Drug Policy

Ted Nugent's Summer of Hate

|

In a recent OpinionJournal essay tied to the Summer of Love's 40th anniversary, rock star, bowhunter, and grill guru Ted Nugent offers an insightful critique of hippies, in which he points out that they are dirty, smelly, lazy, and hedonistic. But what he really hates about them is their drug use:

I literally had to step over stoned, drooling fans, band mates, concert promoters and staff to pursue my musical American Dream throughout the 1960s and 1970s. I flushed more dope and cocaine down backstage toilets than I care to remember. In utter frustration I was even forced to punch my way through violent dopers on occasion. So much for peace and love. The DEA should make me an honorary officer.

I was forced to fire band members and business associates due to mindless, dangerous, illegal drug use. Clean and sober for 59 years [i.e., since birth], I am still rocking my brains out and approaching my 6,000th concert. Clean and sober is the real party.

Woohoo. The year after "hordes of stoned, dirty, stinky hippies converged on San Francisco to 'turn on, tune in, and drop out,'" Nugent recorded "Journey to the Center of the Mind" with the Amboy Dukes. To this day, he proudly insists he was too dense to realize the song was about LSD:

Leave your cares behind
Come with us and find
The pleasures of a journey to the center of the mind

Chorus:
Come along if you care
Come along if you dare
Take a ride to the land inside of your mind

Beyond the seas of thought
Beyond the realm of what
Across the streams of hopes and dreams where things are really not

[repeat chorus]

But please realize
You'll probably be surprised
For it's the land unknown to man
Where fantasy is fact
So if you can, please understand
You might not come back

[repeat chorus]

How happy life could be
If all of mankind
Would take the time to journey to the center of the mind
Would take the time to journey to the center of the mind
Center of the mind
(echo: the mind, the mind)

I assume the twice-married Nugent, who blames "rising rates of divorce" and "sexual diseases" on "the 'if it feels good, do it' lifestyle born of the 1960s," also did not realize "Cat Scratch Fever" was about promiscuous sex.

[Thanks to CK for the tip.]

NEXT: Water, Water, Anywhere? Or: Please Don't Talk About the Price System

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. If Ted would smoke a joint maybe he could calm down enough to play a coherent riff live that doens’t break down into a scatterbrained pile of shit.

  2. Cat Scratch Fever is about giving kitties belly rubs.

    Get your mind out of the gutter, Jacob.

  3. Pretty weak arguments.
    I think whether or not you believe in legalizing drugs, it’s always better to go the sober route. Hard to argue with that.

  4. As much as I disagree with him on just about everything (except gun possession rights!), I still think he’s cool. He’s got his opinions but so what!

    John
    http://www.gigatribe.com

  5. Ted Nugent would be cool if he had a talent for anything other than cheating on his wives.

  6. As much as I find The Nuge’s over-the-top “kill it and grill it” attitude entertaining, this conservative schtick is overdone. This guy was humping everything with a pulse in his heyday. He regrets it now and is Mr. Morality. He really should just STFU about this stuff and stick to what he’s good at: guns and hunting and songs about pussy.

  7. Ted was xedgex before it was cool.

  8. This is the same song he’s been singing for the past thirty years or more.

    I’ve seen Nugent in concert. Had a great time, every time I saw him. He’s in great physical shape, and puts on a hard rocking show.

    Ted may be all about the ‘clean and sober’, but his fans aren’t. The smell of MJ hung just as thick at Nugent as it did at Phish. Ted likes to piss on his dope smoking fans, but their money is still green. I don’t have a problem with any of it.

    Jacob’s post tries to make Ted into a hypocrite. I do think it’s silly to try to take the sex and drugs out of rock’n roll. But I think Ted walks the walk.

  9. Nugent: “I really hated the drug scene. That’s why I spend all my time around it.”

  10. er, “spent”

  11. Just curious – what does he shoot arrows at on stage now that Ol’ Saddam is dead?

  12. But please realize
    You’ll probably be surprised
    For it’s the land unknown to man
    Where fantasy is fact
    So if you can, please understand
    You might not come back

    In all fairness, that statement describes Hit & Run at times.

  13. I read this on Tuesday – did anyone else blink at the fact that Ted Nugent had an editorial in the Wall Street Journal? Ted Nugent!!!??!?!

    Next week, Britney Spears provides witty commentary on the rising CPI.

  14. He does have a good point about all the talents that died early thanks to do lots of drugs.

  15. Clean and sober for 59 years….and still hasn’t written a good song.

    He is a bad influence.

    Parents: Tell your kids about Fugazi, but make sure they never find out that sobriety produced the Nuge.

