This Saturday hosts a very special show in OC, and we have the man himself to give the details. Social Distortion’s own Jonny “2 Bags” Wickersham will play Costa Mesa’s Tiki Bar on Saturday with some special guests adding to the excitement of the evening.
As you likely know, Social Distortion is in a holding pattern as front-man Mike Ness announced in June that he was diagnosed with stage one tonsil cancer. Ness is expected to make a full recovery, and less than two weeks ago, he posted a video of himself singing “Story of My Life,” stating he is still weak, but “it’s getting there.” He said he is entering the radiation phase and six weeks of a mild chemo infusion, but he is “ready for the fight going in the second round.”
In the meantime, Wickersham has been keeping himself busy, and promises tomorrow night will be an incredible evening of music.
Traci: Hey, Johnny. How are you?
Jonny: I’m well, thanks. How are you?
Traci: I’m very well. Before we get too deep, I have to ask you the most important question: How is Mona? (his cat)
Jonny: (laughing) Mona’s good. She was just in here a second ago because it’s almost time for her dinner. They have an amazing accuracy as far as with telling time.
Traci: She knows what time it is! You’re playing at the Tiki Bar this weekend, and back when I lived in Costa Mesa in the 90s, that place was there. That’s like forever ago!
Jonny: Yeah, isn’t that amazing?
Traci: That’s huge, extra-long life for a bar!
Jonny: I know, right?
Traci: So you’re playing there this Saturday with Lovebombs.
Jonny: Yeah, that’s Julian, Mike’s son’s band.
Traci: What are you going to be playing? Are you playing your solo stuff?
Jonny: Yeah, I’m doing just the solo stuff in my record.
Traci: We’ll talk about Social Distortion here in a minute, but what have you been working on?
Jonny: Not much. Playing some shows, doing material from “Salvation Town” [his solo album]. I haven’t been writing or anything. I’ve mostly been kind of practicing guitar because I had to take some time off earlier in the year because I had an injury. I’m trying to get my stamina back. I mean, it’s pretty much back, but I’m trying to maintain it and get back to where I was.
Traci: (guitar music in background) I hear you doing something now that sounds good.
Jonny: Yeah, I’m just noodling.
Traci: You also had a tour guide shift at the Punk Rock Museum in Las Vegas this summer.
Jonny: Yeah. That was interesting. I will be back at the end of the year.
Traci: What was your favorite thing in the museum?
Jonny: I would say it was the cutout – I don’t know what you call it – but the cutout thing of Gabby. [Mike “Gabby” Gaborno, front-man of Cadillac Tramps, who sadly passed in 2017].
Traci: Were you comfortable being a tour guide?
Jonny: Surprisingly, I was much more comfortable than I thought I’d be. But I didn’t realize that I was taking too long on the tour, so each tour was, like, three hours, and I think you only have to do it for maybe two or even less. (laughing) I was really kind of exhausted at the end of the day after doing those.
Traci: You said you are going to do it again this year?
Jonny: The end of December; December 29, December 30, and December 31.
Traci: Besides falling in love with your cat by stalking your socials, I saw that you interact a lot with the fans, and I thought that was very cool of you.
Jonny: It’s just fun, you know, to engage a little bit.
Traci: You also reposted the video of Mike singing. Can you share any updates with us?
Jonny: Just he’s in the middle of his radiation treatments right now. He’s about halfway done, I think, and it’s going well, but that stuff’s hard.
Traci: Once he gets better, then you guys will reconvene and see where you’re going from there?
Jonny: Yeah, absolutely. For sure.
Traci: What else is on the agenda for you?
Jonny: I’m thinking about recording some new material of mine. I’ve got some songs that I recorded a few years ago already that never got released, and so I might record a few more and put something out. I don’t know. Might as well, right?
Photo by John Gilhooley
Traci: How do you get inspired to write songs?
Jonny: There’s all kinds of different inspirations, and there’s all kinds of different ways to connect with it. But for myself, I find that I have to be really engaged in it every day. For me to be able to take notice of things that inspire a song or an idea or lyrics, I have to have my brain sort of in tune with that at all times. During those periods where I’m not, I don’t get any ideas for songs, really. But when I’m picking up the guitar every day and I’m working on material, maybe I’ll start by trying to finish some songs that are unfinished, and I just kind of get into that mode, and then I start to see things and my imagination kicks in.
Traci: Anything we should know about Saturday?
Jonny: No, I’m just looking forward to the show. I think I would anticipate a pretty fun night. It’s been fun playing lately and seeing lots of old friends. It’s been cool. So I’m having a good time with it. I actually didn’t do any of this solo stuff for a few years, not for any particular reason; I just kind of just put it down for a while. So it’s fun. I’m having a great time and really love the people I’m playing with, too. The band that’s playing with me is really great players; they’re great people. Warren [Renfrow], the bass player from Cadillac Tramps and Manic Hispanic is playing. David Hidalgo, Social D’s drummer is playing and our friends The Mastersons, Chris and Eleanor Masterson are playing too, and they been with Steve Earle for years. So I’m just really having a great time playing with these people.
Traci: It sounds like it will be a fantastic night. Enjoy!