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The punk rock band Social Distortion (or Social D for short) was founded in 1979 by frontman Mike Ness, with Casey Royer on drums and brothers Rikk and Frank Agnew on guitars. Dennis Danell was brought in to play bass, with Casey, Rikk, and Frank subsequently leaving to form their own band. Ness and Danell remained the only two constant members of Social Distortion for the next two decades, while the other positions rotated through new players every few years.
In 1981, Social Distortion released their first single, Mainliner/ Playpen, on the Posh Boy label. Social D was also embraced by Los Angeles DJ Rodney Bingenheimer of KRQQ-FM, who was responsible for much of the band's radio play in the early 1980's. Social Distortion received another boost in 1982 when they, along with Youth Brigade and Minor Threat, were chosen as subjects for the celebrated punk rockumentary Another State of Mind.
Social Distortion achieved national punk band status in 1983 with the release of their debut album Mommy's Little Monster on their own 13th Floor label. Following a period of turmoil marred by drug addiction, arrests, and jail time for Mike Ness, Social Distortion regrouped in 1986 to produce their second album Prison Bound. Social Distortion's self-titled album of 1990 is often credited as their best known work, and they have written three albums since: Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell (1992), White Light, White Heat, White Trash (1996), and Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll (2004).