It was a surreal feeling to see Mike Ness and the members of Social Distortion on the red carpet last night next to the Music Box at Henry Fonda in Hollywood. As Social D faithful lined the street in front of one of Los Angeles most historic music venues, Mike and the boys took some time with press and photographers on the red carpet. Going into the event we couldn’t quite wrap our heads around why the punk rock icons were hosting such a formal event in conjunction with their record label Epitaph for the release of the Machine Gun Blues short film, but after talking with Mike Ness it all made sense- this was about family.
A short promo video for Machine Gun Blueshas been circulating for awhile now getting fans excited for the official release last night. In the teaser we are introduced to the current Social Distortion line-up and the characters they play in this 1930s inspired short music film. The Blood and Sorrow Gang (the name given to Social Distortion in the film) is made up of Brent “Rock” Harding, Dave “The Hammer” Hildalgo, Dan “Knuckles” McGough, Johnny “Two Bags” Wickersham, and of course Michael “Sick Boy” Ness.
We won’t spoil the video for you here, but we will say that its a great short film that creates an exciting back-story for the band’s latest single. Don’t take the film too seriously though, as Johnny “Two Bags” told us “We’re not actors or anything, we were just having fun!”. Well they hit the mark, because the video is both fun and engaging. The concept of the film fits perfectly into the Social Distortion brand which helps makes the characters seem believable and the music fitting. There is also a new character that is introduced in the film to the Social Distortion faithful, and that is one Johnny Rios-Ness who has an essential part in the short film. Hmm, Johnny-Rios Ness?
“Ya, that’s my son,” said Mike Ness in a statement to Rabbits Black. “You know it was just great to have my family be a part of my thing too- it wasn’t just me. He’s a part of it now. My other son will be a part of it eventually, he’s got to find his way around first, but I have big plans for him too.”
And that was what last night was really about, family and fun. On the red carpet, Mike made it a point to pose with both his musical and immediate family in separate and group shots. Ness was able to merge his immediate family into the Social Distortion family in an event that was unique for the band but stayed true to the reputation that they have built with over 30 years of music. The event didn’t feel like a promotion for the album, it felt like a celebration with family and friends. Even the loyal Social Distortion fans were invited to the party, getting tickets through various contests and giveaways for a chance to be at the premiere. They ate up the short film from their favorite band, cheering and following along to the events of the short story; and you just knew the band members were sitting back and smiling watching themselves on the big screen as well! The video received a great response from the fans on the floor of the Music Box, and once the band came on stage to perform some of their new songs from Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes and other classic hits, Social D was showered with the love and energy fans only give to hometown heroes. Social D, or maybe we should call them The Blood and Sorrow Gang as they are known in the short film, ripped through classic after classic, opening up the customary circle pit that is a constant at their shows. Towards the end of the set, Mike asked the crowd if they wanted to hear Machine Gun Blues one more time before the night was over. The crowd cheered with excitement, apparently not getting enough of the new single even with the short film premiere at the beginning of the night. Johnny “Two Bags” and Brent Harding obliged, strumming out the opening chords to the song as Ness stepped up to the mic stand to belt out the lyrics to the hard-hitting single one more time on the night. After playing their last tune, Ness thanked the crowd for a “special night” for him and the band. We have to disagree with you there Mike, “special” is an understatement.
We’ll have more pictures and quotes from the event soon,including an interview with Johnny “Two Bags”. You can catch the full video here: “Machine Gun Blues”