IGNORE THE POLITICS AND UNCLE TED IS ONE HELLUVA MUSICIAN
The backdrop to the stage was a portrait of Uncle Ted riding a middle finger while flipping the bird himself. There’s nothing that Ted doesn’t enjoy more than…well, Ted. All right, Mr. Nugent has made a name for himself in recent times in the far-right political spectrum. He has never been bashful about anything, stressing strong support for the second amendment, the military, his very conservative views and above all…Ted.
But this is not political. While many of us may be on the opposite side of the political rainbow, there is no denying that the Motor City Madman continues to be one bad-ass musician. At the age of 71 (but looking 20 years younger) Uncle Ted continues to tour the nation and gets fans of all stripes to come to his concerts. My son’s friend is in the military so he received complimentary tickets (as part of Ted’s support for the military) for him and three friends to attend Ted’s most recent gig at PromoWest Express Live! in Columbus on August 30. My friends and I were happy to pay market price to see him live, having been entertained by his music and his antics in the past. So this combination Boomer/Millennial group was out there on the lawn with fans mostly of the higher-aged vintage, but all who were there for the music.
Ted started out with Stranglehold (how rare to start with such a big hit?) and ignoring the misogynistic lyrical overtones (which we shouldn’t, and that’s another whole blog post), it is one amazing rock anthem. One cannot help but enjoy the lead guitar that Ted has honed over many years along with the perfect bass and drum accompaniment (Ted’s band today is a trio, no frills kinda band). While Ted sang lead on most of the tunes, his outstanding bass player Greg Smith sang lead on a number of songs, giving Ted the chance to demonstrate his out of this world guitar playing skills. (Extra credit: Who was formerly lead singer for Ted’s tunes and has been the lead singer for Foghat, the band of Slow Ride fame, the last 20 years since Lonesome Dave’s death? See answer below. Oh, and my son pointed out that Ted’s drummer Jason Hartless, another fellow Motown native, was born in 1994, so this was truly a cross-generational event.
Ted says he never drank alcohol or did drugs so it keeps him clear for all things and I have to believe him (at least on the musical side). Taking us through his hits as well as some tasty deep tracks, he kept the crowd moving and engaged. His guitar on the immensely rocking Fred Bear almost brought a tear to this reviewer’s eyes, and certainly brought the crowd to its feet (which is quite a “feat” itself with so many of us Boomers wanting to sit for a spell).
With the reminder that freedom isn’t free and recognition of each arm of the military, Ted marched into another rocker - Free For All - which for some reason I don’t believe was written originally with that in mind, but it works. He said he loves the songs that he has written, says his favorite concert is today’s, and that tomorrow his favorite concert will be tomorrow’s. As he wound up Cat Scratch Fever just before he left the stage prior to his encore, we decided to beat the crowd departing along with many other 60-somethings. But we left believing this was his best concert in the three times we have seen him the last few years in Columbus. No doubt about it, Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine brought back the nostalgia for a Ted that wasn’t known for his politics, but for swinging on a rope onstage and his hard-rocking licks.
Ted’s lead singer in the late 70’s was Charlie Huhn, who also performed with Humble Pie before becoming lead singer of legendary British band Foghat from 2000 to present.
Ted doing Gonzo at Express Live:
Mark Stewart is in his second career a Film/TV Producer and founder of Stewbean Productions (https://www.stewbeanproductions.com) with his award-winning Rockumentary/Mockumentary “Mock and Roll” (https://www.mockandrollthefilm.com) being released by MVD Entertainment and Soundview Media Partners on September 17.