MUSIC EXPERTS SAY TED NUGENT’S OUTBURSTS COULD BE DAMAGING HIS CAREER
Joe Strupp of Media Matters reports:
Ted Nugent’s recent spate of offensive and racist comments that have sparked protests and canceled shows are damaging his image and could well cripple his income if he continues, according to veteran concert promoters and industry journalists.
In a week when two casinos operated by different Native American tribes canceled three separate Nugent shows set for next month and dozens protested a concert in New Jersey, concert touring experts say the National Rifle Association board member and conservative commentator is doing real damage to his money-earning potential.
“If you’re going to say something political, you’re going to have some backlash, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you say,” said Larry Magid, a Philadelphia-based promoter who has handled Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, and Bette Midler. “Nugent seems to have taken it to extremes. I don’t know that you can blame anyone for not wanting to play him for all of the baggage that he brings.”
Magid, who also organized the famed 1985 Live Aid benefit show in Philadelphia, said Nugent was never a huge concert draw, but his declaration earlier this year that President Barack Obama is a “subhuman mongrel” may mark a turning point.
“I don’t know if that is frustration at not being a viable act, but it is stupid,” Magid said of Nugent. “If you are a musician, you are trying to bring your music, your art to a broad group of people. It is one thing to take a stance, it is another thing when you are talking about the president of the United States.
“For all of the people enamored with him, there are 20 or 30 or 40 times that who are not enamored with him. To me, it’s not bright. If I’m a promoter I have to think two or three or four times before I take a shot with this performer.”
“No one should be surprised by any of this,” said Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar USA, which tracks concert touring receipts. “It’s a free country and Nugent has always had a big mouth. But if he keeps making incendiary statements his future tours may be limited to NRA conventions and Fox News events.”
Bongiovanni said the public reaction is not unusual: “Why be surprised if you can’t sell tickets to them after you insult people who are gay, animal rights, or gun control advocates, or just in the majority of people who voted for Obama?”
Although Nugent has long been a hardline conservative and pro-gun advocate, his “subhuman mongrel” comments triggered a massive media firestorm and led prominent Republicans to disassociate themselves from the rocker earlier this year. Nugent’s offensive and racist comments have more recently caused a backlash against his concerts.
Among the results:
* Three Nugent concerts scheduled in early August at Native American tribe-owned casinos in Washington and Idaho were canceled this week due to the performer’s commentary. Puyallup Tribe Tribal Chairman Bill Sterud has said Nugent is a “jackass” and will never be booked again.
* Earlier this summer controversy surrounded a concert scheduled for an Oshkosh, WI, music festival after a letter to the editor decrying Nugent’s concert received heightened attention. Nugent subsequently described his critics as “unclean vermin.”
* “Picket signs lined the street” outside a July 22nd concert in New Jersey as Nugent was greeted by “at least 75 protestors.”
* While Nugent will perform at The Toledo Blade’s Northwest Ohio Rib-Off festival next month, the paper’s sales director told Media Matters he had received numerous complaints and strongly suggested Nugent would never be booked again.
* The City of Longview, TX in March canceled Nugent’s concert at a Fourth of July festival and paid him $16,000 (reportedly half his fee) not to show up.
John Scher of Metropolitan Entertainment Consultants, a longtime New Jersey promoter who has booked Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Billy Joel, said he’s never seen such a public backlash in his 40 years promoting concerts.
“I can’t really, really recall this kind of reaction because of political beliefs,” Scher said, later adding, “All in all, I don’t think it can be a plus. Where’s the tipping point? I think he’ll find it will probably shrink to the places where his views are not so contrary to the views of the general population. You might see him doing most of his touring in the south or certain states in the west that are gun-toting conservatives. In the Northeast and in California he is probably not getting booked as much … I don’t see from an overall point of view how he is helping himself.”
Michael Maietta, a promoter at Creative Entertainment Group in New York, which has handled the Neville Brothers, John Popper, and George Thorogood, said the financial impact is obvious when a musician offends so many people.
“Of course it will have an effect on how much money Ted will make going forward if he is not getting booked,” Maietta said via email. “Soft ticket events, such as fairs and township gigs will get pressure not to book him with public dollars.”
Steve Knopper, a Rolling Stone contributing editor who covers the rock concert business, said this is clearly a trend.
