If you ask madman rocker Ted Nugent for an autograph, he won’t give you one even though he’s a celebrity and he wants to honor his fans.  Why is Ted shunning signing his name?  The answer is both human and economic.

Ted — avowed Vegan enemy and animal killer and eater — refuses to sign his name because he knows the autograph hounds who hound him are not fans, but rather merchants looking to get his signature on an item so they can resell it on eBay.

Ted rightly wonders, in the following video, why he should give away his valuable name and get nothing from the exchange when the autograph seeker is making money off his signature on the backend.  The autograph hound’s response to Ted’s inquiry is to offer him money to sign their junk.  Ted rightly refuses:

Do you think Ted Nugent should be required to sign autographs for his fans — any “fan” — or can he refuse in whole or by degree as he so wishes?

I think if Ted met someone who genuinely wanted his autograph, and who was a real fan, he wouldn’t think twice to sign.  You easily know those who are earnest because they want the signature personalized to them.

The for-profit autograph seekers just want his signature because personalizing it to “Aunt Mary” drops the value of the signature to a narrow niche in the reseller market to those who happened to be called “Aunt Mary.”

Celebrities may not own their privacy in public — but they can, and should! — be free to protect their own good name in a signature by refusing to sign their John Hancock.

Autograph seeking began as a ploy to meet a celebrity and to later provide proof to your friends that you actually met someone famous.  That connection, in an ever-tempering and compressive world, is not as dear as it once was.

I am reminded of comedian Steve Martin’s ploy 30 years ago to give autograph seekers a printed business card that said only — “I Met Steve Martin” — in a quaint, and condescending, attempt to assuage a fan’s desire to want a connective totem without signing away your identity.

8 Comments

  1. Great article, David.

    Ted has a right to refuse. It’s like the story of the two stamp collectors that get together. Each has a copy of a stamp of which only two exist. The one buys the the stamp from the other and promptly destroys it and declares that he now has the only one in existence. Maybe he feels signing everything would dilute the value of his signature and take it away from real fans.

  2. Hey David-

    Interesting article…although I have to say I agree 20% and disagree 80%. I’ve been a music fan for years and for the past 10+ years I’ve started collecting “rock and roll autographs” as a hobby for fun. Thanks to various situations, I’ve been able to obtain quite a few, that for ME, I’m very happy with. And for me, personalization is not an issue since I do not sell them. But there have been times where I’ve waited for artists only to see other “fans” with backpacks or shoulder bags full of stuff to sign…knowing full well that these “fans” are just here for the possible $$$ and THAT pisses ME off…so that’s a situation where I do see Ted’s point. Bottom line to me is, the people “outside” are who made Ted Nugent (or any artist for that matter) famous. I feel it only fair for the artist to respond with, the very least, a quick autograph or two.

  3. I agree with Ted. He should only sign for people that want it to keep for themself. Not these jerks who are trying to make money off of his autograph that they got for free. But is there anyway to prove to singers and other band members that your going to keep it for yourself and your not just some guy who’s gonna sell it on eBay ?

    1. John —

      The people who plan to resell names want only the signature. They don’t want a signature signed “To John…” or “To David…” because that lowers the value. Real autograph seekers love that personalization while the resellers do not.

  4. I was a fan for 35 years of Nugent. I volinteered years and lots of my time and money to help promote his Ted Nugent World bow hunters group and later TNUSA of which I was a local director.
    I donated a 300 year old Mongolian bow worth thousands to his now failed archery museum and hunting organization. Ive been to his home twice, Ive met him several times and even driven him to and from airports during his tours.
    Just a few weeks ago,,,I was planning on donating a $500 check to Wounded Warriors in his name gathered by friends and patrolmen.
    I had a back stage pass and brought one of my guitars a Byrdland 66 ,,,to show him as he collects them,,,,I never asked him to sign it.
    Before I could say anything he took off spouting his signiture was worth 45k on that guitar and how dare I ask him for it,,,,,He scoffed at a person donation check of $100 I gave his manager for his KAMP FOR KIDS,,,,,,and he never gave me a chance to tell him I had the $500 check for Wounded warriors,,,,,,,He was insulted that my donation wasn,t enough for his signiture.
    Keep in mind I never even asked him to sign it,,,,,,and I WAS a life time fan he knew.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Roger, and I’m sorry for your disillusionment with Ted. He does seem to be a bit of a boor — his “Vietnam Avoidance” story is tacky in the least:

      Claimed to have avoided the Vietnam draft by stopping all physical hygiene, ingesting nothing but Vienna sausages and Pepsi, and going to the bathroom in his pants for days prior to his physical. (He later said he was joking about this.)

      http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0412/75309.html

      That said, I do appreciate Byrdland guitars! They are fun to play and I love their shape and sound!