Craft Recordings celebrates the 40th anniversary of Social Distortion’s influential debut, Mommy’s Little Monster, with special vinyl and digital reissues. Set for release on November 10, the classic SoCal punk album has been newly remastered from its original analog tapes and pressed on 180-gram vinyl. Housed in a gatefold jacket, Mommy’s Little Monster includes such favorites as “The Creeps (I Just Wanna Give You),” Another State of Mind,” and the iconic title track.
In addition to classic black vinyl, the album will be available in a variety of exclusive limited-edition colorways, including ruby red via the band’s official website and black & white marble at the official Craft Recordings website.
A pioneering force in Orange County, CA’s legendary hardcore punk scene, Social Distortion was founded in the late ’70s by singer, songwriter, and guitarist Mike Ness alongside his high school buddy, guitarist Dennis Danell. While Ness was raised on a blend of blues, country, and classic rock – influences that would later pervade Social Distortion’s songs – he found himself particularly inspired at the time by Britain’s anti-establishment punk scene.
After releasing the single “Mainliner” in 1981, Social Distortion caught the ear of KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, who promoted the band on his influential radio show and included their song “1945” on several of his compilation albums. That attention helped the band (which now included bassist Brent Liles and drummer Derek O’Brien) secure a North American tour with Youth Brigade – documented in the 1984 film, Another State of Mind. When they returned, they were primed to record their debut album.
Mommy’s Little Monster was recorded in one marathon session at Fullerton, CA’s iconic Casbah Studio. The band worked closely with owner/producer/engineer Chaz Ramirez, whom Ness later told the Los Angeles Times was influential in “helping us shape ourselves, helping us achieve our sound, achieve our character.” Fast, raw, and brimming with nihilistic attitude, the nine-track album clocked in at just under 28 minutes and epitomized the early SoCal punk scene through songs like “Telling Them,” “Anti-Fashion,” and “Moral Threat.”
Other highlights include the fiery opener “The Creeps (I Just Want to Give You),” in which the band taunts their critics, while the anarchistic anthem “Mommy’s Little Monster” tells the story of two wayward teens who reject societal norms. Single “Another State of Mind,” which was inspired by the band’s 1982 tour, finds Ness chronicling the ups and downs of life on the road and missing his girlfriend back at home. The song would soon become a live staple and fan favorite.
Released in 1983 on the band’s own 13th Floor Records, Mommy’s Little Monster helped propel Social Distortion into the broader punk scene while also catching the attention of the press. Reviewing the album in 1984, Trouser Press called it an “Instant classic,” adding “This catchy-as-dermatophytosis punk pop is a surprisingly sophisticated product of the LA underground. Ness proves to be one of current punk’s better songwriters.” Maximum Rocknroll also praised, “Those distinctive vocals, the harmonies, the rockin’ guitars, and melodic hooks galore. . . . There’s precious little exciting punky-pop around these days, but this is one of the rare examples of it.”
In the following years, Social Distortion developed their signature brand of hard punk, country and blues rock n roll, rising to become one of the genre’s best-selling bands, and counting acts like Bruce Springsteen, The Offspring, Rancid, Thrice, Green Day, and Blink-182 among their fans. Today, the band’s influential catalog includes seven studio albums, including Prison Bound (1988), the Gold-certified Social Distortion (1990) and Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell (1992), and the more recent Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (2011). Currently featuring Mike Ness, longtime guitarist Jonny “2 Bags” Wickersham, bassist Brent Harding, and drummer Dave Hidalgo Jr., the members of Social Distortion continue to enjoy their status as Godfathers of Punk.