Psychedelic Psounds: Interviews from A to Z with 60s Psychedelic and Garage Bands

By Allan Vorda | Go to book overview

TED NUGENT AND THE AMBOY DUKES: JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE MIND

Ted Nugent was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1948 and started playing guitar at age nine. His first group was the Royal High Boys ( 1960-61) followed by a stint with the Lourds ( 1962-64). The Lourds won a Battle of the Bands contest--with fourteen year old Nugent doing a guitar solo on the judge's table!--whereupon they opened for the Supremes and Beau Brummels.

His next band, the Amboy Dukes, achieved national success with "Journey to the Center of the Mind" which reached #16 in 1968. The band (which eventually became Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes) underwent numerous personnel changes which was partly due to Nugent's anti- drug policy. The band achieved notoriety for their constant touring and Nugent's insane guitar playing. For example, during 1973-74 he staged a series of "duels" for the title of Greatest Axeman against the likes of Mike Pinera (Iron Butterfly), Wayne Kramer (MC5), and Frank Marino (Mahogany Rush).

Nugent's persistence finally paid off in 1975 after signing with Epic where he achieved platinum success with such LPs as Cat Scratch Fever, Double Live Gonzo, and Weekend Warriors. Nugent possesses such incredible energy that is hard to imagine, despite a musical oeuvre covering thirty years, that he will ever stop playing.

The following interview took place on 2/24/1988 in Houston where Ted Nugent opened for Kiss at the Summit. The interview was delayed after the concert due to the number of people vying for Nugent's attention as well as the birthday of rhythm guitarist Derek St. Holmes. Finally, Ted suggested it was time for dinner whereupon approximately thirty people boarded two magnificent touring buses and drove across town to a Japanese sushi bar. The following interview took place going to and coming from our midnight dinner. Nugent's entourage took up half of the Mikayo Restaurant with a Warner Brothers executive paying for everything with his credit card. Ted drank grapefruit juice and also Perrier with lime throughout the evening. Three girls waited patiently for the interview to conclude before Nugent's bus continued on the road for the next show in San Antonio.

It should be noted that Ted was cordial and patient despite everyone trying to get a piece of him. For example, he took time out to receive a painting of some ducks by a female fan; he gave two free tickets and a backstage pass to a young kid who had earlier met him at a local radio station to discuss hunting; time out for two girls whom he originally met in 1974; and time to do the interview. It was like interviewing Ted in the eye of a tornado with everything swirling around us. Ted was always polite, but he is also very intense and vocal -- as the reader will see -- in his opinions.

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