Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness tells Billboard.com he hopes to have the band's first album following the 2000 death of guitarist and co-founder Dennis Dannell out before the end of the year. "We
Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness tells Billboard.com he hopes to have the band's first album following the 2000 death of guitarist and co-founder Dennis Dannell out before the end of the year. "We got a lot of songs," says Ness. "And we're at the stage right now where it's a matter of narrowing it down to the best 15 and then finishing them. Most of them are arranged already, but they need to be finished with lyrics."
Founded in 1979 in Orange County, Calif., by high school friends Ness and Dannell, Social Distortion has seen various line-up changes. However, the forthcoming, as-yet-untitled album will be the first without Dannell, who fell dead of a brain aneurysm in the driveway of his Orange County home two years ago at age 38.
Ness says he's not sure what label the new album will show up on -- since the band's last label, Time Bomb, is now defunct. "We've put 'em out on our own labels before," he says. "We're gonna pay for the record ourselves, so we'll have a finished product. That's almost what we did with Time Bomb. Worst-case scenario, it's not hard to get a [pressing and distribution] deal with someone. We're open-minded to shopping around, too. But we realize now that we can make it on our own, and we don't need a big corporation behind us."
Roughly two months after Dannell's passing, Social Distortion -- with former Cadillac Tramps and U.S. Bombs guitarist Johnny Wickersham sitting in -- headlined a sold-out tribute to Dannell at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre in Orange County. After sets by TSOL, Pennywise, Agent Orange, a reformed X, fellow O.C. locals the Offspring, and others, Ness and company took the stage for a thrilling set that featured an emotion-drenched tribute to the guitarist, "Don't Take Me for Granted," which Ness wrote for his friend.
"Dennis was the moral support of the band," Ness says. "He wasn't in the band because he was a hot guitar player. He was in the band because he was one of my best friends."
Social Distortion and the Offspring will team again to play skateboard legend Tony Hawk's Boom Boom HuckJam, set for April 27 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The event will feature exhibitions from fellow skateboarders Bob Burnquist, Bucky Lasek, Andy MacDonald, and Lincoln Ueda; BMX bikers Dave Mirra, Mat Hoffman, Dennis McCoy, Kevin Robinson, and John Parker; and freestyle motorcross riders Carey Hart, Dustin Miller, Mike Cinqmars, and Clifford Adopante.