Ness: Oh yeah, that was the whole point with
this track—“How would a Social Distortion
version of a Rolling Stones track sound?” My
favorite part is the back end, where it goes
from the main melody and rhythm and then
just goes full throttle with a greasy, slutty rock
groove that gallops to the end of the song. We
had the song all the way done, but what I’d
envisioned wasn’t matching what I was hearing on the track. I kept hearing these soulful
background singers, so we had to at least try
it. After hearing it once with the singers, I
knew we’d done the right thing.
“WHEN I JOINED SOCIAL D, I THOUGHT I’D JUMP
RIGHT IN AND HANDLE IT. INSTEAD, I ACTUALLY
FOUND OUT THIS THING CALLED TIME. MIKE HAS
A SIXTH SENSE FOR TIME AND GROOVE
—IT’S IN HIS BLOOD.” —JONNY WICKERSHAM
Jonny, it sounds like you’re playing a
Tele for those slow, bluesy rhythms on
Wickersham: We’ve been playing that song
live for a long time and I’ve been trying to
play it with a Les Paul Junior or an old goldtop, but it just never sounded 100 percent
right. So when we sat down to record the
track, I used all three on different takes, and
the Tele just sounded the best—it cut through
the mix with its very distinct sound and tone.
Wickersham: That Telecaster is such a great
rock guitar, because it’s an old blackguard
with a rewound original bridge pickup done
by Lindy Fralin. The pickup is just so chunky
and thick—it even has a Les Paul bite to it
when it’s pushed—but it still has that twangy
Tele characteristic. It’s one of my favorite
guitars in the quiver, but when I got it the
pickup was dead, the neck-plate bolts were
stripped, and the bridge wouldn’t stay on—
that Tele was in pieces.
the song’s basic chord structure of Am-E-F#-C, and let that lead me, because you can
hear where you should go when you’re following the song’s melody and rhythm. It’s
not the flashiest thing I’ve ever done, but it
serves the song and doesn’t get in the way or
ruin the natural flow.
That Telecaster looks like it has a lot of stories.
Jonny, you take the solo on “Alone and
Forsaken” with your Les Paul Jr. How did you
approach composing a solo for an old, slow
’50s country song like that?
Wickersham: I just went with the melody—
just like Mike taught me [laughs]—within
At the beginning of “Still Alive,” there’s a great
interplaying riff that carries the song and is
sprinkled later again in the chorus. How did
you come up with that?
Wickersham: It started off this warmup-type riff I play—this droning thing I do with
chords that just rings out each individual
string I hit. It makes it sound like a lot more
is happening than my two hands are actually