What brought you to disband Social Distortion? Was it really because of original guitarist Dennis Danell's inability to play?
Mike and I were jamming for a couple years with bass player, Mark Garrett (RIP), with Rikk Agnew on guitar, and Tom Corvin singing. With a couple personnel changes, Mike wanted Dennis to play guitar. Dennis didn’t know how to play guitar, Rikk and I played well and were ready to play gigs, so we joined the Adolescents when Tony Adolescent asked.
So did you leave Social Distortion to pursue the Adolescents?
You have to understand, no one really was famous or trying to achieve rock and roll fame, so the decisions we made were pretty off the wall. A total disconnected new world that we ruled. Mike and I split up and I became the singer of S.D. for about a year with some early D.I. guys in 78. Even though Mike and I were the first S.D. I did make up the name so I went with it. I broke up S.D. and formed the Adolescents with Rikk Agnew. A new S.D. with Dennis Dannel (RIP), Brent Lyles RIP, (replaced by John Mauer) came about in 79; Social Distortion II… A whole new chapter.
What was it like growing up in the OC [Orange County, California] when punk rock was just starting to rise?
I was a junior in high school and it was the coolest movement you could ever imagine. A bunch of creative, upper-middle class, wasted youth terrorizing southern California. All of our parents had good jobs, living the American Dream, a perfect medium to facilitate a bunch of wild kids to do their thing. Hiding behind the middle-class facade with our parents in denial.
How was D.I. conceived?
A friend of mine, Steve Roberts and I jammed the first D.I. music at a place called Brea Beach in 1980. It didn’t re-surface for a few years after, when we practiced behind the pawn shop.
Have you worked with any other bands over the years?
Yea, I played in Agent Orange for a summer at the Hong Kong Café in Chinatown, Los Angeles. Also, Slayer covered a couple songs I wrote, “Richard Hung Himself” and “Spiritual Law”.
What kind of music are you most into?
Classic punk and a little classic rock.