Michael James Ness (born April 3, 1962) is guitarist, vocalist, and chief songwriter for the punk rock band Social Distortion. As of Dennis Danell's death in 2000, he is the only remaining original member of the band.
Ness was born in Lynn, Massachusetts and raised in Orange County, California. Kicked out of his fathers home in Fullerton at 15, he began involving himself in the punk rock scene. As a member of The Band Easter with Danny Dean, Chad Carrier and Korky Ollerton, Ness was the original owner of the one-bedroom apartment described in The Adolescents song "Kids of the Black Hole". The punk house was located in Fullerton, California in the 1980s. Ness founded Social Distortion in 1978, releasing the Mainliner/Playpen 7" record on Robbie Field's indie label Posh Boy Records in 1981. Two years later, they released the album Mommy's Little Monster (1983) on 13th Floor Records, which was owned by their manager at the time, Monk Rock. Ness was featured in the independent film Another State of Mind, which chronicled Social Distortion's first cross-country tour with Youth Brigade. Five years passed before Social Distortion released their next album, 1988's Prison Bound on the heels of Ness' recovery from drug addiction. Ness briefly was employed as a house painter and assistant speech therapist in an elementary school in the mid 1980s. Ness appeared in the band Easter from 1986-1988 and was in the music video for the songs "Slipping Away" and "Lights Out". In 1989, Social Distortion signed a deal with Epic Records and released three albums with that label: Social Distortion (1990), Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell (1992) and White Light, White Heat, White Trash (1996). The band left Epic Records after White Light, White Heat, White Trash (1996) and Ness formed Time Bomb Recordings, releasing Mainliner: Wreckage From the Past (a collection of old recordings and singles that were done in the early '80s), a re-issue of the long out of print Mommy's Little Monster, along with a re-issue of their second album Prison Bound, and Live at the Roxy (1998).
In 2003, Social Distortion recorded a live DVD called Live in Orange County at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California which was released in 2004 along with Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll, both of which were released on Time Bomb Recordings. These efforts marked the first recordings with a line up consisting of Ness on guitar and vocals, Wickersham replacing Danell on guitar, and Quintana on drums. It also consisted of songs co-written by Ness and Wickersham. This is the first time Ness collaborated with another songwriter since 1990s self-titled album, on which he and then bassist John Maurer wrote "Let it be Me". The band's lineup changed twice after Maurer left the band, just a month before the release of Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll. He was replaced by Operation Ivy/Rancid bassist Matt Freeman until early 2005 when current member, Brent Harding, joined as his replacement.
In February 2006, Ness broke his wrist while skateboarding in Las Vegas. Mike continued to perform vocals on the tour while TSOL guitarist Ron Emory filled in on guitar until Ness' wrist healed. On January 18, 2007, former Social Distortion bass player Brent Liles died after being hit by a tractor trailer truck. Ness dedicated a performance at the Anaheim House of Blues to him shortly after. Ness currently lives in Newport Beach, California. He is an avid collector of retro ephemera and hot rods, owning a 1954 Chevy and a 1936 Ford. In 2003 he founded Black Kat Kustoms with "long time hot rodder and builder" Don Nemarnik. Black Kat Kustoms is an expression of his love for hot rods, cats, bikes, and counter-culture clothing.
Despite earlier reports that the band would begin recording their next studio album by 2008, Social Distortion took a hiatus from touring and recording, when Ness was on tour with his solo band which composed of two current members of Social Distortion; Brent Harding and Jonny Wickersham. Also touring with Ness were Chris Lawrence on Telecaster and pedal steel guitar and Dave Raven on drums. In a July 2009 interview with Tarakany! Bad TV, Ness stated that Social Distortion is planning to return to the studio in December of that year or the beginning of 2010 to begin recording their new album. On May 17, 2008 Ness and his band were joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey for the encore. Songs played were "Misery Loves Company", "Ball and Chain", "If You Leave Before Me" and "I Fought the Law". On April 16, 2009 Ness joined Springsteen and the E Street Band on stage at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Songs played included Social Distortion's "Bad Luck" and Springsteen's "The Rising".
On May 18, 2009 Mike Ness and Social Distortion played a benefit show at the House Of Blues in Anaheim, California called "Rock to Recovery" and his son joined him on stage and played lead guitar for the song "Ball and Chain".
Want to find out what just a few of MIKE
NESS's tattoo designs & symbols mean?
Check out: Script Tattoos, Stars Tattoos, Flames Tattoos, Swallow Tattoos, Spider Tattoos, Spider Web Tattoos, Pin-up Girls, Rose, Love Tattoo Designs & Symbolism, Memorial Tattoos, Dice Tattoos.