The first time I met the legendary Mike Ness I was 14; Social Distortion came to my high school to do a live performance on the school's closed-circuit TV station. My friend Sandy had a TV show at the station, and she used her five minutes of weekly fame to unveil local punk bands like Saccharine Trust and Youth Brigade to the unwashed teenaged masses. Mike Ness looked very spooky and antifashion, dressed in a stained t-shirt and ripped blue jeans; the next week, every guy on campus was "antifashion" and wearing the exact same outfit.
That following summer, I was 15 and living with a bunch of friends by the beach in Los Angeles. The house we rented was close to two very cool nightclubs that a lot of underground punk bands played at, and often, when bands had finished their set for the night, they'd head over to our house to hang out.
One such night, Mike Ness and his girlfriend had apparently stopped by. I'd spent the night in my room with the door locked, hiding from a drunken suitor, only to wake to find a housemate pulling a woman's lingerie off our front porch.
"Mike Ness had sex on our porch last night," he informed me. "I can't believe that guy. I mean, I don't go and have sex on his porch, do I?"
Story number three takes place on an Amtrak, heading back to Huntington Beach from San Diego. I was 19 and had just broken up with my stupid boyfriend, and I was sitting on the train, feeling sorry for myself, when Mike Ness walked right past me.
I sat there for a moment, thinking about how weird that was, and then I thought, "What the hell. I'll go say 'hi' to him," even though I knew he wouldn't remember me.
So I got up and went through the door I had just seen him pass through and found myself on the very last car of the train -- with no Mike Ness in sight. Either he'd put on a suit and blended in really well with the rest of the passengers, jumped off the train or was crammed into the tiny lavatory; regardless, he was gone.
Don't miss your chance to see Ness and Social Distortion. They've got a new record out (finally!), called "Sex, Love and Rock 'N' Roll."
Ness knows how to write catchy hooks and memorable lyrics (who can resist singing along "Take away, take away, take away this ball and chain . . ."), and this album is full of both. Catch Ness.
Wednesday, Nov. 3, 5 p.m., The Quest, 110 N. 5th St., $24. 338-3383.
There is no way you could walk out of this show with anything but a smile on your face and a song in your heart.
Jonathan Richman's as feel-good goofy as you can get, and Robyn Hitchcock's doing a troubadour acoustic set that is certain to be full of cheeky witticisms and tongue-in-cheek revelations.
Get those two together on the stage, and it'll be semi-satirical cuteness overload.
Wednesday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m., First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N., $7 in advance, $10 at the door. 338-8388.
Shameless, shameless plug
Denmark's best surf instrumental band, El Ray, has a new CD out called "Tick?Tick?Tick?" And, hey, they named one of the songs on it after me! So everybody on my Christmas list, you know what you're getting this year. (Check out El Ray at www.heptown.com.)
Holly Day can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.