Social Distortion

Members: Mike Ness, Ron Emory, Johnny Wickersham, Brent Harding, Charlie Quintana

Active: 1978-1985, 1988-2000, 2001-present

Social Distortion (often known as Social D) is an influential punk rock band that formed in the late 1970s and is still together today. In the late 1980s they began to move in a more roots rock oriented direction, continuing in the 90s, and also began to include elements of grunge and cowpunk. Since their inception the band lineup has been a virtual revolving-door of talent, with many members coming and going, however frontman Mike Ness has remained. The band has remained silent three times, but never broke up.


The band was formed in late 1978 by frontman Mike Ness, inspired equally by British punk and older acts such as The Rolling Stones. They played with fellow Orange County, California bands such as the Adolescents, China White, and Shattered Faith as part of the nascent hardcore movement. Their music was fast, angry and energetic. In 1983 the band was featured in the seminal punk rockumentary Another State of Mind which was written, produced and directed by Peter Stuart and Adam Small (co-creator of "Mad TV"). In 1982, they released their debut, "Mommy's Little Monster".

Social Distortion broke up in 1985, due to Ness' drug habit and troubles with the law, which eventually resulted in an extended stint in a rehabilitation center, which would last for at least two years.

The band reformed when Ness would clean up his act and released of their second album Prison Bound in 1988 with newcomers John Maurer on bass and Christopher Reece on drums. The album was not commercially successful, but the title track found airplay by the Los Angeles, California radio station KROQ.


Social Distortion signed with Epic Records in 1989 and released their third album, simply titled Social Distortion, in 1990. The album included the singles "Ball and Chain" and "Story of My Life" and a cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire".

Their fourth album, Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell, was released in 1992. The album included two hit singles "Bad Luck" and "When She Begins". After the release of the album, drummer Christopher Reece left Social Distortion in 1993 and was replaced by Randy Carr. Randy Carr toured with the band and played drums on live performances until he left in 1995.

In 1995, Social Distortion released a compilation album, Mainliner: Wreckage From the Past, featuring pre-Mommy's Little Monster cuts. It contains two versions of "1945" and "Playpen" from their two indie labels 13th Floor and Posh Boy and also a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb".

The band released their fifth album, White Light, White Heat, White Trash, in 1996 featuring Danzig drummer Chuck Biscuits. The album included only one hit single "I Was Wrong", but from a commercial standpoint was their most successful record to date. The album also included a re-recording of "Under My Thumb" as a hidden track.


In 1997, Social Distortion left Epic Records and returned to Time Bomb Recordings for the first time in eight years. They released their first (and only) live album Live at the Roxy in 1998. Social Distortion went on hiatus again as Ness went solo releasing two albums, Cheating at Solitaire and one featuring song covers, Under the Influences in the following year.

Dennis Danell died on February 29, 2000 in his Newport Beach home after apparently suffering a brain aneurysm, now leaving Ness as the original remaining member of the band. There have been some rumors claiming that the band broke up again, following his death. However, the band regrouped and Dannell was replaced by current guitarist Johnny Wickersham. Biscuits also left during that time and was replaced by Charlie Quintana. The band has since then continued touring.

Since 1999, there were rumors of the follow-up to White Light, White Heat, White Trash and Ness was planning to release it in fall 2000, but nothing had surfaced until 2004.


2004 saw the release of the band's come back album Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll. Before the release of the album long-time bassist John Maurer left the band to stay with his family and was replaced by Rancid's Matt Freeman. He stayed until early 2005 and was replaced by current bassist Brent Harding.

In February 2006, Ness was seriously injured and broke his wrist in a skateboarding accident. He has since had his good friend TSOL guitarist Ron Emory to fill his place on guitar for the tour while he continues to sing for the band with his arm in a cast and sling.

There has been a word that Social Distortion is in the studio recording their follow-up to Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll, which is due for release in late 2006 or early 2007. According to an interview with Ness, he announced that the album may not be recorded until towards the end of 2006. The band played an unreleased song "Diamonds in the Rough" at a concert at Royal Oak Music Theatre in Royal Oak, Michigan on September 27, 2005 and Ness does not know if it will appear on the upcoming album. In January 2006, Ness also stated that there will be a greatest hits album and will contain some songs from the upcoming album.


1982 - Mommy's Little Monster

1988 - Prison Bound

1990 - Social Distortion

1992 - Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell

1996 - White Light, White Heat, White Trash

2004 - Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll


1998 -Live at the Roxy

2004 - Live in Orange County


1995 - Mainliner: Wreckage From the Past (1995) (EP of pre-Mommy's Little Monster material)

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