Sunday 20 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Anger management

Anger management

Social Distortion leader Mike Ness may have grown up, but his legendary punk band remains 'Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell.'

Phil Bacharach May 2nd, 2012

Social Distortion with Toadies and Lindi Ortega
6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Diamond Ballroom
8991 S. Eastern

Mike Ness has been guilty of many things — more than he’d like to remember, or even can remember — but holding back on his emotions isn’t one of them.

As the singer, guitarist and all-around force behind the three-decades-strong punk band Social Distortion, the man has summoned plenty of personal demons in hard-charging, college-radio hits like “Ball and Chain” and “Story of My Life.” He had no shortage of material to draw from: kicked out of his home at age 15, self-destructive hell-raising, a lengthy battle with heroin addiction.

But even angry young punks grow up. Ness, who turned 50 last month, has been clean for more than 25 years. Married and with two teenaged sons, the guy who once sang that he was “Born to Lose” is chums with Bruce Springsteen. Ness still might boast the tattoos of his youth, but he is glad to admit he’s no longer mired in its darkness.

“I’ve changed a lot since then, and become older and hopefully wiser and more mature,” he said. “There are still things that make me angry and there are plenty of things to write about, but it’s not only the angry stuff anymore.”

Ness was determined to prove that with Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, Social Distortion’s first studio release since 2004. The group’s trademark sound remains evident, a roar of muscular guitars and barrel-chested hooks, but the tracks don’t necessarily sound as if you’ve stumbled into a punk-rock confessional.

“I didn’t want to get pigeonholed into any one set style of writing.” he said, adding that in Hard Times, he unshackled himself of the constraints of autobiography. The result, Ness said, was a song like “Sweet and Lowdown,” in which the band offers a surprisingly upbeat take on being dumped.

“Because I didn’t put only myself into it, it became very tongue-in-cheek — a satirical look at that lifestyle instead of just being more serious,” he said. “It makes it a lot more fun because it’s not only about me.”

Even so, the personal nature of his lyrical concerns always have wielded universal clout.

“I would say the most common thing I hear, it doesn’t matter where I’m at, is that, ‘Your music really got me through some hard times,’” said Ness. “Part of me doesn’t know how to respond to that, but the part that does, I just reply, ‘Me, too.’”

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