The Nugent family celebrates Independence Day every day of the year. If you spend as much time as we do sharing campfires, both literally and figuratively, with the hero warriors of the United States Military, you can’t help but deeply appreciate and absolutely cherish the freedoms and liberties so unique here in America that is guaranteed us by the sacrifices made by these amazing, courageous men and women.
Working for years now with various charities dedicated to wounded military heroes, we get to see first hand their battle scarred bodies, mutilated and missing limbs, burned flesh and horrible injuries of every description. And we get to see their phenomenal spirit and willingness to serve our nation. To salute a flag draped coffin brings it all into perspective in an indelible, inescapable way. But for the blood of warriors, the American Dream goes to the ash heap of history.
We take our American Independence to heart and will never take it for granted. I declare my Independence in humble respect and thanks to them all.
With a firebreathing rock-n-roll band beyond my wildest dreams, I will strut onto a huge stage tonight just north of my birthplace and hometown of Detroit, Michigan, 50 years to the summer of 1958 where I performed that great American classic rock song, Honky Tonk. Punching out those sexy guitar licks on a cheap second hand guitar at the young age of nine, I did my very best to call on the American innovators Chuck Berry, Bo Diddly and others, unleashing an attitude of defiance and love of life that came from my parents and entire extended family around me. That guitar came from hard work and a few small sacrifices of my own way back then, and it taught me to be the best that I can be, put my heart and soul into everything I do, and discipline myself to be an asset to my family and bandmates. I delivered two paper routes, sold night crawlers to the local fishermen, shoveled snow, mowed lawns, cleaned gas station bathrooms and raked leaves to get that first guitar and amplifier. That work ethic imprinted deeply on me, and took me to the mountain top of my rock-n-roll dreams that I will celebrate with fiery passion again tonight.
Tonight, on July 4, 2008, on stage at Pine Knob, the DTE Energy Music Theater, I am celebrating my world record 6000th high energy concert, 50 years later, with the greatest band in the world, virtuosos Mick Brown on thunder drums and Greg Smith on the bass guitar. I will be surrounded by my saintly wife Shemane and all my children and grandchildren, a killer crew of gung-ho dedicated technicians and management, and about 20,000 of my closest friends and hunting buddies.
Most importantly, about 500 heroes of the US Air Force from Selfridge Air Force Base here in Michigan will attend as my guests. They will witness the nearly 60 year old MotorCity Madman once again defy gravity and pull off an athletic dance orgy of over the top throttling R&B inspired rock like some kid possessed, passionately paying tribute, respect and reverence to the mighty Motown Funkbrothers, James Brown, Wilson Picket, the Temptations and all those great American genius inventors who showed us how.
Fortified by an incredible week of fishing in the Manistee National Forest on sacred wild grounds owned by “we the people”, canoeing, swimming, shooting our bows and arrows and various firearms, laughing and cooking delicious venison kielbasa and marshmallows around a roaring campfire, and surely cleansing our souls like free men were created by God to do, I cannot imagine living in some other country where many of these soul-cleansing activities are not even allowed.
I taught my grandson how to load and shoot his .22, start a campfire, hook a worm and clean a fish. I am driven to pass it all on to the next generation so that freedom always has a face. To ultimately show appreciation for the sacrifices of the US Military is surely to live the America Dream to the best of our ability every day. 60 years, 50 years of touring, 6000 ultra rockouts, I am doing my best to do my part.
I am an American. I cannot be stopped. I declare my Independence louder and prouder today than ever. God Bless America, one Nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.