In a new interview with Greg Prato of Songfacts, Tom Werman, who produced several of Ted Nugent's classic early albums, was asked if he thinks Ted's guitar talents tend to get overlooked due to his publicized political beliefs. He responded: "Yes. I do think he's among the better guitarists I've worked with — or the best. He has his own unique style. I think he was respected in the beginning, but when he started being political, that definitely overshadowed his guitar playing. You say Ted Nugent's name now and people only think of one thing, which is his political posture."
He continued: "I'm a Democrat, and sometimes my friends will say, 'You still talk to Ted Nugent? How can you even work with him?' And I explain that we got along really well musically and otherwise. We didn't talk about politics. He's got a lot of integrity, especially compared to some of the other individuals I've worked with. He's a talented guy and he loves life. I think he's way too outspoken, but that's what he feels he must do. We don't relate on that level."
Asked which Ted Nugent song he would point to that really showcases his guitar playing the most, Werman said: "'Stranglehold'. That was good. And it was a delight for me, too. That was the first song I ever mixed, or I could direct the mix. And I can remember Ted, [I] actually [got] a postcard from him, saying, 'Thanks. This is a great album.'"
Werman is currently promoting his new book "Turn It Up! My Time Making Hit Records In The Glory Days Of Rock Music", which will arrive on November 21 via Jawbone Press.
This past May, Derek St. Holmes, the legendary guitarist and vocalist known for his time working with Nugent in the 1970s, was asked by AL.com 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 [recently]? 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."
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.