TED NUGENT

"Shutup&Jam!" (Frontier; 2014)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Ted Nugent dials down the politics and turns up the guitar on "Shutup&Jam," his first new studio album in seven years.

According to the liner notes, the music on this CD was generated by "vintage equipment" and it sounds like it. "ShutUp&Jam" often hearkens back to the days of Ted's classic period -- I'm talking about 1975's "Ted Nugent," 1976's "Free-for-All" and 1977's "Cat Scratch Fever" -- and it sounds great. Ted's guitar performance and tone are excellent throughout and the songwriting is lighter and freer than it's been in years. Just listen to "I Love My BBQ" and you'll see what I mean. Of course, Ted Nugent is a true, red, white and blue American and his trademark patriotic songs are here, too. It wouldn't be a Ted Nugent album without them! As I've said many times on these pages, I don't like politics of any kind in my rock'n'roll but love of one's country is A-OK. They call classic rock tunes "anthems" for a reason!

Ted's vocals aren't always the best and he sounds better on some songs than others. but it's great to hear Derek St. Holmes again, on "Everything Matters." And the appearance of Sammy Hagar on "She's Gone" is an album highlight, with him and The Nuge having more than a little fun.

Fans of Ted's previous works will no doubt love "Shutup&Jam!" It's an album that mixes a bit of the more recent Ted Nugent sound (a la "Craveman") with the classic Nugent of the 70s. I hope it's not another seven years before we get more new music from Ted Nugent.

For more information, check out http://www.tednugent.com

"Motor City Mayhem" DVD (Eagle; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The answer to the world's energy crisis is apparent on this two-hour DVD: Simply take Motor City Madman Ted Nugent and drop him in the middle of thousands of screaming fans on the 4th of July. Ted's manic energy throughout this performance should be enough to power his home town of Detroit for at least a couple of months.

Recorded on July 4th, 2008, "Motor City Mayhem" is a document of Ted's 6,000th show. 6,000! Judging from his charisma and energy level here, it may as well have been his first. Throughout the 123-minute running time and more than twenty live songs, "Uncle Ted" never flags. He screams and scats his way through many of his classic hits and most of them sound as good, or better, than they did in the old days. And Ted's never been better guitar-wise than he is here. His solos and riffs are nothing short of energizing and mesmerizing. Sometimes, it's too easy to forget that Ted can sure as hell play a mean guitar.

Helping Ted celebrate his 6,000 show and 50th(!) year of performing live are drummer Johnny "Bee" Badanjek, who joins Ted on a cover of "Jenny Take A Ride," Derek St. Holmes, Ted's former bandmate who has a ball playing "Hey, Baby," "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold" with Ted and, perhaps the coolest guest of the evening, Joe Podorsik, Ted's guitar teacher from 1958!

Sure, Ted speed-chats a lot about hunting, fishing and "blowing the brains" out of anyone who tries to take away his freedom. Unlike many of his other recent performances, however, Ted wisely keeps most of his political views to himself. This is a good thing because, really, who gives a shit? We wanna hear classics like "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Great White Buffalo" performed live, not who Ted voted for in the last election. What Ted does do is open the show with some members of the U.S. military on stage with him and it's almost impossible not to get up in Ted's salute to the Troops. Some things aren't divisible by party lines at all.

The video and sound quality are excellent and the photography and editing deserve special mention because the images are crisp and clear throughout (even though the event started during daylight and ran into the night) and the editing isn't so choppy that you can't see what's going on on stage.

"Motor City Mayhem" is solid proof that, even after 50 years and 6,000 shows, Ted Nugent's not going anywhere soon. The man obviously loves (perhaps lives) to be on stage and his incredible guitar talent and unmatched onstage persona/performance haven't dimmed in over five decades.

For more information, check out http://www.tednugent.com

"Motor City Mayhem" CD (Eagle; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Quite simply, this CD is the audio taken from the above-mentioned DVD. Twenty-three tracks in all, performed by Uncle Ted as he celebrated his 6,000 show and 50th year performing on July 8th, 2008 at the DTE Energy Music Center in Detroit, Michigan. Most of my review of the DVD above goes for this CD, too.

