April 3rd marks the 55th birthday of SoCal punk rocker, Mike Ness. As the front man for Social Distortion, Ness’ bad boy persona and raw talent has made the group a huge success.
Formed in 1979, Social Distortion emerged into the L.A. punk scene from Fullerton, CA. Their debut album, Mommy’s Little Monster, was released in 1982. Although it’s not the most popular album, it was a great starting point for the group. What I enjoy most about Social Distortion is that Ness incorporates, and boldly uses, his own experiences as song-writing material. Sure, a multitude of singers and songwriters do the same thing, but with Ness, the story feels real and unmasked. The song, “Another State of Mind” and “Hour of Darkness” focuses on Ness’ drug abuse.
Not until 1990, with the release of their self-titled album, did Social Distortion gain a mass audience. This is one of my favorite albums, with notable songs like “Story of My Life,” “Coulda Been Me,” and “Ball and Chain.” I had the chance to see Social Distortion perform at the 2013 Hootenanny and again in 2015 at The Observatory to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their self-titled album.
Here’s Social Distortion playing “Story of My Life” at The Observatory 9/13/15