In late April of this year, we attended the red carpet video premiere for Social Distortion’s “Machine Gun Blues” music video. The short story music video was a media event unlike anything else the band has done in over 30 years in the business. During the event, we got to sit down with Johnny “2 Bags” Wickersham for a candid talk about the video, and where Social Distortion may be headed next musically. With the huge Irvine Amphitheater show coming up in October, we thought now was the perfect time to share this interview. See what Johnny had to say after the jump.Johnny “2 Bags” Wickersham has been the guitarist for Social Distortion for over 11 years now. That makes him one of the most senior members of the iconic band, but humility hasn’t been lost over the years. Johnny is one of the nicest guys around, and he has a fantastic insight into the world of Social Distortion that only a few posses. This interview took place on April 21st, 2011 at The Music Box Henry Fonda in Hollywood, CA.
RB: Where did the idea come from for this short-story version of “Machine Gun Blues”?
Johnny: Well I think we just set out to do a video initially and then it just kind of turned into this thing. It just went so well on shoot days and everything. There was a certain energy surrounding those two days that you could just tell it was going to be really cool. It turned into this, and this is nothing we anticipated but its been such a fun experience and we think it’s a cool way to share it with everybody.
RB: Did you guys talk about doing a video like this while writing Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes?
Johnny: We didn’t talk about doing any video or anything like this at all when we were working on the record, or before or even after. It was something that just came up as an idea and we ventured forth with it. We are all so stoked, because we got to do things we’ve never done! We are laughing about it right now, I got to see the final cut and I was just laughing at myself. “Look, he’s an actor!” I’m obviously not! It was an extremely uncomfortable thing for me to even try to do, but it was so fun.
RB: You’ve been in Social Distortion for a long time now, how long has it been exactly?
Johnny: It’s been 11 years, over a decade now.
RB: That makes you the senior member of Social Distortion behind Mike of course.
Johnny: Ya, it’s been awhile now!
RB: After 11 years in the band, what do you feel is next? Hard Time and Nursery Rhymes was a different sound for the band, maybe a little bit more like Mike’s solo project which you are involved in as well. Do you feel like Social Distortion is going more that route now?
Johnny: Well, that’s something you never know, you never know how we are going to feel. Mike may decide in a couple of years, he may want to make a fucking record that just kills it- as far as a real rock and roll album that is different than Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes. Hopefully we are never going to repeat anything we have already done, and I doubt Mike is going to want to make another White Light, White Heat, White Trash. But you never know, we may be listening to a lot of Dead Boys for awhile or something, and we may just say, you know, let’s make a record like this! At the same time, we’ve been kicking around the idea of doing an acoustic record for years, and its something we all really want to do. That’s the cool thing about being in this band- we can draw our influences from extremes, and it’s a whole landscape of stuff that I love, genuinely love. And I know everyone in the band feels the same way, we are all just such big music fans, of American music especially. It’s great to bring those aspects into the records, little by little. But of course we are going to make a Social Distortion record, always.
You can watch the short-story video for “Machine Gun Blues” below: