Not only is Mike Ness known as a legendary member of the early Southern California punk movement with his band Social Distortion, he has also become a Rock ‘n’ Roll icon with an impactful career in music that spans four decades. Mike Ness is an artist that encompasses the true essence of an Americana Original, while continuing to hold firm roots in punk and glitter. Each step in Mike’s career has portrayed and encapsulated a variety of musical styles that reflect his soul, which is apparent on every record.
From early childhood, Mike did things his own way; while other children idolized athletes, presidents and actors, Mike found heroes in famous gangsters and guitar players. Ness was especially inspired by the roots of American music, with its radical, revolutionary attitude that pushed the status quo. Fueled early on by Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones, Woody Guthrie and Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mike adapted the American spirit of rebelliousness right away; this radical essence would become Mike’s calling card.
When Social Distortion began, Mike Ness was seventeen years old. The first albums are indicative of a young artist, acutely focused on the kind of music that was meaningful to him during that period. It was with uncompromising intensity that Mike brought a working class spirit to punk and challenged the England-born stereotypes of the emerging genre. Recognizing that the outcast nature of punk rock was similar in spirit to that of other dissatisfied groups, Ness began to identify his punk music with the working class.
Over the past 30 years, Social Distortion has all but trademarked their sound, a brand of hard rockabilly/punk that's cut with melodic, road-tested lyrics. Their searing guitars and locomotive rhythm section sound as alive today as they did in '82, only made more powerful with each year since, as are Ness's hard-luck tales of love, loss and lessons learned.
Mike's solo work also represents the full spectrum of all his influences.
Cheating At Solitaire and Under The Influences, Ness’s two solo recordings, incorporate the raw power and social relevance that has always marked his music, while embracing many of the defining styles in American rock and roll history. The work integrates punk, rockabilly, primitive rock and roll, country and blues while maintaining the energy that typifies Mike Ness: A passionate songwriter and storyteller, combining authenticity, depth, humanity and raw emotion into his profound lyrics. His symbolic style and allusive images have gained him loyalists of all generations.
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