For as long as there has been rock n' roll, there have been songs about the difficulties we face during our existence. Mike Ness has battled demons throughout his life, struggled with drug addiction, been homeless and gotten into trouble with the law, resulting in two years spent going in and out of rehabilitation centers and jails. Perhaps best summed up by his comments on a music video that was shot for a song named "Machine Gun Blues", off the groups most recent album;"I just wanted to portray a robbery that went wrong, no one was supposed
to get hurt, and I wanted to portray how your life could change in a matter of seconds" says Ness, who's lyrics have often dealt with similar topics, of strife and the difficulties faced by the working class. "I'm kind of like you, I'm a journalist, and I report what I see or what I experience and sometimes I do it auto-biographically or sometimes I do it through character writing but it's really just down to experiences" explains Ness, briefly pausing to sigh,"It's very therapeutic. I'm in the process of writing a book about my life and it's the same thing, it helps me process things that have happened and somewhat understand why they have happened and song writing is very similar." More than three decades later, Ness still sings about the hardships and the setbacks."It's my beginnings, you know, and the good news is when you come from dirt, you can only go up, but, it's important to remember where you come from." Pausing for a minute to chat before playing to a sold out crowd in Michigan, Ness tells me that how it normally takes a short while to get used to life on the road."We got into town today and our hotel wasn't ready, just luck I guess" he says, "Its hard work but we obviously love it or we wouldn't do it so much. On one hand I'm very lucky to have made a living doing what I love to do, but it has a price, you know? Leaving my wife and kids at home for long periods of time several times a year, missing out on a lot, it makes consistency a very hard thing, and that's what kids need and what a relationship needs, so it's challenging and luckily I have a strong women who has stood by me." Ness also has a pair of solo albums under his belt, on which he focused more on his interests in folk and bluegrass, but has been quiet on that front since 1999."I did a little tour a couple of years ago just to let people know I'm still into it and I have a lot of material to do another solo record, it's just finding time. I want to do another
Social Distortion record, and then do an acoustic record with
Social Distortion and then I want to do a Mike Ness record, probably in that order. I'm very happy with the last record and what we established with it, we re-established our love for American roots music."
Social Distortion roll into town to play the Metropolis on October 23rd, and although tickets are still available, they have sold out every show on this tour thus far! Comment on this article at: www.westendtimes.ca
Get with the Times - westendtimes.ca
8 OCTOBER 20, 2012 *