TED NUGENT Explains His Exclusion From 'Best Guitarists' Lists

June 11, 2024

In a new interview with Scott Itter of Dr. Music, legendary conservative rocker Ted Nugent was asked about his exclusion from various lists of the best guitarists of all time. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Let's examine that. Let's examine that for a minute. Let's talk about a guitar player list where an interviewer a couple of years ago said, 'Well, Ted, have you seen the Rolling Stone guitar player list?' I said, 'No, I haven't seen that.' He said, 'Well, Joan Jett's on there, but you're not.' And that pretty much says all you need to know. And I said, my response, I said, 'I love Joan.' I said, 'I love Joan Jett. She's the real McCoy. If you want a shitkicker garage band, especially by a lesbian, that's the ultimate.' I said, 'I love Joan Jett.' And then around the world, everybody said, 'Nugent spews hate for Joan Jett.' How about this? And then when I recommended to the interviewer who should be on [the list], I never mentioned me. I said Derek St. Holmes should be on there, Jim McCarty should be on there. Dave Amato should be on there. Rickey Medlocke should be on there. Mark Farner should be on there. Dick Wagner should be on there. Rik Emmett of TRIUMPH should be [on there]. I mentioned all these unbelievable guitarists. I never even mentioned me, and everybody goes, 'Ah, Nugent's ego. He just thinks it's all about him.' I never even fucking mentioned me."

Nugent continued: "And how about this? So, when they do an AXS TV [ranking] of the top bands of the '70s, I was the number one-grossing band in the world, '77, '78 and '79. They've never even mentioned that I exist. And these are not sour grapes. That means absolutely nothing to me personally, but it's dishonest. And when they do a review of the incredible Meat Loaf, they mention his career but not where it started, on [Nugent's 1976] 'Free-For-All' album [which featured a guest appearance by Meat Loaf]. Are you fucking kidding [me]? And then Howard Stern will [say], 'Oh, Nugent was jealous of Eddie Van Halen. He was pissed off and he tried to turn the P.A. down.' Just the opposite. I've raved about Eddie Van Halen. He and I jammed together. And when he got out of rehab. I was the first person he called to thank me for pushing him to get clean and sober."

Nugent added: "So my point is because I believe In God, family, country, I believe in self-defense. I believe in all the perfect things. I believe in conservation. I believe venison is a better diet than anything from the FDA or USDA. The left hates me because they're helpless to debate me. And so they try to hurt me, but you know what? You see the smile on my face? It doesn't hurt me. It's like what they're doing to [former U.S. president] Donald Trump. It doesn't hurt him. The world sees that they're liars, that they're making up felonies that never existed before for anyone else, because Uncle Sam is so evil and [current U.S. president] Joe Biden is such a devil snake that he's trying to destroy democracy by not letting us choose who we want and he's gonna try to put him in jail and demonize him with the lying, hateful, treasonous power of the media, Big Tech, Hollywood, academia and the government. They hate freedom, and Donald Trump spotlights cockroaches that abuse power, just like I do. So they wanna pretend I'm a homophobe, a racist, a pedophile, a draft dodger. Lies. Lies. Lies. I couldn't be more proud.

"Here's the problem. I'm Schindler and the Nazis hate my list," Ted concluded.

In a video he posted in December 2021, Nugent brought up a list originally published by Rolling Stone's David Fricke in December 2010 where Jett came in at No. 87 while Ted was not included at all. "You have to have shit for brains and you have to be a soulless, soulless prick to [include] Joan Jett," Nugent said. The now-75-year-old musician added: "How do you list the top 100 guitar players and not list Derek St. Holmes? How do you do that? You do that by lying. The same way you get Grandmaster Flash in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. You do that by lying. You have to be a liar."

When asked in a 2022 interview with NME to comment on Nugent's claim that she shouldn't be on the list, Jett said: "Neither should he.

"Is that his implication," Jett asked, "that he should be on the list instead of me? Well, that's just typical — it's what I've dealt with my whole life, being written off. Ted Nugent has to live with being Ted Nugent. He has to be in that body, so that's punishment enough."

