DEREK ST. HOLMES Says TED NUGENT's Politics Have Hurt His Legacy: 'I Want To Go To A Concert And Have A Good Time'
May 20, 2023
In a new interview with AL.com, Derek St. Holmes, the legendary guitarist and vocalist known for his time working with Ted Nugent in the 1970s, was asked if he thinks Ted's politics have diminished his guitar legacy. Derek responded: "The answer to your question is yes, I do. I was leery of doing an interview with somebody in Alabama because didn't he have a gig banned or boycotted or something there? I think it hurts us a little bit. It hurts the brand to get yourself involved in politics and try to play music and rock and roll."
He continued: "I want to go to a concert and have a good time — I don't want anybody to bring the six o'clock news by me again, especially over a loud mic. All I want to do is play music and have fun, and to make everybody else have fun. I think that's why we were so big. Now when I go back and listen to the 'Double Live Gonzo!' album and I think, wow, if we could have just gone back to that, to everybody having a good time. And if you're not having a good time, well, then you can turn around and get the bleep out of here. That raucous kind of stuff. It just made us huge."
Touching upon Ted's exclusion from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Derek said: "Should we be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? Oh, yeah. But we won't be in this because of politics and rhetoric. But maybe one day they'll pull their heads from underneath their armpits.
"Do I think it [being far-right politically outspoken] hurt Ted's legacy? Yes, I think it did a little bit. But hopefully his guitar-playing and his attitude will supersede all that craziness as time goes on."
From 1974 to 1979, Derek brought his outstanding musicianship, songwriting skills and superior vocal prowess to Ted's albums and live shows. He can be heard on the classic Nugent albums "Free For All", "Double Live Gonzo!" and "Cat Scratch Fever". It is his voice, not Ted's, singing lead on the FM radio staples "Strangehold", "Just What The Doctor Ordered", "Stormtroopin'" and "Hey Baby". He has reunited with Nugent several times through the 1980s, 1990s, in 2011, and has since played a number of shows with Ted.
In addition to his time with Nugent, St. Holmes has been a part of many groups including ST. PARADISE, MSG (with guitarist Michael Schenker) and WHITFORD/ST. HOLMES with Brad Whitford of AEROSMITH. The Whitford/St. Holmes pairing saw the release of a critically acclaimed 1981 album and a recent 2015 reunion album and follow-up tour.
Derek tours as a solo artist as well as with his own namesake band.
Ted has repeatedly said that his political views are one of the main reasons he hasn't been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
The conservative rocker, who been eligible for the honor as a solo artist since 2000, has enjoyed a remarkably successful and eventful musical career over the past five decades, but his music is increasingly overshadowed by his political outbursts.
Nugent addressed his exclusion from the Rock Hall during a July 2022 edition of "The Nightly Nuge", a news-style clip in which he offers his take on the news of our world.
"My comment on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is I never speak from a personal anger that I'm not in it; I never reference that I should be in it, though obviously I should be in it," he said. "But that Grandmaster Flash and Madonna and ABBA are in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? I speak on behalf of the fan club of the founding fathers that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame should always pay homage to and respect, and that's Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and Little Richard and Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis and the founding fathers of this most exciting, throttling, defiant, irreverent, uppity, fun soundtrack in the world. And that they would put people in there that are not just not rock and roll, but they're anti rock and roll.
"Let me go ahead and say this… Nobody can sue me because if they try to sue me, we'll prove that my words are accurate," Nugent added. "There's a lot of dope smoking going on at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and the more dope you smoke, the dumber you get, the more irresponsible you get and the more criminally inclined you will get. And the statistics to prove what I just said are irrefutable, unless you're so stoned that you can irrefute truth, logic and common sense, which I get a big kick out of.
"And again, it's not because I'm angry that I'm not in; I'm angry that they're dishonest and that they're not paying respect to the Chuck Berrys and the Bo Diddleys and the Elvis Presleys and the Little Richards and the Jerry Lee Lewises of the world, because rock and roll means something, and ABBA and Grandmaster Flash ain't it."
Ted has railed against the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame a number of times in the past, including in a 2017 interview with the Q103 radio station in Albany. At the time, he stated about his exclusion from the institution: "Jan Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone [magazine] and the boss hog at Rock And Roll Of Fame, he hates freedom, he hates the Second Amendment, he hates me, because I'm on the board of directors — quite proudly — of the National Rifle Association for, like, twenty-six years with some of the highest votes except for Charlton Heston [NRA's president]. And I couldn't be more proud of that, 'cause the NRA is the ultimate family, grassroots organization that fights for the right to defend ourselves. What kind of numbnut would be against that? And so I'm on the board of directors of the NRA, Jan Wenner hates the Second Amendment, so that's the only reason I'm not in the Rock And Roll Of Fame. And until they get their heads out of their ass, I'm more than happy to do what I do and do it with all the vim and vigor that I do it every night."
Nugent added: "Hey, write this down. My name is Ted Nugent. I am the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Eat me!"
Asked if he would show up for his Rock Hall induction if he eventually got the nod, Nugent said: "Oh, hell yes! And you know what I would do? I would lead… I've seen a lot of the ceremonies, and they're so moving. All of us that love music, how do you not just shed a tear of joy when you see Bob Seger and certainly ZZ TOP and Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and James Brown… Are you kidding me? These are the gods of the soundtrack of our quality of life. But you know what I will do? And I will do it. I will lead the most important moment in the history of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, because I will get on bended knee and I will say a prayer for Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis and THE VENTURES and James Brown and Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding and the Motown Funk Brothers and THE BEATLES and THE [ROLLING] STONES and THE KINKS and Howlin' Wolf and Buddy Guy and B.B. King and Freddie King and Albert King… you know what I'm saying? Because Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is paying tribute and homage to geniuses who gave us the ultimate soundtrack for our American Dream. I'm all in, man, I'm genuinely moved, and I'm glad there is a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame."
Nugent went on to reiterate his belief that that rappers and non-rock artists like Madonna don't belong in the Hall Of Fame. "I mean, why don't you just piss on Chuck Berry's grave, you know what I mean?" he said.
According to Ted, the fact that both Patti Smith and Grandmaster Flash have been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is the result of "political correctness," which he calls "a self-inflicted and embarrassing scourge." He added in a mocking tone: "Yeah, Grandmaster Flash is rock and roll. And I'm a gay pirate."
In July 2021 e-mail from NRA general counsel John Frazer sent to board members, it was announced that Nugent, who joined the board in 1995, was stepping down "due to ongoing schedule conflicts."
Ted's decision to leave the board came less than a year after he told Newsmax's "The Chris Salcedo Show" that the National Rifle Association was "the most important civil rights organization in the world."
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