"Sex, Love and Rock'n'Roll" (Timebomb; 2004)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

If you were into the punk scene of the 80s, then you know who Social Distortion are. For those who need a brief introduction, I’ll provide one: Mike Ness is the front man who brought his style of punk and his songwriting ability to those who were hungry for the punk scene during a time when Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains ruled the streets.

Although Social Distortion has had a revolving door of talent, Mike Ness has remained the sole continuing member since 1978. He reportedly let heroin take over for awhile and Social D disbanded in 1985. Later, Mike got his act back together and the band regrouped in 1986. From there they refined their sound and produced punk with a blues and rockabilly sound. I remember hearing their song “Ball And Chain,” from their 1990 self-titled disc, but I didn’t pay them much attention then. Years later, I was humming their tune when someone remarked that they loved Social D, too. It was then I started hunting for their discs anytime I was near a bunch of scratched bargain jewel cases.

This release is the first with guitarist Jonny “2 Bags” Wickersham since Dennis Danell passed away in 2000; Dennis was one of the founding members and helped to establish the band's sound. This project took awhile to release because Mike Ness took some time for himself and put out two solo albums in 1999. “Sex, Love And Rock'n'Roll” was their first disc in eight years since “White Light, White Heat, White Trash.”

The country influences and rockabilly sound are very prominent on this disc. I’ve been a fan of Jason and The Scorchers for years so this music is right up there with them. I don’t know many people who like Social D because they seem to be such an underground band because of their music and, let’s face it, this stuff isn’t that poplar to people who don’t know any better. Please enlighten those misguided teens in your path.

Mike Ness has a perfect voice for this type of music. The guitar has fiery little blasts of genius and the rhythms keep tight with the drums. The guitar solos are sharp and to the point, there’s no posing here and fans would surely lynch anyone who dared to take this music too far from its roots.

If you’ve lost touch with Social D or haven’t ever heard of them because you’re just not paying attention to their references in movies or advertising, give them a chance. You might like what you never got to hear.

Social D: Mike Ness – guitar, vocals; Jonny “2 Bags” Wickersham – guitars; Brent Harding – bass; Charlie Quintana – drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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