Tuesday, December 24, 1996

Singer of the Month (Guitar World, 12/96)

Singer of the Month- S.A. Martinez of 311

Beak (B): What does "S.A." stand for?

S.A.: "S.A." stands for "Spooky Apparition".

B: And where did you get the Count part?

sa: I got that from P-nut.

B: What's your favorite word?

sa: Favorite what?

B: Word.

sa: - Favorite word?... Oh, my favorite word... uh, Lionel? Yeah,

B: What's your favorite brand of shoes?

sa: Favorite brand of shoes would be...Vans.

B: Did you ever go to college?

sa: Yes, I did.

B: And what was your major?

sa: English.

B: What's your favorite radio station?

sa: Favorite radio station would be... I don't know KCOW probably.

B: Boxers or briefs?

sa: Boxers.

B: What year is your car?

sa: '71.

B: Nice car.

sa: Thanks. (laughs)

B: What's your favorite restaurant?

sa: My favorite restaurant, uh...El Chollo.

B: What's the grossest thing you've ever seen?

sa: Grossest thing I've ever seen...oh, what's the grossest thing
I've ever seen? Um...God, I guess, P-nut in the morning (laughs)

B: Can we have Nick's phone number?

sa: I don't know it, man.

B: He didn't know yours either, he said.

sa: Oh, he doesn't? (laughs)

