Lindsey Best for AOL Well, it's over. The first weekend of Coachella has come…
- Posted on Aug 5th 2011 1:00PM by Joe Tacopino
Peter Wafzig, Getty Images
"By the mid-80s, at least in Los Angeles or the United States, I felt that punk rock kind of stereotyped itself," Ness tells Spinner. "And that's when I decided to start digging into my American roots to help find the sound that was gonna differentiate us from every other band."
Fronting the band since 1978, Ness has cultivated an American punk sound with strands of blues, rockabilly and country. He credits influences with helping to develop his approach.
"Basically it comes down to Hank Williams, Rolling Stones, the Ramones and Johnny Thunders," Ness says about his influences. "But you could always push it a little farther, or dig a little deeper."
Social Distortion's latest album, 'Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes,' relies more heavily on melody and texture than most punk records. After recording a few solo albums, one of covers songs, Ness was able to move the band forward into new territory.
"I wanted to push it. I wanted to be able to put this record on and immediately know that this wasn't just another Social Distortion record," Ness says. "It's not a departure but it's different. Obviously, I want to retain signature stuff that our fans love, and I think I achieved that."
The band added organs, an accordion and gospel vocals to its usual onslaught of rockabilly and hard-charging blues. It's a genuine addition to a long and storied career -- and whatever you do, don't try and tell Mike Ness that it's not punk rock.
"I remember, especially in the late '80s when we wanted to cover a Johnny Cash song, people were like, 'That's not very punk rock,'" Ness says.
"I just loved tearing down these stereotypes because if someone would have told Johnny Thunders he couldn't sing a song because it's not punk rock, he woulda broke that guitar right over your head."
Check out this clip of Social Distortion performing 'Prison Bound' as part of 'Guitar Center Sessions' on DirecTV and watch the full episode on the Audience Network at 10PM ET on Aug. 6.