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California Social

Social Distortion. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Old school California punk band Social Distortion, together since the late-`70s, has, over time, and not unlike The Clash, adopted the patina of classic rock from their era. But stopping at terms “punk” or “classic rock” sells Social D a little short, ignoring classic albums like White Light, White Heat, White Trash or hits like “Ball and Chain,” albums and songs that blend John Steinbeck’s tone of California class struggle along with Johnny Cash’s outlaw-country mythology. In fact, one of Social Distortion’s best-known tunes is a cover of Cash’s classic “Ring of Fire.”

These days, Social Distortion front man Mike Ness says he’s always writing, but he tells EW he’s in no rush to release an album just for the sake of it. “I’ve been in the process of writing for a few months now,” Ness says. “My goal is to get a record out soon. But I want this album to be, frankly, the record of our career. I’ve never been one to put one out ‘just because’ The writing process never really stops.” Ness says he “plays new songs” live “until they’re finished.” 

As always, Ness feels his inspiration is personal experience and painful memories. “My journey into being a man, now well into my 50s, and why Social Distortion happened,” he explains. But Ness says he’s also begun to write politically. “That’s something that’s become a big part of my life,” he explains. “I like to write songs that make people think.” 

Social Distortion returns to Eugene alongside Jade Jackson 8 pm Monday, March 20, at McDonald Theatre; $35, all-ages.