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Social Distortion Pro

Watch the new music video for "Machine Gun Blues"        
 

Punk / Rock

133 fans / 5,260 total plays / 100 plays today

Orange County, CA, CA

 
 
   
 
 

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Social Distortion Store | iTunes


About Social Distortion:

Here's how you know you've made it in the music business: You've stayed strong for three decades on your own terms, on your own time, by your own rules, and over that time your influence has only grown. Each of your albums has been stronger than your last. You've been brought onstage by Bruce Springsteen, because he wanted to play one of your songs. You've seen high times and low ones, good days and tragic days, but every night you give 100%, and every morning you wake up still swinging.

This is the short version of the Social Distortion bio - the long version could be a 10-part mini-series. But over the past 30 years, the punk godfathers in the band have all but trademarked their sound, a brand of hard rockabilly/punk that's cut with the melodic, road-tested lyrics of frontman Mike Ness. Their searing guitars and a locomotive rhythm section sound as alive today as they did in '82, as do Ness' hard-luck tales of love, loss and lessons learned. "The most common thing I hear is, 'Man, your music got me through some hard times,'" Ness says. "And I just say, 'Me too.'"

Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes (produced, for the first time, by Ness himself) is the band's first record since 2004, but the break hasn't changed them much. It maintains Social Distortion's key components - an all-but-perfected mix of punk, bluesy rock n' roll and outlaw country - but it also finds them stretching the boundaries of their signature sound. "I didn't want any one style of writing," Ness says. "I didn't want it to be all heavy, like "White Light, White Heat, White Trash." I wanted some heavy and some light. I wanted some fiction and some nonfiction. I wanted versatility."

That's evident right away. The record's first vocal track, "California (Hustle and Flow)," finds Ness and the band not roaring out of the gate so much as swaggering behind a chunky Stones-style locomotive groove. "This record has a lot of my influences," Ness says, "But how far you go with those influences is up to you. With this record I wanted to go a little farther. I wanted people to hear that second track and realize, 'Wow, this is not just another Social Distortion record.'" (For good measure the track has hints of "Ball and Chain" and the Stones' "All Down The Line" and, for the first time, female backing vocals. "I've been listening to records for years with (backing vocals), and I was like, "Hey, why don't I do that?" Ness laughs.)

Not that the band's punk foundations have eroded; the first single "Machine Gun Blues," a piece of gangland fiction set in 1934, could hail from "Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell." But the record is evidence of the band's ability to evolve. "Bakersfield," a setlist staple in recent years, is a waking-on-the-railroad-tracks story of wrecked love, forgiveness and Buck Owens; it closes with a spoken-word verse to make Merle Haggard smile. "Can't Take It With You" sports a Jerry Lee-style piano solo that scorches paint. And set closer "Still Alive" is a soaring carpe diem with an added emotional weight that can't be described or duplicated.

"The album is reminiscent to me of "Somewhere," but it also has some of the darkness that "White Light" had. It has some of the flavor of "Mommy's Little Monster," Ness said. "I think it's very signature. We've never been afraid to evolve and show people what we can do."

Now in their fourth decade, Ness and Social Distortion have officially done one of the most non-punk things possible: They've failed to burn out.

Mixing Springsteen's factory-overalls ethic with Southern California punk energy and black leather, Social Distortion formed with Ness and high school buddy, the late Dennis Danell, in the late 1970s; the group broke in 1983 with the thrashing plate of punk and displeasure "Mommy's Little Monster." Their 1988 follow-up, "Prison Bound," hinted at a sonic change to come, and by the band's self-titled 1990 record and 1992's "Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell," their sound had solidified into the instantly recognizable brand of rock n' roll that's defined them since.

For Hard Times, Social Distortion consists of Ness and longtime guitarist Jonny Wickersham, along with bassist Brent Harding and drummer David Hidalgo, Jr.

These days the band is rarely off the road for long, and continues to grip fans who have been around since "Mommy's Little Monster" while drawing new ones who discover the band through hand-shot YouTube clips. "I see people bringing their kids to shows," Ness says. "And I see kids bringing their parents."

Social Distortion is a mix of potent power, appeal across all age brackets and a genuine satisfaction at reaching as many people as they have. "I write songs for myself, and I hope that other people will like them too," Ness says. "I think every record you make is showing people what you've learned over the past few years. It's showing people, 'This is what I know.' "

Updates (1)

Social Distortion Album Premiere, You Control The Price Of 'Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes'

Next Tuesday the 18th marks the street date of Social Distortion's latest release Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes but you don't have to wait to hear it!  Head over to htt… more
about Jan 13 via PureVolume

Comments (17)

  • Carol said:
    great work. Mar 04
  • Adamtheman said:
    Consider me a fan after hearing California. When are you guys next in NY? Aug 04
  • Tina Mass said:
    Just Great May 05
  • Tina Mass said:
    Love this Music Apr 10
  • Tina Mass said:
    Just Great Apr 10
  • Tina Mass said:
    Love it Apr 10
  • Sandrine Besteller said:
    Love it Mar 12
  • statunmijack said:
    love the sound! Feb 06
  • Snuggleblade said:
    Free Snuggleblade Song Downloads @ purevolume.com/snuggleblade. Also check us out at reverbnation.com/snuggleblade and be sure to "like" Snuggleblade on Facebook! Mar 16
  • bunnie valentine said:
    i love u :) Mar 15
  • Anica said:
    Hey, I hope you have a second of your time, it would be great if you'd be able to go check out my good friends "like giants" give them a listen , great guys, amazing music. let me know what you think. If you'd be able to go to their facebook page and click LIKE it would mean the world www.facebook.com/likegiantsmusic thanks for the support. stay safe. anica XO Dec 09
  • jenifer awa said:
    jeniferawa95@yahoo.com Hello my name is miss Jenifer a single girl in search of friendship after reading about you i derive interest to knowing about you please write me to jeniferawa95@ y /a /h/ o/ o/ ./ c /o /m i will waiting to read from you so i can send my details about me and my pictures. kisses with love Jenifer jasmine jeniferawa95@yahoo.com jeniferawa95@ y /a /h/ o/ o/ ./ c /o /m May 28
  • James Irr said:
    Still evolving and have the punk message burning behind every word, here is to the spirit living on and new bands coming from the ashes of diversity and poverty to express their beliefs in the punk way... with a good ol' FUCK YOU to those that oppress human rights. I love your music and will continue supporting the PR Culture. May 12
  • Emmie Kiah said:
    I love you guys :D Angel's Wings and Story of My Life (the latter of which I learned to play on my bass) have helped me to get through some tough times in my life May 07
  • mskillerkate said:
    i like! May 07
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