Back in January, racist, conspiratorial COVID-19 denier Ted Nugent took to YouTube to criticize Rolling Stone’s [checks notes] 19-year-old 100 Greatest Guitarists list, where he particularly had a bone to pick with the inclusion of Joan Jett. NME brought Nugent’s one-sided beef to Jett’s attention, who, of course, took his abominable comments in stride.
In his video tirade, Nugent said “You have to have shit for brains and you have to be a soulless, soulless prick to put Joan Jett [on the list],” before throwing similar shade to (non-white, non-male) celebrated artists like Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Grandmaster Flash and Patti Smith.
When NME told Jett that Nugent didn’t believe she should be on the Greatest Guitarists lists, she shrugged, “Neither should he.”
“Is that his implication… that he should be on the list instead of me?” Jett asked. “Well, that’s just typical — it’s what I’ve dealt with my whole life, being written off. Ted Nugent has to live with being Ted Nugent. He has to be in that body, so that’s punishment enough.”
The legendary Runaway could’ve shut Nugent down with that priceless zinger alone, but she continued, “He’s not a tough guy. He plays tough guy, but this is the guy who shit his pants — literally — so he didn’t have to go in the Army.” For the uninitiated, Nugent claimed (and later retracted) in a 1977 High Times interview that he avoided being drafted into the Vietnam War by abandoning all personal hygiene procedures.
“I ceased cleansing my body. No more brushing my teeth, no more washing my hair, no baths, no soap, no water,” Nugent said, revealing that he “stopped going to the bathroom. I did it in my pants. Poop, piss the whole shot.”
“So this,” Jett said, “is the tough guy who’s running around America, stirring things up against each other.”
Fortunately for Jett, the rock and roller will go down in history as a beloved trailblazer who continued to make headlines in the 21st century for her actual music, not for being a bigoted has-been. Check out our latest interview with the musician below, and catch her on tour with Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, and Poison this summer. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.