Don't know if Tom Werman is considered a production genius, but this in-house hair architect helmed some of the sharpest recordings in the catalogs of Cheap Trick, Motley Crue and the Producers. He also varnished Ted Nugent's 3.5 stadium stompers per album and added enough subtle seasonings to the remaining roadkill to construct a consistent record, while the MC Madman ran off to the stage or the woods. In '79, Nugent's face graced a pinball game, but behind the bells and lights, he still needed the studio support of Werman on State of Shock to make the predictable pieces fit. The terrible one uses and abuses the same formula every outing, so nothing unexpected is expected. But drummer Cliff Davies takes over Werman's boards completely, and the crisp cut-out sound starkly exposes recycled riffs and bloozy boredom. Nuge's brush with the Beatles pops out, but hints of his 80's dearth creep amongst too many fair-to-middling grooves, some of which, in Nuge's tender terms, "Bite Down Hard." Course some erudite scholars justifiably claim State of Shock sizzles with the true Ted Nugent, no longer disinfected for the airwaves. Granted, "Paralyzed," "Snake Charmer," and "It Don't Matter" are electrifying, with razor-sharp guitar, but these afternoon buzzers would sound better at the next Nugent show, fired off with his other silver-tippers. Most rock music of the late 70's attained a dreamy level of sophistication where the listeners put on gargantuan headphones just to be closer to the music, regardless of the lyrics, but no need for phones here. State of Shock is only half-cocked and ended Nugent's platinum period. Next time out he produces himself, and then keyboards hunt down the Nuge.
-STONE, Cheap Trash NYC