The power of MTV is verified every time 311 cranks up it amplifiers.
Although 311 (pronounced three-eleven) is currently based in Van Nuys, Calif., the quintet is originally from Omaha, Neb.
"People hear us and expect cholos from the 'hood, but we're suburban white boys," vocalist Nick Hexum said of the quintet, which fuses rap, reggae, metal, funk and pop. "But we get the same music, the same albums as anywhere. We didn't get our style off the street corner, as opposed to popular belief."
311's potpourri of styles can be heard Sunday at 9:30p.m. at the Zephyr Club in Salt Lake City, 301 S. West Temple. That style has attracted attention from the source of its inspiration - MTV, which has shown theband's video "Do You Right," from its debut album, "Music."
Hexum, drummer Chad Sexton and guitarist Tim Mahoney were bandmates in high school, playing R.E.M. covers. In 1990, after high school, and a short stay in Los Angeles, the trio headed back to Omaha, where they teamed with bassist P-Nut (Aaron Wills) and vocalist SA (Doug Martinez) to form 311.
The band became influenced by the Red Hot Chili Pepppers and Run DMC, as well as funk and reggae. 311 blended these into a hard rock-dance style.
"A lot of bands have tried this sound," Hexum said. "The future of music is to cross two different styles. That's what we're about.
"Our approach is generally that of a garage band. When we write or sing, it happends to be from something everybody likes."
The album was recorded on Capricorn Records. Adding the right touches in the studio was ex-Yes producer Eddie Offord.
"The response [to the band] has been really great," Hexum said. "Everywhere we go, there are a core of people who have the album. It's not huge, but when we go back, there are 10 times as many people."
The source of the band's moniker remains vague.
"We've created a lot of stories," Hexum said. "A 3-11 is the [Omaha] police code for indecent exposure."