“It does seem like, whether it is a movement or people deciding to be offended by this en masse, it seems like it’s having an impact and that can’t be good,” Knopper said. “I don’t know if Ted Nugent’s main source of income is from concerts, but the way right now to make money in the music business is to tour.”
Knopper added, “I’m guessing that he needs to tour to make money and if his comments are preventing him from doing that he may well have to rethink how he handles his public image. He has said some incredibly offensive stuff in the past few years, now maybe it is hitting home.”
Nugent’s latest release album, SHUTUP&JAM! was released on July 8th on Frontiers Records.
If what lee said is true, hey Tex Ted: Hardy har har har
The last time I saw Ted was on the Kiss farewell tour in 2000, about half way through his set he goes off on his political rant. He starts getting more boo’s and jeers than cheers. Ted just leave your views at the dressing room door, and just play.
I will address the “how come Liberals get to do it?” line of questioning. I have to, as a Liberal.
1) Most of the time Liberals are informed about what they are talking about.
2) Most of the time Liberals are not saying “If you disagree with me, someone should shoot you!”
3) Most of the time Liberals are very in tune with the suffering of others, because they have seen it firsthand (i.e. Springsteen talking from the pulpit etc)..I haven’t followed Sting since The Police broke up…why bother?
4) I don’t like Eddie Vedder, his singing or Pearl Jam, with the exception of the 12-string Bass part in “Jeremy”
5) Most of the time Liberals question *everything*, up to and including even what other Liberals say – face it, we are born skeptics who don’t react to B.S. no matter where it comes from.
6) Most of the time Liberals really don’t care what anyone else thinks so long as the majority vote wins (and wins legitimately)
7) Most of the time Liberals accept others but know ignorant hateful abuse when they see it and are not afraid to point out when *anyone* is being a douche-canoe.
8) Bono is in bed with Monsanto – this personally upsets me.
9) Roger Waters’ opinions on Israel are not exactly wrong, but his methods as to how he conveys them are pretty reckless and heavy-handed (and downright stupid); but then again, Roger Waters is the reason Pink Floyd doesn’t play together anymore….and I only like the stuff from “Meddle” through to “The Wall” anyway. When he openly calls for the eradication of the State of Israel through any means necessary, I will be taking my CD’s to the used CD chop…in fact, I will look it up right now if he has….hmmmm….(reading wikipedia) I see where he is coming from, I question the wisdom of using the symbols he does….okay, since I saw a photo of (presumably) Hasidic Jews burning the Israeli flag in protest against Zionism(elsewhere on the internet), Mister Waters gets a partial but not solid pass. I’ll be watching him. He’s still an egotistical douche and I will not debate that.
I agreed with 90% of what you said. But laughed at 100% of what you said. So it was all good.
What BS, Liberal artists say crap all the time that offend conservatives ,but the difference is conservatives don’t try to shut them up by calling them a racists or communists. They are entitled to their opinion whether I or anyone else likes it. I saw Ted last week, he kicked ass on stage. 65+ years old and ripped up the joint better than guys 1/3 his age. To the promoter saying Ted was never a big draw ,maybe not since the mid 80s but through the 70s and early 80s not many could pull crowds like he did. From what I’ve read him say it sounds like Ted is upset to see our country go down the sh*tter. Maybe he uses language that some can’t handle due to the sissyfication of the country with PC BS . Like him or hate him at least you how he feels .
Conservatives don’t try to shut them down…? Ummm, remember the Dixie Chicks?
LOL. The Dixie Chicks were like a fart in the wind.
Ted Nugent: ten triple platinum records.
Dixie Chicks: One song. ONE!
Chris, have you heard of the Internet? Do you realize that such amazingly incorrect statements can be checked?
With regard to U.S. sales, Nugent has one triple-platinum album/CD, two double-platinum albums/CDs, one platinum album/CD, and two gold albums/CDs, and they all occurred between 1975 and 1980. Beginning with 1981, none of his albums/CDs have reached even gold status (500,000 units sold). On the other hand, the Dixie Chicks three most popular CDs, released from 1998 through 2003, have sold more than 12 million copies, more than 10 million copies, more than 6 million copies, respectively. Even their most recent CD, released in 2006, has sold more than 2.5 million units and did so without the benefit of a huge U.S. tour.