We were all set up at the 2017 Dallas International Guitar Festival when we suddenly noticed that some hustle and bustle was going on two booths over. As it turned out, that commotion was the setting up of a display of some of Rock’s most iconic guitars- the guitars of Ted Nugent. There was everything from a ’59 Les Paul ‘Burst to the white Gibson Byrdland that Ted currently tours with but the one, the only and Holy Grail of 70’s guitars was also there and that was the black Gibson Byrdland that can be seen on the cover of Ted’s 1978 opus, “Double Live Gonzo.” If you were a red-blooded American male in the late-70’s through the 80’s, that record got you through high school, this reporter included.
We were amazed at the level of dedication to his craft that Ted displayed that weekend. He sat for hours on both Saturday and Sunday, talking to his fans, signing autographs and taking pictures. He was friendly, attentive, and patient- something you might not expect of a Rock Star of his stature with over 40+ years of touring under his belt, but there he was and it was a refreshing sight to witness.
On more than one occasion, a fan would ask a specific question about a particular song or solo and Ted, with his usual aplomb would stop what he was doing, pick up a guitar and flesh out what he was thinking when he wrote that particular piece (see video above.) Whether it was a part of the solo in “Stranglehold” or the way he would coax feedback out of his beloved Byrdland, he readily offered the “behind the scenes” to that part and again, it was pretty danged awesome to witness two full days of hard work by one of Rock’s most storied veterans. Yep- we think they broke the mold with this guy.
Sunday was capped off by a live, mini-concert and again, we were not disappointed. As the Texas sun sat in his face, Ted hit the stage and delivered what we expected: his classics, played with both volume and attitude. When it was over and the stage was cleared, Lee and I looked at each other with the same grins we had in the 70’s and headed back to Georgia with a van full of guitars and our heads full of “The ‘Nuge.” Like my business partner says, “That, my friends is how steak gets done.”