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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.

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