April 11, 2009 / 12:10 AM / 10 years ago

Ted Nugent reuniting Amboy Dukes for Detroit event

DETROIT (Billboard) - Ted Nugent is ready for a journey to the center of his past.

Nugent will reunite with his first recording band, the Amboy Dukes, on April 17, when they will receive a Distinguished Achievement Award at the annual Detroit Music Awards. The group — which had a hit single with “Journey to the Center of the Mind” — also intends to play, marking its first performance since 1968.

“This is a great moment to celebrate,” Nugent told Billboard.com. “I got the word about (the award) and said, ‘Well, of course it must be done. It’s as proper as tomorrow’s sunrise.’ I immediately reached out to John (Brake, vocalist) and Andy (Solomon, keyboards and saxophone) and started tracking down people.”

Nugent said he considers the Dukes “the world’s greatest garage band. We were part of that original fist of Detroit music, the confluence of rhythm & blues and rock ‘n’ roll and that Motown touch. My brain is jam-packed with stimulating memories.”

Nugent formed the Dukes in Chicago in 1964, then moved the group back to his native Detroit in 1968. Amidst a variety of lineup changes, the band released six studio albums and one live set. The Dukes disbanded in 1975, when Nugent embarked on a solo career.

Nugent has long eschewed drugs, but the Amboy Dukes’ best-known song, “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” was a psychedelic rock anthem (with lyrics by guitarist Steve Farmer).

“I didn’t have the faintest idea,” Nugent said of the Top 20 hit from 1968. “I thought, ‘journey to the center of the mind’ — yeah, it’s good to be reflective, to journey inside yourself, to think before acting. That still makes sense to me, actually. If you look at the lyrics, it reflects either one of those philosophies, really.”

The awards show performance will be a rare chance for fans to catch Nugent in action this year. After celebrating his 60th birthday in December, he’s holding to his promise to refrain from touring and spend time with his family. Nugent plans a few benefit shows and is working on new material. He stars in a survival reality series, “Runnin’ Wild ... From Ted Nugent,” set to debut in August on TNT.

Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters

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