Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Mommy's Little Keymaster: Fullerton honors Social Distortion's Mike Ness

Snapshot by Georg Balandran (Fugu_Kapu )

Mike Ness speaks in Fullerton. (From the city of Fullerton Instagram livestream)

By Andy 

An overwhelmed and emotional Mike Ness snagged a key to the city of Fullerton on the afternoon of his birthday, April 3. 

At age 62, the pioneering, rugged and resilient Social Distortion vocalist/guitarist/songwriter, who recently survived tonsil cancer, proudly stepped onto the stage at the Downtown Fullerton Plaza at the Fullerton Museum Center to accept his accolade from Mayor Nick Dunlap -- a massive Social D fan -- in front of a plethora of fans. 

Ness received the key, "In recognition of his outstanding contributions to music and the cultural heritage of Fullerton," reads a city press release. 

"Let us not ask what the city can do for us, but what we can do for the city," Ness began his speech at the event, which was livestreamed on the city's Instagram page. 

"That was not my mentality back then, but unintentionally things happen and, well, I survived a lot of things. 40 years ago, they might have wanted to lock me up and throw away the key, but things change and now I got a key. What exactly does this?... I mean, I'm in?... inner sanctum, yeah, OK, alright, after hours... the city vault? I hope you count the money." Dunlap laughed in the background while jokingly giving Ness carte blanche to city hall. 

Ness said he has fond memories of growing up in Fullerton, which was a rough-and-tumble environment back in the late-'70s and early '80s when Social D kicked into gear. 

"It was dangerous being in Orange County and roaming the streets looking the way we did, but fortunately, I'm the personality type that if you tell me, 'No, you can't do something,' not only am I gonna do it, but I'm gonna succeed at it. And I'm gonna say, 'How do you like me now?'" 

Former Social D bandmate and figurative "partner in crime," Dennis Danell (RIP), received mention at the event, which some of his family members attended. 

"I'm sure he's getting a tickle out of this, for sure," Ness said. 

Ness thanked his wife, Christine, and noted: "Behind every great man is a better woman."

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