The new popular punk of the ‘90s is a bitter pill to swallow for the 34-year-old founder of Southern California’s most enduring punk outfit, Social Distortion. Imagine Mike Ness’ dismay at the sight of grade-school children with dyed blue hair and dog collars, or teenage punks who have never heard of The Dickies, the Dead Boys or Iggy & the Stooges.
In Ness’ day, punk attire suggested estrangement from and outrage against society, and walking down the street in a tattered leather jacket, buzz cut and combat boots was less a fashion statement than an invitation for police harassment or an all-out brawl.
Times have changed, and while punk outgrows its own ideals, Social Distortion continues to fight tooth and nail to keep its own piece of punk rock property. The band’s latest endeavor, White Light, White Heat, White Trash took nearly five years to complete on the group’s insistence that the album be the defining Social Distortion record. Guitarist Dennis Danell, bass man John Maurer and legendary punk drummer Chuck Biscuits (D.O.A., Black Flag and Circle Jerks) propel Ness’ hard-rocking compositions with a vigorous force not heard since their 1983 classic, Mommy’s Little Monster.
Regardless of White Light’s success (or lack thereof), Social Distortion’s members will no doubt keep cranking out the kind of rock and roll they believe in – and that, after all, is all you can really ask of a genuine punk rock band.
Added bonus: Opening will be the many-times-morphed Hollyweird band Redd Kross – once a seminal late ‘70s, early ‘80s Los Angeles punk outfit and now taking a hammer to the world of pop.
– Shawn “Speedy” Lopes
Nimitz Hall, 1130 N. Nimitz Hwy.: Fri. 9/19, 7:30 p.m. $16.50. 936-HALL
Dubbed from the Honolulu Weekly, September 17-23, 1997