By Jeff W. Zimba
The name Ted Nugent means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Born in 1948 in Detroit, “middle finger first” as he likes to boast, he would become a legendary musician and guitar player, cutting his first of 29 albums (so far) in 1967. For most people, selling over 30 million albums would be enough of an accomplishment for a lifetime, but for Nugent it is just one of his many credentials. As passionate as he is about music, it is far from his only focus. Gun ownership and hunting play an extremely important role for Ted. When he is not touring with his band, which equates to almost 6 months of the year, he spends time shooting and hunting. When he is not shooting and hunting, he is either writing about or educating others on the same. Although he is the Editor/Publisher of Ted Nugent Adventure Outdoors Magazine, and the President of Ted Nugent United Sportsmen of America (TNUSA) he still finds time to film his Spirit of the Wild television series and to serve on the board of directors for the National Rifle Association. He is also a regular contributor and columnist in over 32 publications.
SAR – How old were you and what were the circumstances surrounding your first exposure to firearms?
TED – I was raised in a shooting, hunting family. I was fascinated with all things projectile from the earliest of age, probably as young as 4 or 5 with a kid’s bow and arrow, then my trusty Red Ryder BB gun and Whamo slingshot. The whole family would shoot dad’s P38 and Savage .32 auto with my uncle John downriver near Detroit on weekends and I craved every minute of it. Safe gun handling was a great discipline for us and remains to today for all my kids and grandkids.
SAR – My upbringing in relation to firearms was very similar. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem as though very many families are following suit these days. Do you think this is having a direct impact on the way firearms are being perceived in general?
TED – Unfortunately, yes, but we should not despair. We have all seen a welcome increase in the shooting industry and community in reaching out to new shooters. Though this long awaited recruitment attitude and approach is a good sign, there is much to be learned by everyone as to specifically how to reach out and positively impact new shooters and pro 2nd Amendment voters. I have a fool proof system of energy, spirit, and bold, confident absolutism that I am hoping will catch on more.
SAR – Tell us about the first time you saw, handled or fired a machine gun.
TED – I may very well be the luckiest American that ever lived, for over the years I have been invited to shoot machineguns with law enforcement and military heroes for many years. The Michigan State Police and I have worked together on Highway safety and DARE programs for a long time, and it was at their armory that I first experienced the amazing full auto thrill of M16s, Tommyguns and assorted class 3 partying. Throughout the years, I have been privileged to shoot full auto with SWAT, Navy SEALS, Army Special Ops and many good friends who own and shoot pretty much every machinegun ever made. I find it the ultimate procedure for prepping for my rock-n-roll concerts whenever possible.
SAR – It certainly sounds like you have the opportunity “fire at will” with any machine gun you would like. With all these available, do you have a favorite machine gun?
TED – I certainly love them all but really enjoy the mighty MP5 in 10mm.
SAR – Have you ever attended a major machine gun shoot like Knob Creek, and would you like to attend one in the future should time permit?
TED – I have shot at Richard Davis’ annual machinegun shoot at his 2nd Chance Body Armor BBQ and hope to attend Knob Creek and others in the future. At my annual YO Ranch Uncle Ted Birthday Bash, my good friend James Brown brings down his M60, MP5s, Thompsons, Uzis, AKs, M16s and M4s, MP30, Browning Ma Deuce and assorted Nuge party favors for a celebration like no other.
SAR – Excellent. With many new, well-organized machine gun shoots springing up nation wide, at an amazing rate, you should even be able to choose a shoot that will fit in a schedule as busy as yours. We will look forward to seeing you on the line some day! Since you brought up shooting with soldiers and police in the past, what is your background relating to the military and law enforcement community?
TED – Certainly one of great admiration and respect, which led to my becoming a DARE officer back around 1982, when I was sworn in as a Special Deputy in Michigan and more recently as a Texas Constable. I also hold shields in Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky. I was also honored as an Honorary Member of the 101st Airborne at Ft Campbell when I trained briefly with the special ops there. I am fortunate to train and patrol with law enforcement around the country, as well as a stint with the USO in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq where I got to live in the belly of the beast for a few weeks.
