Rock ‘n’ roll icons Social Distortion takes the stage at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Friday, January 27 with special guest Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls. Tickets go on sale Saturday, November 19 at noon.
Over the past 30 years, Social Distortion 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.'”
Their seventh studio album Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (the band’s first record since 2004), hit the Billboard 200 at No. 4. Produced, for the first time, by Ness, the album 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. “California (Hustle and Flow)”, the opening track, allows fans to experience the depth and range of Social Distortion, while “Machine Gun Blues” plays more to the group’s traditional punk roots.
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.
Tickets, starting at $32 (plus applicable service fees), will be available Saturday at noon at the Hard Rock Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000.