Like His Politics or Not, Nugent’s Music Hits the Mark
By DONNA BALANCIA
Ted Nugent had audiences applauding wildly and jumping for joy during the Southern California swing of his Sonic Baptizm Tour. Now it’s on to the East Coast.
Since the 1970s, the 67-year-old “Motor City Madman” from Detroit has been rocking harder than most of his peers. His wild antics and promotional stunts have enabled him to cash in handsomely on his musical talent. But this guy isn’t blowing smoke or hiding behind his politics. Nugent’s guitar playing is amazing and his voice is strong and clear.
Those who don’t know his music, know him for his outspoken political viewpoints. But there were a lot of people at the Saban Theatre performance last week who didn’t seem to mind his politics. Nugent’s Sonic Baptizm 2016 Tour, which started out with a modest number of dates has grown into a massive cross-country campaign and his fans couldn’t be happier.
Nugent Outrocking Those Half His Age
Nugent holds his own against young rockers and would put any veteran rockers to shame. If you insert some patriotism, a few American flags onstage and a little political rhetoric, it’s a great show, directed mainly at his certain audience.
All the favorite Nugent songs including “Cat Scratch Fever” are on the set list and so is a persona that’s bigger than life. Nugent called the people who come to see him the “real Californians” and appreciates them because they appreciate the “shitkickin'” music he plays.
“I love him,” said fan Debby Kraigen of Sherman Oaks, Calif., during the show in Beverly Hills. “Some of my friends really don’t care for him, and my daughter and her friends aren’t really fans, but I’ll always love him.”
Kraigen attended the show with several pals, all of whom have been to more Nugent shows since 1980 than all shows combined that the average concert-goer sees in a lifetime. Kraigen’s pal Ralph Martinez said: “Ted’s almost 70 or something and he’s amazing. I hope I have that kind of energy when I’m his age. We’re going to three of his other shows too.”
Kraigen echoed the sentiment of several people during the show: “I don’t like his politics but I love his music.”
‘Ted Nugent: Political Activist’
Even though he calls himself a political activist, Nugent is a musical performer first and foremost. Not only has he been been drawing lots of “regular” fans to good-sized venues, but people are shelling out big bucks for “Dangerzone” VIP Meet-and-Greet packages.
Many think “Uncle Ted” is a turn-off. His words are too strong, he’s a super-conservative, he hunts animals, and he’s aggressive. But criticism has also been directed at “raging” groups who profit from rhetoric related to shooting people and members of law enforcement.
From what our friends at some of the other shows in SoCal have told us, Nugent was out in full force at other venues including Canyon Club in Agoura Hills and The Coach House in Capistrano. Whatever the people in the audience think of his politics it was clear they were there for the music.
With his rockin’ ensemble of bassist Greg Smith and drummer Jason Hartless, seeing Nugent live is a step back into when rock concerts were true events, when the performer got to speak his peace … regardless if it’s accepted by all, none or some.