Friday, December 20, 1996


Right now, three-fifths of 311 are decompressing by the pool at their home in L.A's Laurel Canyon. Singer Nick, drummer Chad Sexton, and guritarist Tim Mahoney moved into this large, airy house last year; there's still barely any furniture. A bad poster of a sailboat hangs in the studio. 311 are never home to decorate.
I intend to ask them what it's like to incite small riots, but they get me really stoned on their big leafy California weed and all I do is say "Wow" a lot. Tim does reps on the bench press while Chad goes off to try to find the rest of the band: Bassist P-Nut livess in West Hollywood, rapper/scratcher S.A. Martinez in Koreatown. Nick, meanwhile, is articulately stoned, dreaming up ways to sell more 311 CDs.
Not that he particularly needs to. In the last few months, 311 have seen "Down" become an MTV Buzz Clip and their latest album go platinum. This year they've joined both the Warped and H.O.R.D.E. tours and teamed up for shows with No Doubt, the Pharcyde, Cypress Hill, AND Kiss-a mix that's a fair reflection of 311's own sound.
And the inevitaable backlash has begun. "Now that we have a huge hit, there are people who say we suck," Nick tells me. "That doesn't happen until you're BIG, you know?" A couple of nights ago Nick was on the Web, and he dropped into a chat room where people wee discussing 311. "Someone wrote, '311 makes me cry,' and I thought it was going to be this huge emotional compliment, but instead the guy started slamming us. He said Midwestern guys shouldn't be stealing urban music."
But there isn't anything THAT unusual about five guys from Nebraska fusing dancehall reggae, hip-hop, and crunch-guitar rock. not in 1996 there isn't. What's unusual is that today they can succeed without much more of an angle. Bule-oeyed hip-hop has become so familiar that the band's self-described "Omaha stylee" now sounds perfectly natural. And 311 are as natural as it gets-this is a groupo notable for what they DON'T do. They don't dress up as lightbulbs or 70's cop-show characters or hang tube socks on their phalluses. They don't put forth an aggressive political vibe-311's antigun, anitjuck, pro-pot message is as uncontroversial as Amnesty International. And unlike most Buzz Clip bands, they don't want anything to do with, you know, WHINING. As one line goes, "All the angst shit is just cheesy!"
No glam, no angst, no tongues in cheek: What IS 311's hook, anyway? in Nick's view, they don't need one. "It's just about songs, about playing. We try to be almost faceless."
Adam, the band's anxious manager, has cooked us a healthy dinner covering all the four food groups. He calls us in from the pool like the perfect mom, and the guys report with flip-flops and bare chests to stuff their faces. P-Nut and S.A. have finally straggled in. The others call S.A. Grandpa because he sleeps a lot. "Southsider," CHad explains. Like every town, Omaha has its neighborhood stereotype(s?). Nick, Chad, and Time went to high school together on the west side-"the REGULAR part of town," as Nick puts it. P-Nut and S.A. grew up in working-class South Omaha. S.A. met Chad in 1988 when they were freshmen at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and remembers being impressed by his drumming. 'Chad would be playing Prince when everyone else was drumming to the Cure," says P-Nut. The following year, Chad dropped out and joinged Nick in L.A.-their first band, Unity, played more-straightforward rock, and didn't take off. But they played the role to the hilt. "We hung out with waiters and paryters, doing a lot of hard drugs, getting really messed up," Nick remembers. Exhausted by the scene, he and Chad soon retreated back to Omaha; Tim and the Southsiders joinged the band, and they took the name 311.
After a breakthrough hometown gig opening for Fugazi, they took another shot and moved back to L.A. in 1992, befriending groups like No Doubt and Korn, and buckling down to work. "I got very toug," Nick says. The band rarely went out, never lost control, never tripped; at home they still don't drink much more than ginger beer or fruit juice. "In 1989 I was cocaine and Jim Beam," Nick raps on the new album. "But now it's '95 and I'm ginseng." Indulgence after rehearsal usually meant a fewe joints and a game of basketball in the driveway.
Focused or not, the band hasn't had the easiest of rides since scoring a contract four years ago. In 1993, they went on the road in Chad's father's ancient Winnebago. One hot day in Missouri, the RV burst into flames. The band dove out to safety and watched all their equipment burn. "All we had on were our shoes, shorts, and wallets," Chad recalls. They somehow made it to the next night's show with borrowed gear; Nick finished the tour with crispy hair and singed eyebrows.
Meanwhile, a friend who was taking care of their house in L.A. started indulging his phone habit at the band's expense. (They slam him in the song "Silver" on their second album, GRASSROOTS: "You left a big surprise from Pacific Bell/Called all your relatives and your friends in hell.") After GRASSROOTS, relations grew ugly and heated with their then-producer; the band teamed with RonSaint Germain, producer of Bad Brains, for the latest album. Then came last year's rumor that the band's name stood for Ku Klux Klan (K being the eleventh letter of the alphabet), whick caused Omaha's Westside High School to ban 311 T-shirts. Naturally, MTV and USA TODAY picked up the story. "Our first major publicity and it's about THAT," Nick sighs. "We got the name from a friend who was arrested for skinny-dipping-311 is the police code for indecent exposure."
S.A. tells us he was at the record store and saw all three 311 CDs. Nick sits up. "You didn't try to sell them?" he says. "You should have been like, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, HERE'S a good value for your money.'" Nick may be the Future Business Leader of the band, but he's equally concerned about holding onto 311's core fans, keeping the control of the band's success. "We don't want to be seen as a mainstream band. That way we cann keep making unusual music."
Then again, Nick has a different idea of what constitutes the fringe: "Kiss is kind of a role model. I mean, Kiss became huge and only had one big hit-that really bad song, 'Beth.' But besides that, they were a tour band that came from the underground."
Somehow Kiss isn't the first thing that comes to mind as we pass ginger beer around the dinner spread of grilled salmon and oil-free salad. Apart from the sinsemilla, the strongest thing in the house is a bottle of echinacea. But it turns out that even clean living has its excesses. "Oh, man," Nick says, "I PUKED on ginseng once."

Thursday, December 12, 1996

311 Prefers Underground Approach (LA Times)

Pop music: Despite little airplay or press attention, the high-energy band has a growing national audience.


Nothing like the threat of airplay on MTV or radio to spoil a perfectly good music career. That's a real consideration these days for the band 311, whose high-energy hybrid of punk, hip-hop, jazz and reggae has found a growing national audience through relentless touring--despite little airplay and virtually no press attention at all.

"We see this as a really good place to be, and we don't want to mess it up by becoming overexposed," says singer-guitarist Nicholas Hexum. "We just want to be careful to keep an underground approach."

If that sounds strange coming from a band that remains little-known beyond its hard-core fan base, the five members of 311 have at least learned the rewards of self-sufficiency. Their success on the road has landed the Los Angeles-based quintet a slot on Saturday's KROQ Weenie Roast at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, followed by their own headlining gig June 22 at the Hollywood Palladium.

"It's really cool because we feel like we've done it without any favors," says Hexum, 26, during a phone interview from the road in Ohio. "We did it just through word of mouth."

The attraction is the charged, cross-cultural mix found on the band's three albums on Nashville-based Capricorn Records, including last year's "311," which weaves delicate shades of jazz and reggae into their high-impact groove. The new single "Down" is only now finding its way onto radio playlists.

