Social D

Can Social Distortion be given punk rock icon status yet?

Mike Ness, who formed Social D in 1978, has survived drug problems, legal problems and numerous lineup changes and is still rocking strong today.

Social Distortion plays tonight at the Saltair.

Though they started off as a hardcore punk band from Southern California, Ness introduced more rockabilly, blues and cowpunk styles over the years. Ness’ own influences range from the Sex Pistols to Johnny Cash. The result is crossover mainstream success with such songs as “Ball and Chain,” “Story of My Life,” “Bad Luck” and a remake of Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

In a 2006 interview I did with Ness, he talked about his hobbies outside of playing guitar in a rock band: classic cars and collecting retro memorabilia. Ness likes to frequent flea markets and antique stores whenever he travels, looking for “tin toys and hot rod stuff from the ’30s and ’40s.” And apparently Salt Lake is a gold mine for tin toys.

“It’s an antique town. We come in and hit the antique shows and flea markets out there. I’ve got a couple of shelves of stuff from Salt Lake on them,” he said.

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