Have you ever had a scandalous relationship?
SOCIAL DISTORTION - MIKE NESS (Social Distortion)
It's going well for SOCIAL D. The Californians released a great album in 2004 with 'Sex, Love & Rock'n'Roll', which got them bombastic reviews all over the world, and are now touring - at least eight years after the last tour! - around the globe. In Germany: everything is sold out and pretty hectic ... Nevertheless, Mike Ness, the troupe's charismatic singer, finds the time to face our 'slightly different interview' after the soundcheck in Bielefeld.
Mike, what was the stupidest thing you've ever done?
“I ran away with a soccer ball - during a game ... That's the first thing that comes to mind. And once I wrote myself an apology for school: 'Please excuse my son Mike's absence yesterday, he had a fever of 49 degrees.' Wasn't very effective. "
Have you ever played a really bad prank on someone?
“Ahhhhhhhhh ... Jesses! I have to think hard here. It will take a while. Maybe I'll come up with something later, first ask something else. "
(At this point - we are sitting outside on a bench - various tattooed rock'n'roll fans are already pushing each other ten meters apart, waving posters and tickets that they would like Mike to sign.)
Has a fan annoyed you so much that you almost knocked him out?
“Oh yeah, man, that happens a lot. There was once a guy who was totally on drugs, he really clung to me, didn't let go of me and stared at me crazy. The male groupies are sometimes worse than the female. One of them really wanted me to sleep with his wife, and he literally offered her to me. Bizarre!"
What makes you proud
“It took me a long time to be really proud of something. I've always asked myself: is this or that just an ego thing, or can I really be proud of it? When I look back, I'm proud of social distortion - but most of all of my kids. "
Do you have any inferiority complexes?
“I hate hearing my voice when I speak. When I sing it's okay, but I hate my speaking voice. And sometimes I wish I didn't have all of these tattoos. I used to love them, so it was okay, but now it's almost cooler not to have one. Back then I didn't get it stung to belong somewhere, but to fall out of the ordinary. "
»Who would you like to spend the last day of your life with?
(Obviously desperate :) “Can I only choose one person? That is hard. Now when I say 'my wife' the kids get upset, and when I say 'the kids' my wife gets upset. That will not do."
If you had the famous three wishes, you would probably ...
»... call these simple things health, wealth and happiness. Everyone wants that - and happiness should definitely include love, because without love it doesn't work. "
Where do you want to live later - or have you already 'arrived'?
"Not really. We just bought a house, but I'd really like to live in Santa Barbara, one of the most beautiful places in California. One day we might be able to afford it ... There is space and beautiful nature. Where I live now, you can't have both at once, so that's a compromise for the time being. "
(The fans have moved closer in the meantime - Mike interrupts the interview and asks our Simon to send the people away. He wants to conclude this in peace, people want to understand, please. They also have.)
Are you more of a CD or vinyl freak?
“I have a very good vinyl collection, but to be honest, I haven't had a turntable plugged in for five years. So it's more like a CD. "
What about iPods? Are you into such technical small wonder inventions?
“Nah, I don't have one. I don't think they're so great, I don't know ... "
Speaking of which, what do you think is the most important invention that has ever been made? And don't ride my bike to me ...
“Hmm, yes then ... (grins). I would say: electricity, that's clear! Guitars, lights, recordings, it wouldn't work without it. And then: fire. "
Fire? That brings me to the boil. Can you cook well?
"I hate it! My wife is always upset with me, I am just too lazy. She cooks for us the whole week, and on Sunday, when she wants to do something different, I should cook: 'Why don't you get us a little something ready?' So in absolute emergencies: yes, but grudgingly. "
Do you have an idol
“Yes, my father. But sometimes it also helps not to know the idol personally. For example, if you think a band is good and then get to know them better and realize that none of them are so good guys, of course it's not so great. One of my idols is definitely Tom Petty. I haven't met him yet, and maybe it never will, but I think he's a very good and talented songwriter. "
Have you ever had to fire a manager?
“Nah, I've only had two managers in my entire career, and the first one was more of a babysitter and party organizer - that was in my wild days. But otherwise I've had the same for 20 years. It's different with tour managers, though, I've had quite a few. "
(We are interrupted again by fans who sign a poster and want a photo. Mike politely declines - he is now working here ...)
With you there was always a bit of unrest in the record company area - why?
“Actually, it has always been a battle between major and indie for us. We tried this major box and found that it wasn't for us. "
Some say that a bigger label can do more for you, so promos and sales, for example, should run better.
"Maybe, but in my opinion - and we were with a major for a while - a big company is a kind of last bastion of slavery: somehow you always owe them."