SAR – I know many of our troops appreciated hearing from you and your travel partner, another great American entertainer, Toby Keith, on that tour. Your efforts to make life a little easier for them is certainly admirable and has definitely not gone unnoticed. Something you have referred to while speaking in the past is a man-made phenomenon you refer to as the “Brass Rainbow.” For the benefit of all the readers of Small Arms Review, can you explain this nature of beauty to us today?
TED – My idea of getting high is limited to positive sensual stimuli, and firearms and archery marksmanship are high on the list. My reference to the always stunning “brass rainbow” is about the hot brass arching so beautifully from various full auto guns we enjoy at your typical Nugent family BBQ. We share this wonderful scientific phenomenon with the viewers of our “
SAR – Where and when can our readers tune in to watch “
TED – Currently we run on The Outdoor Channel Tuesdays at 5:30EST, Thursdays at 8:30EST and Saturday mornings at 1:30. We also can be seen on CBS channel 10 in central Texas Saturdays at 12 noon CT and Sunday mornings at 6:30. We are very proud of our shows.
SAR – For anyone who had the pleasure of attending your “Shock & Awe” concert tour in 2003, it was quite obvious that machine guns play an important role in your life. Can you tell the readers of Small Arms Review what your stage show and props consisted of?
TED – I am more than happy to share our Full Bluntal Nugity nightly rock-n-roll ballistic ballet celebration with everyone I can. In fact, a compelling inspiration to create such a promotional jihad on stage every night is my way of returning fire, so to speak, against the antigun, anti-hunting, anti-American PC enemy. For more than 40 years, I have had some sort of firearm, US Military or hunting motif as part of my more than 5,400 concerts. Since 9/11, my stage set has been one huge military bunker. A huge wall of battle scarred camo-netted speakers surrounded by sandbags, buffalo skulls, US and state flags, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, punctuated by an assortment of cool guns from my personal collection. Six AR15s with hi-cap mags and drums, one a gorgeous DPMS zebra finish custom, an Uzi, an M37 grenade launcher, a Springfield M1A, 4 Benelli Super 90 12 gauge shotguns, a Thompson .45, and of course the mighty Browning Ma Deuce .50 with a huge loaded belt hanging from her breech. There are also some bows and arrows for tactical application as we end the love song “KISS MY ASS” and I send a full-length flaming arrow into the ribcage of a life-size Saddam Hussain. It’s so beautiful and intensely patriotic it brings tears of joy to us all.
SAR – What is TNUSA, what is their mission, and when was it formed?
TED – Ted Nugent United Sportsmen of America was formed back in 1989 as a grassroots activist organization to fight for and promote our basic American freedoms, particularly the tip of the culture war spear, 2nd Amendment and hunting rights. Our members have accomplished amazing upgrade across North America for CCW reform, ending Sunday hunting bans, stopping animal rights idiots at every juncture. I could not be more proud of the incredible fight my BloodBrothers give everyday across the land. Wherever you have seen upgrade, I assure you TNUSA members were there, if not the initiators of that upgrade.
SAR – You mentioned the phrase “Upgrade.” Can you tell us in your own words what you mean by “Upgrade” and how can we participate and pass it on?
TED – I am convinced by universally available historical and nonstop current evidence, that God created man to push ourselves for unrestrained excellence and conscientious goodwill. All things good in America comes from being the best that we can be. Unfortunately, with the God given rights and freedoms unique to America, comes the human tragedy of self-inflicted wounds of excuse-making and whining by those spoiled from such freedoms and the luxury of denial and dependency via the onslaught of “feel good’ social programs that gutted the soul of this great country as liberal dopers began steering policy in the 1960’s. That being said, I remain confident that many Americans are waking up to the bureaucratic waste caused by this apathy and deceit, and more and more families are taking more aggressive action to be better, to upgrade their lives. It is as simple as returning to responsible parenting, through self and parental discipline, eating better, demanding better from ourselves and our children, taking charge of neighborhood policy making, being actual hands-on participants in this glorious experiment in self-government. Denouncing substance abuse including all drugs, alcohol and tobacco, ending the suicide of fast-food poison gluttony and the death march of obesity. A quality of life upgrade is so simple to do it is inexcusable for Americans to continue killing ourselves at record rates because we’re too stupid or just too lazy to take better care of ourselves. Upgrade is about truly thinking and acting honestly about the cause and effect of our daily actions. Come visit the wisdom and courage to change for the better that gushed forth everyday at my TalkBack menu at tednugent.com. Very inspirational to all thoughtful, caring Americans.
