Q: But it seems you've really embraced this spokesman role. You've always been in the spotlight in one way or another, but the media focus recently has grown so much. You seem to regard it as kind of a duty now.
A: I instinctively understand what an experiment in self-government is, and I think we all have a certain role to play. I think we have a moral obligation to remain in touch and connected to the American way. So that's an instinctive, just fundamental understanding of my duty as a citizen, as a neighbor, as a leader of a household, as an entrepreneur, to fight for policies that enhance the quality of life for my family, my employees and America overall. Ted Nugent is solidly in the asset column. My band, my crew, my management. I don't know anybody who would come in for a job interview and ask for how many sick days they get. My people will just come charging in, and they'll probably just go ahead and fix your fence and then come in and go, "Hey, how'd you like to hire me? I can do this every day." ...
So yeah, I'll never hold back. You know I've never held back anyhow. As the abuses and corruptions get worse, I believe that we the people have to turn up the heat and demand accountability, demand answers and demand constitutionally driven representation. And we certainly don't have that now.
Q: Does the rock 'n' roll thing give you the leeway to say things on the air that maybe other conservative talking heads hold back on?
A: That's a great question. Because the answer is a very loud, almost distorted, feeding-back yes. Nobody can fire me. I don't have to worry about placating my enemies in some feeble attempt to get their support, i.e., votes.
And not only that, but honesty is honesty. And if you've got a big booger coming out of your nose, I'm your best friend, because I'm not going to look the other way and let you go around town. I have been brutally and virtually uninhibitedly honest about the things I believe in.
It's the gun thing. You're on the phone with the only guy who has spent an entire lifetime around guns, in all the proper ways, all the legal, safe, the good ways you can be around guns. I know the nomenclature, the terminology, the ballistics, the history. So when the gun debate started coming around, the typical conservative head was terrible at it. They just didn't know all this stuff. So the anti-gunners were able to weave in all these accusations that were just scientifically false.
I'm the only guy who's lived with guns all my life _ and the only guy who was thrust into that gun debate as early as the late '60s, when I was attacked for being an NRA supporter. And it came about in the most natural, organic, instinctive away.
Jerry Lubin back at WABX would ask me, "Where does the inspiration for this intense music come from?" And I'd go, "Well, I was just deer hunting with my dad last weekend, man, it's just the campfire, the family all together, chopping wood, shooting guns, having a little contest." And so my lifestyle of guns would come into the conversation as an honest answer to a genuine question. So that just continued to grow, because I was the only rock 'n' roller who would give an answer like that. I was the only one who came from deer camp. ...
It was fascinating to the DJs, but eventually they would start to inflect fault with the weekend of guns with the family: "Well, you know, a lot of people are hurt with guns." I'd go, "What's your point? More people were hurt with cars going to the movies last weekend."
They started falling into this leftist, hippie-inspired, academia infestation, this presumptuousness, this ridiculous fantasy of peace and love, and if we could just get rid of the guns, Bambi would live forever and no one would ever get hurt. You'd go, oh my God, so that's what happens when you smoke dope and take LSD.
So I just trounced 'em. I was going Piers Morgan on the Piers Morgans around the world as early as '67.
It wasn't mean-spirited. I kept it upbeat and buoyant. It was fun. There was more laughter than there was anger. Nobody else can do to these anti-gunners or anti-hunters or pro-welfare people or pro-dependency people _ nobody can do to them what I do to them, because I don't mince words. Because I'm not afraid of the outcome. I'm very proud of causing idiots much pain and suffering. I don't want to, but if the truth brings it about, have a nice day.
Q: We know what to expect out of a Nugent show these days, but is there anything to point out about this summer's tour?
A: Just the fact that the band is so passionate. Derek (St. Holmes) has never sung better, and his guitar playing is just incredible. And Nick (Brown) and Greg (Smith), they really think they are the Funk Brothers. I'm just the luckiest guitar player in the world. I've got to tell you, the politics have really fanned the flames of enthusiasm for the music. There is not a disconnect between them. There's an enormous connect. The energy level, the positive spirit is at an all-time high, we're dancing like idiots up there, and I just thank God every day, man.
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