Published on August 3rd, 2017


Social Distortion

Michael Ness has spent years in and out of rehab, done a few stints in prison and battled through the deaths of former band members. The one constant that seems to have stayed is his dedication to punk rock band Social Distortion, whose tour lands at a now sold-out Revolution Live on August 26.

Ness has seen more than 21 musicians float in and out of the group since he founded it in 1978. In a March interview with the Phoenix New Times, he said he feels his current lineup helps him “execute what I see and what I hear, and that’s invaluable to have guys who can speak your language and understand your insanity.”

It seems like a solid achievement for Ness, who at 55 has spent more than half his life developing the music of one of the most recently influential rock bands, which has inspired the likes of pop punk bands such as Blink-182 and Pennywise. The last time they toured, Social Distortion celebrated the 25th anniversary of their eponymous debut album, and this time around their influence has reached their opener: gothic-folk singer Jade Johnson, whose album Ness produced.

The four-man Fullerton ensemble defied the traditional ’70s California punk sound on their 1988 second album, Prison Bound. Their new “cowpunk” style of music, which added elements of country Western and blues rock, came through here and would become a defining trait of the band, leading to more commercial success on Social Distortion. Angsty anthems such as “Story of My Life” and “Ball and Chain” paved the way for emo and showed troubled kids that there was someone who understood their pain and struggles.

Their 2011 release Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes saw a shift from Ness’ first-person worldview and instead delivered a tighter rock ‘n’ roll sound that showcased a lifetime of hard lessons learned. True to their fashion, Social Distortion will keep exploring new genres on their upcoming eighth studio album, which they’re set to begin recording in the fall.  Although Social Distortion might have matured their lyrics and sound, their songs about running from the cops are still relevant with young listeners, so expect to hear the old favorites along with the new when they rock their way into Fort Lauderdale.

Social Distortion will perform with special guest Jade Jackson at 7pm Saturday, August 26 at Revolution Live. 100 SW 3rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Sold out.
~ Olivia Feldman

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