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Rocker on a Roll

[whitespace] Mike Ness F. Scott Schafer

Man in Black: Mike Ness stormed the Catalyst July 31 with a set of rock & roll originals--and a handful of Social Distortion favorites.

Mike Ness greases up a Catalyst crowd

By Matt Koumaras

MOMMY'S LITTLE MONSTER Mike Ness made the music go bang in a razor-sharp set July 31 at the Catalyst. Ness' mellower tunes off of Cheating at Solitaire took consistent gambles that hit a cathartic jackpot. His awesome cover of Hank Williams Sr.'s "You Win Again" had everyone stealing Kleenex from each other's 501s during the "I love you still/You win again" fadeout ending. Ness' stoic phrasing on "Crime Don't Pay," a song he co-wrote with Brian Setzer, featured more rip-your-heart-out mantras: "Pour yourself a drink now; make it a double/and chase it with all your tears." The cranked-up, crude and lewd ode to escapism, "I'm in Love With a Car," inspired me to get a little Motorola and rub up against my neighbor's Ford Festiva after the show.

Lead guitarist Sean Graves was an unsung hero whose acoustic trapeze work on "Ballad of a Lonely Man" and sinister slide work throughout charred the sold-out Catalyst crowd with supercharged virtuosity. "Dope Fiend Blues" featured gritty guitar riffs, and Ness' raspy "I sold my soul to the devil and then I stole it back" never hit harder. Ness also zipped through a series of crowd-pleasing Social Distortion standards, "Ball and Chain," "Ring of Fire" and "Bad Luck," which he played alone with tattooed electricity. After concluding with the Bobby Fuller Four's "I Fought the Law," Ness peeled off his tattoos and washed off his jet-black eyeliner and felt-tipped sideburns. I handed him a Giant Gopher I smuggled in in a canteen for a job well done.

Playtime With Daddy

"The 'zine for discerning pseudo-intellectuals." Ascending from the pits of hell comes another fanged collection of poems and artwork from Satanica and her minions. Playtime With Daddy scoops up plenty of literary morsels--"An equation written in the algebra of emptiness/First multiplied by desire"--that illuminate an intelligent vulnerability often kept secret. Sarah K. Fleur Du Mal's "A Subtle Shift" details infatuation perfectly with lines like "Begging entrance to the heart that her fingers traced/Her eyes glittering in the darkness of my bed." Satanica's humorously titled "Assholes" is dedicated to Pergolesi, "which will steal your soul and imprison your body if you're not careful."

I'd like to get away from its stranglehold too, but I have to go back there as part of my punishment for getting the Dead or Alive perm years ago. Best of all are Satanica's erotic illustrations of skeletal vampiras in heat that will make you want to rally against the next Gilroy Garlic Festival to keep her vision alive. Thumbs up to the snazzy purple binding too! Pick this up at Streetlight; to submit, write Satanica, 2566 Parker St., Santa Cruz, 95065.


The What-Nots play Callahan's Wednesday (Aug. 4); Friday at 8:30pm, Streetlight Presents the Volunteers, Boy Kicks Girl and Sick Shift on Community Television (Ch. 71); Sunday, Fury 66 returns from a nationwide tour with AFI for a show at Palookaville with a new lineup; also appearing are Jet Lag and Phase Two; Monday, the Low Down and the Applicators play with Old Time Relijun--look for fliers; Chaos Lounge plays Free Radio SC (96.3 FM) 4-7pm Tuesday.

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From the August 4-11, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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