LISA DENTON: Barry, don't tell my brother, 'cause I'd hate to give him credit for it, but I'm secretly a fan of Ted Nugent's music, and Richie is the reason. When we were teenagers, he would always bring the cassettes along on car trips with the family. This, of course, was before every passenger could have his own music piping through earbuds. Whatever was in the car stereo, everybody had to listen to. I wonder about that now, when I think about some of the lyrics. The songs are pretty cleverly written, but it's not that hard to decipher the code. Our parents had to know what they were about, right?
BARRY COURTER: "Cat Scratch Fever" is a real ailment, you know? But you are correct. The Nuge bridged that gap in learning for many a pre-adolescent youngster discovering the opposite sex, especially at a Catholic school like I attended. "Double Live Gonzo" was like the supplemental workbook, only on vinyl, for Health class.
Some of the songs are clever, and some are about as subtle as a buffalo in a china shop -- white buffalo or otherwise. I've often wondered how many poor 10-year-old boys got their ears boxed for singing his songs at the family barbecue without really knowing why.
LISA: No doubt. "Wango Tango" is not really about a turbo-charged Maserati and a brand new dance that's sweeping the nation.
BARRY: It's a flavor at Ben & Jerry's, right?
LISA: Favorite line from that song, by the way: "I'm gonna get a little talcum. I'm gonna borrow it from Malcolm."
BARRY: I know, right? Who is Malcolm, and why does he have talcum?
LISA: That song is really a good example of how Nugent rocks. The band sets a driving rhythm, and then he pops in and out with the vocals. There's a rapid-fire section midway through "Wango" that makes you wonder how he got all those words in there. We're talking some serious tongue action.
BARRY: "Stranglehold" is one of my all-time favorite songs. Classic opening, classic riff. More than eight minutes long. Just a monster song.
LISA: His show Tuesday night at Track 29, a stop on his Great White Buffalo Tour, should be a good measure of whether Nugent can still bring it. And I'm betting he can.
BARRY: I saw him with Damn Yankees at McKenzie Arena a few years ago. The Motor City Madman has always been a good guitar player, so I expect Tuesday's show to be good, unless he gets preachy with the political banter. Whether it's side to side, or up and down, I want to be shaking my head to the music, not rhetoric.