Saturday, November 6, 2010


 "Social Distortion is playing at Roseland?  Really, I didn't know!"

I work around the corner from New York City's Roseland Ballroom, and lots of folks who I work with, who enjoy Social D's music, had no idea that they were playing just three blocks away this past Thursday night.  And yet, they sold the joint out, it was packed!

I saw Social D this summer at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, and my post about it started out in on similar theme.  So many people don't know that Social D is still a working band, and yet they sell out fairly large venues, without help from radio or the press or whatever.

And just like this summer, the band was totally rockin'. Every time I see Mike Ness perform, I'm blown away.   I don't like to put other bands down, and I'm not calling anyone out, but when I think of rock bands that get a lot of attention today... compared to Ness and Social D, they just look like twerps.  He's sort of quietly hit "living legend" status in my mind, but he still has great music left in him.  I'm definitely a big fan of the last Social D record, 2004's Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll, and I'm looking forward to the next one, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, due in January on Epitaph Records. They played "Bakersfield" and a cover of Hank Williams' "Alone And Foresaken," both of which will be on the album. People were into it. I was bummed that they didn't draw from their last album, though, "Reach For The Sky" and "Nickels and Dimes" are two of my favorites.

Of course, you can't play too many new songs - Ness isn't going to try and force too much new stuff down people's throats, he knows why he can still sell out Roseland, and it's because of his incredible body of work.  He started the show off in real old school form, with "The Creeps," "Another State Of Mind" and "Mommy's Little Monster." By rights, a 40-something (or 50-something?) guy singing songs that were popular in the punk rock scene nearly thirty years ago shouldn't work, but it does. Kind of because his music has actually progressed (probably more than he would want to admit) because of his country music influence - that's really what seperated him from the pack in the first place. And while they didn't play all of thier classics (I don't think Ness really wants to be a "greatest hits" revue type guy) they did awesome versions of "Don't Drag Me Down," "I Was Wrong," a country-fied (or country-fried) "Ball and Chain" (it kind of split the difference between the band's original version, and Mike Ness' country version from his 1999 solo album Under The Influences), "Prison Bound," "Making Believe," "Cold Feelings" and their cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire."

Ness mentioned that the band will be back after the album comes out ("after the snow is all gone," so I guess that's spring hopefully - give the guy a break, he's from Orange County)... so if you're a fan, I'd say to follow the band on Facebook, or at least keep an eye on the Village Voice or your local "alternative" paper.  But don't sleep on it!

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