Between Beats Antique in February and next week’s Social Distortion show, the Midtown Ballroom has certainly hosted two big ol’ buzz-worthy shows in 2012. Viva la Midtown!
But seriously, people are stoked for this Social D concert. Like … really stoked. So I was pumped we were able to get Mike Ness to give us a call for a chat.
As Ness was making his way toward Bend for Wednesday’s show, my colleague David Jasper talked to him about fake punks, his new man cave and the late Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch:
“Punk rock was supposed to be about individuality,” (said) Ness, known for his abilities as a between-song storyteller with a biting wit. “So, you know, I think the Beastie Boys are just as punk as Social Distortion because of that (individuality). I’ve seen so many Dickies-wearing, tattooed, f—ing grease-haired generic punk guys I could just puke. There’s more to it, guys, than trying to look like everyone else, and sound (like everyone else).
“You know, that’s kind of why we chose to incorporate Americana into our style,” he said, “because by the mid-’80s, punk, like anything else, was starting to stereotype itself.”
Speaking of Yauch, this week in Feedback, I tried to work out my thoughts about his death and why it hit me — and maybe you, too — a lot harder than I would’ve predicted if you’d asked me two weeks ago. Here’s an excerpt:
Listening to those four records (released over an eight-year span) now is like watching a bratty child grow into a wide-eyed and well-developed college kid. The awkward stages and annoying behavior fade away, replaced by tremendous, world-changing potential. The change is most striking in Yauch, who transformed from a scruffy, beercan-crushing lout into a political activist and spiritual leader who spit gravelly rhymes about respecting both mothers and Mother Earth.
If you’re the right age, and you look closely (the benefit of hindsight doesn’t hurt), you can see yourself growing up in Yauch’s example. I clearly remember giggling like a pre-teen at the bawdiest moments of “License to Ill.” Because, well, I was 10. I recall digging into the vintage funk/soul-sample paradise of “Paul’s Boutique” just as my own affinity for soaking up musical history was beginning to bloom.
And one of my most vivid adolescent memories is blasting “Ill Communication” in my friend Mark’s car, cruising our hometown for no good reason other than to celebrate our rapidly expanding freedom. Months later, the climax of the Beasties’ then-mega-hit “Sabotage” was the highlight of my first Lollapalooza experience.
There are a lot of kids … er, old folks like me who watched Adam Yauch mature from afar while experiencing a similar arc in their own lives.
I’ve already heard from a dozen folks who said this column rang true for them. I hope you’ll give it a read and see if it does for you.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Lindsey Buckingham comes to the Tower Theatre, Sweet Bonnie Gayle & The Rural Demons play country and gospel classics at The Horned Hand, David Nelson Band and Moonalice are gonna get Dead at the Domino Room, 4 Peaks Music Festival plans a weekend full of music and The Prairie Rockets perform tonight at Jackson’s Corner, plus Vagabond Opera, a Last Band Standing update, the lineup for the 2012 Deschutes County Fair and more.