When Social Distortion head greaseball Mike Ness first transformed from an eyelinered Orange County punk into a coiffed-up Johnny Cash disciple (on the 1988 album Prison Bound), the stance might have seemed a little contrived. But umpteen years and quadruple-umpteen tattoos later, his grizzled hard-luck persona is every bit as genuine as any hollow-bodied hellraiser of yore. Yeah, Social Distortion has only released one album in the past decade (2004's Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll), and it's a miracle that Ness can even pick up a guitar after the mess of heroin jags and bareknuckle brawls he's lived through not to mention the deaths of four band members since 1993. Hell, lesser men would be broken by the pain of those tattoos alone.
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