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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Attention: Uncle Sam is now Uncle Ted.

Ted Nugent was my first. Concert. I was 13 and my ears are still bleeding. In the spirit of rock though, I meant that in a good way. No matter how vocal he is now politically, give him credit: the dude could always play guitar. As you grow up though, you find out things about your heroes, be they athletes, musicians or whatever. The Tarzan outfits he wore on stage while swinging from ropes made sense only when you discovered years later how much of an outdoorsman he was. Hunting, fishing, shooting and so on. As someone who grew up around guns myself, I felt a special bond with Uncle Ted.

Rock and ammo united us as kindred spirits.

Then Ted started speaking out beyond his Kill It and Grill It lifestyle on things like personal freedoms and big government. And now, his latest rant? An almost outright call to arms:

“Barack Hussein Obama did not sneak into power. An army of clueless, disconnected, ignorant Americans invited him to bring his Marxist, glaringly anti-American jihad into our lives.”

Read the rest here, but I *think* you know were Uncle Ted’s netting out here. (Credit for him working in *Stranglehold* into the rant.) I actually tend to agree with him on certain things, in particular, the part that says nobody just sneaks up on us—we vote them in. While candidates appear on the radar fairly quickly before we know much about them (Obama, Palin, Clinton, etc.), it’s still up to us to vet them.

You get the candidates you deserve—or the ones you vote in.

Some might call him a drugged-out nutter. Except, he’s not insane. I have no doubt he wants what’s best for his family and his country. He’s not on drugs either. In a music industry where rampant drug use was the norm, he was always clean. I don’t know what to chalk it up to here though. He represents a type of pro-Fox News performer you see more and more of, like Dennis Miller and Charlie Daniels, who speak out about their conservative politics in ways they never did.

The long-haired musicians your parents once hated now wave American flags and spit on Democrats. Irony kicks ass again.

His claims of being an industry watchdog aside, I don’t once recall Nugent ever saying anything political on stage, on his records or in interviews—until 20 years down the line. Dennis Miller’s snark brilliantly nailed the hypocrisy of idiots, first on SNL and then later on his own HBO show.

He was on our side, us vs. The Man.

Now, it’s you against him if you disagree. Whereas he never once bit the liberal entertainment hand that fed—he has no problem doing it now on his radio show. Charlie Daniels, (another dude I saw once—shhh) played a mean fiddle, and still does, but left politics out of it—until 20+ years into his career.

I’m all for free speech, red meat and rock—search this blog—I just wish celebs wouldn’t wait to express conservative views only when it’s expedient to do so. (At least Bono and U2 were singing about political and societal issues early on, as well as the Police—when Sting wasn’t busy knocking candles over of course.)

As a teen, you’re not tuned into political activism or social issues the way you are as an adult, so deep messages tend to go over your head. Understandable, since music is about freedom of expression and good times, not politics. Least that’s what my uncle told me once.


Anonymous said...

Great post.

As more musicians (and celebrities) have gotten more vocal, I feel like teens while not as tuned in as many adults, are definitely more tuned in now than I ever was.

Talking to nieces, nephews, cousins and friends' kids I am surprised they are aligning themselves with a political party or being more outspoken about their beliefs (even if some of them are just aligning themselves with their parents beliefs or even their favorite musician/celebrity).

When I was 13, or even 17, I couldn't tell you if I leaned right or left or who was "evil" and who was "good". Maybe it is better schooling, maybe it is more outspoken "celebrities", maybe it is something other than fluoride in the water?

Jetpacks said...

Sure Ted never touched the stuff - and now claims he had no idea what this image meant:

Howie said...

I thought he was a heavy boozer. Plus unlike Mel Gibson...Ted forshadowed where he was heading in his music

Kamikazee from the 100th Floor.
Swan Dive to the Street.
He couldn't take this madhouse now more.
I can't make out the last line...something about guns and red meat?

I agree with you Bill. And I also agree with Bob K who just tweeted you grow into your politics. I think 2 big things change us...experiences that hurt us...and fear of change once set in our ways.

Ted was my first favorite band. Got into him in 5th grade. In 6th Grade me and two friends would go into my buddy's older bros room (he was in High School) and play double live gonzo just to hear him say Fuck! Hoping his mom wouldn't hear us doing this! lol

Howie said...

