Jonny “Two Bags” Wickersham of Social Distortion leads the acoustic lineup at the intimate Sinners Sermon this Saturday night at South Bay Customs. Photo by James Mann
Even the most hard-core guys have a soft side, too.
Artists like Jonny “Two Bags” Wickersham of Social Distortion and Charlie Overbey of Custom Made Scare spend much of their lives shedding blood and sweat on stage with their punk bands. For them, Sinners Sermon, a night of jamming acoustic and exorcising demons, is a welcome departure.
“It’s a bunch of guys with ghosts in the closets,” Overbey said of the Sinners Sermon lineup. “When you’re writing music, those ghosts come out in the acoustic tunes. The Sermon is based around acoustic, letting it all get out there. Getting to do the stuff you don’t normally do in loud rock bands. Bare your soul and let it all out and heal.”
This Saturday will be the third time Sinners Sermon has come to South Bay Customs in El Segundo. The art house venue gets packed for the event, which plays more like an informal party than a structured show.
“It’s a really cool vibe at South Bay Customs,” said Wickersham. “It doesn’t feel like you’re doing a show. Especially in L.A., clubs have so gotten so structured, there are so many rules; don’t stand here, don’t do that. The people that run this place are just cool. You can do anything.”
Both Wickersham and Overbey have solo records coming out in early 2014. The Sinners Sermon is a way for them to work out some of their songs on an audience. And, though each group has its own set, the guys will often jump in on each other’s songs to add a solo or harmony.
“Sometimes we do it in the round, all on stage together, and take turns one song at a time,” Overbey said. “Personally, for me that’s more fun because we can clown around and jump in. It’s all very ad lib. Never know if we are going to do that until the night of the show.”
Overbey’s new album “The California Kid” is in the process of being mixed and is slated for a Valentine’s Day release. Wickersham plans to release his record “Salvation Town” in April.
“It’s a bit country, definitely roots-y,” Wickersham said of “Salvation Town.” “Definitely different from what I normally do. So I’ll probably do some of those songs on Saturday and then maybe some covers. Neil Young. Elvis Costello, old country standards.”
A far cry from a Social D show.
Also joining Wickersham and Overbey at the Sinners Sermon are Steve Soto of the Adolescents and Timbo of Speedbuggy USA, hard rockers ready to bare their souls to the South Bay.
“That’s the beauty of the Sinners Sermon,” said Overbey. “You get up there and go with what you’re feeling. Maybe I’ll do songs about love and heartbreak or maybe I’ll do songs about being stoked to be alive today. You are free to get up there and play what you’re feeling. Just go and roll with the vibe.”
Work out your own demons with a night of rock and redemption at the Sinners Sermon on Saturday, December 21 at South Bay Customs, 115 Penn Street, El Segundo. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available online at southbaycustoms.net.