Mike Ness is the frontman
for the seminal punk
band Social Distortion
. The band was not really put on the back burner by Ness so much as it was disbanded after the tragic and sudden death of Guitarist Dennis Danell
A reformed Social Distortion is planning a tour for early 2001 (Several January dates are listed at socialdistortion.com).
Mike Ness's Solo work is very different from his work with Social D. Most noticeably it is not punk rock, but a bluesey, rockabilly style of oldschool rock and roll.
His first solo album "Cheating at Solitaire" features songs written by Ness and some covers of artists he seems to genuinely appreciate. Brian Setzer does some guitar work on the album and Bruce Springsteen lends a hand singing.
"Under the Influences", Ness's second album is a set of covers of artists Ness credits with providing the fromative base for his distinct musical style. Songs by Carl Perkins, Bobby Fuller, and The Carter Family appear on the disc.
As for Ness's solo work sounding like Social Distortion:
It's his voice. He can't really change the way he sounds. The music is very different, but the lyrics do explore many of the same themes, which is quite unsurprising as he does write the lyrics for Social D. as well.
Saying that is like saying that Paul McCartney and Wings sounds like Paul McCartney's solo work...umm yah.