Well, things have evidently turned out well for you even without a major. (You can now see a lot of people in the background in front of the hall - and it's only half past four in the afternoon.)
What's your worst habit?
"Too much sugar in my coffee in the morning - and after the show I sometimes get hungry and still eat things at night."
You don't want to tell me that THAT are your wild vices?
(Embarrassed :) "And sometimes I smoke a cigar."
You can do that too, after all, it's not scandalous. And your greatest strength? Why do your friends like you
“Hmmm, maybe because I'm extremely consistent, very loyal, I have certain values like loyalty. I am very protective and can be a good guide, but I can also withdraw myself. "
Have you ever canceled a gig because the sound or the audience was wrong?
“I've wanted to do it many times, but I never have. The sound can be so lousy at times ... I canceled some shows because I was sick, but that never happened before 2004. I always played really sick. That's the way it is, you have to go through it. "
Which instrument is so bad that you would ban it?
"Jew's harp - I hate them."
Your worst rehearsal room?
“Uaah, there were a few. Back then there were those rehearsal rooms in L.A. that you could rent by the hour, and they were so poorly isolated that you could hear the band next to you almost better than your own boys. Not very effective. "
And the worst stage you've ever stood on?
“Oh dear, don't remind me - we'll have to play again! This ice rink in Pittsburgh, with acoustics and a sound like a toilet bowl! "
Do you sing in the shower
“Yeah, I'm a in-the-shower singer. I mostly sing old things, bluegrass or something. "
“Has your wife ever given you a choice: the music or me?
(Horrified :) "Of course not!"
How would you make our globe palatable to an alien?
“First I would squeeze him out as it would be with them, cozy, beautiful or dangerous, and see if they had any problems. And then maybe I would ask him if I could go to see him. "
Imagine you are stranded on a foreign continent - with no language skills or money. What would you do to survive
(Pleading :) “Could I get a guitar? Because if I had one, I could play for hot meals. But I'm a survivor anyway, I would think of something. "
How about you in the sports corner? More athlete or couch potato?
“I box a little and I do Bikram Yoga when I have the time. I never felt as strong after weightlifting and boxing as I did after Bikram Yoga. For me it's the combination: boxing and yoga, then I feel good. "
Which three albums would you take to a desert island with you?
(Like shot from a pistol) "Ramones, Road To Ruin, Rolling Stones, Exile On Main St., and something from the Carter Family."
If you were invisible for a day you would ...
"... let's see what our government is doing."
Artists and politics - how do you feel about them? Should an artist express themselves politically?
“It's important to have an opinion at all. That's the first time, that's where it starts. Where I live, in Orange County, people are pretty lazy and selfish: 'Oh, that doesn't concern me, I do what I want.' And these stickers with 'God bless America' excite me. I always think, you arrogant asshole, and what about the damned rest of the world? Not having an opinion is a crime. Social Distortion are not a very political band. But I do think that artists, musicians and everyone in the public eye has an influence on people, especially young ones. So I feel quite responsible. "
And at concerts, you also have a very clear view of G.W. Bush voiced.
“Yes, I am very frank about that. I am not waving any flag, but I am openly saying that people should vote. They shouldn't be influenced by the media, they should form their own opinion, read books and then vote, regardless of whether they are Democrats or Republicans. The main thing is that they have an opinion on the subject! "
Many of the US bands that come to Europe say the same thing and don't think the hurray patriotism of their compatriots is that fragrant either.
“Right now in the US, if you question the government or don't blindly follow all authorities, you are considered totally unpatriotic - which is totally against our constitution. A very embarrassing time. "
Which book do you read at the moment? You advise reading more.
“I'm a rotten reader. I wish I had attended school a little longer and learned better reading habits. Sometimes I start a book and don't read it to the end. Right now I'm reading two: one about the manipulation that the media exerts on us, and an educational book about parenting - maybe it will help my kids ... «
It must be cool for them to have a rock and roll daddy - maybe you're a little more patient with them than the average dad.
“Yes, on the one hand yes, but on the other hand I'm also very conservative. They are just realizing that I can be the coolest old man in the world, but only if they do what I told them to. You need rules. We didn't have any, my mom was a liberal and my dad was a redneck. Musically it was of course good: I saw the Stones AND Johnny Cash. Two extremes - I had to find my way myself. I grew up in an alcoholic household. My children should have it differently. "
Are you religious?
“No, but I would say that I am spiritual. I have problems with organized religions - but spirituality is good. "
So, Mike, we're through ...
“Shit, I still can't think of that prank thing. I'll think about it again, I promise! Maybe I'll play a trick on you too, haha, you never know ... "Bands:
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