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Ted Nugent On Kanye West: ‘I Just Don’t Get It’

Randy Snyder / Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

While Kanye West certainly ticked off plenty of classic rockers with his recent actions at the Grammy Awards, Ted Nugent tells Ultimate Classic Rock that it didn’t raise his blood pressure. Calling West “super-talented,” he also admits that he doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the music that Kanye and his contemporaries are making.

“You know, I don’t get much of that anymore. I don’t understand. … I mean, I understand beauty and I understand fashion and trends,” he says. “You should Google my son Rocco, he goes by ‘Rocco Moon.’ He’s deep into the hip hop/rock stuff and I just don’t get it. I try to watch Eminem and all of these other guys and I don’t get it. It doesn’t light my fire like ‘Long Tall Sally’ or ‘I Feel Good’ or ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’ or ‘Tush,’ you know?,” Nugent says with a laugh.

“I kind of shrug my shoulders and I’m sorry to say, I just don’t get it,” Nugent explains. “I understand he’s a super-talented guy. Nobody likes naked girls more than I do, but would you really want to have your wife completely naked in a magazine? It’s a different world to me.

“Then again, I see where the industry is just so suicidal. Even the incredible U2, so they go in and spend a million dollars to make a record and give it away? Well, that’s convenient, if you’ve got that kind of money, which they do. But what about these new incredible artists around the country that don’t have enough money to invest in a free handout? I’m heartbroken by the whole thing. I know there’s some killer music all across this country that we’ll never ever get to hear because the industry won’t compensate.

As a career musician with many decades in the business, Nugent recognizes that he’s in a good spot compared to the up and coming talent.

“I’m lucky. I’m financially independent and still young at heart and I’ve got a million musical ideas. … I played some s–t this morning and goddamn, is it fun,” he says. “I can’t wait to get in the studio and I’ve got musicians everywhere if I need them and they’re the best. So there’s no telling what I might do.”

Still, he remains troubled by the current landscape of the music business. “I don’t know how we’re going to get out of this technological musical suicide. There would be no more apples if all of the orchard growers were forced to give away all of their apples, they wouldn’t bother growing any,” he points out. “They’d find something that they could actually get compensated for and pay for their property taxes and the fertilizers and the grooming and the transporting of the apples to the market. If you can’t pay somebody to bring your product to the market, you’re not going to grow that product anymore.”

Listen to Ted Nugent Perform ‘Never Stop Believing’

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This year is looking like it might be a pretty quiet one for Nugent, if you can imagine that, at least in terms of touring. But he definitely has some plans on tap, including being a positive influence on the younger generation.

“Here’s what I’m going to pursue: My 2015 is already dedicated to introducing myself to my grandchildren,” Nugent says. “I have 11 grandkids out there and I’ve got to teach them all how to gut and skin stuff. That’s my job! I love them so dearly and I want to have quality time, not just a quick ‘How do you do, because I’m touring in your city this year?’ So this year, at the tender age of 66, is dedicated to spending quality time with my kids and grandkids.”

Nugent played his 6,500th show last year while touring in support of his latest album, ShutUp&Jam. He’ll add to that figure with a few one-off gigs, including an upcoming March 27 stop at Arizona Bike Week. Nugent is also going to stop in for an appearance in August at Charlie Daniels’ annual Volunteer Jam, a gig which he promises will be a “stone cold motherf–er” of a show.

There won’t be any major tour, however. With a bit of free time on his calendar, Nugent hints that there could be a new collaboration on the table.

“I met this gal in Waco the other day, her name was Lauren. … I don’t even know her last name,” Nugent shares. “[She was] just this gorgeous 30-year-old blonde monster beast of a girl with a voice like Joss Stone, with a gravelly soulful [voice], almost like Wilson Pickett [or] Aretha Franklin, I don’t know, it’s just so soulful,” he recalls. “I’m in a little guitar shop in Waco and she’s playing some of these songs that she wrote and I’m just blown away by her. So I might like to get in the studio and write a song for her. [But] there’s always music. I’m surrounded by guitars and machine guns and I grab a couple of each every day.”

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