Ted Nugent Denies Racist Accusations, Says Being Called ‘N-Word’ Was His ‘Greatest Compliment’
Ted Nugent continues to deny accusations of racism, speaking on Facebook Live over the weekend and explaining how he believes his "reverence of the Black heroes of music" and the respect he's shown them shows he's anti-racist.
Last week, Nugent revealed that he had lost a major TV sponsor over accusations that he was racist and the discussion continued into the weekend with the musician going online Saturday (March 20) with a video (seen below) to further try to disprove the accusations.
"Everybody who pays attention — not the ones who call me a racist, but the people who are actually honest and pay attention know that I have paid homage and reverence to the Black heroes of music all my life, which means I'm the anti-racist," explained the singer-guitarist. "So if you find somebody who calls Ted Nugent a racist, you are looking at a subhuman piece of shit who lives a lie."
He went on to add, "I'm a living, walking, breathing passionate music lover that was in the eye of the music storm at the most important time in the history of music, coming right out of the electrification of the guitar by Les Paul. And how Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and The Ventures and Duane Eddy and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley took that Black music, and we celebrated it in song."
Nugent also shared a story from the early days of his musical career in which he and his band won a contest to open for the Supremes.
“I was a kid. Had no idea about the world of professionalism or music, but we were so dedicated to play like the Funk Brothers, like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard. The authenticity of that Black dynamic and emotion and defiance and celebration of ‘free, free at last,’” he explained.
Nugent recalls The Funk Brothers were at that Supremes show when one of the musicians paid him what he calls his "greatest compliment."
“They’re watching us, kind of snickering. And the biggest, baddest, Blackest Funk Brother of all stood up and started moseying over towards us. So we’re putting our guitars away, the Funk Brother, big ol’ Black dude comes up, puts his hand on my shoulder and goes, ‘That was great stuff, boys. You keep playing guitar like that, you’re gonna be a n****r when you grow up.'”
Nugent said he took it as “the greatest compliment in the world,” adding, “That word was perfect expression that we had soul. Perfect expression that a bunch of little white whipper-snappers at least put everything we had into being tight like the Funk Brothers, like James Brown.”
“To this day I use it as a badge of honor,” Nugent admitted, adding that he still uses the phrase before a performance. “Every night before we go on stage, we put our firsts together and push with everything we have… and we go ‘Nig-up! Nig-up! James Brown! Wilson Pickett! Motown! Funk Brothers! Funk Brothers! Funk Brothers! And then we hit the stage, and there’s not a Caucasian to be found.”
In 2017, Nugent also defended himself against accusations of racism when asked about a passage in Sebastian Bach's 2016 18 and Life on Skid Row memoir. Nugent and Bach had both been part of the VH1 reality show Super Group and Bach recalled an instance in the book where he had walked out and refused to work with Nugent after the musician went on an alleged racist tirade against Black crew members.
While appearing on the Torg & Elliott radio show, Nugent called Bach's comments "inconsequential," before adding, People like Sebastian Bach will literally listen to me praise Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and Little Richard and James Brown and Wilson Pickett, they'll listen to me praise these Black artists and literally call it racist. I mean, how much dope do you have to smoke to be that stupid?"
He then followed by stating, "Literally, I'm the one during that TV show that pounded home that we cannot lose touch with our black founding fathers, that if you don't have that groove of the Black artists, if you don't have the Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and Little Richard and James Brown groove, your music is worthless. That's what I drove home. And he would call that being a racist? This is funnier than Richard Pryor's afro catching fire. I mean, how stupid can you get?"