Mike Ness

Yup, I’ve been to jail. Twice! So I guess I’m twice as hard core yo! However, since I cried like a baby the 1st time, I guess that cancels out at least half the hard coreness of it.

Both times I was under the legal drinking age and both times arrested for, you guessed it, drinking under age and public intoxication. As I said, I cried like a little baby the first time.

I was 16 and knew my parents were going to be royally pissed and that I was in for some very long and frequent lectures, a church sermon or two directed precisely at me and most wretchedly, weekends without my car, which where I grew up meant there was absolutely nothing to do, unless you count farm work as fun stuff.

My memories of that evening have fogged with time, but I do remember I had two girls, my girlfriend and her friend,  in my car with me when I was pulled over. In a cruel but accurate foreshadowing of my future experience with women, they both bailed on me as soon as they could find another ride home. Sorry ladies, just speaking the truth.

The second time was more of a badge of courage. I was in college and was living in my fraternity house.  Yup, I was in one and was even the President. Yes I realize not very punk of me but you need to know the details before you judge my friends, we were a bit different, I promise.

The police came and busted our party for too much fun. I drunkenly slurred they couldn’t arrest me since they were technically at my house of residence. Cops being cops, and not really caring about technical things like the law, they took that as an invitation and promptly arrested me for public intoxication.

Once again, the girl I was with bolted and went to another party while my fraternity brothers pooled their funds to get me out of jail.

Both times I was in and out in less than a couple hours and I’m pretty sure Mike Ness wasn’t talking about my puny teenage jail experiences when he wrote “Prison Bound”.

I think he was most likely referring to his own actual prison stays back in his wilder drug days.

Say what you will about prison, it sure helped Ness write some damn good songs on the “Prison Bound” CD including the self titled track “Prison Bound”, “It’s The Law” and my favorite “Like an Outlaw” a punk-western anthem that inspired this blog’s namesake.

After first discovering Social Distortion, the “Prison Bound” CD took me a while to warm up to. I had started off on “White Light, White Heat, White Trash” and worked my way backwards. Fast forward to today and it’s one of my favorite CDs of all time and the title track “Prison Bound” one of my favorite songs (even if it does conjure up bad memories of me being drunkenly or tearfully carted off in handcuffs).

At the Social Distortion concert in Wantagh, Long Island the other night it was obvious I wasn’t the only one who digs “Prison Bound”, as the crowd drunkenly sang along to every word of this sad little ditty during Social Distortion’s encore. I’m sure more than a few of them have been prison bound themselves, so maybe we all shared that common history or maybe it’s just a great song, or a little or lot of both.

Whatever the reason, I thought it would be cool to share the video of the crowd and Ness singing along together what has become a punkabilly classic “Prison Bound”.


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