At Five Point Amphitheater at 40th Anniversary Show
He was born Michael James Ness on April 3, 1962 in Lynn Massachusetts. Later that year hid family moved him to Orange County. Today he’s is an iconic musician and producer who is the lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the uber-punk band, Social Disortion.
Ness grew up as a teen roaming the streets of Orange County doing what most teenage boys do. During his early years, he was raised on blues, country and early rock n’ roll while finding himself falling in-and-out of trouble. As he drifted around Orange County, Ness gravitated and endeared himself to the local punk scene.
In the 80’s, Ness rented a one-bedroom apartment in Fullerton described as the punk-house in The Adolescents song “Kids of the Black Hole.” As a teen, Ness was inspired by song by The Sex Pistols, and formed Social Distortion in 1978 with Casey Royer.
They had their challenges, but in 1983 they hit it big with the release of the alum titled Mommy’s Little Monster. The namesake song literally explode dand set the band into the punkisphere.
It didn’t take long for Social Distortion to be recognized as a leader in the OC punk rock music scene. The band was featured in an indy documentary film called Another State of Mind. The film chronicled Social D’s first ill-fated cross-country tour with a band called Youth Brigade. The film is still considered a monumental moment in the evolution of punk rock.
In 1988, Ness released Prison Bound, the album content dealt with his recovery from drug addiction. In time, as most bands do, they took first of a few breaks and Ness worked on his first solo album, Cheating at Solitaire. The album produced another uber-hit for him, a Bob Dylan cover of “Don’t Think Twice.” That song again found a new set of fans for the new man in black, Mike Ness.
For Social Distorion they’ve had many ups and downs, but no more significant than the loss of childhood friend and band-mate Dennis Donnell. The loss almost put the band to rest, but in the end, Ness found redemption in himself and his music. The band has stabilized; and now they tour regularly with a constant nucleus of band-mates. TODAY, Social D is known for hits such as Story of My Life, Prison Bound, Ball & Chain, Mommy’s Little Monster, Bad Luck, Sick Boys, When She Begins, Ring of Fire (Johnny cash cover), Sometimes I Do, I Was Wrong, Reach for the Sky, Machine Gun Blues, etc etc. The list of hit songs just goes on and on.
NOW in 2020, the band is in the midst of the 40th anniversary tour as Social Distortion. No matter where he plays, he has fans that connect with him in every way imaginable. Ness is in good place and still calls Orange County home with his wife and children.