Perhaps the most surprising part of the story is that Hexum, guitarist Timothy J. Mahoney, bassist P-Nut, singer SA Martinez and drummer Chad Sexton emerged from the minuscule alternative scene of Omaha, Neb., before migrating to Los Angeles in 1992.

"We probably picked the most difficult course to take as far as hip-hop coming out of Nebraska," says Hexum, who now shares a house in the Hollywood Hills with Mahoney and Sexton. "It's the most unlikely thing you would want to hear. You would think that it would suck just from that description.

"If we would have been making poppy alternative rock we would have had an easier time getting over, but that's boring to us. We're just naturally drawn to unusual music, hybrid stuff that's in between styles."

311's multi-genre blend has led to invitations this summer to play on both the punk-themed Warped Tour and H.O.R.D.E., the traveling festival epitomized by Blues Traveler's brand of groove rock. And this comes shortly after finishing a rap tour with Cypress Hill.

"It's going to be weird. It's going to be like being dipped in hot oil or something," says P-Nut, 22, anticipating the contrast. "I can't wait to see how we react to it."

The members of 311 found their earliest inspiration in the records of Bob Marley, Bad Brains, the Beastie Boys, the Clash and Prince. From there, they followed their musical tastes all over the place. Says Hexum: "We just tried to be as unlimited as possible."

Their first gig came in 1990, opening for punk-rock demigods Fugazi, and they were soon putting out their own CDs. "The fans were open-minded enough to want to come to a lot of shows," Hexum says. "It was a good place to start. But it got to a point where we were the biggest thing in Omaha. So what? Now we need to expand."

Their answer was to move to Los Angeles in 1992, and into a house in suburban Van Nuys. It was there that the band rehearsed endlessly while hunting for a record deal, but when Capricorn asked to see them live, the 311 members insisted on performing in front of the hometown fans of Omaha, which they did.

"We were real optimistic and hopeful," Hexum remembers. "We figured we already sold thousands of records on our own here in one city. Somebody has got to look at this and want to sign us, even if they hate our music. There is a fan base there somewhere."

The band expects to be back in the studio this winter to record an album for release next June. Certain to be included will be more of what they consider positive, celebratory messages that go against alternative rock's anguished grain--the single "Down," for instance, is an expression of long-term solidarity with friends.

"We're just expressing how we feel naturally," Hexum says. "If there's some angst that you have, you should express it through your music. But I think that's become something that people hide behind. It's more difficult to say, 'Hey, I like this.' "

311 in Progress (Detour Magazine)

Put 311 on stage, and there is all the impetus to mosh, pogo, slam- and the chance to get painfully dunked under a motley mix of sweaty kids in baggy pants. That's understandable. A 311 show can reach the level of a rain dance, all the whooping and writhing in anticipation of something to come. It keeps coming, from the crutchy guitars and staccato raps, to the occasional injuries of the numb and enthralled.

"I always make a point of encouraging positivity." says lead vocalist Nicholas Hexum. "The energy is such a cathartic release that it seems like some people misinterpret it as violence. But to me it's just a joyous, spastic dance.

"Apparently, when we played in New Jersey last week, someone got stabbed at a show. It really bums me out when stuff like that happens because anybody that really listens to the lyrics know that we're nonviolent. It's just that our shows are so entergetic people might get confused.

"I love to mosh myself." He continues. "I mean, I had a blast moshing at the Pantera show. But they, on the other hand, say things to the crowd like, 'Our crowd are fucking violent and I like that!' I think it's kind of lame. I love their band and I love their music, but we say the opposite: 'Go crazy and be wild, but don't hurt anybody.' It's not supposed to be about impact, it's supposed to be about a dance situation."

During the show, a contagion of collectivity encircles the band just as it does the audience. Vocalist SA Martinez is the secret shaman, slinking his lean, shirtless torso like a wet reed. Any audience member coherent enough to consider what's going on wonders what unifies the electrified group ina gaping concert hall. Drummer Chad Sexton verbalizes the expierence: "It's a weird mental state when we're playing for an hour and a half. I definately see it in terms of energy and energy release, and a different state of consciousness."

Stamping the live sensation into a permanent groove means occasionally breaking from the annual 100-odd-day tour and cutting an album. On their third release, 311, the band reaches a new level.