  16. Cat Scratch Fever is about giving kitties belly rubs.

    No, it’s about the importance of keeping your vaccinations up to date if you have pets.

  17. Only the good die young. Ted will be around for quite a while.

  18. Dan T: “People who who want to go to concerts, and complain about the drugs there, are hypocrites. People who want to go to bars or concerts, and complain about smoking to the point of demanding government regulation, are wonderful.”

  19. As someone who has always loved playing loud music sans drugs I have a soft spot in my heart for Ted Nugent. But his music truly sucks for the most part. And he did milk the Dazed and Confused generation’s habitsback in the day: “stakes are high/and so am I/it’s in the air tonight” (from Free For All, 1976).

  20. “Parents: Tell your kids about Fugazi, but make sure they never find out that sobriety produced the Nuge.”

    a-fuckin’-men. if you’re going to be preachy, you’d better back it up.

  21. The Nuge is one person I think would have benefited from large amounts of drug usage.

    Who knows? Maybe he could have been another Keith Richards if he’d had enough appropriate marinating.

  22. Frank Zappa makes a nice “I hate the druggies, which is pretty much everyone I know, and all my fans” bookend. As radically left as the Nuge is right, and far more talented. Too bad he’s dead now.

  23. Zappa’s music sucked too. (I think I see a pattern…my music probably sucks too).

  24. He does have a good point about all the talents that died early thanks to do lots of drugs.

    If Bill Maher were here, he’d no doubt offer his opinion that the drugs were the whole reason those folks put out great music.

  25. If Bill Maher were here, he’d no doubt offer his opinion that the drugs were the whole reason those folks put out great music.

    I wouldn’t go that far, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there were something inherent in them which led them to create great music, and also led them to do drugs.

  26. Wasn’t there a bong on the cover of one of Ted’s early albums??
    JMR

  27. I hate “straight edge” types. They don’t see the middle ground: a little drinking & drugging here and there isn’t going to hurt anyone. Like everything else, you just gotta keep it under control.

  28. Writing great songs generally requires drugs. Not an absolyte truth, but a good generalization.

  29. I think whether or not you believe in legalizing drugs, it’s always better to go the sober route.

    No it’s not always better. If you’re driving or performing surgery, it’s always better. But if you’re not doing something that’s already dangerous, non-sober is often better than sober.

  30. Is this to say The Nuge is either a liar or a disingenuous phony? How can that be?

    Another annoying rockstar is Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, who read a couple books, and declared himself an expert on “Star Wars” missile defense systems, who’s scientific expertise seems more suited to pal-ing around with starstruck boomer legislators/defense contractors than actual scientific research. One wonders why he didn’t just read Gray’s Anatomy and declare himself a brain surgeon.

  31. Then he killed all the animals.

  32. He’s too smart not to have known “Journey to the Center of the Mind” was about psychedelics, and for the life of me, I always thought “Cat Scratch Fever” was about heroin.

    …somebody should ask him what “Stranglehold” was about too.

    You ran the night that you left me
    You put me in my place
    I got you in a stranglehold, baby
    Then I crushed your face.

  33. We spent 20 years having our culture dominated by people whose identity revolved around being leftie stoners when they went to college in the 60s, and now we get spend 20 more of our culture being dominated by people whose identity revolves around how much they hated leftie stoners when they went to college in the 60s.

    Look at the War on Drugs – there is nothing propelling that beast except determination by people like Barry McCaffrey to never admit that the hippies were right about anything, and the determination of people like Hillary Clinton not to give Barry McCaffrey the opportunity to call her a hippie.

  34. Look at the War on Drugs – there is nothing propelling that beast except determination by people like Barry McCaffrey to never admit that the hippies were right about anything, and the determination of people like Hillary Clinton not to give Barry McCaffrey the opportunity to call her a hippie.

    Agreed.

  35. Courtney Love claims that the Nudge banged her when she was a 14-year-old groupie. Guess you don’t have to be high to enjoy statutory rape.

    As for hippies, my only real beef with them is that while the preach share and share alike, they mostly just want “share” your shit.

    We spent 20 years having our culture dominated by people whose identity revolved around being leftie stoners when they went to college in the 60s, and now we get spend 20 more of our culture being dominated by people whose identity revolves around how much they hated leftie stoners when they went to college in the 60s.

    It’s worse than that. We’re also dominated by people who were leftie stoners in the 60s, but couldn’t handle their shit so they became Born Again in the 80s and now operate on the assumption that no one can handle their shit.

  36. Courtney Love claims that the Nudge banged her when she was a 14-year-old groupie. Guess you don’t have to be high to enjoy statutory rape.

    But wouldn’t you have to be high to enjoy sex with Courtney Love?

    somebody should ask him what “Stranglehold” was about too.

