Ted Nugent: Will anti-Obama rant cost him more gigs?

Fort Knox canceled an appearance by shock rocker Ted Nugent at the Army post's annual summer concert. And two city councilmen in Bangor, Maine, are calling for the cancellation of a Nugent show on the city’s waterfront.

Steve Marcus/REUTERS/File
Rocker Ted Nugent responds to a question during an interview before a concert at the House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada in this 2007 file photograph.

Will Ted Nugent’s harsh comments about President Obama rebound and hit the shock rocker in the pocketbook? It looks like that’s possible following Fort Knox’s cancellation of a Nugent appearance at the Army post’s annual summer concert.

Mr. Nugent had been scheduled to appear with fellow ’70s flashback acts REO Speedwagon and Styx on June 23 at Ford Knox’s Godman Army Airfield. But concert organizers last week decided it was time for Nugent to fly out of their lineup after he criticized Obama officials as “vile” and “un-American” and said that if Mr. Obama wins reelection, “I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

On Thursday, Secret Service agents met with Nugent to discuss his comments, as it is illegal to threaten to president. Afterward, the agents said they were satisfied Nugent meant Obama no physical harm, but that wasn’t enough for the Motor City Madman to ride the storm out and keep the Fort Knox gig.

“After learning of opening act Ted Nugent’s recent public comments about the president of the United States, Fort Knox leadership decided to cancel his performance on the installation,” said a statement on the post’s Facebook page.

Someone else may step in and take Nugent’s place, according to the Fort Knox Morale, Welfare, and Recreation office, whose website lists ticket prices and availability, plus the phrase “special guest to be announced.”

Controversy could now follow Nugent wherever he is supposed to appear. Over the weekend, two city councilmen in Bangor, Maine, called for the cancellation of a Nugent show scheduled for July 8 on the city’s Penobscot River waterfront.

Concert promoter Alex Gray said Sunday the Bangor concert is still on. If people don’t like Nugent’s remarks, they can choose to stay away, said Mr. Gray, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Will Nugent be sorry he publicly expressed such harsh opinions about politics? After all, that kind of thing can be a long-term money loser for popular entertainers, given that their audiences by definition are large enough to contain voters from both parties. Hank Williams Jr. lost his status as provider of the theme song for “Monday Night Football” after he made an analogy involving Obama and Adolf Hitler, remember.

Politics can even be bad business for politicians. Look at Newt Gingrich. The former House speaker’s think tank, the Center for Health Transformation, filed for bankruptcy this month. The once high-flying center saw its fortunes decline dramatically as Mr. Gingrich himself struggled on the presidential campaign trail.

But let’s be honest: Nugent is not going to speak much differently in the future, since his rhetoric has been over the top since approximately the Carter administration. Perhaps the satirical publication The Onion best summed up Nugent’s verbal approach to the world with its classic 2002 headline, “Ted Nugent Talks That Way Even When Buying Socks.”

Nugent’s new business venture might even benefit from attention generated by rocker’s latest controversy. He’s launching a line of high-performance hunting ammunition, Ted Nugent Ammo. Its slogan is “kill ’em, grill ’em”: Noted carnivore Nugent insists that he eats the animals he shoots.

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