Ted Nugent Gushes Over the ‘Musical Authority’ of MC5, Guns N Roses Before Substance Abuse Issues

by Jennifer Shea
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Ted Nugent has mostly nice things to say about the bands MC5 and Guns N Roses. But in an interview with Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon, the clean and sober rocker critiqued the lifestyle that he feels brought both bands down.

According to UltimateGuitar.com, Nugent saw the potential of both bands early on. And he watched with dismay as that potential was squandered on drugs and booze.

Nugent Noticed Guns N Roses Early On

“I love all rock ‘n’ roll. And I remember when Guns N Roses – I think it was one of the first gigs – they opened up for us at the Santa Monica Civic Center,” he said. “I could tell as soon as they hit the stage – whoa!”

But Nugent said the same forces that destroyed MC5 also came to affect Guns N Roses. When they started out, both bands had those animal spirits that really resonated with Nugent. 

“I witnessed the ferocity, and I’m really good with describing things, but I’m helpless to adequately describe the animal fire and musical authority of the MC5 in ’67, ’68, and in the first half of ’69 before the drugs destroyed them,” he said. “What I saw in Guns N’ Roses that night, it reminded me, not that I needed it, that the pulsations of a garage band virtually uninhibited with youthful enthusiasm can still deliver a Little Richard firestorm. Guns N’ Roses that night, I went, ‘Whoa, who the hell are these guys?!’”

The Trappings of Fame

As they gained steam, however, he said the band’s growing fame got to them. They got into substance abuse, they believed their own hype, and that ended up dragging them down.

“I’ve also watched the tragedy of people believing their publicity and people believing the gushing adulation that I think ended up hurting some of the best bands in the world, including Guns N’ Roses,” Nugent explained.

Outsider.com