Ted Nugent is ready for a journey to the center of his past.
Nugent will reunite with his first recording band, the Amboy Dukes, on April 17 to receive a Distinguished Achievement Award at the annual Detroit Music Awards. The group also intends to play, marking the first performances of the “Journey to the Center of the Mind” band since 1968.
“This is a great moment to celebrate,” Nugent tells Billboard.com. “I got the word about (the award) and said, ‘Well, of course it must be done. It’s as proper as tomorrow’s sunrise.’ I immediately reached out to John (Brake, vocalist) and Andy (Solomon, keyboards and saxophone) and started tracking down people.”
All these years on, Nugent says he considers the Dukes “the world’s greatest garage band. We were part of that original fist of Detroit music, the confluence of Rhythm & Blues and rock ‘n’ roll and that Motown touch. My brain is jam-packed with stimulating memories.”
Nugent actually formed the Dukes in Chicago in 1964, then moved the group back to his native Detroit in 1968. Amidst a variety of lineup changes, the band released six studio and one live album, and the group ended in 1975 when Nugent embarked on a solo career.
The irony of the band, of course, is that while Nugent has long eschewed drugs, its best-known song was a psychedelic rock anthem (with lyrics by guitarist Steve Farmer).
“I didn’t have the faintest idea,” Nugent says of the Top 20 hit from 1968. “I thought, ‘journey to the center of the mind’ — yeah, it’s good to be reflective, to journey inside yourself, to think before acting. That still makes sense to me, actually. If you look at the lyrics, it reflects either one of those philosophies, really.”
The awards show performance will be a rare chance for fans to catch Nugent in action this year. After celebrating his 60th birthday in December he’s holding to his promise to not tour and spend time with his family. Nugent plans a few benefit shows and is working on new material, and he has a new survival reality series, “Runnin’ Wild…From Ted Nugent,” set to debut in August on TNT.