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Nugent tells why he's returning to Palatine

July 26, 2007

He is known as the Motor City Madman, but rocker Ted Nugent will honor his mother and embrace his ties to Chicago's northwest suburbs by visiting downtown Palatine next week.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday (Aug. 1), a memorial remembering Marion "Ma" Nugent will be dedicated outside of Durty Nellie's, 180 N. Smith St.

Ma Nugent, who died in 1989, lived in the Palatine area for 28 years. While she was here, she was a prominent figure in the local music community.

Nugent is not scheduled to perform at the dedication ceremony, but he wants to participate in the tribute to his mother.

"My amazing mother was a ball of fun, fire, spirit and positive energy," Nugent said in an e-mail interview. "She and my father were certainly guiding lights for my amazing American dream."

Local musician's efforts

The memorial project was started and spearheaded by Eric Kinkel, a Palatine resident and local musician.

"This was a personal project for me," Kinkel said. "I have known Ted, his mother and his family for 22 years. She was a close friend."

Kinkel explained he first met her at a party. He was introduced to her by the publisher of the Illinois Entertainer, a free monthly magazine. Ma Nugent was a writer for the magazine, answering music questions for readers in the "Ma Nugent's Mail" section.

"She loved to hang out with people in the music business. She had the same attitude as Ted had," Kinkel said.

That attitude helped Ted Nugent become a big star.

"When I began to emulate Elvis on the 'Ed Sullivan Show,' she rooted me on and encouraged me to no end," Nugent said. "She would join me at most concerts and dance with enthusiasm."

He added that she had a true love for music.

"She and her hysterical sister, Nancy, played guitar and sang funny variations of old folk classics in a very spirited, lively fashion," Nugent said.

Along with her son, Ma Nugent encouraged other rock bands of the era, such as Billy Joel, Aerosmith, ZZ Top and Cheap Trick.

"She once told me that if I was going to do anything with my music, I should do something good with it," Kinkel said.

Ted Nugent had hit records in the 1960s and 1970s as a member of the Amboy Dukes and then as a solo artist. He had another hit album in 1990 when he joined other successful rockers for the supergroup Damn Yankees.

Nugent also has gained notoriety for his conservative political views and passion for hunting.

St. Viator alumnus

Ted Nugent lived in the Palatine and Hoffman Estates areas before moving to Detroit. He attended St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights.

He said he has fond memories of the area.

"I certainly remember my good friend Lyle Gillman at the Roselle School of Music, where he kindly and trustingly sold me my beloved Gibson Byrdland guitar," Nugent said.

The memorial, according to Kinkel, will be right in front of Durty Nellie's marquee and will consist of a four-ton rock with a bronze plaque. An image of Ma Nugent will be sandblasted onto it.

"There isn't a better way to do it than to put it in a big rock. It is a metaphor for music," Kinkel said. "It will give credit where credit is due."

Nugent will make the Palatine appearance prior to a Wednesday evening concert in Waukegan.