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Interview:
Social Distortion continues to rock at its own pace
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Social Distortion will turn 25 next year, but don't count on the California punk rock group to throw a big party.

And, in fact, it might not even be in functioning mode.

During its tenure the group has taken a pair of hiatuses and put long gaps between its albums; this year's "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes," in fact, comes seven years after its predecessor, "Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll." And guitarist Jonny "2 Bags" Wickersham knows better than to predict a quick follow up.

"We definitely want to try to get a record out -- but not right away," says Wickersham, 44, who joined Social Distortion in 2000 after playing in the band U.S. Bombs. "I really think the fact that we haven't put out records on a super-regular basis has sort of been a asset because each time there is a record there's been some anticipation built up.

"And more importantly is the fact we've been able to evovle and grow and change a litlte bit from the last record. IF we wer eto put out a record every 18 months...I think you need a little bit more time than that to come up with something a little bit new."

That can have its own pitfalls, of course. Despite strong critical reviews, some longtime fans have slammed the more sonically polished approach of "Hard Times...," which annoys Wickersham and his bandmates.

"If you're playing music your whole life, you want to improve, right?" says the guitarist, who's working on a solo album he hopes to release in 2013. "You want to make it better and better and better. I think to make a record that sounds (bad) just to be 'credible' is a bad idea. That's like trying to pretend we're still running around in the gutters, doing the same (stuff) as when we were growing up.

"And we're not doing that now, so why should we front like we are? We're NOT gonna front like that, even if some people want us to."

Social Distortion, Linda Ortega and the Biters perform Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are sold out. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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