"These Boots Were made For Walkin'"

Michael Jochum

So, I’ll tell you my Ted Nugent story. It was right around 1986. I was one of the “session guys in demand,” and I got a call to play on a Ted Nugent record. During that period of time, I was deep into some illicit drugs that caused me to be a little more arrogant than I am today—and even more opinionated, hard as that may be to believe. For some unknown reason, I was also deeply into cowboy boots. Due to my foot size, cowboy boots are not my favorite footwear, but they seemed to be “hip” at the time, so I was wearing them.

I made my way over to Capitol Studio B, and of course “The Nuge” was not there, but his team of accomplices, along with a recording engineer of note and a producer of some cred, were there waiting for me to begin my drum sounds around 9 AM. I achieved brilliance with my drum sounds, when finally, in walks Ted Nugent. He did his usual play-acting with everyone, as though he actually liked them, and then proceeded to enter the drum booth where I was sitting, anxiously awaiting his arrival.

He didn’t even shake my hand—just looked at my feet and asked, “Are you going to wear those cowboy boots when you play the drums?”

I responded by saying, “F@&K yes, I’m gonna wear these cowboy boots when playing the drums! After all, that’s what I have on my feet!”

He looked at me incredulously with those milky, devilish eyes of his and said, “Drummers simply don’t wear cowboy boots.

You need to go home and change your shoes before we start the session.”

So, I stood up from the drum kit, walked out of Capitol Studio B, into the parking lot, drove through the guard gate, and proceeded to make my way home to change into some suitable footwear. Keep in mind that Nugent had no idea where I lived or how long it would take me to grab the new pair of shoes suitable for his very important recording session.

On my way down Sepulveda Boulevard from my Gucci house in the extremely gentrified Royal Oaks neighborhood of Sherman Oaks, I figured I might as well stop and fuel up at my very favorite fuel emporium (After all, my little road trip was bought and paid for by The Nuge)—the same 7-Eleven where, fourteen years into the future, in a galaxy far, far away, I would meet and greet one OJ Simpson. I was feeling a bit peckish, so I stopped at In-N-Out Burger for a Double-Double with cheese, an order of fries, and a vanilla milkshake. I realized that I was out of my favorite illicit drug and made a quick stop at a dear friend’s house (whom I called “the dealer”) to pick up a little stash for my evening’s fun with Teddy. By the time I got back to the studio it was approximately 4 1/2 hours after I exited Capitol.

Triple scale is a beautiful thing when you are a sideman. Sidemen don’t usually get the due that they deserve, but sometimes the compensation is well worth the lack of recognition. I walked back into Studio B and didn’t even glance at Nugent or his engineer of note or the producer of cred. I sat down at my drum kit and began to record one of his stupid songs.

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