"On this record we kind of learned what to do and what not to do from our first two records." says Hexum. "We recorded in a real studio, we finally picked a producer we wanted to work with. Back when we lived in Omaha and we were daydreaming and listening to Bad Brains records, we were like 'One day we're gonna work with Ron St. Germain, he's made some of the greatest-sounding records, raw but clear."

This fine new album may take their sound to radio stations and clubs, but for those who want to get into 311's consciousness, there is still a single maxim: music is a public collaberation- not some strategy formulated in a $1000-a-day studio.

In Hexum's view, "When we're playing live and seeing the people dance and rock and mosh, that's just an extension, an evolution of what's happening for thousands of years, all the way back to an African circle of a couple of guys beating on a drum while other people dance, into the middle centuries of someone playing a flute. We're really just one tiny speck on the continuum." Like an atom, this tiny speck can wreck some serious chaos.

311's Wild Ride (WARP)

With its infectious mix of reggae, hip-hop, and punk, 311 can turn a crowd of jaded teens into a raving mosh pit. Over the course of three albums and several tours, 311 has slowly built its fan base to the point that the quintet's concerts in major markets like Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York sell out. Sitting in the back of the tour bus before a recent show, vocalist-guitarist Nicholas Hexum talks about the bands live performances. He's flanked by a Sega Saturn video game system (one of the band's favorite pastimes), and Rush's "Xanadu" plays in the background.
"Most people say you don't appreciate the band fully until you see us play live. I think that's true of any good band. If you can't cut it live, something's wrong," he says. "When you play live music and you have a large group of people dancing, that's the same thing that's been going on for thousands and thousands of years, all the way back to drum circles where people would dance. We're just an extension of tribal music."
As if to support Hexum's theory, 311 has traveled like nomads for the past five years, migrating from Omaha, Nebraska to Los Angeles in 1992. Now, the group (which also includes drummer Chad Sexton, guitarist Timothy J. Mahoney, bassist P-Nut, and deejay SA Martinez) has moved out of its house and simply lives on the road. The payoff hasen't come yet. 311's most recent, self-titled album (produced by Ron St. Germain) only briefly appeared on the Billboard charts, and the band's video hasn't found its way into MTV's "buzz bin." But for Hexum, touring provides the most satisfaction. He hopes the band can maintain a cult following and doesn't envision selling millions of albums and becoming the next Green Day or Offspring.
"We don't play punky pop rock, which MTV is all over. I think our time is a little more down the road. I would like to be like the Grateful Dead," he says, adding that the band played a song by the Dead on the night after singer-guitarist Jerry Garcia's death. "The Dead always focus on their live shows and have people who travel around to see them. They're very successful, but they did it without hits and mainstream press. As far as how they approach the business side, they can't be beat." Born in Wisconsin, Hexum moved to Nebraska by the time he was one. Ever since he can remember, Hexum knew he wanted to play in a band. He started with piano lessons, then learned to play guitar at age twelve. While a teenager, he spent one year in Greenborough, Maryland (just outside of Washington, D.C.), where he was first exposed to rap, but he says a broad range of music has influenced him.
"When I first heard the Clash, that had a big effect on me. Bob Marley also definetly changed my viewpoint a lot," the 25 year old says. "I had a big jazz period, and I still like to listen to Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday."
311's music has a hip-hop vibe that compares with that of the Beastie Boys, but it's eclectic influences and positive attitude distinguish it in the world of skate music. The band appeales to the skateboard/surfer/snowboarding crowd, but doesn't cop a bad-ass attitude. If 311 has any kind of message to offer, it's one that urges its fans to avoid violence.
"We get a lot of fan mail from people who appreciate what we're trying to do," Hexum says. "I know we're a lot more positive and have more heartfelt lyrics than the tough music stance that prevails. I like lyrics that have meaning behind them, and I like to hear a good love song. I'm not trying to sound all hard. We're just being ourselves."
On 311, the songs "Misdirected Hostility," and "DLMD," a track about a battered woman, reflect the band's position against violence. In "Misdirected Hostility," Hexum rejects the gloomy nihilism of punk rock: "I cannot handle all the negative vibe merchants...'cause all the angst shit is just cheesy." The group's views come across clearest in the track "Guns (are for pussies)."
"We believe people carrying guns, especially young males, are pussies. They are giving into fear. It takes a strong person to hold your head high without one," he says. "There are groups in our genre-not just gangsta rappers-who pose with guns on their covers. I think they're a joke."
Hexum also says that 311 tries to cultivate a culturally diverse audience, reporting that women and kids of all ethenic backgrounds often attend the concerts.
"Our audience is generally people like us who don't fit into any specific group," he explaines. "There're stoners, skaters, and all kinds of suburban kids. It's not only white males; there's a lot of diversity. If you only appeal to one special group, you limit yourself. I think if I express all the different sides of my personality, someone will relate."

