Although Ted Nugent has made a name for himself with his not-so-musical statements lately, he has been a crucial figure in the rock scene with his distinctive guitar licks. In a recent episode of the Nightly Nuge, he revealed the story of his famous ‘Stranglehold’ lick, which became the basis of his music.
“And when I got out of the swamp that day, it was 1967 when I first did the ‘Stranglehold’ lick,” recalled the rocker. “I just got off stage at the Grande Ballroom, and I got with Steve Booker and John Souter, and we jammed in a church, and I just plugged into the amp that they had with one of my bird lands.”
He continued, “And it was in October, and I had been hunting that weekend, so I really lived that primal scream, that tooth, fang, and claw down to earth, a grounded celebration of God’s miraculous creation. Hands on with my bow and arrow, old threadbare reeker [gun] at Manistee National Forest, 1967. And I’ve been doing that my whole life, including this morning.”
When he picked up the guitar, filled with all those primal feelings, the famous lick was right there. Nugent noted, “And when I grabbed the guitar, Steve Booker, incredible virtuoso, and John Souter, incredible virtuoso, they say, ‘Well, what do you want to play? Will we play ‘Johnny Be Good,’ or we play a Beatles song or a Rolling Stones song or a Little Richard song?’ But I just happened to go [plays ‘Stranglehold’ lick with his guitar]. Rest is history.”