Mother to many...Friend to all
By: Eric Kinkel
Introduced to "Ma"
was late November 1980 when the small sideline business I
owned, Cloud 9 Enterprises I.D. Systems, was asked to print for
the second year in a row, a special 'invitation' type "backstage
pass" for a local entertainment newspaper called the "Illinois
Entertainer" and their eighth anniversary private party.
While speaking to event producer, Floyd Dillman, and
publisher, Ken Voss, agreed I was to be invited to join in the
festivities of this private music biz party hosted by the IE.
Soon afterwards I rousted up a date and prepared to go to this
soirée of unknown celebrity. When we got there I quickly mingled
to network on behalf of my backstage pass business, when I was
approached by publisher Ken Voss. We shared a drink and some
conversation with my date when Ken said ; "I've got someone
I'd like you to meet...she'll love you". Not sure of what we
were in for I asked "so who are we going to meet?", "Ken said;
"Ma" Nugent, Teddy Nugent's
mom". I told Ken, "now that's cool!, I don't even own
a Ted Nugent album, He said, "She's not gonna care about that, I
just think you gotta meet her because your such a crazy guy, and
I know she'll like you. "O.K....let's meet her". As we were whisked
across a crowded and noisy room of rock 'n' roll business types,
and musicians of all sizes and shapes we finally came upon two
motherly ladies jibber-jabbing away with whiskey sours and
bloody Mary's in their hands. Ken boldly interrupted "Ma" Nugent
talking to none other than Mrs. Belushi (Johns mom), I
immediately felt a bit awkward as I was the reason for the interruption. "Hey "Ma" I want you to meet Eric
Kinkel; he's our stage pass guy.
She was so friendly and kind while greeting me and my date, we
started to talk. Mrs. Belushi was quickly scooped up by other
well wishers who sought her attention.
We talked about her column "Ma" Nugent's Mail, we talked some more about her
travails with her son Ted. My date seemed genuinely thrilled to
meet someone of such celebrity with whom she could feel so
comfortable...that's just how she made you feel. Not long into
our conversation "Ma" invited us to dinner at the Nugent
household in Palatine, Illinois. I was flattered and befuddled
at the same time.
Invited to dinner
Upon our arrival at the Nugent household we were warmly greeted at
the door by Mr. and Mrs. Nugent.
Looking a bit confused, "Ma" had forgotten my dates name, and asked
her, as if she were embarrassed.... alas I have thrown Mrs.
Nugent off. The date I brought to her house was NOT the same
date she met at the IE party a week earlier.... a sign of things
to come. Warren Henry Nugent, Ted's father, took me aside and we
talked about hunting and fishing, while "Ma" took my date around
the house. After dinner we retired to the den to play some
pinball on their Ted Nugent pinball machine, given to them by
Stern, the Chicago based pinball machine company.
spent the rest of the evening talking and sharing stories
"Ma" was equally interested in what my life stories were, as
much as I was interested in what she had to share. Obviously
fond of me and my date, she soon insisted that I stop calling her
"Mrs. Nugent" and begin calling her "Ma" as everyone else
did, much like family. As the evening ended "Ma" suggested we
do this again. Again, I was flattered and befuddled, this time by the
charm and graciousness of the parents of, all people, Ted Nugent.
In the days to come "Ma" insisted I
listen to Ted's music and become a fan. I had been singing in a
local band already
and I was familiar with Ted's music. I also knew of his
charismatic on - and off - stage antics, I just did not own any
Nugent tunes. "Ma" gave me a promo copy of the
Scratch fever" album. I recall up until that time, I had
been into writing and performing more ethereal rock
music such as Rush, Queen, and the Moody Blues etc. Though I had an
appreciation for rhythm 'n' Blues-based rock 'n' roll I had not
been exposed enough to it often enough to understand the soul behind it.
That soon changed as I became more familiar with his music.
