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Ted Nugent and Jack White and the Curious Incident of the Purloined Riff

By Rick Koster

Publication: TheDay.com

Published March 19. 2013 9:00AM   Updated March 19. 2013 10:15AM

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about Ted Nugent anymore, for reasons that are probably pretty obvious. Amongst other things, he's become supremely self-parodic in that same fashion as Jack Nicholson and Hunter Thompson and countless other stars who feel or felt they had to go further and further to perpetrate their own shtick.


But that's not why I'm here before you today.


Instead — and this is important — it puzzles me greatly that Nugent hasn't sued Jack White. Or, based on Big Ted's version of justice, at least shot White with a Carbon Express Maxima hunting arrow and field-dressed him onstage in Cobo Arena.


Why is this occurring to me now? Hell, I don't know.


BUT! It just seems to me that White's much-lauded riff in the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" is just a little too familiar to the guitar figure in "Living in the Woods," one of Nugent's fine early songs from the Amboy Dukes' similarly fine Tooth, Fang & Claw record.


Yes, there are marginal difference: White puts a rhythmic hiccup at the top, and his tone is infinitely more sucky than Big Ted's leonine roar (a Gibson Byrdland through six Fender Super Twin Reverb and six Dual Showman Reverb amps could power a 747).


Otherwise, methinks these riffs are too close.


Of course, it's completely possible White never heard any early Amboy Dukes albums. But he and Ted are both Detroit folks. Similarly, it's possible Big Ted has never heard the White Stripes or anything Tall Jack's done. Too busy strangling boars or whatever.


Either way: I just wanted to go on the record with what will surely be the biggest musical controversy of all time.

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