Monday, April 26, 2010

Social Distortion’s Never Ending Story, By: Derek Rinaldi

Mike Ness with that classic Ness jump at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

Original Vision drummer / pro skater / writer, Derek Rinaldi contributes to us a piece on Social Distortion, while Derek's buddy, Ken Salerno, contributes the photos. Thanks to Derek and Ken as always. -Tim DCXX

The stage is set. The scene: Warped Tour 1997 Asbury Park, New Jersey. Thousands of festival goers have been corralled like cattle, back and forth from main stage to side stage to the inside stage of the Stone Pony and its immediate surroundings. Shadowed by the never completed concrete spine of C8, a project so destined to failed that they never even bothered to name it. Its moniker is derived merely from its place on the tax map of a city by the sea which time had seemingly either forgot, or just decided to let go.

In waltzes the Warped Tour - and the social climate of American culture, skateboarding and even punk rock was about to change. The underground was coming up for air, and what better closing act for an event such as this was one of the bands who started it all. All eyes are focused on the main stage as the final member of the headliner ascends in front of the crowd. Mike Ness stands in charge of Social Distortion, at the time slowly encroaching on a 20 year career which had just about seen and done it all. And now, perhaps, it was all going to be just a little different. Ness was once quoted as saying that the Warped Tour “Was the beginning of what it is now for us. It was the beginning of us not just playing for the old fans who had been following Social Distortion for so many years. It was like, let's try to get some of these kids hip to us too because they’re the future.”

Social Distortion at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

Fast forward to 2010 and while there are other bands out there that have been around for 30 years, few have remained as relevant to their core audience and have held as tight to their purpose as Social Distortion. We could only hope that future punk bands can endure, persevere and survive that long. From a garage in Orange County in 1979, there was no sure way to predict the road ahead. Drug use, jail time and untimely deaths were the tragic subplots to a script that has lead Social Distortion to the end and back.

It has been inspirational and at times tragic but it has never been synthetic. The music has transcended rock, country and blues but after all this time it’s still punk. That makes it ours, for all of us and that’s how you stay relevant after 30 years. - Derek Rinaldi

“So take me down the road/ Take me to the show/ It's something to believe in/ That no one else knows/ But don't take me for granted” - Don’t Take Me For Granted

Mike Ness plays it for the Trenton crowd, Photo: Ken Salerno

Poll results:

Mommy's Little Monster - 143

White Light, White Heat, White Trash - 51
Social Distortion - 36
Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell - 23
Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll - 15
Prison Bound - 12


Social Distortion, another city left buried behind, Photo: Ken Salerno


Pedro Carvalho said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pedro Carvalho said...

I saw them live a week ago. I thought it was going to be awful but turned out to be pretty ok actually. The guy from Fu Manchu is playing drums and they sounded way more punk then I expected.

Tony Tank said...

Great read and very true. Social D are one of the few early punk bands that are still as relevant today as they were all those years ago. I'm into Mommy's Little Monster as much as I'm into Sex, Love and Rock N' Roll. Will be seeing them here in Rhode Island in July and I expect nothing more than a great show.

Anonymous said...

nice piece love me some social d!

Elvisidal said...

he may have shown us how to do makeup in 1982 but in 1997 put out a perfect record.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

cool pics!

Lars said...

I'm gonna see them in RI as well. As this is a Jersey-centric post about Social D., has anyone see this...

As it turns out Springsteen is a big fan ... crazy.

Tom said...

This is why I love this blog. It's not about "straight edge in your face," but about punk rock. It's great to see all of these different bands represented here, regardless of their personal addictions/abuses/attentions. Keep up the great work, gents.

Carey said...

Springsteen actually sang back-ups on Ness' solo album, CHEATING AT SOLITAIRE. It's track 3, "Misery Loves Company." It's always a trip to hear the two together--but not all that surprising, really.

Ben Edge said...

I LOVE the first album, and I think the last album is horrendous. Am I alone?

peterwhite said...

yes you are alone.
this band gets better whith each album they put out. sex love and rock'n roll is a fucking masterpiece !

Social Distortion Tickets said...

And we can see Mike Ness and other members again on their upcoming tours in US.Starting this July 27, Tuesday 7:00 pm at The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie,New York.I will be watching the first tour show with my friends.