Concert Review - 311 (Daily Variety)

(Palladium; 3835 capacity $18)

The accomplished and eclectic sounds of 311 are finally finding an audience worthy of the band's talent and potential. And considering the powerful show the group preformed here, the music world's timing couldn't be better.

The L.A.-based quintet formed in Omaha, Neb., in 1990 and has been on a slow, steady climb toward mainstream favor ever since. Combining rap, rock, reggae, jazz and R&B stylings into one potent and unique brew, 311 distinguishes itself from the usual flavors of the day with an informed hip-hop flow, an ever-changing potpourri of sounds and styles, and an unyielding positivity that permeates the group's high-energy concerts.

At the very sold-out (street scalpers were seen desparately looking for unwanted tickets) Palladium, the band played its biggest headlining show in L.A. Opening with the celebratory "Homebrew" from 1994's "Grassroots," 311 set a rapid pace for itself and the frenzied audience that both easily maintained throughout the 80-minute show.

Vocalist Nick Hexum and S.A. Martinez traded sharp rap lines, reggae bursts, and smart harmonies; the instrumentalists - guitarist Tim Mahoney, bassist P-Nut, and drummer Chad Sexton - continually impressed with a dexterous and infectous style that complimented the two singers' flow.

311's latest, self-titled album is fast approaching gold-level sales, and the group has a big summer ahead, headlining shows during the HORDE and Warped Tour. Considering that the president of Mercury Records, which recently bought out Capicorn, has named 311 as one of the label's priorities, it's easy to see the band's long-expected breakthrough is just around the corner.

Lifeline - Banned in Omaha (USA Today)

BANNED IN OMAHA: T-Shirts bearing the name of rock band 311 (pronounced three-eleven) have been banned at several schools in Omaha because officials consider the number a coded reference to the Ku Klux Klan, reasoning that "11" stands for the 11th letter of the alphabet, K, and "3" suggests three times K. Ludicrous, says 311 members, who are former Omaha residents. The moniker came from a police code for indecent exposure, and 311 in fact has an anti-racism song, Silver, that sprouts, "It's a waste to be a hater." A statement by 311 says, "We believe the only people worth hating are organized haters like the KKK. Our lyrics make a strong stand... for positivity and unity."

What's In A Name (Spin)

Omaha natives 311 are scoffing at accusations from local police and school officials that the band's name may be a coded reference to the Ku Klux Klan. The group's T-shirts were banned from severl school districts after two Africian-American students at Westside High School complained about the band's logo. "We've been told that white-supremacist groups have used '311' because K is the 11th letter of the alphabet," says Lt. Robert Dacus of the Omaha Gang Task Force. The members of 311, three of whom graduated from Westside High, say the name actually refers to the police code for indecent exposure. "If they want to ban us, they should use something true," says singer Nick Hexum, "like how we advocate the decriminalization of marijuana."

Friday, October 25, 1996

The 411 on 311 (LA Times)

Here's the 411 on 311

For the Publicity-Shy, Multi-Genre Group, Too Much Exposure Would Be a 911 Situation

