Nugent is full of shtick at the Chumash
July 24, 2013
By COLIN JONES
There is no one on Planet Earth like Ted Nugent. But you knew that already.
As an entertainer, being uniquely original like Nugent is a huge plus but it’s never enough. You need to have soul and spirit as well. Unfortunately, I saw little of that at the Chumash Casino last week when Uncle Ted made his first venture into the Central Coast since his show at the Pozo Saloon five years ago.
Sure, I was kinda on the fence about the guitar slinger as I reluctantly dragged my pals Larry and Lance down to Santa Ynez for a guys’ night out. So be careful, what seems like a good idea isn’t always one. And as a confirmed liberal, it wasn’t Nugent’s politics either as my other friend Diane bluntly suggested.
I would go see Hitler if he could sing, jam and write killer songs.
No, I came for loud, riffy, bare-bones rock and roll and got mostly shtick instead. Nugent is no longer a rock star, he’s a novelty act, playing guitar karaoke if you will. Plus, his sound man must have thought they were in Giants Stadium because the volume was off the charts, well past 11. And the sound mix was horrible, real muddy and washed out. My soda was pure fizz by the third song. Thank God for the cocktail napkins that I stuffed in both ears.
Speaking of songs, he did play most of his classic hits like Free for All, Hey Baby, Wango Tango, Cat Scratch Fever and Stranglehold. Don’t get me wrong, most of the near-capacity crowd ate it up, cheering and pumping their fists throughout the show. But the man has an impressive resume with the Amboy Dukes (Journey to the Center of the Mind) and his hard rock super group Damn Yankees (High Enough), neither of which were played.
Dude, at least bust out ‘Dog Eat Dog.’
Nugent mostly handled lead guitar but the unsung stars of the band were rhythm guitarist and long-time cohort Derek St, Holmes and the bass player, who looked straight outta ‘Spinal Tap’ but sang like an angel on the unfamiliar but catchy ‘I Need Love.’ Holmes is also a better singer than Nugent, and thankfully dispenses with the self-aggrandizing commentary about his glorious musical chops.
As with any artistic endeavor, you should never mistake technical prowess (or deafening loudness) for emotion and feeling. It doesn’t matter if you’re head banging to Slayer or humming to Leo Sayer, humanity is the key to connecting a performer with their audience.
Uncle Ted, we know you like to kill shit but you don’t have to keep saying it.
They say curiosity killed the cat and our society seems infatuated and obsessed with train wrecks: our own as well as others. Sure, no one died at the Chumash last week but I walked out of there wanting 85 minutes of my life back, or at least my eardrums.