Homage to Social Distortion, Johnny Cash at ‘The Dick’
June 29, 2007
Orange County’s finest tribute to the band Social Distortion, one night only with South Lake Tahoe guests Cash Only, a tribute to the late Johnny Cash at Whiskey Dicks Saloon Friday, July 6.
Here’s your social distortion: when the three founding members of Mommy’s Little Monsters decided the world was ready for a Social Distortion tribute band, they were eating – and drinking – at an Olive Garden. “We were at that restaurant I always seem to get jacked up at – Olive Garden on Beach Boulevard – we’d done a show the night before,” says the Mike Ness character, singer/guitarist Matt Stone.
“We’d played mostly Social Distortion songs,” interrupts the Dennis Danell guy, lead guitarist Mike Castillo.
“And then, he goes, ‘Tribute bands are so big right now – we could totally be a Social Distortion cover band.’ And I was like ‘Yeah,'” Stone says, finishing the thought. (They step on each other’s sentences a lot – something you could never imagine members of the real Social D doing without exchanging some really mean looks. Blue Steel!) And so they ran the idea by their bass player, Matt Walder; found a real drummer, Mike Taba, and began remaking themselves into one of the county’s seminal rock acts – abandoning any hope of ever performing their own material for a life of endlessly covering songs that maybe even Mike Ness hates now. They couldn’t wait.
“It’s an honor to be able to play someone else’s music. We’re representing something that’s bigger and greater than myself and we’re doing [it] the best we can do it,” says Stone, whose two favorite bands in junior high were Adam and the Ants and Social D. “I was that 13-year-old rebel, just exactly what Mike Ness talks about.” Stone is 35 now and, perhaps in keeping with his eighth-grade musical tastes, his other business venture is a pirate clothing company, Sea Wolf. He and Castillo say you can recreate the past – whether it’s your high school hit list or the story of Mike Ness’ musical life – and you must. It’s what the fans want.
“We try our best to give them the show they’ve seen so many times,” says Stone, a Newport Beach native, who like everyone in MLM was once in a band you’ve never heard of – in his case, Mini Storage. “They know every step he takes, how he plays his guitar, how he coils his pickups, what hats he wears.” So does Stone. Mike Ness is Social Distortion’s single iconic figure, since founding guitarist Dennis Danell died in 2000 from a brain aneurysm – and standing how he stands, wearing what he wears is every bit as essential as covering “Ball and Chain” and closing every set with “Story of My Life.”
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“He wears Doc Martens and Dickies, and he has several colors of Dickies – brown, black, gray,” the singer says. “And Black Kat Kustoms -the auto mechanic’s look. Very old school auto mechanic.”