What's really cool about the "Motor City Mayhem" CD is that it's a throwback to the days when double live albums were all the rage. KISS "Alive," "Frampton Comes Alive" and, yes, "Double Live Gonzo" were event releases. They were bigger, longer and better than single disc releases. I mean, how disappointing is the fact that Kiss "Alive III" is only one disc?

"Motor City Mayhem" is two full CDs and over 120 minutes of the Motor City Madman, receiving as much energy from that Detroit audience as he's giving to them. Again, Ted's never sounded better than he does here and I'm sure that a big part of that is the adrenaline and excitement of performing his 6,000th show back at home.

Plus, you can take the CD along to play while you tool around in your 1973 Camaro (save the DVDs for the mini-van).

For more information, check out http://www.tednugent.com

"Sweden Rocks" (Eagle; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

As stated in earlier reviews on this page, Ted Nugent puts on one hell of a live show. His wild onstage persona, his amazing fretwork, his undeniable energy - they all add up to a live experience that is always worth the price of admission.

"Sweden Rocks" is a live album that captures one such performance. Recorded at the Sweden Rock Festival on June 10, 2006, "Sweden Rocks" is thirteen tracks of Ted, including the usual Nugent classics ("Stormtroopin'," "Free For All," "Dog Eat Dog," "Cat Scratch Fever," "Stranglehold"), a few more recent tracks ("Raw Dogs and War Hogs," "Still Raising Hell") and a new cover tune ("Soul Man").

The highlight here, as with any Ted Nugent record, live or studio, is Ted's guitar magic. Ted may not be the world's greatest guitar players, but he's damn good, and his signature style of crisp, machine-gun notes sounds great on "Sweden Rocks." Ted is definitely not one of the world's greatest vocalists and that is apparent on the many tracks here that were originally sung by other, better vocalists. Ted gives a strong effort but, while his voice is adequate, the difference is apparent.

Of course, the low point of any Ted Nugent show is his political posturing. I don't care if you agree with Ted's point of view or not, no one wants to listen to him rant and rave for seven minutes about what's good and what's bad about American politics. "Sweden Rocks" has more than its share of good ol' fashioned patriotism, but none of the vitriol espoused in too many Ted Nugent shows. Hence, the album is vastly more entertaining.

Finally, audio technology has come a long way since Ted recorded "Double Live Gonzo," and the difference shows on "Sweden Rocks." This live CD sounds crisp and sharp, without sounding like an overdubbed studio simulation of a live recording, and it makes Ted's amazing singing guitar sound even better.

"Sweden Rocks" is ample evidence that Ted Nugent is far from done. If only we could package and sell his incredible energy, nobody would care about the high price of oil and electricity. We'd be "Powered by Ted" and that wouldn't be so bad.

Performing on "Sweden Rocks" are Ted Nugent - guitars / vocals; Barry Sparks - bass, background vocals; Mick Brown - drums, background vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.tednugent.com

"Love Grenade" (Eagle; 2007)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

The Nuge's real prime was from about 1975-1980 (excluding a large chunk of the inconsistent "Free-For-All" album in 1976). Since then he has largely been hit and miss with the misses coming from trying too hard for commercial success. Even the hit albums have sounded different than that early sound I enjoyed so much.

Still, Ted has remained a decent draw due to his big mouth and reputation of being a great live performer. Now, with "Love Grenade," it appears that -- for the first time since 1980s "Scream Dream" -- that the Nuge actually has a really solid guitar rock album to support on his tour. 

I think that Ted doesn't always get the respect he deserves as a guitarist. Although perhaps not the greatest technical player, he certainly has his own distinct style and many guitarists do not. Ted has a very flowing style when he hits and he really hits it in fine fashion on this new album. 

