Ted Nugent recently commented on MOTÖRHEAD And PANTERA’s cover versions of his song “Cat Scratch Fever”
In a new interview with HMP, which you can check out below, the “Motor-City Madman” was asked what he thought of MOTÖRHEAD’s cover version of his hit song “Cat Scratch Fever“. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I’m an honest guy. Number one, [I] love Lemmy, love MOTÖRHEAD. And I’m humbled and honored that they would pick one of my songs — that’s a great connection that we have. But that’s not how I hear it. [Laughs] The ‘Cat Scratch Fever‘ lick — no one’s ever played it correctly… They played it real Caucasian, and if that’s what they like, God bless ’em. And the people that liked it, I love all of you. But when I hear ‘Cat Scratch Fever‘, I hear more of a Motown grunt. And like when the RAMONES played ‘Journey To The Center Of The Mind‘, my AMBOY DUKES hit song, it’s just too Caucasian… And I think PANTERA did ‘Cat Scratch Fever‘ too. And again, I love them. Thank you for playing it. Thank you for honoring me by choosing one of my songs. But it doesn’t have the groove that I like, it doesn’t have the pulse and the Motown soulfulness that I created in the song. But again, I love them for doing it, and if they enjoyed it, I love them for enjoying it. But it’s not my cup of tea.”
Nugent also commented on both bands covering the song back in April in a talk with Detroit radio station WRIF when he was asked to name the best cover version he has ever heard of one of his songs. Ted responded: “Unfortunately, I never have. I’ve heard the versions of ‘Cat Scratch Fever‘, and I love PANTERA and I love Lemmy and I love the RAMONES, but God, are they terminally Caucasian or what?
“There’s a real Motown soulfulness to what me and my boys deliver; there’s a grunt and a grind,” he continued. “And I love musicians who put their heart and soul into stuff — I love METALLICA and I love SLAYER and I love MEGADETH and I love ’em all. But when I listen to music, I wanna hear a groove; I wanna hear some grunt. I wanna hear the bass and drums of Motown like [my bassist] Greg [Smith] and [drummer] Jason [Hartless] create, what Johnny Badanjek and Earl Elliott created, like what Cliff Davies and Rob Grange created, what Jack Blades and Michael Cartellone created, what Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert… You know what I mean? I like a sexy, grunting rhythm. And I hear it from METALLICA sometimes, and I love their heavy metal stuff — it’s killer. They’re unbelievable musicians and [they have] an incredible work ethic; they’re all in the asset column of life and music. But when I heard Lemmy’s version of ‘Cat Scratch Fever‘, I thanked him, and I do appreciate it. And when I heard PANTERA’s version of ‘Cat Scratch Fever‘, I thanked them, but I think they’re angry at me because I called them Caucasian, which I think is a racial slur somewhere. The RAMONES did ‘Journey To The Center Of The Mind‘, and again, God bless ’em, I love ’em and I’m honored that they would choose my songs, but what Greg Arama [bass] and Dave Palmer [drums] did on ‘Journey To The Center Of The Mind‘ as kids, teenagers — 15 years old they were; I think 16 years old — there’s a Motown funk brother pulse to my songs and my rhythms. And those guys kind of flail away at it. And again, if you’re a big fan of flailing away, God bless you — flail away.”
Ted continued: “I’m not condemning it, but I’m critiquing it. And it’s not quite the thump that my original songs [had]. And [my new album] ‘Detroit Muscle‘ is wall-to-wall thump because Greg and Jason still channel The Funk Brothers and they still channel that black soulfulness. We were raised on James Brown tightness, and that’s what Mitch Ryder delivered, that’s what Bob Seger delivers, that’s what Kid Rock delivers, that’s what GRAND FUNK delivers, that’s what the MC5 delivered. Those are my favorite musical things because they have a sexy grind to the rhythm. And I just don’t think anybody could claim that the RAMONES were ever sexy. And God bless ’em; they just weren’t sexy. [Laughs]”