Savoy Books 

The Legendary Ted Nugent


Robert Holland


b/w illustrated

254mm x 178mm

Soft cover

First publication

Packaged to Omnibus Press


ISBN 0 7119 0061 2

The Legendary Ted Nugent

  One of the strangest performers in the history of Rock, and unjustly denigrated, particularly by the English music press. Nugent, like PJ Proby, is a great raconteur, hugely imaginative and OTT. A genuine star of the first water in his live performances, he has never quite managed to translate this into his recorded work. For years, this was the only book on him. While its flaws are obvious (let down by poor Music Sales production) it is a minor masterpiece of excess. Bob Wise's jacket for The Legendary Ted Nugent (considered more "commercial" than Savoy's proposal) achieves the necessary 'condition of Muzak'.



"Nugent represents himself as an all-purpose, larger-than-life traditional electronic frontiersman hero. He owes a debt, too, to Edgar Rice Burroughs. That's how he is cast in this book."



"The first mistake, according to Holland, is to file Nugent Heavy Metal. To see him in context he should be relocated to the more respectable pantheon of Bo Diddley, Little Richard, the Stones, Hendrix, and Iggy Pop. To Holland he is that very special artist, that very rare phenomenon, a true Rock'n'Roll star. An original, a one-off, a gargantuan elemental force that refuses to be bound by the vagaries of fashion. To hang an academic critique on him is as pointless as trying to "open an umbrella in the face of a 90 mph gale". Holland's vision of Nugent moves into Guy Peelaert's Rock Dreams territory where personalities are exaggerations. A screen onto which the collective wills of journalists, publicists, and fans, project their most lurid fantasies. How far or how accurately these fantasies actually reflect any real qualities in the music is open to question. Everything about Nugent is blown up to epic proportions—from his sexual rapaciousness and his appetite for raw meat killed by his own hand, to the raucous decibel-level intensity of his amplification. A volume as huge as his ego. "I am," he boasts, "totally the product of my own desires." As if Rock can only be defined by mock-heroic excess, can only be experienced through the senses, must totally by-pass reason. "If you can't take a bite out of it—it doesn't exist."

Neither Nugent nor Holland see any possibility of evolution beyond that crude caricature. They see the fault with New Wave as "too many of the Punk Rockers THINK about what they're doing." To declare "No more heroes" is sacrilege. Rock'n'Roll to Nugent/Holland IS heroes. They allow no place for subtlety, objectivity, analysis, or lyricism. The only permitted language is the no-quarter, over-the-top speed-freak hyperbole. Yet Holland states his case remarkably well, albeit in twelve foot neon lettering. He commandeers allusions from every-which-where. Nugent represents himself as an all-purpose, larger-than-life traditional electronic frontiersman hero. He owes a debt too, to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan.

Not that this 'tooth fang and claw' legend is without substance, far from it. Nugent lives wide screen. He's played in bands since age ten, and stories are legion; urinating over a Nun, jacking-off in a prison cell, massacring elk with bow and arrow, hanging out in the Motor City Madness of the Detroit Hard Rock bands MC5, Stooges, Mitch Ryder and Shadow of Knight. He played support for Beau Brummell's and the Supremes as part of the psychedelic Amboy Dukes (promoting their hit Journey To The Centre Of The Mind); and made his come-back solo set with Zappa producing.

"If God played Rock guitar" he brags, "he'd come a poor second to me." In the meantime, Holland (an unlikely-sounding pseudonym that could probably be substituted by the name of any other minor European state) is currently reported to be working on a biography of another bombastic Rock eccentric—PJ Proby. I can't wait."



"The reader's wife of American mega metal, Caliban with an electric guitar, John the Baptist for an onslaught of saliva, grit and guts.

Well look at the competition—trussed up, padded out bilge like Aerosmith, milksops like Foreigner and Boston or tarty old windbags like Blue Oyster Cult. It's a huge stinking connection of flimsy myth and plain old inert gullibility that makes these bands successful.

In comparison Ted Nugent—where the comic meets the savage—just requires a sense of the ridiculous. Jesus, it's only in such a world that you could even think of calling this collection of growls stabs and snarls healthy!!?

Ted Nugent is the pagan's reply to the cruddy rock process. Pretentious he's not, not for Ted the usual 'if you can't convince them—confuse' psychorama of Moorcock, black magic and bad sex. He plays it straight down the line, a sabre toothed loony from the backwoods whose songs and onstage persona is an exercise in barbaric primitivism. So if you've heard Ted and you want all his famous opuses on one record—the great Cat Scratch Fever, Wango Tango, Paralysed and Dog Eat Dog et al then The Legendary Ted Nugent is just for you.

If you've heard Ted Nugent and you don't like him then don't buy Ted Nugent coz you'll hate it.

And if you've never heard Ted Nugent just consider yourself very lucky."


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