The lyrics are the same old cheese about women, guns and the Nuge's political views. However, the music hasn't been nearly this alive in far too many years. There are moments where the songs fall into being typical, but largely there's plenty of slabs of great big riffs and the Nuge's consistently amusing vocals. 

I remember back in the early 1990s listening to a bunch of Ted Nugent's early albums on my turntable and wishing he would return to that style. Well, it's been far too long ... and it may only be a partial return ... but "Love Grenade" is an enjoyable album.

For more information, check out http://www.tednugent.com

"Craveman" (Spitfire Records; 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

After years of releasing albums that, sadly, contained just too much of what can be called "filler," Ted Nugent has hit the bull's-eye (sorry, a little hunting humor there) with "Craveman." Seamlessly blending a more modern sound with that Nugent guitar insanity, "Craveman" rocks as hard as Nugent's best stuff while still giving the listener a fresh aural experience.

Starting off with "Klstrphunky" (a Nugent title if there ever was one) "Craveman" rolls out the chunky riffs from the get-go. The second tune, the title track, is another rollicking steamroller of guitar sound with guitars howling quietly in the background while the Nuge lays down a blistering chorus riff that cuts to the quick. (As this review is written, you can download "Craveman" from the label's website at http://www.spitfirerecords.com).

"Rawdogs and "Warhogs" is up next and it's a classic Nugent anthem that will surely get your blood boiling, especially if you're a Nugent fan. When a song by Ted Nugent opens with the lyrics "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the mighty USA," you can bet it's gonna rock. And it does.

The rest of "Craveman" delivers more of the same and in big, raunchy doses. The lyrics run from the traditional Ted Nugent anthems ("Damned If I Do," "I Won't Go Away") to the double entendres that Ted delivers so well ("Cum N Gitya Sum-o-This" "Wang Dang Doodle" "My Baby Likes My Butter on Her Gritz"). There's even a song that combines anthem/sexual innuendo ("Pussywhipped"). On this CD, they're all great. And when someone gets around to translating Nugent's liner notes, I'd appreciate it if you'd drop me an e-mail. Here's a brief sample: "The Great Spirit roars on in that not so quiet American night my friends and like Brother Wolf, my subterranean R&B throttletorque infested Gibson Byrdland glows and growls life anew!"

I've always been a big fan of Ted Nugent's fretwork. He seems to make his guitars sing without just seeing how fast he can play or how technically perfect he can be. Instead, he "speaks" with his instrument and - for my money - he communicates through it better than most. "Craveman" is a fine example of Nugent at his best.

The last track on the CD is an instrumental track called "Earthtones" which brings to mind Ted's philosophy on life and the Great Outdoors. It's a fitting and comparatively relaxing finale to a rock-solid CD. 

"Craveman" is the Motor City Madman's best CD in years. Fans should pick it up immediately; others could do worse than start here to begin their understanding of the Nuge.

For more information, check out http://www.tednugent.com

"Full Bluntal Nugity" (Spitfire Records; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Ted Nugent has spent the last couple of years touring with KISS on their "farewell" tour. Ted's live show is always good but, in the past, you were never sure you were going to get a tight Ted show or a sloppy Ted show. Both have their attractions but the tight shows were always better. 

With the KISS tour, it seemed that Ted had really tightened the screws. Not only were the couple of shows we caught "tight" Ted shows, they were some of the best live Nugent performances we've seen (and we've seen a lot). It seemed like the time might be right for Ted to release another live album and that's just what he's done. "Full Bluntal Nugity" was recorded "100% Totally Live. No Overdubs!" on December 31, 2000.

Owners of the previous live Nugent albums ("Double Live Gonzo," "Intensities In Ten Cities" etc.) will want to add "Full Bluntal Nugity" to their collections as well. It's been a long time since those earlier CDs were released, and Ted's sound has changed dramatically. I won't say it's "matured," but it certainly has "evolved." "Full Bluntal Nugity" is Ted Nugent with a fuller, more high-tech sound. It's crisper and clearer than the earlier CDs and the performance captured herein is (although we can't say it's better than the previous albums) is wild and very, very tight.

