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Torn on the Fourth of July

July 4, 2018

I’ve decided against going to see Ted Nugent play when he comes through Phoenix next month.  It was a tough decision to be honest.  After two decades living in places with limited such opportunities, I’ve been taking advantage of this area’s robust concert scene to see a ton of shows.  Besides a slew of newer bands, I’ve also rocked and rolled to plenty of yesteryear heroes as they’ve come through, enjoying most every one of them immensely.  Guitar-slinger Ted is someone I’ve wanted to see dating back to my youth and I was initially thrilled when I saw his name pop up on www.phoenixconcerts.net.  However, as I’ve thought about it over subsequent days, I’ve realized I just can’t do it.

Lest anyone jump too hastily to conclusions, let me make clear that my decision is only indirectly related to the Nuge’s partisan blathering.  While I doubt Mr. Nugent and I would find much common ground in the political realm, for better or worse I’m generally able to mentally partition the music from the bigotries, chauvinisms, or otherwise unshared values it or its creator may espouse.

At risk of tanking my chances to ever competitively vie for the Presidency – although maybe not nowadays – I admit that I love listening to Sleep’s hour-long masterpiece Dopesmoker while fantasizing about giving in to the lyrical invitation to ‘Drop out of life with bong in hand’ and join the Weedians on their stoned trek to Nazareth.  However, this musical empathy doesn’t imply much sympathy for parental-basement-dwelling potheads journeying nowhere.  Similarly, I’ve been known to laugh out loud listening to Steel Panther, and have even enjoyed the highly-talented and horribly-inappropriate band live with my son.  Nevertheless, as the incredibly proud father of a beautiful 23-year-old soon-to-be professional woman, I am adamantly anti-sexist and actively oppose any political party, cultural bullshit, or old boy network that would seek to keep my daughter from being all that she wants to be.

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Judge:  Is it true that the band Carcass played songs called ‘Embryonic Necropsy and Devourment‘ and ‘Vomited Anal Tract’ when you traveled over 2400 kilometers to see them live in 2013?

VotF:  No, it is not.  But they did play ‘Incarnated Solvent Abuse’ and ‘Exhume to Consume.’  And man, those are some highly-skilled and creative musicians crafting mesmerizingly aggressive music.

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Nope, my opting out of seeing Ted isn’t about his rhetoric, it is about geography.  I know where I live now, and I expect that, in this overwhelmingly red state, too many concert attendees will care as much about Ted’s politics as they do about that guitar of his, which can blow the balls off a charging rhino at 60 paces and just refuses to play sweet shit.  I simply don’t want to be in the middle of a crowd that will yell louder when the Nuge mentions his guns, his disdain for our last president, and his love for our current one than they will when he announces that all-time classic ‘Stranglehold’ is next.

I absolutely don’t care what Ted says from the stage.  For me it is about the fantastic rock and roll he offers; it is about the music.  Unfortunately, I’m convinced that, in these angry times and in this angry place, many concert-goers will view their attendance as a political message more so than a live music event.  I don’t begrudge them that.  After all, we are celebrating the birth of our democracy and the freedoms it provides on this Fourth of July as I write this.  I’m just not going to be joining them.

Prickly Ted

For now, I will continue to solely enjoy the Motor City Madman’s musical output in its analogue and digital forms, regularly and without apology.  Hopefully the day will soon come when the victimhood and outrage fetishes shared across the spectrum of today’s political divide will be relegated back to their dark corners and fade from the national consciousness (as well as from the endlessly yammering co-dependent media).  Then, if old Ted can avoid getting offed in some hunting or BBQ accident in the meantime, maybe we can once again experience the joy of liberals and conservatives side-by-side pumping their fists and banging their heads in unison to the magnificent chug of ‘Wang Dang Sweet Poontang.’

From → Ideas, Music

17 Comments
  1. Ted managed to keep politics out of his last album. “Kill em and grill em” and “I believe in freedom” were about the most controversial things he said. I take it his concerts are different?

    • As a fellow fan of Double Live Gonzo, you know how hard it is for Ted to actually Shut Up & Jam!, especially in front of a crowd of true believers. That said, as noted in the post, it ain’t Ted that’s keeping me away.

      • Yeah. You’re right. I like it when he does just shut up and play his guitar though. Damn Yankees had that going for them.

  2. I was saying to HMO a while back that I had never listened to Ted. Not inclined to now, as I’m more familiar with his rhetoric… even if his playing and his songs / albums are gonna blow my mind.

    I know plenty of artists and the likes are right leaning and can say stuff that makes you smack your head and glance over at the music collection, but I guess it’s easier to write off listening to them if you never have. I mean, I wouldn’t give up the Eagles of Death Metal albums I dig…

    • Hey J, I really think you are onto something with regard to the greater ease of avoiding something new as compared to giving up something already embraced. I won’t shill for Ted, but I won’t go cold turkey on him either.

  3. I can’t listen to him anymore much as I love the first LP and the Amboy Dukes. I find him so obnoxious, simplistic and toxic that I just can’t (more about the ‘how’ than the ‘what’ of his views) I wouldn’t want to give him my money.

    I totally understand your reasoning here.

    • Yeah, I get it. I imagine there is some silver lining in the fact that we’ll never actually have to know the deep-down ‘what’ of the views of the majority of the artists we listen to. Ted’s one who has the ‘how’ and the ignorance to use it. As for my money, it hemorrhages out in a lot of directions to myriad ultimate destinations, many of which I’m not especially enamored with. In the end, I guess I’m relatively less concerned about enabling him than I am keen on avoiding those who bathe themselves in his toxins.

      • I agree completely I adopt a strict don’t ask, don’t tell approach to artist’s politics. It’s easier that way.

        Is that your garden by the way? I am a total geek for cacti and succulents and so I am incredibly envious.

        • Yeah, our yard and the immediate surroundings. It’s all desert landscapes and vegetation here; pretty much every plant in this part of Arizona bites.

  4. Preamble… I recall TN albums in the shop, way back. Only a couple of titles remain in the brain… ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ and one where his arms turned into guitars (I think).

    Wish I was as evolved as you, Vic. I can overlook misdemeanours but Ted’s entire persona is so totally repulsive I’m not even curious about his guitar skills. Plenty more axe-mongers to choose from.

    But none of that diminished my enjoyment of this post and following your inner journey.

    • The arm-guitars one was Scream Dream.

      Evolved, eh? My guess is that may be the first instance of that adjective being applied to someone in the process of rationalizing his Nuge listening.

  5. I went to see him a good while back. Pre-Obama. Wasn’t much politics chat but still some un-pc raving. Great to see and hear him play, he was stellar, but then he’d say ‘this song makes faggots eat pussy” or something like that. Durrr. The worst of it was most of the crowd cheering like sheep. Still glad I saw him but it was an bit dispiriting too. Still love those early solo albums though!

    • Simpler times, eh? (smile)
      I am envious of you getting to see him before the world got so messed up as to actually grant him a ubiquitous platform from which to promote his non-musical twaddle. In the end though, it’s those cheering sheep that have most put me off.

  6. Terrific, thought-provoking post & insightful comments too

  7. I saw Ted twice back in the 80s when he didn’t go on about politics. As much as I would like to see him again, though I have the same reservations as you do, I know for sure he probably won’t come to what he calls, “this communist little island.”

    • Mother of all Imperialists to little communists. That’s quite the evolution, Ted. Oh wait, I’m sorry. You probably don’t believe in evolution. My bad!
      [[ responding to Ted obvs, not you metalman 🙂 ]]

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