By the time Mike Ness was a teen he was playing in Social Distortion – a garage band that would profoundly impact the American Punk Rock movement. But long before he ever heard the Ramones, the Clash or the Sex Pistols Ness grew up listening to early rock and roll. Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones, Woody Guthrie and Creedence Clearwater Revival marked Ness' early years. He was especially inspired by the roots of American music and his earliest influences were the pioneers of rock and roll; musicians that were scandalous and rebellious in their day. The musicianship of the bands and the revolutionary spirit at their core appealed to Ness. This radical essence would become his calling card but Mike would never lose the love of his roots.
Mike's solo work represents the full spectrum of all his influences. Cheating At Solitaire and Under The Influences, Ness's two 1999 solo recordings, incorporate the raw power and social relevance that has always marked his music, while embracing many of the defining styles in American rock and roll history. The work integrates punk, rockabilly, primitive rock and roll, country and blues while maintaining the energy that typifies Mike Ness. "I have a great affection for roots music. Old blues, country, folk, rockabilly, and primitive rock and roll in general," he explains. "Without these roots, I wouldn't have perspective. I love the music and feel it is as relevant as 70's glitter and early punk. As a solo artist, I am able to cross the boundaries and integrate it all. I tried to bring these influences together and keep it honest."