As always, a Nugent album is all about guitar and Ted puts his axe to good use here. The fretwork on "Full Bluntal Nugity" is more complex than his earlier CDs and the sound overall is fuller and seems to explode from the speakers. The arrangements also seem somewhat different although that may as much be an effect of changing technology as Ted's changing guitar style.

His band isn't anything to sneeze at either. Joining Nugent on "Full Bluntal Nugity" are Tommy Aldridge on drums and Marco Mendoza on bass.

The only downside to this CD: It would have been nice if Ted could have thrown a new song on here for us. The old classics still rock hard, but fresh tunes are always cool. That, and it would have been awesome to hear the opening act for this evening's performance: Sammy Hagar.

For more information, please visit http://www.tednugent.com

"God, Guns & Rock'n'Roll (Regnery; 2000) (Book)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The title sounds like a Jeopardy answer: "God, Guns & Rock'n'Roll." The question, of course, is "Who is Ted Nugent?" When readers of this stream-of-consciousness from the Motor City Madman finish its 300+ pages, they'll know exactly who Ted Nugent is.

In "GG&RnR," Nugent shares his conservative political views in the same, balls-out, no apologies format that he uses during his live performances. The only difference here is that Ted's not just filling time between songs, he's got over 300 pages to fill - and fill him he does. Whether you agree with what he says or not, you've got to admire the man's passion and honesty. Nugent calls it as he sees it.

"GG&RnR" begins with Nugent's well-known thoughts on guns in America. And, whether it's the fast-paced narrative, his colorful verbal style or the fact that what he says makes some sense, Nugent makes his points clearly and strongly. The first third of "GG&RnR" sails by like the best Ted Nugent live show. By the time it's over, you're begging for more. 

Unfortunately, that's where "GG&RnR" runs out of gas for most of us. Part 2 of the book is really nothing more than a collection of Ted's favorite hunting stories. Probably great stories to hear if you were out hunting with Ted or maybe to read monthly in issues of Bowhunter magazine. But, here, it just goes on too long. Unless you share Nugent's absolute love of the hunt, Part 2 of his book may well bore you. Even Ted's "Nugentizing" of the English language doesn't help much. But how can you NOT like quotes such as "They got high and they're dead. I went hunting and I'm Ted" (about substance abusers like Jimi Hendrix and John Belushi) or "Like Chief Seattle, I, too, consider animals my brothers. And, like the good warrior chief that I am, I eat 'em for dinner."

Part 3 of Ted's book is the section in which he explains that hunting and his closeness to nature are part of what makes his family so special, so close and so well-balanced. And he discusses how that same regimen can serve America and, indeed, the world. Indeed, Ted is a renowned family man whose family loves and adores him and who he has provided for and raised proudly. Though not as tedious as Part 2, Part 3 comes pretty close. Nugent almost repeats his thoughts in Part 2 but here the focus is on his family. Again, it's not uninteresting reading - Ted offers interesting theories, observations and facts - but it's still basically a proud papa showing you his wallet full of family photos. I must re-iterate - there's nothing wrong with that - Ted has certainly earned it. It just doesn't necessarily make exciting reading.

What's glaringly absent from Ted's book are the rock'n'roll road stories. Ted's been a renowned rock'n'roller for thirty years - imagine some of the stories he can tell! Unfortunately, they are few and far between here. It may be that his clean-living kept him away from the sordid, interesting stuff. Several times throughout "GG&RnR," Ted lists the folks that didn't survive the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll lifestyle. It would have been interesting to hear more stories about those folk - the ones we're all familiar with - rather than just Ted's kin.

But no matter what it's shortcomings, "GG&RnR" works overall because it is that rare example that is purely, simply and wholly the essence of its author. It's impossible to read even just a paragraph of "GG&RnR" and not think "Ted Nugent." There's a certain level of achievement there alone and this may be the closest some fans will ever get to the man. 

