Punk Rock and Country have long shared a deep ethos that goes beyond any outward differences. While each genre may seem to be at opposite ends of the sonic spectrum, they are defined by an uncompromising adherence to doing things the “true” way and never backing down. Whether the stories of endless trials and thumbing your nose at authority rocket out of a distorted guitar or are picked on a steel-bodied acoustic, the two styles are more alike than surface listens can attest. And seminal Punk band Social Distortion has embodied the correlation better than anyone still playing today.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Social Distortion has grown from a band of young kids looking to make their mark on the Los Angeles Punk scene to mainstream stalwarts. And the group has done it the old-fashioned way: by grinding year after year and continuing to churn out bold and bombastic yet heartfelt songs.
Mike Ness, Social Distortion’s songwriter, vocalist and guitarist, is the heart of the band; he has kept the ship afloat through its myriad lineup changes and battles with his own inner demons, which he has overcome each time to start a new, brighter chapter. Ness’ gravelly delivery belies his emotive range as he channels Country greats of old, like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, through a deep and soulful croon. The music itself also bears more than a passing resemblance to the Country forefathers, but with increased speed and intensity injected into the normally plodding chords.
Time has been kind to Ness’s songwriting; the complexity has increased to coincide with the band’s age.
Mix the composite musicianship with Ness’ artful and continuously improving storytelling and it’s easy to see how Social Distortion was and continues to be proof positive that finding common ground in music is good, but forging your own path is even better.
7 p.m. doors Friday (Oct. 19). $39.50. Bogart's, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, bogarts.com.