    An anti-drug anthem, of course. “Now I’ve been smoking for so long … sometimes you want to get higher …”

  37. But wouldn’t you have to be high to enjoy sex with Courtney Love?

    Hi-Ooohh!

  38. somebody should ask him what “Stranglehold” was about too.

    What is “Wang Dang, Sweet Poontang” all about? I’ve been singing that tune for years and it just seems like a silly nonsense ditty to me.

    -T. Nugent

  39. Hypocritical? Intolerant? Maybe.

    But Ted Nugent would still make a better president than Giuliani.

  40. But Ted Nugent would still make a better president than Giuliani.

    So would the stuff squeezed out of your average zit.

  41. Love is a great musical talent.

  42. But if you’re not doing something that’s already dangerous, non-sober is often better than sober.

    I’ll second that! Especially things like watching live music being performed or watching something at the theater (movie or other)

    And as a side-note: Who cares about what draft-dodging Ted Nugent thinks about anything?

    Honestly, the WSJ gives this dickwad space? Why? What does he have to offer the conversation except his feelings of moral superiority?

  43. C’mon, you can hate hippies and drug use and still be a great libertarian– look at our friend Penn Jillette. He spoke often on his radio show about hating hippies and never even trying drugs or alcohol. While I’ve never tried drugs either, I still support overturning most drug laws and starting decriminalization… all the while looking down on people who consume the stuff. The two viewpoints are not mutually exclusive– repeal drug laws and hate drug-using hippies. 🙂

  44. Ted Nugent may or may not be a hypocrite, but he is certainly a hardcore authoritarian. He was a guest on Adam Corolla’s radio show this morning (a repeat, I believe), where he defended his failure to fight in ‘Nam on ignorance — “As a product of the American educational system, I had no idea what Communism was.” Huh? Then he bragged about wearing a flak jacket while joyriding with US soldiers in Fallujah, where he “served” (as a war prop?) at the “first opportunity” afforded him since his teenage years. Huh? Then he went on a rant about how the “lunatic fringe” just can’t measure up to his level of syncophancy towards the military, police and other authority figures. Finally, he measured his contribution to society in terms of the number of dead policemen’s wives he’s hugged.

    I suspect that his anti-drug stance is just part of his overall authoritarianism, not due to a rational consideration of the potential risks and rewards. After all, those drugs are illegal, so they must be bad.

    Zee wango, zee tango!!!

  45. My favorite Nugent story: the Nuge had a nasty little habit of sneaking his amp onstage during the opening act’s set and challenging the other band’s guitarist to a “duel.” Well, he tried that with Frank Marino sometime in the ’70s and it didn’t work so well. Frank is one of the greatest guitarists ever and his band Mahogany Rush toured frequently with Nugent because they had the same management and record label (as did Aerosmith). Anyway, Marino proceeded to blow Ted away in the ‘duel’, and Ted basically slinked offstage in shame. Needless to say, the Nuge never tried that again with Marino.

    You’ve got to be careful of any “factual assertions” that come out of Ted’s mouth. He claimed in an interview when asked about the Frank Marino incident that Frank was talented but really messed up. In reality, Frank hasn’t done any drugs or drink since the late ’60s, when he was hospitalized as a teenager from a bad acid trip. Marino was just as sober as Nugent during the crazy ’70s, with the difference being that Frank was more interested in making great records than in shooting his mouth off and looking “crazy.” To me, Ted’s never been more than a hack as a guitarist.

  46. C’mon, you can hate hippies and drug use and still be a great libertarian– look at our friend Penn Jillette. He spoke often on his radio show about hating hippies and never even trying drugs or alcohol. While I’ve never tried drugs either, I still support overturning most drug laws and starting decriminalization… all the while looking down on people who consume the stuff. The two viewpoints are not mutually exclusive– repeal drug laws and hate drug-using hippies. 🙂

    Is Penn the one who wears his hair in a ponytail, like some kind of girl?

    Hippie.

  47. Of all the bs opinions and lefty trolling here on H&R blog’s comments Now we got someone who thinks Frank Marino was a better musician than the Motor City Madman.

  48. Ted Nugent should be on drugs, and to be precise, he should be on Ritalin. Maybe that would help him write a coherent song.

  49. “To this day, he proudly insists he was too dense to realize the song was about LSD”

    Cole Porter wrote songs about heterosexual love. Does that make him a hypocrite?

  50. Of all the bs opinions and lefty trolling here on H&R blog’s comments Now we got someone who thinks Frank Marino was a better musician than the Motor City Madman.

