There’s a pretty standard (and welcome, and positive) set of social conventions that say that you should be able to attend a concert in the reasonable expectation that no one—including the lead singer of the band you’re there to see—is going to kick the shit out of you for doing it. But that hardline stance gets a little more fuzzy when you willingly wander into the realm of punk, a place where conventions get flouted as a matter of course, and the violence of the mosh pit always looms. So while we won’t outright come out and say it would be right, necessarily, for the lead singer of, say, Social Distortion, to start whaling on a right-wing Trump supporter who’s spent the last two songs of the band’s show silently flipping him off from the crowd, it would definitely feel fitting, at least in terms of giving the heckler a quick crash course in the outlaw “rules” of Punk 101.
With all that in mind, we present the above clip of Social Distortion’s Mike Ness, doing exactly that to a MAGA type who decided to form an impromptu, bird-flipping protest at one of the band’s recent shows. The man in question, California resident Tim Hildebrand, began flipping Ness his middle finger after the long-touring frontman took a minute to express his disgust with America and its racist attitudes—i.e., “the lies that the left preaches all the time,” in Hildebrand’s words. Outraged that an artist might be injecting some politics into the care-free, commercial world of punk rock, Hildebrand stood in the middle of the crowd for the span of several songs, pointing his middle fingers at the stage.
Eventually, Ness noticed Hildebrand’s critique of his stage-patter style, at which point, well…See above. Hildebrand says he ended up with a cut lip, a loose tooth, and a concussion by the time Ness was finished with him. He also said he couldn’t fight back because the cheering crowd was holding his arms, which again, is not good, but is at least predictable when it comes to trying to gauge the behavior of a Social Distortion crowd.