Social Distortion Guitarist Dennis Danell Dead At 38

Punk band's co-founder reportedly died of natural causes.

Dennis Danell, the founding guitarist in the punk band Social Distortion, died Tuesday (Feb. 29) at age 38.

A statement issued by the band's label, Time Bomb Recordings, said Danell — who marked Social Distortion's rootsy punk with his gritty, high-octane guitar style — died of natural causes.

"I am saddened beyond any possible form of expression," Social Distortion singer Mike Ness said in a statement. "Dennis and I have been friends since boyhood, starting Social Distortion while we were in high school. My deepest regrets to his family."

"I'm so shocked," said Nikki Sweet, talent buyer for the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, Calif. "It's so sad; he was so young."

Sweet, who booked the Coach House and Galaxy Theatre in Orange County for 12 years before moving to the Roxy, had known Danell since 1990. "He was just a local guy, lived in Newport [Calif.], super low-key and really cool — really a nice person," she said.

Danell is survived by his wife, Christie, a 3-year-old son and a 6-month-old daughter.

Danell and Ness co-founded Social Distortion in Orange County, Calif., in 1979, with Danell initially playing bass before switching to guitar. The band has been on hiatus since it released its live album, Live at the Roxy, in 1998. The LP featured such songs as "I Was Wrong" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Story of My Life" (RealAudio excerpt).

Ness had said previously that the band would regroup.

Danell had been working with local Orange County bands in Social Distortion's recording studio, Casbah, in Fullerton, Calif., according to the Time Bomb statement.

Danell's discs with Social Distortion include: Mainliner (1981); Mommy's Little Monster (1982); Prison Bound (1985); Social Distortion (1990); Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell (1992); White Light, White Heat, White Trash (1996); and Live at the Roxy (1998).