Q: Did growing up in Detroit during the heyday of Motown Records affect your decision to become a musician?
A: Absolutely. But in the early years prior to the mid-'50s, thank God there were Detroit artists who were powerfully influenced by the original masters -- Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, Mose Allison, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis -- before Motown. By 1958 or so, those cats had so defined the ultimate soundtrack to uppity defiance, that by the time the gods of Motown and her phenomenal Funk Brothers hit us, we were much more prepared to grasp, celebrate and emulate their incredible soulfulness and songsmithing powers.
Q: You are known as one of rock's most outspoken artists. Do you see music as a forum in which to share your thoughts on political and social topics?
A: Yes. There is a soldier in a box who gave all for these unique God-given American individual rights and freedoms. How dare any American fail to show thanks and not pay back by not using them to the best of our ability. The "We the people" thing has its obligations.
Q: Do you feel like your music has helped sway people to your way of thinking? Do you consider that a measure of success?
A: Gung-ho music lovers have always joined us in the celebration of my incredible American "R&B&R&R" power songs. And that would certainly be more than enough. But within my music is a scorching pulse of rugged individualism, independence, conservation, being the best that you can be and pure American defiance against status quo stupidity and sheeplike mindlessness. Evidence of this has been nonstop for more than 40 years, and it continues to inspire the hell out of me more and more every day.
Q: You also are known for your energetic live shows. What is your philosophy as a frontman?
A: My love and cravings for ... soulful, driving music forces me to go for the kill every night, every song, and the passion and energy is inescapably contagious. My musicians have always been the best of the best, and as a team, we pound home a throttling spirit that everybody just loves. You do it like that, and you cannot go wrong.
Q: After so many decades of playing, how do you keep up the intensity and avoid phoning it in at shows?
A: Being clean and sober for 64 years and eating pure venison all my life makes me very healthy and indefatigable. I balance my life perfectly between the fury of the music every summer and the spiritual peace of my natural hunting lifestyle. I epitomize the terms "grounded" and "down to earth" because that's where I cleanse my soul every hunting season to fortify myself for the next musical jihad.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...