Nothing like the threat of airplay on MTV or radio to spoil a perfectly good music career. That's a real consideration these days for the band 311, whose high-energy hybrid of punk, hip-hop, jazz and reggae has found a growing national audience through relentless touring--despite little airplay and virtually no press attention.
"We see this as a really good place to be, and we don't want to mess it up by becoming overexposed," singer-guitarist Nicholas Hexum said. "We just want to be careful to keep an underground approach."
If that sounds strange coming from a band that remains little-known beyond its hard-core fan base, the five members of 311 have at least learned the rewards of self-sufficiency. Their success on the road has landed the Los Angeles-based quintet a slot on Saturday's KROQ Weenie Roast at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, followed by their own headlining gig June 22 at the Hollywood Palladium.
"It's really cool because we feel like we've done it without any favors," says Hexum, 26, during a phone interview from the road in Ohio. "We did it just through word of mouth."
The attraction is the charged, cross-cultural mix found on the band's three albums on Nashville-based Capricorn Records, including last year's "311," which weaves delicate shades of jazz and reggae into their high-impact groove. The new single "Down" is only now finding its way onto radio playlists.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the story is that Hexum, guitarist Timothy J. Mahoney, bassist P-Nut, singer SA Martinez and drummer Chad Sexton emerged from the minuscule alternative scene of Omaha, Neb., before migrating to Los Angeles in 1992.
"We probably picked the most difficult course to take as far as hip-hop coming out of Nebraska," says Hexum, who now shares a house in the Hollywood Hills with Mahoney and Sexton. "It's the most unlikely thing you would want to hear. You would think that it would suck just from that description.
"If we would have been making poppy alternative rock we would have had an easier time getting over, but that's boring to us. We're just naturally drawn to unusual music, hybrid stuff that's in between styles."
311's multi-genre blend has led to invitations this summer to play on both the punk-themed Warped Tour and H.O.R.D.E., the traveling festival epitomized by Blues Traveler's brand of groove rock. And this comes shortly after finishing a rap tour with Cypress Hill.

311 Interview (CDNow, 1996)

311 shows have a reputation for generating enough energy under one roof to put most nuclear reactors to shame. You can see it in the faces of rabid fans running amok to grooves and melodies drawn from the various sounds of hip-hop, rap, punk and reggae. What you might not immediately read from the crowd or the band, however, is a philosophy that strongly diverges from the destructive rock 'n roll cliché commonly associated with rock bands past and present.

In three albums, each more musically successful than the last, 311 has managed to solidify a fan base loyal enough to support near-constant touring. To make it this far, however, they've had to surmount tremendous hardship, near-impossible obstacles and just plain bad attitudes. The memorial wall of bands that couldn't take it bears the names of thousands of acts who dropped out of the business for whatever reason, but 311 is one band that wouldn't bail out for any reason. With a down-to-earth set of values that relies on peaceful coexistence and overcoming adversity, 311 has persevered through asperity to emerge as one of today's most promising acts.

I recently had an opportunity to speak with drummer/composer Chad Sexton about the band's most recent album and tour. With a maturity borne of experience in the business, Chad very much reflects the values of 311 and shows us why the music game not only takes talent, but is often a question of the last band standing.

311 sounds like a real group affair; everyone seems to contribute equally, and I know you're constantly on tour. Does spending so much time together put a strain on things?
No, not really. I would think that someone being the leader would put a strain on things. We're just very fair and very unified in what we want to do, which is create different types of music and music that we love playing, basically.
So everything's pretty diplomatic?
Yeah, everything's diplomatic. I mean, on every issue, from who takes a shower first to who gets this T-shirt, or whatever. Certain people are involved in more of the financial stuff, some people are involved in more of the touring stuff... It just works out really well. We all have different types of energy, so we cover all of the areas when all of us get together. It winds up being a really fair, democratic thing.
Do you ever need to take a break from each other at the end of a tour, or even in mid-tour, just to keep your sanity?
Well, you have days off; if you need to be by yourself, you can go be by yourself. There's no drastic need to be without these guys. We grew up as friends in the first place. I guess it gets a little taxing, or wears on you a little to be around the same 10 guys all the time, but you just have to look at it like, what else would you rather be doing, really? Definitely playing music and traveling the country. If you're feeling one way, there's always ways to look at it to make you have a more positive attitude about it, definitely.

