Mike Ness – In The House

Damn it! Mike Ness was in my freakin’ neighborhood this weekend, and where was I? In my pajamas, writing Well Fed at my dining table with Smudge. How is it possible that my spidey-sense did not tingle and alert me that he was in the vicinity?!


Here’s Mike, browsing a badass antique store in Austin that’s, seriously, five minutes from my house.

I’ve seen Social D live about 40 times, and I usually stand in the front row, right in front of Mike’s microphone stand — all the better to lay eyes on my musical hero — directly in the path of (annoying) crowd surfers. I spend half the time worrying about getting kicked in the head. This was my first time to actually hear and see the show the way it’s intended. And now I understand why everyone else loves Social D live. Holy shit! It was mind-blowingly awesome and fun. And when I was all sweaty from jumping around like a lunatic, they brought out backup singers on “Can’t Take It With You” and “California Hustle and Flow” that somehow made everything wiggly and tough, all at the same time. Punk rock backup singers… right ON.

Here’s Social Distortion at ACL 2011 on Sunday, playing my favorite song from Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes. While watching this video, imagine me singing and stomping along, just in front of the sound booth, celebrating the glory of wicked loud music and almost-reached writing deadlines.

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  • Dino says:

    Like you, I am a huge fan. GIANT FAN. Hundreds of shows. I do not think anyone walks onstage as well as Mike does. And, I got to meet him last year and play cards with the crew, and he was amazing.

    But, I think this current record is HORRIBLE. The point of sxdx, in my opinion, is the snarl. The snarl on live at the Roxy, Prison Bound, Mainliner…that is gone on this record.

    Jesus, I jokingly say that this feels like Matthew Sweet record, but it does. Those middle songs, those are not even cool love songs, which Mike writes so well. They are just pop songs.

    But, I will always go to all the midwest dates. Now they are on the best label in the world, so I am still fully invested.

    • Mel says:

      You might like the new material more live — it has more swagger than the record. And I really do love the backup singers… but I also like pop music. It’s very Stones-y.

  • Dino says:

    I agree. I have seen them on this lap around America, and the Lucero (my long time favorite lyricist Ben in Lucero), and some Frank Turner dates….and I get that they are going for a Stones sort of deal…but jesus, it is sounding less like snarl, and more like grin.

    I used to be afraid of Ness. When John Mauer was playing bass, and Dennis was still alive, Mike came off stage at the Rave and got into a fight, and ACTUAL FIGHT with a crowd member. So much so that the promoter had to get onstage to get Mike off of it.

    I have always loved, and respected that the love songs are real. The real pain and bravery and strength of love…but I was so confused by this record.