Aidin Vaziri | Social Distortion is taking time out from working on its seventh studio album to welcome back the renovated Fox Oakland Theater with a one-off show just for the occasion on Friday. Naturally, the veteran Southern California punk band has a huge fan base in the Bay Area, thanks to enduring radio hits such as “Ball and Chain,” “Story of My Life” and an unparalleled cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” Calling from his Orange County home, front man Mike Ness tells us how the group managed to stick around this long without self-destructing and why it didn’t even think twice about agreeing to play at the venue’s grand unveiling.
Mike Ness of Social Distortion
Q: Did you think you would be doing this for 30 years?
A: No. We weren’t really supposed to live this long, but I’m glad I did. Death is so permanent.
Q: You almost didn’t. The band broke up in 1985 because of your drug addiction. How did you manage to survive the past 23 years without drugs?
A: My life was definitely better, of course. I went from the gutter to becoming a somewhat productive member of society.
Q: Did you have a good backup plan in case things didn’t work out?
A: Well, yeah, because in the very beginning I didn’t know if I could stay clean and do music, too. I had to get in a halfway house, and I had to get a job and make my bed and had a curfew. I painted houses for the first five years and at the same time did my first show at 30 days clean. I bought a tattoo, leather jacket and high-waisted pants. That’s when I learned I could do it. Continue reading.