Help the stranger for it might be God, Jesus, or the Devil. If the devil is mad at you where else do you have to go? – Mike Ness
Article By by Kenneth Partridge
After 30 years and six studio albums — seven, if you count the one he’s recording now and hopes to release by the end of this year — Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness has forged an ironclad public persona. He’s a sensitive tough guy, a poetic guitar slinger, Bruce Springsteen with a criminal record.
As the punk legend tells Spinner, however, he’s more than just the person he portrays in his songs and plays onstage.
“My writing and my stage stuff, that’s just one side of me,” Ness says, calling from a payphone in Southern California. “There are so many others people don’t know — being a vegetarian, my spiritual beliefs. There are dimensions to anybody.”
Since forming Social Distortion in Orange County, Calif., in 1979, Ness has specialized in down-and-out tales of heartbreak and regret. Whether he’s reflective (see: ‘Don’t Take Me for Granted’ from 2004’s ‘Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll’), resigned (see: ‘Born to Lose,’ from 1992’s ‘Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell’) or just plain riled up (check out any of Social D.’s albums), Ness sings like a man who’s been around and seen some things.
So, is that character, the inked-up tough with the heart of gold, an accurate reflection of the real Mike Ness?
“I try to keep it as near as possible,” Ness says. As a result of his lyrical frankness, he says, people he meets sometimes think they know him, and some feel compelled to act a certain way in his presence. Case in point: a former neighbor who would become instantly more vulgar whenever Ness was around, cursing like a sailor to win his approval.
“It just changed,” Ness says. “I was like, ‘Who are you?'”
Although Ness’ songs are autobiographical, and many of the struggles he sings about are rooted in reality, he likes to keep part of himself hidden. He’s not about to challenge John Mayer for Twitter supremacy, in other words.
“You don’t need to know that my favorite show is ‘Everybody Hates Chris,'” Ness says.
Article Source: Spinner.com