Pixel Tracker

Monday, February 18 , 2019, 1:01 pm | A Few Clouds 57º


Paul Mann: Clown Prince of Hard Rock Ted Nugent Shakes Up Chumash Casino Resort

The master guitarist known for his conservative persona sticks to his Detroit musical roots in a spirited performance

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the concert.]

Ted Nugent, classic American rocker and poster boy for the ideals of the conservative far right, shook the walls of the Chumash Casino Resort in a spirited 90-minute concert on Thursday.

The master hard-rock guitarist, who has been accused by some musical critics of lacking finesse in his style, exploded right out of the gate with a mesmerizing heavy rock assault on a receptive crowd.

It seemed like the controversial rock icon, known for his larger-than-life conservative persona, might get through the whole show with just a few demure comments about guns, God and the First Amendment. But all of that changed about halfway into his set when the self-absorbed, self-appointed sentry for the rights of conservative America released a political diatribe.

His rambling rant was full of a litany of complaints against mainstream liberal America. In a few short minutes, he managed to disparage President Barack Obama as a “bad man,” scold Californians for threatening Americans’ unlimited rights involving gun ownership, deride “those people” in San Francisco — in a veiled reference to their recent victories over the Defense of Marriage Act — and hail George Zimmerman in Florida for correctly dealing with “that punk.”

To his credit, he did spend a considerable amount of time praising members of the military for their service, and had indeed invited a bevy of proud soldiers to attend the show. But the bigger question might be: Does Nugent truly believe all that he espouses, or does he really just like to stir up the hornet’s nest of American politics for his own anarchical glee?

Fortunately, for America, most people have evolved with an intellect beyond the primordial cavemen of our ancestors and have become more compassionate members of society. Maybe that’s why President Obama was re-elected by a sound majority of American citizens.

All politics aside, Nugent, at age 65, continues to be one of the best American hard-rock guitarists of all time. “Uncle Ted” led a tight backing trio of classic rock veterans through a no-holds-barred rock marathon, showcasing some of the biggest songs of his career.

I was barely in high school when I first saw the shirtless rock guitar icon play an ear-piercing concert with his original group, The Amboy Dukes, in a sweaty rodeo barn in 1971 known as the Orlando Sports Stadium.

In a tribute to his stamina, Nugent sounded pretty much the same at the Chumash Casino Resort these 42 years later. With ear-shattering sound levels similar to the concert of my youth (The Amboy Dukes were once known as the loudest band in rock music), Nugent led the band into one classic rock jam after another.

As usual, the venue offered up a perfect mix of state-of-the-art sound, lighting and video coverage. The “Motor City Madman” went back to his Detroit roots all throughout the show, playing a medley of covers of some of the greatest names in original black, blues and soul music, and invoking countless names of his musical mentors from the past.

The feisty, outspoken guitarist has always suffered from an addictive personality, although he has always denigrated the use of drugs or alcohol. Perhaps that is why The Amboy Dukes’ biggest hit, the psychedelic rock classic “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” was noticeably absent from his set.

Nugent’s addictions surfaced more in his early days as a sexual obsession. The young rocker was rumored to have had sex with more women than any other rock star n history. The Internet is full of fanciful tales of his exploits, including allegedly fathering at least eight children with seven women, and allegedly having a penchant for underage girls. He replaced this obsession in later years with that of a hunter and prolific gun owner, claiming to have killed untold numbers of game animals.

But the one obsession rock music fans have benefited from all his life that has never changed is that of playing a blistering lead guitar. So far this obsession has not waned a tiny bit.

Personally “Uncle Ted”, I abhor your political stance, but I have always loved your music. Rock on in a free world, Mr. Nugent.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.