Ted Nugent loud ‘n’ proud about a new album? Now THERE’S a surprise. But the Motor City Madman is even prouder (if that’s possible) that there’s more where next month’s “ShutUp&Jam!,” his first new album in seven years. But first, Billboard has the exclusive premiere of the “ShutUp&Jam!” song “Never Stop Believing,” which you can listen to here.“I’ve got my next record almost completely done,” Nugent tells Billboard of the music he’s got set to follow “ShutUp&Jam1” “It’s called ‘Everything,’ and all the songs are going to be ‘Sex is everything. Freedom is everything. Attitude is everything. Spirit is everything. Guns are everything. My dogs are everything. Love is everything.’ I’ve already got 18 (songs).” And as on “ShutUp&Jam!,” Nugent says there’s a newfound economy to the material he feels works to its benefit.
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“Some of these songs on ‘ShutUp&Jam!’ are shorter than my average guitar solo, and I don’t know how that happened except for some reason it was extremely fat-free and streamlined and sitting in the living room with the loud amps and my guitar every day, I just created these kind of songs,” Nugent explains. “And for ‘Everything’ they’re going that way as well. They’re just these great licks with choruses. I didn’t plan any of this. I didn’t go, ‘Well, this one should be short.’ I just play, and when I think I’ve made my statement the song ends. That’s where everything’s going right now, so God knows how many songs will actually be on the record when I do it.”
Nugent made “ShutUp&Jam!” — due out July 8 — in Texas, where he now resides, co-producing with Michael Lutz of Brownsville Station with engineering from fellow Michigan musician-producers and Sponge members Tim and Andy Patalan and an appearance on two songs by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels/Rockets drummer Johnny “Bee” Badanjek. Longtime Nugent singer Derek St. Holmes takes lead vocals on “Everything Matters” while Sammy Hagar guests on “She’s Gone” — and would have done more if Nugent had his way.
“I wanted him to sing some of the other songs,” Nugent says. “I sent him three songs — ‘She’s Gone,’ ‘I Still Believe’ and ‘Never Stop Believing.’ And he convinced me that I had to sing those two other songs; I sent him the rough vocals, and he said the sincerity and the believability factor was the most important thing. He told me, ‘Yeah, maybe me or Derek might sound better, but you need to sing those songs. Not only should you sing them, but if you let someone else [sing them] you’re a f*ckin’ idiot!’ So I sang those songs.”
Nugent plans to use St. Holmes on more tracks for the “Everything” album, and he adds that he’s “gonna do everything I can to get Kid Rock and Steven Tyler to sing on it, too.” Meanwhile, Nugent and his band, including St. Holmes, are gearing up for a U.S. tour that begins July 3 in Wichita Falls, Texas, and circles the country before wrapping up August 16 in Fort Worth.
The trek will be Nugent’s first with his new knees after replacement surgery in February. “It’s been the roughest test of my life,” Nugent acknowledges. The pain is indescribable, but I just improvise, adapt and overcome and try to ignore it. But, y’know, I was down in Houston recently and we gave away a custom home to a U.S. Marine who’d lost both legs and an arm, so I tend not to complain about knee pain when I can look down and actually see knees.”