A Minute With: Social Distortion's Mike Ness on travel

Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:57pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mike Ness is the sole remaining original member of Social Distortion, the southern California rockabilly punk band that rose to prominence during the 1980s.

The group turned June Carter Cash's "Ring of Fire" into a staple of rock radio, and Ness' hardscrabble youth inspired such hits as "Story of My Life" and "Prison Bound."

Social Distortion's first album in more than six years, "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes," recently debuted at No. 4 on the U.S. pop chart, the highest ranking in the band's career. The road warriors will begin a U.S. tour in Albuquerque on Tuesday, and then hit Europe for the summer festivals.

Ness, 49, the band's singer/songwriter/guitarist, recently spoke with Reuters about the joys of travel, the tough economy and his relief at no longer being like Charlie Sheen.

Q. You travel so much for your job, do you ever travel for fun?

A. Yeah, now that the kids (Julian 19, Johnny 14) are growing up I look forward to traveling with my wife (Christine). Now it's time for us, I guess. We spent years raising children and now you have to start thinking about the second half of your life.

Q. What are your dream countries or dream cities?

A. I recently went to some places for the first time. I went to Australia for the first time, really enjoyed that. I fell in love with Argentina, particularly Buenos Aires. I get to see some of these places when I'm traveling for work. Then I think, Oh man we need to come just when I'm not working. Especially when you get to some of these older countries, then you really get into the history. You realize how young the United States is and how immature we are!   Continued...

<p>Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness peforrms at X-treme Radio's "Our Big Concert 6," a day-long music festival at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 17, 2003. REUTERS/Ethan Miller</p>