“Cat Scratch Fever” by Ted Nugent

Well, Ted Nugent is saying shockingly offensive and stupid things in public again, though I’m not sure why anyone is acting surprised anymore at this point…the fact that he’s an insane idiot is pretty well established by now. But with his image having become almost entirely dominated by his increasingly asinine public pronouncements, I thought it would be interesting to shine a light on the actual musical career that made him famous in the first place. Not that there’s really much to talk about…the man was always an embarrassing walking cliche, and even his “good” songs like “Stranglehold” weren’t really all that interesting. Even his guitar chops…his only real claim to fame…aren’t really anything to write home about in the big scheme of things.

Most of his music sounded more or less like this song…a filthy, juvenile double-entendre chorus over generic Blues-Rock music that can be termed passable at best even without the stupid lyrics. This song became the ultimate shorthand for the stupid, burned-out rocker stereotype for a reason (though it is a bit ironic given Nugent’s very public stance about that demographic’s drug of choice these days).  You could at least argue this song was influential…it probably helped set the tone for all those double-entendre Rock anthems from the Hair Metal era…but most of them weren’t any better than this, so that’s a dubious accomplishment at best (and even then, you could argue he was only ripping off Led Zeppelin’s “The Lemon Song” and the dozens of raunchy Blues songs that inspired it).

There’s a reason this guy is nothing but a punchline today, and it’s not only because of his impressive propensity for making an ass of himself. I mean, Kanye West is a lunatic, too, but at least West makes sufficiently interesting music that people care about him for more than his outrageous behavior. The truth is that, if Nugent hadn’t turned out to be such a reprehensible nutcase, his music would probably have simply been forgotten decades ago.

Verdict: Not even bad enough to be interesting.

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