SAR – You are an extremely passionate activist for the Second Amendment, just like many of our readers. At times it feels like the battle is only fought up-hill and legislative defeat is something we have all begrudgingly tasted on occasion in the past. What would you tell the readers of SAR to encourage them to become and remain politically active?
TED – I salute all activists who keep hammering away. It can be very discouraging, but not because the enemy is effective, but sadly, because apathy runs amok in our shooting industry and community. I am pleased to see increased and upgraded activism out there, but it is nowhere near where it should and must be. That there are not 50 million NRA members is proof positive that we are our own worst enemy. I am on the Board of Directors of NRA and GOA and Brass Roots and am on the frontlines of every 2nd Amendment battle there is; and I’m just a guitar player. We must all sign up new NRA members every chance we can. Give away memberships as gifts. It is a wonderful educational maneuver for 2nd Amendment truth that goes a long way. We must all write letters to the editor everywhere we go with simple statements of belief and facts. We must all communicate better with our elected officials so they are absolutely aware of what our families stand for and believe in on every gun issue throughout the year. We must initiate dialog constantly with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers at the workplace, church, school, or just when we’re hanging out. We should all read and give away John Lotts’ books to everybody we know. It should be our daily battle cry in a confident, friendly, firm and positive way.
SAR – It seems that many of the vocal people who have a high profile on the stage, or big screen, often spout anti-gun rhetoric and are quite liberal on social views. You, on the other hand, have always been extremely vocal on the conservative side of social issues. Do you often feel like an outcast among your performing peers or are there several others who are “like minded” but just don’t speak up?
TED – I’ve always met hardcore resistance in the entertainment and music industry. I’ve been out and out condemned and even ostracized oftentimes by some of the most powerful media forces out there. So be it. As America was steered in an embarrassing leftist direction, I stood my ground because I was certain they were wrong and I was right. Over the years I’ve discovered closet gunners but when pressured as to why they don’t speak up, they typically cower in fear of retribution from radio, TV and the mainstream media. Damn shame really. I constantly urge them to stand with me as I am convinced that as goes our gun rights, go all our American freedoms.
SAR – It seems as though you may be “rubbing off” on at least a few others. Over the last couple of years, we have seen more and more people who have a visible profile in the entertainment industry taking a positive stand on firearms. A quick peek at the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors speaks volumes. Given the direction of the political spectrum over the last decade, do you think being a gun owner has finally become “cool,” and a little more acceptable in the industry?
TED – Certainly, promoting how cool guns and shooting are is the key to industry growth and pro gun voter recruitment, so I shall stay on course promoting this exciting shooting discipline everywhere I go. Certainly the prognosis is improving, not fast enough, but better.
SAR -/I> You have made yourself very available to your fans over the years and I understand you even “talk” with them almost daily on your website. Can we give the readers of Small Arms Review the web address so they can participate in these discussions?
TED – There is no doubt that PR, public relations, is the missing link for all things positive for our side in this cultural war. I whole heartily welcome all SAR readers to join me at www.tednugent.com TalkBack any and every day they can join in on the high spirited dialog there. We consider it our Spiritual electro-campfire for real American Blood Brothers willing to improve our fighting tactics in this culture war. It is truly stimulating and encouraging.
SAR – Thank you for taking the time to talk with us and thank you for all of your activism on behalf of the Second Amendment.
TED – Back at ya Jeff. I truly enjoy SAR magazine and thank you for allowing me to communicate with my fellow shootists in these pages. I look forward to increased communications.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V8N8 (May 2005)|