Summer's around the corner and for rock guitarist Ted Nugent that means another country-spanning tour. Better, for local Nugent fans, that means he'll be tuning up in Waco.
Nugent, backed by drummer Jon Kutz and bassist Johnny Schoen, will play Wednesday night at The Backyard, 511 S. Eighth St. Show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $15.
The McLennan County resident occasionally plays locally — he did a benefit at the American Legion Post 121 in Elm Mott last month and was a major attraction in a November 2015 benefit for Waco rock guitarist David Zychek — but Wednesday's show is closer to seeing Uncle Ted on a stage where he can strut his stuff.
Nugent's quick to praise the guys backing him. "They're world-class . . . When we played for the David Zychek show, it was like we had played 100 shows together," Nugent said. The Waco show comes only a few weeks after Nugent played the venerable, 40-year-old Dallas International Guitar Festival, an event that got his playing juices warmed for action.
And while the bow and gun advocate is almost as passionate about hunting and weaponry, it's hard to imagine they'd ever replace his love for performing. "I've been 54 years performing and last year was the greatest tour of my life," he said. "I counted that, going back to the days of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels and I had the band The Lourds, and counting jams, I've done 6,578 concerts in my life. I'm 69 and I still love it with a passion."
The Nugent road show cranks up in June in Nevada with his longtime support of bassist Greg Smith, drummer J ason Hartless and tour manager Bob Quandt. Two of his Texas dates have him chuckling about the sweet irony of a rock guitarist striking deep in the heart of country music. "I play Billy Bob's Texas on July 8 — our annual outrage — and we're selling out Billy Bob's and — get this — the Redneck Country Club in Houston," he laughed.
Even with the challenge of squeezing fan favorites from nearly 40 albums and free-form guitar jams into the time constraints of each show, the Nuge says he's still writing new songs.
After all, there's always a long road tour ahead waiting to be filled with rock. "We play six nights a week when we're out — nobody does that," Nugent said.