"Ma" would often call me and and
say," how would you like to go see a band?" or "how about some
dinner, or a game of poker?".
occasion's she would call and ask me to come over to listen to
rough cuts of songs Ted was recording. We would
sit in her Bronco (a token gift from T) and listen. On several
occasions we drove around in my car and listened to Ted's tape's on
my kidney stone blaster vehicle stereo's. These invitations continued as I
shared evenings not just with "Ma" and Warren, but with their
many friends as well. To this day I still remain close friends
with Jim Horst (now my website photographer), Ellen Moser
(graphic designer), Dirty Dan Buck (of the Boyzz)... and many, many
more.... thanks to "Ma" and "Pa" Nugent. Their reach far exceeded
Equally proud of her family ... and friends
In time I shared birthdays, Mother's Days, Father's Days,
and even a few Thanksgivings with the Nugent clan. "Ma" never
missed one of my birthdays. She even conspired with one of my
girlfriend's, at the time, to throw a surprise party for me at a club
featuring local act "Stevie Starlight" whose act was not
surprisingly one dirty song after another. I loved it !!!
was one of the nicest birthdays I can ever remember.
Understanding that I was a family
friend and an outsider, I always appreciated the comfort and
charm of the values this mid-western family had to share with
me. It became increasingly apparent to me that the entire family was raised in
an atmosphere of love... and discreet discipline. I found
that my own family experience was much the same, that my own
Father and Mother mirrored the very values that
came from this household. Though different, theirs was
a varied acceptance of that which was
open-minded and respectful
of all things
rock 'n' roll and all things relating to
mid-western values. "Ma's" relationship with each of her siblings
was unique unto itself. Though proud of Ted, she took an equal
interest and pride
all of her kids individual lives.
She was a grandmother who doted on her grandchildren and
never missed an opportunity to share those things with everyone
she knew. No one was an exception. At times I felt I was a part
of the family. We
would often meet up with "Ma" and Warren for things such
as weddings, or having other friends over for dinner or
going to see concerts, local bands, etc. I was always welcome
into this circle of friends no matter what the situation was. I
was friends with her friends...and vice versa.
attended a few parties which I threw. She was an extraordinary friend to
all who knew her.
It was that simple.
Rock 'N' Roll Mom
Never at a loss for words
to describe what her sons music meant to her, "Ma" would
gladly tell you names of songs, especially those that were her
favorites, and even play tapes of Ted's music whenever she had
As if she realized, early on, that her patronage of the local rock
scene was a catalyst to being regarded as the proverbial rock
'n' roll mom, "Ma" always seemed to take it light heartedly. I think she
truly enjoyed going out and seeing her favorite local bands, and
she usually reported her experiences to Ted recounting the 'fun'
she had the night before.
the years, many times I accompanied "Ma" to see a
concerts; it was always a thrill for me. Before the show "Ma"
would usually trying to
"fix" me up with some "chick", if that didn't work out, I would find a
bring her along to the show. "Ma" was always courteous and
friendly with whom ever accompanied me. I remember one thing
that was for certain. If you were to be sitting close enough to "Ma"
during one of Ted's performances, you always got your arm
clinched by her gripping hand. Grasping the thrill of the
uproarious crowds and the pending onslaught of Ted's unusual and
outrageous openings. You could literally sense the
"high on life" pride that was overwhelming her with the
anticipation of the moment. Sometimes the date I was with got
"the grip" and felt what I had been experiencing for
As the years went by I had the chance to see many
well-known acts with "Ma", including: Billy Joel,
Bob Seger, Journey, Kenny
Rogers, John Waite, Hall and Oats, Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, Survivor, Aerosmith, B-52s, Psychedelic Furs, Steve Dahl band, Souther
- Hillman Blues band, The Boyzz, Kansas,
Malmsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and many more. I remember each event as
if it were yesterday, because there was always something that
happened that made the evening stand out . "Ma" even arranged for me
to take a friend (date) to see Jose Feliciano at the Blue Max in
Chicago. Often we would run into celebrities and if I had a
camera I would snap a shot to share with her column editor, if I
didn't have a camera I would quickly try to find one in the
house. It was always fun to be with musicians of all kinds as
they met "Ma" some for the first time and others who already
knew her from running into her at Ted's shows
or having previously met "Ma" at
other functions. "Ma" was no
stranger to some, and a friend to all who met her whether at a
local club or at a well - known venue, those who met
her were always thrilled to meet Ted's mom, as she imparted her
thrill to meet them. "Ma" always had something good to say about
you, your music, or had some inspiring thought to leave with you.
She was truly the "Only"
real rock 'n' roll Mom there ever was !.
Dec.17, 1920 - Jul. 31, 1993