For more information, please visit http://www.tednugent.com

"Great Gonzos! The Best of Ted Nugent" (Epic/Legacy; 1999)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

It's great to see that Epic/Legacy is re-mastering some of the Motor City Madman's CDs. This is one of three, the others being "Ted Nugent" and "Cat Scratch Fever."

This collection is just what it states to be: A collection of Ted's best-known numbers. The classic stuff is here: "Cat Scratch Fever," "Free-For-All," "Dog Eat Dog," "Stranglehold." But - like all other greatest hits collection - some will say there are important titles missing. 

Be that as it may (or may not, depending on your taste in Ted), this re-issue of "Great Gonzos!" is a must have for its vastly improved sound quality. With the miracle of re-mastering, these songs sound better than they ever have before. Each track is crisper, each high is higher and the stereo separation is astounding. It's almost like you're hearing each track for the first time. 

In addition, there are three tracks not available on the initial release of this CD: "Yank Me, Crank Me" from Ted's "Double Live Gonzo" (a CD desperately in need of re-mastering if there ever was one) and "Homebound," the instrumental from "Cat Scratch Fever." The final track is an all-new Nugent studio tune entitled "Give Me Just a Little" and it features Ted on guitars and vocals; Neal Schon on guitar, Jack Blades on bass and Deen Castronovo on drums. A slick, rocking little number, "Give Me Just a Little" sounds like the best of Nugent's more recent stuff (a la "Spirit of the Wild.") 

Fans of Ted Nugent should definitely pick up a copy of these re-mastered CDs. And those looking for a little bit of Nugent history could do worse than start with a copy of the re-mastered  "Great Gonzos!" 

For more information, please visit http://www.tednugent.com

"Double Live Gonzo" (Rock Candy; 1978)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The vinyl edition of Ted Nugent's "Double Live Gonzo" was one of those recordings I almost wore out when I was a kid. Not only did the album contain raw, genuine live recordings of Ted and his crew performing some of the great Nugent classics (i.e., "Just What the Doctor Ordered," "Stormtroopin'", "Cat Scratch Fever"), it also contained several really looong tracks that just let Ted shred and rip to his heart's content ("Great White Buffalo," "Hibernation"). Plus there was the added bonus of wildman Ted swearing up a storm onstage ... something we'd heard precious little of in recorded music back in 1978.

As years went by and my vinyl copy began to become transparent from overplay, I was thrilled when Epic Records finally released "Double Live Gonzo" on CD. What a crushing disappointment! The CD had apparently never been mastered for CD release and sounded like somebody had taken an old cassette and burned it to CD. It was flat, horribly low-leveled and pretty much unlistenable. I think I played it once and put it away forever.

Let me make something perfectly clear right here and now: This review is based upon the newly remastered Rock Candy edition of Ted Nugent's classic "Double Live Gonzo!" It's the original two record set, remastered to fit on one CD, and it far, far, far outshines the original double-CD release which had some of the worst sound quality to be issued on a commercial release ever. So, if after reading this review you decide to purchase this CD, make sure you're getting the edition that was re-mastered in 2006 and issued on the Rock Candy label. Otherwise, you will be sorely disappointed.

"Double Live Gonzo" is now a single-CD collection that has been remastered to modern standards and sounds freaking great. Finally, fans of this classic Ted Nugent album can enjoy it on CD with clear, vibrant sound. There are 11 tracks with a total running time of over 78 minutes and, as far as I can tell, the folks behind the remasters have deleted little, if anything, from the original records, perhaps recognizing that Ted's between song banter is as important to this CD as the music itself.

With Ted's great new album, "Love Grenade," also now available, Ted Nugent fans can really celebrate with a collection of all new material as well as the long-awaited, proper re-mastering of a true Nuge classic, "Double Live Gonzo."

For more information, please visit http://www.tednugent.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

 

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Revised: 02 May 2017 23:02:43 -0400 .