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Slanging rock n’ roll out of Orange County, LOVECRIMES mine the rich traditions of roots music and Americana with deep respect for the Delta Blues and a taste of punk-rock swagger.
Rock n’ roll at its core and versatile enough to summon everything from rockabilly to late ‘70s groove, the songs by singer/songwriter Julian James Ness are confessional, intimate, and unapologetically honest.
Julian James Ness fell in love with music hearing Lucinda Williams at his mom’s house and pressing buttons on his dad’s vintage jukebox, pulling up country classics by the likes of Buck Owens and Johnny Cash. He took saxophone lessons from Jason Freese, a multi-instrumentalist session player whose resumé boasts Green Day, Jewel, and Goo Goo Dolls. Julian experimented with bass and drums until, at age 10, he got his first guitar from his dad, who showed him his first few chords.
Julian’s dad is the iconic leader of the trailblazing Social Distortion. “From the time I was four or five years old, people told me I had to carry the torch,” the younger Ness explains. “There’s been this lifelong pressure on me. I avoided it out of fear and insecurity, not feeling like I was good enough.”
A week after his 18th birthday, Julian started a year-long jail sentence, the result of teenage years spent battling alcohol and drug addiction. While a resident at a post-prison treatment center, he was allowed a fateful outing to see his father play a show, where they performed “Prison Bound” together.
“It was a high that no other drug could give me,” Julian remembers of those few minutes onstage. “It filled me with purpose. I told myself in the past that drugs and alcohol were contributing to my creativity, but they weren’t. I was going to the pawn shop and pawning my guitars. I wasn’t doing anything proactive. That show was a monumental moment in my life. I knew I wanted to do this.”
Not long after his release from rehab, Julian joined The Dead Relatives. After that, he played with Jade Jackson, a country singer signed to ANTI-. “I spent the next two and a half years touring with her. It was a huge challenge because I was used to playing the same couple of Chuck Berry riffs and punk rock bar chords. Suddenly I was learning all of these Greg Leisz guitar parts from Jade’s records.”
Armed with a handful of his own songs, Julian cut around eight demos at his dad’s studio, backed up by Mike’s band: guitarist Johnny “2 Bags” Wickersham, drummer David Hidalgo Jr., and bassist Brent Harding. They recorded the songs old-school style, live in the room, with no elaborate multitracking.
While working a day job as a substance abuse counselor, Julian set about putting together a band.
“We have a couple of more punk songs, but my music is more rootsy, singer-songwriter stuff, so it was important to find people who could do both,” he points out. Enter drummer Josh Roosin. “He’s been playing since he was a little kid and had a jazz background. He’s very much a ‘feel’ player. He’d heard what I’d done with The Dead Relatives and was super stoked about the demos I played him.”
Next came Trevor Lucca, a guitarist with punk legends D.I. since 2018, based on a recommendation from producer Davey Worsop (Matt Skiba, Dave Hause, Throwdown). “Since he played lead guitar for D.I., I knew he could play punk. Then I scrolled through his Instagram feed and saw him playing some Lucinda Williams and Justin Townes Earle. And I thought, ‘This is perfect.’”
Bassist Colin Schlesinger, a childhood friend and bassist of The Line and Ruby Haunt, completed the LOVECRIEMS line-up. “I feel so grateful and blessed that not only are all of them great at what they do, they are all really great people.”
LOVECRIMES made their first few live appearances at The Pike Bar in Long Beach, Hotel Café in Los Angeles, and The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa. In December 2022, the band opened for Social Distortion on a few of their year-end dates at the House Of Blues in Anaheim, California.
Shortly after launching the band, Julian opened a substance abuse and mental health program called California Treatment Collective, offering the care and resources needed by folks in crisis.
“It’s amazing to watch him,” Mike Ness told The Orange County Register. “He wanted to do his own thing. He was coming to me with some really, really good songs, and there were a couple that, in my opinion, were as good as anything I’ve ever written, so that’s how we bond now… I saw him play guitar in a band at the Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa, and I just couldn’t deny that he had presence up there.”
“Some people are just meant for it.”

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