Have you ever figured up how many days you’ve worked over the years and then thought about that number?
Ted Nugent keeps track of his concerts because, well, it’s kind of cool to know how many he’s done. He’s touring again this summer, like usual, and usually does about 50 concerts each year. He’s been hitting the stage for, um, several decades and at 68+ years old isn’t showing too many signs of slowing down.
“When I perform for the U.S. Marine Corp in Okinawa, Japan, on September 23, 2017, it will be my 6,630th concert!” he said via text. Think about that number. That’s a lot of Cat Scratch Fever and White Buffalo, among other jams blasting from his legendary Byrdland.
WATCH: Did Someone Mention White Buffalo?
Along with his concerts, Nuge is on the road 60-65 days a year also doing outdoors shows. Sounds like bigtime fun! Here’s a Q&A that Nugent did in prep for an upcoming show and sent us:
Q: How did you get started hunting and what was the evolution of your hunting experiences over the years?
TN: Born in 1948 to a father already following in the footsteps of Fred Bear, the mystical flight of the arrow took hold of me immediately and expanded each year of my life. Kid’s bow and arrow sets and Wham-O slingshots quickly morphed to yew longbows and eventually Wing, Bear and Shakespeare recurves. Hunting adventures and predator lessons on squirrels and river rats along our Detroit neighborhood Rouge River wildlife kingdom expanded to annual family bowhunting safaris “Up North” and the life changing introduction to Fred Bear, and as they say, the rest is history. My extreme fascination with wildlife, wildness and bowhunting today is more exciting than at any time in my 68 year American Dream.
Q: At the height of your recording and concert career, you must have been incredibly busy and much of your time was spent in arenas and other venues far from the natural world. Did you miss hunting and the outdoors, and did those outdoor connections help keep you grounded and give you a positive focus?
TN: Though I have literally never missed a hunting season in 68 years, I did miss the soul cleansing powers of extended time afield during the nonstop touring years, so I fixed that around 1973 vowing to never miss the rut ever again! I attribute my longevity, overall health and youthful craving for my ferocious music and precious, even sacred hunting lifestyle to the definitive balance in my life to the extremes of hunting, outdoor and quality family time I orchestrate every fall and winter between tours. Such a quiet, down to earth lifestyle literally cleanses my soul, clears my head, relieves my ears and fortifies my spirit to once again grab my guitars and unleash an out of body stream of musical consciousness.
Q: You were a friend of Fred Bear, one of my childhood idols and a man I still look up to today. from the outside it would seem unlikely a rock musician and Fred would develop such a close relationship. How did you meet Fred and how did your relationship with him grow.
TN: On our annual bowhunting trek to northern Michigan, my family and I would visit the little Bear Archery shop in Grayling and enter what unbeknownst to me at the time, could very well have been the bowhunting dream epicenter of planet earth. The tall lanky gentleman with a contagious warm smile greeted us with a friendly handshake and welcomed us into his small shop. We joined the man on this, and future encounters at the Grayling Restaurant for some lunch and a piece of cherry pie and a glass of chocolate milk, then bid him farewell as we headed to our Titabawasee River log cabin campsite to get on with our family bowhunting weekend. It would be a few years before I came to grips with just who this man was and the unbelievable joyous opportunity I was so privileged to experience. When I returned to Grayling in 1967 after graduating from High School, I hooked up with the great man, and even though he was rather confused and set back by my gungho Rock-n-Roll, we nonetheless became fast friends and I was privileged beyond words to hunt with Fred for many years before he died in 1988. The song that exploded from my soul shortly thereafter sums up my and many people’s love and admiration for this legendary conservation guru.
Q: Fred always seemed to be a man ahead of his time with the many innovations he introduced to archery. How do you think he would have embraced crossbows, range finders and other modern hunting aides?
TN: I am certain Fred would have loved everything and anything to lure new sporters into the great outdoors! The advances in technology have encouraged more and more people to experience what is surely one of life’s highest of highs, while inspiring critical wildlife awareness, conservation and resource stewardship. Easier to shoot compounds, straighter arrows, more forgiving mechanical releases, arrow rests and sighting devices provide increased confidence, but dedicated practice is still the guiding force to become proficient.
Q: Fred shot many trophy animals in his career, but I still watch some DVDs of hunts he filmed and his focus was always on the experience, the land he was hunting and the people he was with. Do you think it would be wise for today’s hunters to adapt more of that approach rather than to be obsessed with antler scores and how their kill compares to that of others?
TN: Believe me when I tell you that the vast majority of hunting families are still driven and motivated by those very same basics that Fred lived and promoted. We do respect the incredible patience and Herculean dedication and effort necessary to kill older, wiser more challenging trophy animals, but even the most hardcore trophy hunter still lives and hunts by those same principals. This is not a hunch, as I share 100s of very special campfires each years with 100s of all American hunting families, and the evidence is overwhelming. I live a hunting, fishing and trapping lifestyle and engage my deepest dreams nonstop with my family, friends and two precious Labrador retrievers. It matters not the game, as each and every day afield cleanses my soul and inspires my spirit no end.
Q: You have been a tireless promoter of hunting and conservation. What are your thoughts on how to generate interest for hunting and conservation in young people today who seem more detached from the natural world.
TN: Hunting, fishing and trapping isn’t just the ultimate positive conservation and environmentalism, but truly a time honored lifestyle for tens of millions of American families. I am somewhat pleased and increasingly hopeful about recruiting youngsters into the healing powers of nature thanks to the army of volunteers at our own Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids and so many other organizations now focusing on youth. The prognosis is somewhat better now than just a few short years ago, but much more still needs to be done. As parents we should demand the inclusion of nature and wildlife biology as part of a regular curriculum in our education system. The National Archery in Schools programs would do much to combat the sad disconnect otherwise. But each of us can and must reach out further and more often to bring as many children as we can into the great outdoors for weekend fishing, shooting, camping activities. An army of individuals can make a huge impact.
With more than 40 million albums sold, rock legend Ted Nugent is equally well known as the nation’s most outspoken proponent of our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, conducting thousands of pro-gun, pro-freedom, pro-American interviews in major media worldwide. Nugent is a New York Times best-selling author whose works include “Ted, White & Blue —The Nugent Manifesto;” “God, Guns & Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Kill It & Grill It.” This year, his award-winning Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild TV show celebrates its 500th episode! For allthings Nuge, visit www.tednugent.com