Artist: Social Distortion

Ball And Chain – Social Distortion

Social Distortion was formed in late 1978 by frontman Mike Ness out of Orange County, California. The original lineup consisted of Ness on lead guitar, Rikk and Frank Agnew on guitars, and Casey Royer on drums. Ness met Dennis Danell, who was a year older, in high school and insisted he join the band on bass guitar even though Danell had never played an instrument before. When Danell was brought in, Frank, Rikk and Casey left to form their own band. Mike and Dennis remained the only constant members for the next two decades, with bass and drums changing hands every few years. The band currently consists of Mike Ness (vocals, guitars), Jonny Wickersham (guitars), Brent Harding (bass) and Charlie Quintana (drums). They are often credited as one of the leading bands of the 1980s hardcore punk explosion.

The group briefly disbanded in 1985, due to frontman Ness’ drug addiction, but reformed around 1986 and have continued being active today, even after the death of longtime guitarist Dennis Danell, who succumbed to a brain aneurysm in 2000. Since their inception the band lineup has been a virtual revolving-door of talent, with many members coming and going — Ness has been the only constant member. The band’s classic line-up is Ness on guitar and vocals, Danell on guitar, John Maurer on bass and Chris Reece on drums.

The music was initially inspired equally by early punk bands like the Sex Pistols and Ramones, [3] and classic acts such as The Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash. They began playing with fellow Orange County, California bands such as The Adolescents, China White, and Shattered Faith as part of the nascent hardcore movement. Their music was fast, angry and energetic.

Ball and Chain

In the words of lead singer/writer Mike Ness, “Ball and Chain is ‘a hard luck story’, a forceful cry, a lament, a plea, a ‘folk prayer’.”

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/ballandchain.flv[/flv]

Well it’s been ten years, and a thousand tears
And look at the mess I’m in-
A broken nose and a broken heart,
An empty bottle of gin
Well I sit and I pray
In my broken down Chevrolet-
While I’m singin’ to myself
There’s got to be another way

Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain
I’m lonely and I’m tired
And I can’t take any more pain
Take away, take away
Never to return again
Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain
Well I’ve searched and I’ve searched
To find the perfect life-
A brand new car and a brand new suit
I even got me a little wife-
But wherever I have gone
I was sure to find myself there-
You can run all your life
But not go anywhere

Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain
I’m sick and I’m tired
And I can’t take any more pain
Take away, take away
Never to return again
Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain
Well I’ll pass the bar on the way
To my dingy hotel room-
I spent all my money
Been drinkin’ since a half past noon-
I’ll wake there in the mornin’
Or maybe in the county jail-
Times are hard getting harder
I’m born to lose and destined to fail-

Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain
I’m lonely and I’m tired
And I can’t take any more pain
Take away, take away
Never to return again
Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain

  • Audio from the 1990 album, Social Distortion:

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