I first heard Social Distortion in 1985, and I was immediately struck by their punk power and rebellious themes delivered with an undeniable melodic appeal. I begged my parents to buy me the first Social Distortion album "Mommy's Little Monster." My parents hated punk, so when they asked me if the music was punk, I lied and said "no, it's New Wave." I listened to the album non-stop and a lot of the themes… freedom, generation gaps, questioning authority, sub-cultural community, etc… really resonated with me. As a frustrated teen, I especially related to the line, "I love the sound when I smash the glass… if I get caught they're gonna kick my ass" from the song "Telling Them." That line always stuck with me and was the first thing that came to mind when Mike Ness asked me to create a poster for Social Distortion's 40th anniversary.
I've seen Social Distortion many times over the years, and I've watched first hand as they evolved from a more conventional punk sound to a broader sound and definition of punk that includes nods to early Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash… artists who pushed social boundaries and outlaw themes. I remember hearing the band's song, "Story of my Life" on the radio in 1990, pre-Grunge, and thinking to myself, "what a coup… what a triumph, that these guys infiltrated rock radio." In my opinion, Social Distortion shattered a glass ceiling and did what few bands can do: they found broad appeal without abandoning their punk roots or watering down their sound. Social Distortion remains an amazing live band and has put out great music consistently over 40 years. Thank you, Social Distortion, for the music, the inspiration, and for 40 years of smashing the glass!
Social Distortion 40. Screenprint on cream Speckle Tone Paper. 18 x 24 inches. Signed by Shepard Fairey. Numbered edition of 600. $50.