The rock n’ rollers we know and love drew inspiration from others who came before them, and Ted Nugent credits it to black blues musicians who took the electric guitar to the next level and gave it soul and emotion. In the recent episode of his Nightly Nuge, the veteran rocker shared that the inspiration is no different for him, Billy Gibbons, or any other rocker who carries this feeling in their tracks.
“What Jeff Beck and Eddie Van Halen and Brian May, Billy Gibbons, and all the guitar players that we love, and I got to mention Tommy Shaw, Dave Amato, Derek St. Holmes and Rik Emmett of Triumph up in Canada, so many unbelievable guitar players that continue to look for that unauthorized uncharted statement,” Nugent said after briefly discussing the history of the electric guitar and its game-changing impact on music. “But if I may, it all does come from the black blues artists that were so emotional.”
For Nugent, all those notable guitar players took their inspiration from black blues artists that had set the path with so much emotion from their life experiences. The singer noted, “That emotion that men thought they could own another man and did the ultimate dehumanizing crime of slavery; the victims of that evil curse were so emotionally distraught that they expressed themselves powerfully because their emotion was so real.”
The rocker then explained, “And then once with the Emancipation Proclamation finally we put the evil slavery in our vapor trail in our history, and then Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley got uppity and celebrated that freedom nobody did better than Little Richard, but the guitar was such an expressive instrument.”
Ted Nugent continued, “When you hear, and again, it doesn’t matter who you hear or what style of music though the most powerful is rock and roll because it’s so blues-based; because that emotion touched us young guitar aficionados, we wanted to be that Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters, bluesy B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King; we wanted to express that.”
“So I don’t care how flurries Eddie Van Halen got or how the grinding and grunting Billy Gibbons got or how uppity and fiery Ted Nugent might have got and so many others, it was based on how that black escape from slavery touched us,” said Ted about the impact that black blues artists had on many influential names in the rock scene. He lastly added, “Jeff Beck and all those British Invaders remember that the first Stones and Beatles albums had Motown songs, Chuck Berry songs, and Bo Diddley songs.”
Nugent and many other rockers have acknowledged the massive influence of blues artists on the genre, and many of the best guitar players have attributed their sound to them as their life of suffering created such immense emotion, which has become a part of so many rockers’ playing, including Billy Gibbons.