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Social Distortion: "Hitler was a drag queen." ~ Mike Ness

House of Blues - cdhicago, IL, USA - June 22, 2001

by Adam Bielawski

Social Distortion photo by Adam BielawskiMommy's Little Monster was the opening set for the multiple sold out shows dates at the House of Blues in Chicago. Many ask, "how the hell is Social D able to sell out three nights at the HOB with almost no tour publicity." Well they did it, and will continue. The loyal base of Social Distortion fans will not have it any other way. HOB was packed, sweathy and hot. The weather in Chicago during the week reaching temperatures in the 90's, which were only worse in-doors. With several hundred punk rockers, young and old. You would think today that the likes of mohowk wearing punks were a thing back 20 years ago, however the dance in the mosh pit watching the punks wear their colors proud. Aside from the flamboyant punkers you had the traditional Social D hard core greased back 50's style fans mixing with the rest of us. Tension could be felt with anticipating SD fans ready to hear the punk rock and rockabilly melodic sounds of the one and only Mike Ness and Social Distortion. Consisting today of John Maurer on Bass, Charlie Quintana on drums, Johnny Wickersham on guitar. Coming out dressed in black and wearing a brim hat, that is Mike Ness. Full power as the new punks moshed in the pit of the House of Blues. Leading right after Mommy's Little Monster straight into the classic history song, "1945."

The tattooed Mike Ness welcomed all to the show and introduced some new songs of what Social Distortion is all about. Around for 24 years, where their beginnings in Orange County, California started in a garage. Mike Ness and Social D did it their way and it was a fitting introduction into a new song called ?I Don?t Follow?, immediately followed by another called ?Angel Heart?. As the fans listened the mosh pit held up a bit to intake the new music that was coming from Social D. The music made up of simple chords that output pure rock and roll. Songs that you can sing along and possibly even associate with at times. Life is not that easy, seems to be the theme of many of the popular catalog of Social D. The basics of hitting the hard road and seeing live pass you by as you are born to loose. That is what much of Social D has been over the years, but things change and people mature, Mike Ness even feels that life is worth living today.

Supporting the hanging logo, which has been the trademark of Social D; a skeleton with a martini glass made the background behind the drum set. A life long prominent visual face of Social Distortion. Since their debut with "Mommy's Little Monster" in 1983 the band had a few line up changes and recordings between albums lasted nearly 5 years. A follow up to "Mommy's Little Monster" was "Prison Bound," released in 1988. After a long hard fight with heroin addiction by Mike Ness himself. Kicking the habit and jumping back quickly in 1990 with a self-titled release with the popular hit "Ball and Chain." During this time many screamed that Social D Sold Out but we heard this many times before as individuals grow and mature in their arts.

Mike Ness spoke with the fans about the times he had and the many years of Social Distortion. Bringing up the youngest of the new SD fans out of the audience from all 3 nights. Proving to everyone that old school meets new school and as long as new fans continue to grow, so will Social Distortion. Presenting the youngsters that ranged from the age of 10 - 14. This was the intro to the new titled song that we might see in the new album sometime in 2003.

Dee Dee RamoneStopping to dedicate a song for departed Dennis Danell, life long friend of Mike Ness, guitarist from the inchoation of the band. Dennis died at 38 at the end of February of 2000. Mike Ness stated, "Remember to tell the ones you love, cause they may not be there tomorrow," the intro to a the song called "Don't Take Me For Granted." Unfortunately, this was not the only dedication, a reminder of departed Ramones members was the song "Blitzkrieg Bop", Dee Dee Ramone departing in the early June of 2002 and Joey Ramone who departed in April of 2002.

What would be a punk rock show with out a couple of fans getting a bit out of hand? Thursday and Friday night brought just that, as several fights broke out by young ladies in the audience. Unfortunate injury did occur and no one wants to see things like this happen, the security at the House of Blues contained the incident quickly and the show continued to rock the house. No one likes to see injury and enjoyment of all because an elbow comes at you on accident and maybe someone sees it differently. We must think before acting aggressively.

Twisting the final songs of each night, making each night unique at a Social D show. "Ring of Fire" a very popular hit and brought the punk rockers to full tilt as the old fifties song played. Originally conceived by the one and only Johnny Cash, and to mention others like Elvis, proved that there is not race in music, the love of music brings us all together. "Round and round she goes" and Social Distortion continues to punk, rock and roll.