AUSTIN, Texas – Hours after Texas Gov. Rick Perry kicked off his second full term in office, Ted Nugent helped him celebrate at a black-tie gala, but not all attendees were pleased by the rock guitarist's performance.
Using machine guns as props, Nugent, 58, appeared onstage as the final act of the inaugural ball wearing a cutoff T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag and shouting offensive remarks about non-English speakers, according to people who were in attendance. The Confederate flag was the symbol of the pro-slavery secessionist southern states in the 1861-65 American Civil War.
Perry's spokesman, Robert Black, downplayed the Tuesday-night incident.
"Ted Nugent is a good friend of the governor's. He asked him if he would play at the inaugural. He didn't put any stipulation of what he would play," Black said.
Others said the appearance was inappropriate.
"I think it was a horrible choice," Republican strategist Royal Masset said. "I hope nobody approved it."
Nugent, a hunting and gun-rights advocate, could not be reached for comment Thursday because he was hunting, a spokeswoman said.
The guitarist — known as the "Motor City Madman" — lived in Michigan most of his life before moving to Crawford, Texas, in 2003. He is famed for his 1977 hit "Cat Scratch Fever."
News of Nugent's appearance drew criticisms from civil-rights leaders.
"Whenever someone sports the Confederate battle flag, many Texans will be offended, and rightly so, because of what it symbolizes — the enslavement of African-Americans and more recently the symbol of hate groups and terrorists," said Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a civil rights group.