Rocker's Rebel attire stirs criticism, but not from Texas governor

By The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Rocker Ted Nugent says Gov. Rick Perry had no problem with his decision to wear a Confederate flag shirt during his appearance at last week's inaugural ball — and even complimented his performance.

Nugent, 58, said Perry talked to him backstage after the black-tie event, complimenting him on "the greatest rock 'n' roll" and thanking him for coming, several newspapers reported on Jan. 23. The governor also called over the weekend, ending the conversation by telling Nugent to "give 'em hell," Nugent was quoted as saying.

Perry spokesman Robert Black said the governor wouldn't wear such a shirt, but told Nugent he has the right to wear whatever he wants.

"If you're going to defend freedom of expression, then you're going to have to defend all freedom of expression," Black said.

When asked if Perry would have invited Nugent if he had known what he would wear, Black said: "Yes."

Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has criticized Nugent's decision to wear the shirt, saying it symbolized "the enslavement of African-Americans and more recently the symbol of hate groups and terrorists."

Nugent, a hunting and gun-rights advocate, lived in Michigan most of his life before moving to Crawford in 2003. The "Motor City Madman" is famed for his 1977 hit "Cat Scratch Fever."