I was a high schooler in the ’70s, graduating in 1980. Those were the years where hard rock was king, and until punk came along (thankfully!), I was right there, listening to the testosterone overdose of loud guitars and misogyny, all though of course I didn’t hear as such then. Two of my favorites in that era of 8-tracks were Aerosmith and the “Motor City Madman”, Ted Nugent. I can recall endless discussions of Nugent’s guitar skills or Steven Tyler’s “bad boy” persona. Oh, to be young, when you think that a guy in loin cloth (Nugent) or one wrapped in scarves and eyeliner (Tyler) are relevant to your life. Yup, high school in the ’70s was a necessary evil, I suppose, but one that I’m glad I was able to move past.
Too bad they haven’t.
So here we are in 2012, and somebody is actually playing attention to these two nitwits again? Steven Tyler, who, to be fair, hasn’t produced music worth hearing since he and Joe Perry quit shooting up together, is now running his “same old song and dance” as a judge on American Idol. I’ve never seen the show- I love music too deeply to watch it in the hands of Auto-Tuned robots with nothing to say- but to see Tyler, his carefully arranged to look like he just got out of bed hair now half gray, atop clothes that looked stupid 30 years ago, to see him yukking it up on prime time TV is oh so sad. Sad because some amount of my high school energies were spent on him and his ilk, and to realize that what was rebellion then is just another product now. But I’ve evolved past his infantile macho gesturing and retreaded Yardbirds riffs to something new, but apparently prime-time American hasn’t. Oh well. Still, in some little way it makes me embarrassed by my youthful self, and I doubt I’ll ever willingly listen to Aerosmith again.
But say what you want about Tyler- whore, used to be, whatever, he ain’t got nothing on Ted Nugent. When I was 16, 17, the Nuge was the MAN. I saw him live a few times “in the day”, and he was wild. His music was over the top, full of adolescent odes to dominating women and slaying deer. In an age where drug and alcohol use was mandatory, Nugent went against the grain, claiming to be drug and booze free. He was “straight edge” before Ian MacKaye was probably born. He dodged the draft with the now infamous poop pants trick, and I thought that was pretty cool too. Remember, I was 17. Now, a few years after high school I was a roadie for a band that opened for Nugent at the Dothan, Alabama Civic Center. This was after the fame had pretty much deserted him, along with his 1970’s band, and he struggled to fill half the seats. After the show we all went back to the Holiday Inn and found the bar. Nugent and his crew were there, and I watched the supposedly booze free Ted pour White Russians down his gullet like there was no tomorrow. Which, in the atmosphere of a touring rock band, there really is no tomorrow- that’s part of the appeal. It was sorta sad, watching him lie, but it was no skin off my nose, and anyway, drinking with Ted? Hell yes! When the disc jockey played another disco hit Ted sent a roadie to the booth to see if he had anything by the Stones, and when the guy played “Play That Funky Music White Boy” Ted got in his face and screamed “I SAID PLAY THE STONES, MOTHERFUCKER!” He did.
Now, Ted Nugent is in the news with his statements about Obama, and supposedly the Secret Service is investigating? Uh, why? Ted Nugent is a retarded adolescent who lies every time he opens his mouth, in vague hopes of rekindling his music career, which has bottomed out in the last 20 or so years. His music, far as I can tell, hasn’t advanced one iota since I was in high school, and the people that still listen to it, well, they haven’t evolved much either. So for Ted to run his mouth at a NRA convention, well, he’s just pimpin’. Like the Nuge, the NRA attempts to terrify gun owners with fears of mass gun seizures, starting just as soon as Obama is re-elected. Ha. It’s just pimpin’ for the cameras. Obama isn’t going to enter into a secret treaty with the UN to enact a one world government and confiscate your shotgun. The only people who believe that are either getting paid to mouth it…or they’re still in high school, figuratively. But there is no reason in the world why the rest of us should waste 5 minutes of time listening to it. I’m a gun owner, but the NRA scares me, because they grow fat on the fears of morons, ramping them up with imagined horrors to come. It’s both scary- and sickening.
In an age where our government exists as a giant ATM for the 1%, our President gets a Nobel Peace Prize while sending drones to Afghan wedding parties, and you can’t eat shrimp from the Gulf, get a job, or pay your mortgage because some rich fucker sold you down the river for a blip on an earnings report, we are all up in arms because some idiot with a Gibson said something stupid about the President? Give me a break.
“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
So grow up. Ted Nugent, repellent as he is, ain’t the problem. He’s just a whore, trying to keep himself relevant, just like Tyler. Your attention and activism are better used somewhere else. Its up to you- not me, not Ted, not Fox or CNN- to tell you what that is. Just remember, we’re not in high school anymore.
Act like it.