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Ted Nugent Biz Feature, 1998

Ted Nugent Biz Feature, 1998

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Published by E. Thomas Wood
The famed rocker goes on about his business. The Wall Street Journal, 28 September 1998.
The famed rocker goes on about his business. The Wall Street Journal, 28 September 1998.

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from The Wall Street Journal

September 28, 1998

A New Tune
By E. THOMAS WOOD High energy, passion, self-confidence to an extreme and an utter lack of subtlety propelled Ted Nugent to rock stardom two decades ago. Today, the "Motor City Madman" brings those same qualities to a multifaceted business career. The thrill of the hunt has been the guiding motif of Mr. Nugent's existence, from his days as a bare-chested arena rocker in the 1970s to his current life as a 49-year-old grandfather and entrepreneur. In the old days, his music celebrated hunting both literally and figuratively -- the latter through sexually charged songs whose titles cannot be mentioned in polite company. These days, Mr. Nugent channels his ardor for hunting animals, by firearms and bow and arrow, into numerous ventures marketed under his name. This article is part of a series on how celebrity in one field can be parlayed into success in another.

The linchpin of his enterprises is the 10-year-old, 35,000-member Ted Nugent United Sportsmen of America, a hunting-advocacy group based in Jackson, Mich. The group -- with a staff of 20 -targets its members with not only pro-gun-ownership messages and appeals to preserve hunting environments, but also an array of products and endorsements. One of his latest offerings is Ted Nugent Gonzo Meat Biltong. A delicacy of South African origin, biltong is similar to beef jerky -- cured, air-dried meat in strips. Double-D Meat Co. of Canton, Mich. produces the biltong, which comes in three flavors, including "flamethrower." The meat product's packaging features a photo of Mr. Nugent astride a buffalo and the promise: "I test-drive all meat!" 'Tedstosterone' Mr. Nugent is preparing to market a new line of urine scent covers for hunters, made by Buckstop Lures of Stanton, Mich. "Tedstosterone" will feature the odor of a buck in the rut, while "Wang Dang Sweet Doe Tang" will be the effervescence of a doe in estrus.

or even smell like you're going to [mess] up. delivering newspapers and cutting yards. noting that his net worth has since risen to "substantially more than" $3 million. Of his association's hunting-gear catalog. very loving. but very impressive." His business interests go beyond hunting. He earned the money to buy his first guitar by selling nightcrawlers. admonition -. which he calls "very cliquish. "I paid off some dastardly debts. Nugent learned a bitter business lesson. "I was too busy learning stuff. and the not-for-profit Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids. Nugent says he turned down an invitation to play the 1969 Woodstock festival because he was tired of dealing with "poisoned." As a result." Mr. but not without virtuosity: Guitar World magazine has just ranked Nugent's guitar work on the hit song "Stranglehold" as the 33rd best solo of all time. Nugent applies demanding standards to his business staff. Mr. here's where you failed. He placed his finances in the hands of a management company that made.a very tender. If you [mess] up." He scorns the stereotypical beer-drinking.that here is your job.to his rock-and-roll career." Nearly a decade later. irresponsible hippies. His theory of management: "There are no [jerks] in Ted's world. In his spare time. Ted Nugent grew up busy." a double-platinum album that is probably his best-known musical release. too." He brought his self-discipline -. Mr. 'Masters of Detail' Today." Mr. in his view. which includes several family members.and a militant antidrug attitude -. Nugent is tapping into what he sees as a new market for the hunting industry."People think I'm joking." he recalls." By the early 1980s. Mr." he says proudly. The onetime guitar hero's other activities include a morning radio show in Detroit. Nugent unveiled "Cat Scratch Fever. Mr. he guides hunting tours in Africa. is a motivational speaker and still tours with his band for about 35 dates a year. he says. "This is a mega-million-dollar industry. you get one big warning -. he owed creditors some $3 million. shoveling snow. in 1978. At the height of his success. a column syndicated in 28 publications nationwide. claiming that . Nugent boasts: "Peterman wishes he could [expletive] write like I do. his workers are "masters of detail. efficiency and implementation. The music was raucous and raunchy. Nugent says. a little defensively. though. and it's that type of failure that will not be tolerated again. often appearing in clothes fashioned from game he had killed." Raised in a less-than-affluent household by strict parents. Mr. tobacco-chewing hunter. It takes a certain irrepressible belief in oneself to venture into so many realms at once. I know marketing. he projected a wild-eyed energy. drug-infested. shall we say. "some miscalculated decisions. On stage. "I didn't go to college.

I'm selling belief. "Whether your marketing works will ultimately be determined by who believes your advertising. © 2000 Dow Jones & Company.Mr." he says. . Wood is a writer in Nashville." Mr. Inc. . "That's Ted the product. "Isn't that what Bob Evans sells? Isn't that what Jimmy Dean sells? Isn't that what Ford originally sold?" -. Nugent's personal intensity may alienate some potential customers. Nugent insists. but it attracts others. "I've made an industry out of my passions. Copyright © 1998 E. All Rights Reserved.his efforts reach "people who were turned off of the outdoor recreational world because of the very image that these Bubbas were cultivating. I celebrate the flesh and the spirit.. Thomas Wood.." Mr. Tenn.

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