Social Distortion is a band that has gone from the Orange County punk scene in the late ’70s to one of the most recognizable punk bands the world over. For over 30 years, they’ve built a loyal following wherever their music has reached, Salt Lake being no exception. Mike Ness and the boys have never had any trouble selling out shows in our fair city, which is why SLUG reached out to you, our readers, via Facebook and Twitter, to submit the questions you’ve always wanted Ness to answer. Never ones to let us down, you came up with some terrific inquiries that evoked some interesting responses from Mr. Ness.
Daniel Walters: Are your lyrics based on personal experiences?
Ness: I’d say 100 percent of my lyrics are from personal experiences. I do write fiction and non-fiction, and I do like the element of imagination, but all of my songs start from stuff that I’m going through or
have gone through.
Aud Jane: What do you do when you find yourself in a creative slump?
Ness: Usually, I just start listening to music I like, but I’ve learned that the trick is to not stop writing, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do. In the past, when we’ve finished a record, we’d switch to tour mode and press mode, and you kind of close that creative door. I’ve realized, this time around, to try and keep that open, and I saw that there was an overflow of songs that didn’t make the record, not because they weren’t great, but they just didn’t get finished or were more suited for the next record.
Jennifer Price: Do you have any plans for more solo material?
Ness: Well, I can tell you that there’s good news and bad news. The good news is I have about 11 songs written and ready to go. The bad news is, in order to do that, I have to stop doing Social Distortion, and right now we’ve got a great momentum. The last record came out only a year ago, and I really want to shock everybody and not wait so long between records. I really appreciate our fans that have been patient between records, and I don’t want to take that for granted. Now I’ve got my own studio, so there’s no excuses. I can come here and write a few days a week, no matter what.
Vincent Bagheera Zalkind: What is it like being a family man and a father in a punk band?
Ness: I’m older and wiser now, and I’ve learned to look at things in the positive, not just the negative. When I was young and angry and in a punk rock band, it was so easy to write about all the negative things I saw. Now, I think it’s important to balance it out and write about uplifting things as well. I’m still plenty angry, but I’m also optimistic.