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Massive monument to 'Ma' Nugent helped son take 'high road'
ROCKER'S MOM | Ted Nugent to honor mother with 7,800-pound memorial at Palatine bar

July 27, 2007

Ted Nugent is a mama's boy.

And he doesn't care who knows it.

"She represents all the positive inspiration in my life. . . .The love affair, the spiritual adulation and continuance of 'Ma' Nugent's energy is with me every day," said the Motor City Madman, who will hit town Wednesday to unveil a granite edifice honoring his late mother in front of Palatine's Durty Nellies tavern.

The 7,800-pound tribute has been a longtime dream for Nugent and local musician Eric Kinkel, a fan of Marion Nugent since her days as a "Dear Abby"-type columnist at Illinois Entertainer, where she became a mentor and inspiration to hundreds.

"It will be the physical manifestation that is already in the hearts of many," the hard rock guitarist said of the memorial, which will have "Ma" Nugent's likeness etched across it. She died at age 62 in the late 1980s.

"Ma" Nugent was a strict disciplinarian, recalled the now 58-year-old Nugent, who moved to Palatine with his family in the mid-1960s. But had it not been for his mother, the Arlington Heights' St. Viator High School graduate said he would have succumbed to the excesses that marred the lives of his peers.

Still that didn't mean, "Ma" Nugent was a square old lady who pooh-poohed her son's career or tried to get him to cut his wild mane.

"I didn't change the lyrics to 'Wang Dang Sweet PoonTang' or anything but I was constantly reminded of her presence to always take the high road and be a gentleman at all costs," Nugent said Thursday as he cleaned his coffee pot and admired swans skimming the lake from the window of his Jackson County, Mich., home.

"Ma" Nugent even hung out with the likes of ZZTop, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Cheap Trick and Heart while watching her son on tour, always willing to give advice and a word of encouragement.

"I'd be up there doing all my insanity on stage and she would come back all tight-fisted and all giddy like a kid at Christmas and go, 'That was great. That was really great when you did the solo in that song' and she'd go on and on," said Nugent. "She paid attention. She was able to give constructive criticism. She was really tuned in. It wasn't a pose."

Contributing: Stefano Esposito