Social Distortion’s Mike Ness On Coachella, Danny DeVito And Parenting

"So far, my highlight of Coachella was meeting Danny DeVito."
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“It was windy,” Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness told KROQ DJ Stryker when asked about performing at Coachella 2013 on the Sunday of the festival’s first weekend, when brutal winds and blinding sandstorms plagued the polo grounds. “I thought I was going to get blown off the stage. I liked it, though. It was cool.”

Ness, who is the epitome of cool, stopped by the KROQ Party House at Coachella for an exclusive and wide-ranging interview where he spoke on a host of subjects, like playing at the immensely popular desert festival for the first time.

“I’d never been,” the singer admitted to Stryker. “I’ve done hundreds of festivals across the world, but I’d heard (Coachella) always had a good vibe and was mellow, and it was good.

“I’m just a songwriter and singer,” Ness replied when asked how Social Distortion’s Coachella billing came to be. “Obviously someone approached someone, and yeah, it was a great idea. Technically, we’re off this year writing, but it’s an hour and half from home, and I was able to weasel a vacation out of it,” he laughed. “I’ve been in Palm Springs all week, bro, getting my desert on.

“Finding the health food stores, hit the outlets,” he added when asked how he spent the time between festival weekends. “My wife went crazy at Prada. She killed it. She got some cool sh**. It was all good. She deserved it.”

Ness talked about performing the 2013 edition of the annual rockabilly-themed Hootenanny festival and custom car show on July 6, saying that, “sometimes it’s nice to play outdoors in nature instead of just a dark, dank theater. I get to look at the cars and bikes, and once again, it’s close to home.”

A well-known custom car enthusiast and the founder of Black Kat Kustoms, he revealed that his latest project is a 1936 Ford.

The singer was particularly candid when conversation turned to parenthood, talking about his experience raising two boys.

“My older son is a lot like me, and that’s good and that’s bad, you know,” he said. “He got in trouble for a couple of years. Fortunately, having been through all that myself and coming out on the other side, he was able to (as well). The younger one’s just different. He saw what his brother did and decided he didn’t want to do that. He didn’t want to go to jail or do drugs.”

Ness went on to talk about his upcoming book, entitled Story of My Life after the popular Social Distortion song, which he said should be available in early 2014.

“It talks a lot about being ill-equipped to be a parent, and having to figure it out along the way,” he explained.  “(The book) starts at the beginning, but there are things in the book I hope will make people think.

“It’s been a pain in the ass. I would never want to do it again,” the Social Distortion frontman admitted of the book writing process. “You have to go back and revisit painful periods in your life. It’s funny that everything has been aligning itself in my personal life along with the writing of this book to where it’s like more is being revealed, and it’s not all good. It’s not all bad, but I hadn’t anticipated that. It’s not like writing songs. It’s been much more in-depth and personal.”

The interview took a much lighter turn, with Stryker hitting Ness with random questions about choosing dice over poker or blackjack (“dice is quick, and if you’re on fire you just keep rolling, take all their money and leave”), being a fan of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team and his favorite actor, which the singer revealed to be Robert DeNiro.

But it was another well-known thespian that got the tattooed singer really excited to talk about.

“So far, my highlight of Coachella was meeting Danny DeVito last weekend,” Ness smiled. “Dude, it’s always sunny in Coachella. I was almost leaving, and I saw some fan taking a picture and I made my manager stop to get a photo with him. I was a fan.”

-Scott T. Sterling, Radio.com

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