    No, I KNOW Frank Marino is a better musician than Nugent. Nugent was never more than a second-rate guitarist, even by ’70s standards. Marino didn’t get the acclaim because his music is subtler and less radio-friendly (and because he didn’t act like a loincloth-wearing goofball), but his guitar work is stunning and easily in the same league as the fusion-jazz players of that era.

  51. SIV, there are no competent guitarists, of any political persuasion, who believe that the Nuge is a great guitarist. Great entertainer, sure. Fun and sometimes exciting guitar player, sure, but not a great instrumentalist, certainly not in the same league as Marino, Lifeson, Blackmore, Eddie VH, Duane Allman or any of those 70s classic rock shredders, not to mention the countless fusion players who would have kicked Nuge’s ass.

  52. I don’t know maybe Courtney was hot back then. Didn’t Bill Hicks say something about a whiff of cotton candy framing a paper cut?

  53. I wouldn’t be surprised about the Courtney Love thing. Jeezus, Mr. “Family Values” actually took legal guardianship of a teenager so he could screw her. Lots of rumors about the Nuge on this score over the years.

  54. I knew Nugent was “right wing”, but I always figured he was libertarianish. Finding out that he’s a Limbaugh/Hannity/Malkin type is disappointing.

    What the hell, it’s possible to have awful politics and still rock (cf Rage Against the Machine).

  55. I’ve always been a fan of the Nuge’s music but his knee-jerk conservatism has reached the point of self parody. And what ChrisO says in correct–he took guardianship of a 17 year old girl when he was 30 so he could screw her. He didn’t mention this in his WSJ editorial–nor is it mentioned in his Wikipedia biography which leads me to believe that the ‘Nuge logs in to edit it every morning…

    Not that I don’t hate hippies too….

  56. Ted needs to chill, and be thankful for all those drugheads. They are responsible for funding his empire.

    “”I’ve always been a fan of the Nuge’s music but his knee-jerk conservatism has reached the point of self parody.””

    I agree

  57. “””Of all the bs opinions and lefty trolling here on H&R blog’s comments Now we got someone who thinks Frank Marino was a better musician than the Motor City Madman.””””

    Make that two of us. Marino rocks. Although, I must say I have never seen Marino swing in on a rope wearing a loin cloth.

  58. But wouldn’t you have to be high to enjoy sex with Courtney Love?

    I hear she was quite bangable until she turned 15 or so.

  59. Drugs or no drugs, Nugent is lame.

  60. Nobody is as fond of Ted as Ted

    whatta wanker

    I blame Frank Zappa for foisting the blowhard on us all those years ago

  61. Primus sucks!

    And from the late great Bill Hicks: “If you don’t think drugs have done good things for us, do me a favor, go home and take all your albums, tapes, cds…and burn them. Cause, you know what, all those musicians who made that great music that has enhanced your lives throughout the years…real fucking high on drugs.”

  62. “Of all the bs opinions and lefty trolling here on H&R blog’s comments Now we got someone who thinks Frank Marino was a better musician than the Motor City Madman.”

    As a stoned teenager at the shows in the 70’s I can say for sure that Marino was far better in concert than the Nuge…even a better showman.

    As a mostly sober old man, I think neither made music that aged well. Each has about 3 songs that won’t make me change the station.

    Robin Trower holds up best of the Hendrix wanna be’s.

    None of the guitar hero crap holds a candle to Can, Stooges, Suicide, Pere Ubu, Wire, Faust, Neu!, Eno or, my fave from the 70’s Chrome.

  63. Best album title:

    Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to.

    Spaceman 3

  64. Information is not knowledge
    Knowledge is not wisdom
    Wisdom is not truth
    Truth is not beauty
    Beauty is not love
    Love is not music
    Music is THE BEST…

  65. That album title wins the thread. And Neu, Trower holds up in part because Jim Dewar and Jack Bruce, nothing against his talent. I couldn’t understand why I was able to find their albums used, who would trade in Twice Removed From Yesterday?

  66. Best song name ever: “Several species of small furry creatures gathered together in a cave and grooving with a pict”

    Tell me they weren’t high?

  67. Who decided that being conservative was evil? Must be the same idiots want Hilary “Nothing Wrong with Jailing People Who Disagree with Me” Clinton to be in the White House.

  68. You people that talk about Teds’ promiscuity, and cheating; Do you have any facts? Did he tell you personally about his affairs, or did you read about them in Tiger Beat? Rock on Ted!

  69. speaking of dirty and smelly, isn’t this the ahole that soiled himself for a week to avoid the draft? oh right, he’s justa weekend warrior. what a twat!

  70. doesnt it kinda look like cocaine in his left nostril in that picture

  71. Ted is a redneck, rightwing racist child molester.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.