Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: November 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016

My Favorite Social Distortion Moment


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Sharing a moment the personal archives 

Many moments of my youth revolved around entertainment, but only a few of those moments stand out as exceptions, this is one of them and it involves Mike Ness (of Social Distortion).


social distortion

Think back to the mid-90s
It was December of 1996, Social Distortion was touring in support of their album, White Light, White Heat, White Trash, and I was excited (and nervous) to see them play at The Vic. I had been a fan for a number of years but I am pretty sure this was my first Social Distortion concert. I was going with my boyfriend at the time, who was acquainted with the band and that was the part that made me nervous.

Young and Impressionable Leyla circa 1996

To set the scene a little more... 
My boyfriend at the time, Joe, was 11+ years old than me (I was 24, young and impressionable, he was 35, big and old). Joe ran the nightclub Crobar in Chicago, and in 1996 Crobar was in it's heydey, we were experiencing the Rodman years - a story in itself - but all you need to know for this story was that the club was well known. Previous to Crobar, Joe had a long history in the bar industry, most notably as the manager of the original Exit on Wells Street. I was too young to go to Exit on Wells, but in high school I remember being in love with the idea that women could drink for free so long as they were handcuffed to the bar. 

Whereas Exit was the kind of bar where Mike Ness might hang out, Crobar most certainly was not. However, Mike Ness who is about the same age as Joe, happened to be friendly with him who happened to run Crobar. Why am I telling you all this as part of a Social Distortion story? It's important, that is why, keep reading. 


Mike Ness moment 
If you've ever seen Social Distortion, you know that Mike Ness has a stage presence that can be perceived as intimidating. He is probably a perfectly nice man, but not the kind of man you want to offend, especially not when you're at his show standing in the audience. 

Mike Ness of Social Distortion on stage
Mike Ness on Stage taken from Social Distortion's FB page

That night in December of 1996, I was standing in the back with Joe watching the show, he's 6'5" so he can see from anywhere. In between songs, Mike Ness stops to chat with the audience and the urge must've struck him to give a "shout out" to his friend in the audience, his friend from Crobar - and he literally said hello to "friends from Crobar". To any Social Distortion fan, it would seem odd that Mike Ness would mention Crobar the dance club, but most would keep their mouths shut. But not that night, and not the guy up at the front of the stage, he didn't keep his mouth shut, instead he yelled back at the stage, looked right at Mike Ness and shouted "Fuck Crobar!!" There was a brief pause and then Mike Ness stopped, he looked down at the brave little fellow, pointed at him and said (or roared) back, "Fuck Crobar? FUCK YOU!

I turned to Joe and Joe turned to me, and our faces were the same - shocked. Our eyes were bulging and we both started laughing. 

I don't remember much more about that night (or most of the 90s) but I do remember that moment, my Mike Ness moment.