Rocker Ted Nugent coming to Santa Clarita, draws controversy

Opening of The Canyon Santa Clarita. Patrick Mullen/The Signal
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Rocker Ted Nugent’s upcoming performance in Santa Clarita has drawn plans for a protest this summer, when the rocker is set to headline a local show, in light of Nugent’s recent controversial comments.

The veteran rock musician will be performing at The Canyon Santa Clarita on July 1. Nugent, a National Rifle Association board member, came under fire recently for comments about the founders of a student movement against gun violence, March For Our Lives. During his interview on the nationally syndicated conservative radio program “The Joe Pags Show” in March, Nugent said the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting were “soulless.”

“The lies from the left, the lies from these poor, mushy-brained children who have been fed lies and parrot the lies, they are actually committing spiritual suicide because everything they recommend will cause more death and mayhem, guaranteed.” Nugent said on the show.

Some Santa Clarita residents have been appalled by the comments and plan to protest his presence, said local resident David Barlavi.

He believed Nugent’s comments were racist and bigoted, Barlavi said.

“He’s called for the shooting of liberals and Democrats,” he said. “Our City Council passed an anti-hate ordinance to combat hate in our city, and we cannot be bringing hateful people to perform in our city.”

Venue owner Lance Sterling said the venue can’t censor others’ political opinions, and that he also draws ire from the conservative community when he brings in performers with liberal leanings.

“I understand he has some extreme viewpoints, but it’s not my job to censor them,” Sterling said. “If I started censoring this, then I’d feel obligated to censor all viewpoints. Our job is not to edit viewpoints. My job is to present entertainers, and in the world of entertainers, Ted is a pretty good entertainer.”

The Canyon is one of the Santa Clarita Valley’s newest live-concert venues, operated by Sterling Venue Ventures.

Sterling started the company in 2001 with the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, and has opened venues such as the Saban in Beverly Hills and the Rose in Pasadena. Nugent has performed with his venues for 30 years, Sterling said, although this is his first time in the Santa Clarita Valley.

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