TED NUGENT Puts On Defense Against Racism Charges

John S. Hausman of The Muskegon Chronicle is reporting that Ted Nugent's testimony Tuesday (March 29) at the Muskegon trial of his lawsuit against Muskegon Summer Celebration over the festival's cancellation of his scheduled June 2003 concert focused on only one of his on-air uses of racial words, the one that drew the most attention in Muskegon: the "n" word.

"It's truly a phenomenon of an embarrassing condition of political correctness (to be criticized) when I quoted one of my all-time musical heroes," Nugent said.

As Nugent told the story, he was playing guitar at a Detroit gig in his early teens, around 1963. He said his playing was heavily influenced by early black rock-and-rollers such as Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

At the same event was a black group he admired, the FUNK BROTHERS. Nugent said one of the members came up to him after he played. "He put his hand on my shoulder, and he said, 'If you keep playing guitar like that, you're going to be an "n word" when you grow up.' ... It meant I was playing soulful.

"It was a pivotal moment in my musical life," Nugent said. "It was so obviously a statement of respect and reverence that my black heroes would give me a knighting, almost," he said.

Nugent also said the trio he usually plays with includes one black and one Hispanic. He also mentioned the dedication of one of his albums to Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali.

Unmentioned at the trial were news accounts of Nugent's use of the other words.

Asked about it later by a Chronicle reporter, Nugent said he referred to "Jap guitars" in the context of a conversation about how some guitars are soulful, others not. Nugent said one of the disc jockeys then said the word "Jap" is offensive -- a point Nugent disagrees with -- and that he jokingly responded something to the effect of, "That's not offensive. 'g----' is offensive.

"I didn't call anybody a g---," Nugent added.

Read more at The Muskegon Chronicle.

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