Social Distortion

Social Distortion

November 8th, 2012 by Casey Phillips in Life Entertainment

Social Distortion

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IF YOU GO

* What: Social Distortion featuring Lindi Ortega and Biters.

* When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13.

* Where: Track 29, 1400 Market St.

* Admission: $28 in advance, $30 at the door.

* Phone: 521-2929.

* Venue website: www.track29.co.

* Related links at current.timesfreepress.com.

DISCOGRAPHY

1983: "Mommy's Little Monster"

1988: "Prison Bound"

1990: "Social Distortion"

1992: "Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell"

1996: "White Light, White Heat, White Trash"

1998: "Live at the Roxy"

2004: "Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll"

2011: "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes"

When Johnny Wickersham joined Social Distortion in 2000 following the sudden death of longtime guitarist Dennis Dannel, the hardest part wasn't standing out but blending in.

"I wasn't a good rhythm guitar player at all, and I didn't know that," he said, adding that an early conversation with founder and frontman Mike Ness was eye-opening. "He said to me one time that if there's no groove, there's no song, and that's very much the truth."

In the 30 years since Ness founded Social Distortion in Los Angeles and began creating his signature blend of punk rock with traces of roots music, helping new members assimilate has become an all-too-frequent activity. As a result of numerous shifts and upheavals, the band has featured about 20 musicians, mostly new bassists and drummers, with Ness as the group's sole constant presence.

The lineup that will take the stage at Track 29 on Tuesday, Nov. 13, has been together for about a year since the addition of drummer David Hidalgo Jr. Wickersham said fans at Track 29 can expect a set list that samples the band's entire discography, from crowd favorites such as "Story of My Life" and "Ball and Chain" to newer releases such as "Bakersfield" and "Machine Gun Blues."

Despite its fluid membership, Wickersham said Social Distortion is in a constant state of maturation. In the 12 years since he was brought in, the band has released a pair of well-received albums, "Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll" (2004) and "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes" (2011). These marked a return to form many critics found surprising after a six-year hiatus from the studio and the loss of Dannel, the group's only other founding member besides Ness.

Wickersham said he has long since slotted himself comfortably into Social Distortion, overcoming his concerns with filling the hole left by Dannel. With another album potentially on the way by the end of next year, he's as excited as ever by the band's direction.

"I feel like we're just getting better and better at doing what it is that we do and learning what that is and honing in on it," he said.

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @Phillips CTFP.