After a brief pause, she added: "He's not a tough guy. He plays tough guy, but this is the guy who shit his pants — literally — so he didn't have to go in the Army." She then summoned her longtime manager Kenny Laguna to "help," imploring Laguna to relay the full tale of Nugent's supposed Vietnam War draft-dodging tactic (which the alleged pant-shitter himself shared with High Times magazine in 1977 and later retracted).

"So this," Jett concluded, "is the tough guy who's running around America, stirring things up against each other."

In May 2022, Nugent responded to Jett's comments, calling her "stupid" and once again denying that he dodged the draft. Speaking during a YouTube livestream, he said: "All I expressed in an interview on WRIF was how I love Joan and her killer rocking band. She's got a great rocking band. Great songs. The best garage band maybe ever, except for maybe GREEN DAY. [I] love Joan — all I said is how I love her. But I used her as an example — along with Joni Mitchell. [I] love Joni Mitchell… People love that music. People love Joan Jett and Joni Mitchell. I love them. I expressed I love them. But she can't be in the top 100 guitar player list — either of them. They play nice strumming guitars; they play nice guitars. I like it. They're good. But top 100 before Rik Emmett of TRIUMPH? That's a lie.

"Joan Jett, I love you," he continued. "Don't get all upset. She calls me a racist and [says] I'm jealous. I didn't even mention that I should be on the list. Let's pretend that I don't play guitar. Let's pretend I'm just a keyboard player, or maybe a gay conga player. I never mentioned my name [as being excluded from] the top 100 guitar list — though someone might. But Joan, would you just relax?

"Maybe the plastic has gone to her brain," Ted added, apparently referencing the rumor that Jett underwent plastic surgery. "I don't know. I just didn't think she was that stupid. I never said anything about how stupid she was. I didn't think she was stupid; now we know how stupid she is.

"Joan Jett and Joni Mitchell cannot be on the top 100 guitar player list before Derek St. Holmes or Rickey Medlocke or Jimmy McCarty or Mark Farner. Certainly. Or Jared Nichols. Or Chris Duarte. This isn't an opinion. There's no room for an opinion here. I'm mentioning guitar players that are world-class monster virtuosos of undeniable musical authority and guitar prowess."

Nugent went on to say: "How about — Paul Reed Smith is a better guitar player than Joni Mitchell or Joan. I don't mean to hurt your feelings, guys, but your drummer, Joan, is a better drummer than I am. I shouldn't be on the top 100 drummers list. All my drummers should be — all my drummers are amazing. [Laughs]

"But don't you see what goes on? I guess they seek and accomplish the eternal terminal menstrual cycle — you know, the menstrual cycle that the governor of Washington and Oregon thinks that they should have tampons in the boys' bathrooms. That's where we are — you know that's where we are. That's not where we are, but it's where they are steering our great country, our once-great country.

"So, Joan, just relax, honey. I love you," Nugent added. "You make great music. But you're not a top 100 guitar player. You must know that. Joni Mitchell, you must know that — I love you, Joni. But you're in the top 100, maybe the top 20 folk singers, certainly. And Joan Jett would be in the… certainly Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and maybe the top 20 garage bands. THE AMBOY DUKES were a garage band, so that's not a negative; that's a positive. NIRVANA would be maybe number one garage band. BROWNSVILLE STATION number two. Joan Jett maybe number three. GREEN DAY maybe three and a half.

"See, I'm not knocking these people; I'm just telling you the truth. [Laughs] I didn't know they were that stupid."

Ted also once again shot down the allegation that he dodged the draft, saying: "No, I didn't. I didn't get drafted, but I didn't dodge the draft. [In the High Times interview] I was telling a story about a drummer friend who shit his pants and I don't know what else he did. It's a funny story. Plus I gave the story to a writer — I'm being awfully generous with that term — for High Times magazine. You're gonna have a serious interview with High Times magazine?

"See, they cling to these lies and hate 'cause they've got nothing else. Which is why they are absolutely helpless to debate me."

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