Robert Winterode of the Rocky Mount Telegram recently conducted an hour-long interview with Ted Nugent about politics, music, and even Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Several excerpts from the chat follow:
Nugent on hunting:
"Certainly, there's a powerful folklore dynamic to a grizzly bear, an elephant, a rhino, buffalo and lions. And I've killed all of those things . . .
"I share campfires, Robert, with terminally ill children, soldiers who have given up their legs and arms and eyes so that I can go hunting, so that you can have a career and I can have a career and we can go barbecuing and we could be the best that we can be and travel across state lines without the Gestapo and the French stopping us."
On "the kill":
"The kill itself is such a brief hiccup in time. You know it's misrepresentative and I believe anti-symbolic of what hunting surely is . . . I'd rather frame the exultation and the gushing of emotional and spiritual celebration, regarding any and all hunts in more (the idea of) who are you with."
On eating Nugent-style:
For his beef supply, he relies on a few "conscientious organic producers." For most everything else he hunts. "There's nothing more pure and organic than critters of the hoof. . . . If I've been smart about anything in life, it's that at the tender age of 57, there's not a city in America where there isn't one of my fellow brothers with something dead and fresh over mesquite waiting for me. Is that beautiful or what?"
On his favorite arthropod:
"(The botanists) come to my ranch in Michigan every year, where I have a wonderful specialized wetlands known as a fen . . . the only piece of ecosystem in North America where the Mitchell's Satyr Butterfly is thriving, an endangered species everywhere, except on Ted Nugent's property."
On Texas Gov. Rick Perry:
"I understand he is a good hunter . . . When I come to Austin, I'm even more fortified because I typically have a Tex-Mex brunch with the governor at the mansion there . . . So it's really the best of all worlds." (Perry's media spokeswoman Kathy Walt confirms that Nugent and Perry talk and exchange e-mails. "They get along very well," she says.)
On the "speak English" controversy:
"You've heard the horror story of the dumbing-down of America. Part of that dumbing-down is also the chiseling away of true independence, which drove the original immigration dreamers coming through Ellis Island. . . . They knew they had to read those English words while they're pushing the broom, while they're sewing those garments, while they're doing that dry cleaning, while they're picking that fruit, while they're working on those shoes, you know what I mean? That era of work ethic towers over the current (one) of 'no comprende.' "
On why he appreciates Michael Moore:
"He's quite a beast of burden, isn't he? Nothing makes me look better than Michael Moore. He stands for everything I don't believe in and I stand for everything he doesn't believe in."
On Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes:
"I see a lot of smiles. I love when people are happy. She's a bomber. She's stunning. He's a handsome young man and a brilliant actor unto himself."
On what he would do in the event of a "War of the Worlds"-like alien invasion:
"I'm privy to some firepower dynamics that your average civilian is not and we would just wipe the (expletives) out. And then we'd probably sauté them and use them for bait and kill some bear over their carcasses."
On why he sports the Confederate flag at his concerts:
"(It's) a historical symbol of a lifestyle and a freedom and an independence below the Mason-Dixon line that many great men and women gave up their lives for during the Civil War. To me, it represents a certain defiance against federalism, a certain defiance against other people telling you how to live your life. And I wear it because I'm a big fan of defiance."
"You should be able to put the second bullet in the same hole as the first bullet. That's gun control. I think good gun control is that no felons should have any access to firearms."
On his newest pop culture obsession:
"Since the Motown greats, I don't think I've ever seen such soul, such virtuosity in every one of those gals and every one of those musicians to the point that I was stunned and genuinely chilled by the soul and dynamic of that DESTINY'S CHILD operation."