Personalities | Ted Nugent | Motor City Madman | Guitar Heroes

Theodore ‘Ted’ Nugent (b. 1948), the Motor City Madman, first gained fame as the lead guitarist of The Amboy Dukes. With The Dukes, and later as a solo artist, Nugent’s intense playing formed the backbone of songs like ‘Journey To The Center Of The Mind’, ‘Stranglehold’, ‘Free For All’, ‘Cat Scratch Fever’, ‘Motor City Madhouse’, ‘Paralyzed’ and ‘Wango Tango’.

Born in Detroit, MI, Nugent picked up the guitar in his teens, inspired by British blues-rockers like The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. Nugent, a lifelong conservative with a taste for hunting and distaste for drugs and drinking, didn’t fit the image championed by The Dukes’ psychedelic material. The band issued three albums before Nugent, as the sole original member, re-christened the band Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, and began conducting guitar duels on stage.

By the mid-1970s, Nugent was a solo artist with a backing band and stage show that wowed the metal crowd. With Cat Scratch Fever (1975), Nugent rose to the top of the charts and became one of the biggest concert draws in rock. His live set, 1978’s Double Live Gonzo!, cemented his success, but over the course of Weekend Warriors (1978), State Of Shock (1979) and Scream Dream (1980), desertions by band members and bad business decisions drove Nugent into bankruptcy.

Nugent released a series of albums that failed to catch fire in the 1980s. He tried his hand at acting and became known as much for his right-wing views as for his music. At the end of the decade, he joined rock supergroup Damn Yankees, which scored a hit with ‘High Enough’ from their self-titled 1990 album. The band dissolved after one more release and Nugent became a solo act again, turning out the well-received Spirit Of The Wild (1995). The 1990s also saw re-releases of his best work: 1993’s three-disc box set Out Of Control, Live At Hammersmith ’79 (1997), and his first three albums, remastered, in 1999. He has continued to tour and release solo albums as well as several live collections, the most recent of which, Ultralive Ballisticrock, was released in 2013.

A well-known conservative and survivalist, Nugent played the US national anthem using alternate picking and whammy bar at the Alamo in Texas for a Tax Day Tea Party in 2009.

Essential Recordings

Solo: Ted Nugent

Solo: Cat Scratch Fever

Solo: Double Live Gonzo!

Damn Yankees: Damn Yankees

Personalities | Orianthi | Santana’s Appointed Successor | Guitar Heroes


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.