During a recent interview interview with Meltdown of Detroit’s WRIF radio station, Ted Nugent was asked to name the best cover version he has ever heard of one of his songs.
He responded: “Unfortunately, I never have. I’ve heard the versions of ‘Cat Scratch Fever,’ and I love PANTERA and I love Lemmy [MOTÖRHEAD] and I love the RAMONES, but God, are they terminally Caucasian or what?
“There’s a real Motown soulfulness to what me and my boys deliver; there’s a grunt and a grind,” Ted continued. “And I love musicians who put their heart and soul into stuff — I love METALLICA and I love SLAYER and I love MEGADETH and I love ’em all. But when I listen to music, I wanna hear a groove; I wanna hear some grunt. I wanna hear the bass and drums of Motown like [my bassist] Greg [Smith] and [drummer] Jason [Hartless] create, what Johnny Badanjek and Earl Elliott created, like what Cliff Davies and Rob Grange created, what Jack Blades and Michael Cartellone created, what Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert… You know what I mean?
“I like a sexy, grunting rhythm. And I hear it from METALLICA sometimes, and I love their heavy metal stuff — it’s killer. They’re unbelievable musicians and [they have] an incredible work ethic; they’re all in the asset column of life and music. But when I heard Lemmy‘s version of ‘Cat Scratch Fever,’ I thanked him, and I do appreciate it. And when I heard PANTERA‘s version of ‘Cat Scratch Fever,’ I thanked them, but I think they’re angry at me because I called them Caucasian, which I think is a racial slur somewhere.
“The RAMONES did ‘Journey To The Center Of The Mind’ [from THE AMBOY DUKES], and again, God bless ’em, I love ’em and I’m honored that they would choose my songs, but what Greg Arama [bass] and Dave Palmer [drums] did on ‘Journey To The Center Of The Mind’ as kids, teenagers — 15 years old they were; I think 16 years old — there’s a Motown funk brother pulse to my songs and my rhythms. And those guys kind of flail away at it. And again, if you’re a big fan of flailing away, God bless you — flail away.”
“I’m not condemning it, but I’m critiquing it,” he clarified. “And it’s not quite the thump that my original songs [had]. And [my new album] Detroit Muscle is wall-to-wall thump because Greg and Jason still channel The Funk Brothers [a group of Detroit-based session musicians who performed the backing to most Motown recordings from 1959 until the company moved to Los Angeles in 1972] and they still channel that black soulfulness.
“We were raised on James Brown tightness, and that’s what Mitch Ryder delivered, that’s what Bob Seger delivers, that’s what Kid Rock delivers, that’s what GRAND FUNK delivers, that’s what the MC5 delivered. Those are my favorite musical things because they have a sexy grind to the rhythm. And I just don’t think anybody could claim that the RAMONES were ever sexy. And God bless ’em; they just weren’t sexy. [Laughs]”