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Born to Be Wild - Meeting Ted Nugent

10/01/2014 14:54 GMT | Updated 12/03/2014 09:59 GMT

I directed the second programme - the 1970s episode - in the Born to be Wild documentary series about the golden age of American rock, the centrepiece of BBC Four's United States of Rock season airing in January.

The 70s was the decade when American rock went from protest marches to vast profit margins. Filming took us to rock star mansions, recording studios and the dusty back roads of the American southwest. For period detail, we hired a vintage red 1971 Dodge Challenger and drove it up and down a deserted strip of highway, returning it covered in dust to its worried owner who asked if we'd taken it off road.

We interviewed Courtney Love in her New York brownstone, waited on by her Tibetan housemaid while Courtney's miniature dog attacked the sound kit and the cameraman. But the highlight was undoubtedly our interview with guitar wildman, outspoken Republican and gun rights advocate Ted Nugent on his ranch just outside Waco in Texas.

We were met by his assistant and driven down miles of dirt track surrounded by scrubland until we finally arrive at "Tedquarters". Ted comes out onto the porch to greet us. He's six foot two, dressed in camouflage gear with an arrowhead mounted on the front on his cowboy hat. We set up on the porch with Ted sitting in his rocking chair holding forth with his theories of life, hunting and rock music.

His answers last about ten minutes each time, including his thoughts about drug abuse, "I think substance abuse will go down in history, and continues to go down, as one of the most mindless, soulless, self-inflicted, suicidal indecencies available to man. The dopers didn't show up to rehearsal on time, the dopers couldn't tune their instruments and the dopers had no soul to care about an efficient, professional delivery of their craft, service or wares."

The origin of his Tarzan stage image, "I wore a loincloth once because I'd shot a rabbit and cured it with brains. It felt natural."

Like nearly all of the 1970s rockers, Ted Nugent built his reputation through years of hard touring, "We played 300 concerts a year, but we didn't make any money. We could pay expenses, keep good speakers in the amps and share hotel rooms. It was tough, but that didn't matter, I'm a hunter I'll sleep in the woods."

But Ted's zest for the playing live remains undimmed, "I might be the only guy who can completely live the original moment every time."

After an hour or so we must wrap so I ask my final question, 'What's American about rock music?' He thinks for a few seconds then simply replies, "Maybe you can name the last really cool rock and roll song from a French artist?"

Then we're done. We finish the interview and are invited inside the ranch house where Ted plugs in an electric guitar and demonstrates his signature, squealing sound. The room has animal heads mounted on every wall and what looks like a walk-in gun safe. As we pack up the kit we find a couple of shell casings in the dirt and pocket them as souvenirs. It's only later that we worry whether the excuse that "we got them from Ted Nugent" will help us at customs.

BORN TO BE WILD: The Golden Age of American Rock - School's Out

Friday 17 January, 9-10pm on BBC Four