Music

Country Fried Rock: Jonny "Two Bags" Wickersham of Social Distortion

Social Distortion launches a 25th anniversary tour this week, playing their 1990 self-titled album in its entirety -- the album that introduced me to country music.

I did not grow up with country music. The first time I heard "Ring of Fire", it was on a Social Distortion album. So for me, twang comes from a punk source as logically as it does anywhere else, and Southern California has a distinct take with music that I love. One of the first bands we ever featured on Country Fried Rock was former Agent Orange musician, Steve Soto, with his two "country" records, with the Twisted Hearts. So, hearing that Jonny 2 Bags of Social Distortion has a solo country album ran right up my alley.

Salvation Town fuses exactly what I hoped for in the veteran punk guitarist's solo project -- straight-forward lyrics, great playing, and hooks that keep the songs memorable and fit a nice sunny drive. With some key guest appearances from legends like Gaby Moreno, Julie Miller, and Zander Schloss (a recurring guest player in several albums we have featured on Country Fried Rock), Salvation Town may grab you because of the rhythm, but do not let the lyrics roll over your head. Wickersham's topics include gang violence and punk rock life lessons.

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