Like any 31-year-old punk crew that's spent a good chunk of its life in the gutter, rocking recklessly, shooting heroin, looking for love, and breaking the law, Social Distortion has a pretty messed-up face.
Obviously, we don't mean that literally; Social D's middle-aged frontman Mike Ness is surprisingly well-preserved, despite a receding hairline and some deep creases across the forehead. Rather, we're talking about the fact that the band itself looks almost nothing like the newborn it was back in 1979.
Originally, there were four members: Ness, guitarists Rikk and Frank Agnew, and drummer Casey Royer. But that only lasted about a year. When the frontman suddenly brought in Dennis Danell to play bass (even though he couldn't actually play), his three co-founders - both Agnew brothers and Royer - quit to start up the Adolescents.
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That mass exodus marked the first major rearrangement of the band's facial features. But an almost endless series of makeovers would take place through the '80s, '90s, and 2000s, seeing a little less than twenty people fill space with Social D. And in all that time, the only other constant aside from Ness was Danell and he'd die at 38 from a brain aneurysm in the winter of 2000.
So today, Ness remains the lone recognizable part of Social Distortion's craggy punk mug. But sometimes if you drop into the pit, close your eyes, and throw some elbows, the noise still sounds the same.
Social Distortion with Lucero and Frank Turner. Saturday, November 13. Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $28, plus fees. Visit ticketmaster.com.