Lindsey Best for AOL Well, it's over. The first weekend of Coachella has come…
- Posted on Nov 5th 2010 10:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
Scott Legato, FilmMagic
"Whoever invented the idea of five days on, two days off -- he was an a--hole," Ness said, adding that calling out Friday would make for a three-day weekend.
"If your boss has a problem with it, tell him to call Mike Ness!" he said, standing like a boxer bracing for a punch, still sneering after all these years.
Ness' appeal for widespread shirking lead into 'Bakersfield,' one of several songs from the legendary California punk band's forthcoming seventh album, 'Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes,' due out in January on Epitaph. Social D songs come in two varieties, ragers and heartbreakers, and 'Bakersfield' is the latter. It's a rootsy ballad about on par with 'Footprints on My Ceiling,' from the group's last release, 2004's 'Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll,' and at one point, Ness sang of a "lonely truck stop," just the sort of place a Social D song should be set.
He introduced another new one, 'Still Alive,' as being "about survival," which was a bit redundant, since on some level, that's what all Social D songs are about. 'Sick Boy,' 'I Was Wrong,' 'Don't Drag Me Down': These and other Thursday highlights dealt with overcoming stigmas and intolerance and bad decisions -- especially bad decisions -- and finding some shred of redemption.
They're elemental ideas, and Ness -- backed by a band that includes guitarist Jonny "2 Bags" Wickersham, a member since 2000, and newbie drummer David Hidalgo Jr., the son of the great Los Lobos singer -- has the music to match. After opening the show with three spiky punk tunes from the group's 1983 debut, 'Mommy's Little Monster,' Ness switched to the punkabilly sound he invented on 1988's 'Prison Bound' and perfected with 1990's self-titled album.
That latter disc yielded the hit 'Ball and Chain,' Social D's best-known song and Thursday's biggest sing-along. In the line about spending all of his money drinking, he name-checked Manitoba's, the East Village bar owned by 'Handsome' Dick Manitoba of New York City punk legends the Dictators.
'Ball and Chain' is more country than punk, and over the years, Ness' Hank Williams and Johnny Cash affectations have grown increasingly pronounced. During the encore, the band used accordion and acoustic guitar to slow 'Cold Feelings,' formerly a brisk punk tune, to a creepy goth-Americana crawl.
He ended not with 'Story of My Life' -- a tale he must have figured he'd already told through the night's other songs -- but rather his version of Cash's 'Ring of Fire.' He dedicated it to Joey Ramone, without whom, he said, "there never would have been a Social Distortion."