Evan Smith: Thanks for agreeing to talk to me. I know you get a lot of requests.
Ted Nugent: Why not? When you have the word “Texas” in your magazine’s name, you deserve me. And I’m here to decide whether it’s the real Texas or if you brought that New York dog shit with you and you’re trying to change this great republic.
ES: Oh, boy! We’re getting off to a good start here.
TN: It is a great start—an honest start. Honesty is excellence, by the way.
ES: Listen, before we get into the Texas stuff, I want to go back to our last phone call. I mentioned that my recording device wasn’t set up to do the interview, and you said that you’re not big on technology.
TN: No, I’m not. I need it, I crave it, I fondle it, and I beat it up with every nontechnical crowbar I can muster, but my greatest joys are primal. As an earthling and as an American, even in 2007, I believe that my campfire, both literally and figuratively, is as raw as the original burp. This cold, freezing morning I was out hunting in the mist of Central Texas, and I encountered a magnificent, stunning, adorable two-hundred-pound wild boar. I put a razor-sharp rod in right through its heart at about thirty yards, and you’d think I’d just gotten my first piece of ass. I mean, it was as glorious as the first ricocheting power chord from that amplifier that I decided was a lot better [with the volume set to] 10 than 2. It was as pure as sitting in a broom closet jamming with Jimi Hendrix or watching my first child squirt out. I call it “the mystical flight of the arrow.”
ES: The rumor that you like to hunt is true.
TN: Yes, that’s one of the rumors that’s very true. A radio guy yesterday asked me about some of the rumors. I said, “All the really neat ones are true.” And he goes, “Well, can we confirm or deny a couple?” And I go, “Sure. Go nuts.” And he goes, “Did you ever [urinate] on a nun?”
ES: That one you denied.
TN: Uh, yeah! But believe me, had I the opportunity, I probably would have, and I would have roared with enthusiasm as I hysterically acknowledged such an occurrence. God knows many of them deserved it!
ES: I’m assuming that another of the rumors he asked you about involves your appearance at Rick Perry’s inauguration. What exactly happened that got you in the crosshairs of those “media punks” you like to refer to?
TN: What happened is, I’m a stream-of-consciousness guy. I’m so organic that I should be found on the shelf of a Whole Foods somewhere. I don’t consider what the recipient of my communication may or may not take from it. I just speak, and I’m sincere—I’m too sincere for politically correct, scared-of-their-own-shadow punks. I have become too effective at explaining the truth about the Second Amendment, the truth about the natural, pure instinct of self-defense, about the reason our Founding Fathers put that in there, in a cultural war where everybody on the other side of the fence—that would be the media 98 percent of the time— hates guns. They hate me because I do thousands of interviews every year, and I do them with a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, historically irrefutable tsunami of statistics and current evidence, and it drives them batty. Instead of someone condemning me because of what I do, they should look at me for what I am. And this brings me to the question you posed. If I was any more PG-13 that night, onstage at the inaugural ball for my good friend and valued employee Governor Rick Perry, Barney would have dry-humped me. I adjusted my halo. I never mentioned [requiring people to speak] English. I never mentioned immigration, illegal or otherwise. I never mentioned these things.
ES: Not a peep.
TN: Not a peep. But I’m not angry. This is better than Richard Pryor on fire. I have to wear a girdle to keep from busting a gut laughing at these idiots. A few years back a newspaper put quotation marks around the following sentence and attributed it to me railing at the audience at the Houston Parklands, or Timberlands, or Gomerlands, or whatever it is: “All you dirty, stinkin’ Mexicans should go back to where you came from.”
ES: That’s not what you said?
TN: Never, never. If I were to express that sentiment, I could make it much more colorful. What I said was, “If you can’t speak English, get the f— out of America.” I didn’t say that because we were in Texas. I say that in Des Moines.
ES: You say it every place.
TN: I’ve said it everywhere! Because it’s appropriate!
ES: There are people in this country who don’t speak English. Are you questioning their worthiness in being here?
TN: I don’t question their worthiness. But if you don’t put forth the effort to be an asset to the country you almost died getting to, get the f— out. That’s exactly what I meant. And guess who else means it? Only a day or two after the newspaper intentionally and viciously misrepresented, in the most abrasive of fashions, my statement onstage that night, there was a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal about why we’re more inventive, productive, safer, etcetera, than the rest of the world, and they attributed it to a variation of “If you can’t speak English, get the f— out of America.” It’s because of our united language. You know, Evan, I never went to college. I was too busy learning shit. I didn’t have to go to a class or a course to determine that neighbors, if they want to be a benefit to their neighborhood, might want to be able to speak the same f—ing language. Wow. What a concept. The people who are