Well Jetpacks just outed Ted!

Maybe we should tell Andrew Breitbart.

Jetpacks said...

On a similar note, I recently watched a former hero of mine on You Tube give an interview to a Boston radio station. Joe Perry, in support of his further (very terrible) attempt to go solo, told the host he'd been, "Listening to some TRUTH!" and he said that last word with force and conviction. Turns out Joe's truth was none other than Alex Jones, he of Chemtrail Theory and "9/11 was an inside job" fame.

Sorry, Joe. You played a mean guitar at one time (even if none of it made it onto "Get Your Wings" as Jack Douglas, the producer, brought in Alice Cooper's team to make the sound right. Look it up) but when you start throwing around Lizard People are running Washington arguments, you're no longer my hero. You're just an idiot. As the great rock photographer Ross Halfin always says, "Never meet you heroes. They will only disappoint you."

Conversely, I love Dennis Miller. He was a part of my youth and his comedy transcends politics to a degree. He may tow the party line a little too much, but no one is better equipped to deliver a right-wing screed to the listening libertarian or middle/undecided. I'll give Dennis a listen anytime. He's real. Not a characature like Ted.

mtlb said...

@jetpacks - The main point though isn't who's more capable of speaking to what audience, it’s this hidden conservatism that is just now coming out only after their careers had been established. Bob Knorpp thought maybe it’s due to someone less afraid to speak out the older they get. Not sure I agree totally.

Look at Limbaugh. Guy was a sportscaster and probably woulda remained one had he been able to keep some of those opinions in check. He’s good on a mic, sees morning talk both on radio and TV heating up in the ’90s and voila, new career based on his personal conservatism because anger sells. Hello ratings.

As for the drug reference, that was early on with Dukes and I’ll forgive him his naivete over that, but every story surrounding him/anecdotal info backs up the no drugs thing.

mtlb said...

@jetpacks - Having said that, I don’t think he was always a choir boy. He attributes his no drugs mantra to a time when his old man caught him with beer when he was younger. Pretty sure ass-whoopin’ ensued and caused him to swear it off.

Jetpacks said...

I wonder if it has to do with waning career needs a lift, as in the case of Charlie Daniels. The Conservative Movement has given a boost to some old acts who can now tour with Hannity on his summer road show. Even Skynyrd is out there writing songs in the Lee Greenwood vein.

Bob Knorpp, @thebeancast said...

I don't think we can generalize on this issue was my main point, Bill. People like Dennis Miller or Rush Limbaugh are opportunists who only revealed their politics as it became profitable for their career. Doesn't make them less genuine in their beliefs, but they obviously masked those beliefs until it became expedient to not do so anymore.

Folks like Nugget and Daniels, however, may have grown into their political outspokeness through growing awareness of the world around them. They may have been conservatives all along, but we have to allow that (like many musicians) they were probably too obsessed with their own careers to waste time speaking out for what they believed.

And in either case, these wouldn't be the first men who get old, curmudgeonly and outspoken. Politics is fueled by the young but controlled and dominated by the old.

Now I will go clean my guns and dreams of a better America. ;)

Bob Knorpp
Host of The BeanCast
Posts every Monday @

mtlb said...

@bob - There is no better America, mister. *salutes*

I think you underscored my point though: Why is it any less expedient for Bono to talk about issues then? He stands to lose just as much, no? Miller and a few others like Kelsey Grammer, Ron Silver, that IDIOT Victoria Jackson etc., have spoken out about how liberals rule Hollywood and how it’s tough to be conservative. Okay, fine. I have no doubt that plays a part. It’s an ironic view to hold though, given how GOP figurehead and then SAG president Ronald Reagan helped destroy so many careers in the ’50s with conservatism and fear.

But these things always seem split on party lines: Libs/Dems come out in favor of helping the planet while the GOP tends to speak out later in life about our right to blow shit up and drill. If they’re all about the courage of their convictions and intellectual honesty, doesn’t that come before money? #rhetorical

If a Sting or Bono knows who they are politically, especially in their youth, it’s hard for me to believe conservatives don’t know what they believe at a younger age too.