How did your sound develop? Did you have to make a concerted effort to plot the sound, or was it a natural evolution? It seems like you guys have... not necessarily disparate interests, but each member has his own separate "specialty interests" maybe.
Right. First of all, our music developed when we naturally came together and started playing what we wanted to play. We didn't really have a focus to bring rap together with Rock. We listened to Public Enemy and Ice Cube, and we also listened to 24-7 Spyz and Bad Brains. We love singing, rap music, hard rock and jazz. Like you said, everybody probably has his specialty, and that just makes us a more well-rounded musical group. We have all these different influences, instead of everybody loving rock music and being a generic rock band. I think it makes us stronger, also. It's harder to see in the public eye, because there are no rewards for the most innovative rock music, or the most creative attempt to put different styles of music together. There's no real reward to get from that, so we have to be very proud of it on our own. I just think of it as more of a natural thing. We never really said, hey, let's do this, but after we started doing it, we realized, wow, we're bringing rock, rap and reggae together.
You just threw it all together and it came out naturally?
Yeah, and after it comes out naturally, you start to realize what you're doing, and maybe then it becomes a more focused thing. Right now, we're just trying to write as naturally as possible, without worrying about what other people think of it -- just trying to be really creative in our own way.
You mentioned that there is no reward for being the most creative band. Does it bother you when you see other acts that are just dredging up a 20-year-old sound making it big on MTV?
That doesn't bug me, because if that's the type of career somebody wants to have, that's fine. If they do what you say they're doing, if they're just borrowing and making their own version of an older song, I just think those type of groups are going to be around for three to four years, tops; whereas we'll be together for hopefully 15-20 years. It does get a little frustrating, I guess. Like I said, there's no real reward, except for your personal gratification at what you've accomplished, and also all of the fans who notice that this is what we've done. That's another big grateful thing we get from putting all these different styles of music together. I guess in the early days, I might have gotten frustrated, but now I realize we're just better off being happy with what we're doing: trying to create and be innovative. That's much more rewarding than putting some pop song together and making a lot of money off it.
Is that kind of integrity difficult to maintain after so many years on the road? I'd guess you're not staying at four-star hotels and getting catered meals every day.
No, we're not; but I don't know if we'll ever be like that, because we're smart business people, also. We don't see any reason for everybody to stay at a four-star hotel. We're different from most bands in the way we operate. I would say we're a little more business-smart. The frustration doesn't really bother me any more; it's not anybody's fault. The only body's fault it is, really, is all of the public. It's not anybody's fault that the general public is at an eighth-grade listening level. That's what people like; they like simple shit that's put in your face. You can't get upset at that, because it's just the way things are. If people had a little bit more knowledge about music, maybe they would start to realize, "Oh wow, that group sounds a lot like this group, and this group sounds a lot like that other group." It's just that a lot of alternative bands sound the same. Even if I had a successful hit, it would bum me out more than anything to sound like 20 different other bands who had a hit that sounded like mine. Anybody can do that. I wouldn't say I could do that, because I just hate that fucking style of music, so I wouldn't ever try to write a piece of shit like that. Maybe I do get a little frustrated...

It's a different frustration than I was driving at before. It sounds like you get frustrated with what looks to you like a vanilla mentality, or pea-brain mentality of the general public. As a result, you must have a greater respect for your audience, which is perhaps more enlightened by innovative creativity. I'm guessing your audience is very enthusiastic.
Definitely, man. We have happy, fuckin', partying fans. Across the country, all the promoters say, "Man, we see all kinds of bands that draw really angry fans. Most of the ones that you guys draw are the happiest people. They're just ready to have a great time." We respect our fans, definitely, because each one of our fans is a very big fan. They're not just like, "oh, I'm a fan."
You clearly respect your fans a lot, but you've had some people at your shows who've done things you haven't agreed with. You've had at least a couple of instances of violence at shows, and I know that one of the guiding principles of the band is harmony and coexistence with all types of people, as well as general non-violence. Do you ever feel like some segments of your audience just don't get it?
Definitely. There's going to be a few people who don't understand that we're up on the stage rocking out as hard as we can, and might sound harder than shit, but actually, the message is really positive. So, if people aren't reading into the lyrics, they could just be watching us, taking the hard music and making up their own translation of what it might mean to them. You're always going to have people who get drunk and get mad because they got moshed too hard, and that starts a fight. That's always going to happen. But definitely there are people out there who've asked if we're with the KKK and shit like that, just because of 311. It's amazing that nobody would read the lyrics or even look to see that we have a half-Hispanic guy in the band, to know that we're not associated with any type of bullshit like that. Yeah, there's always people who are going to ignore what the message is, and go, "yeah, I like that music;" not even really concentrate. But that's expected.

Were there any specific experiences that people in the group had, that gave birth to the non-violent philosophy?
Just logic, really. Even if you win a fight, physically, everybody I'm friends with feels like shit after it happens. We learned that a long time ago. The best way is communication, and we just don't agree with violence.
Was anybody involved in gangs in their youth?
Nope. No gangs. Just your normal high school and college fights. Violence isn't fun. It brings everybody down, and that's not a good thing.
Your lyrics contain various drug references, mostly against cocaine. That's why I thought there might have been some background of violence, and then maybe somebody saw the light and turned around. I get the feeling that someone in the band had that kind of experience with drugs.
Yeah, I guess I can say that some... I'll just say "some of us"... did go through a little bitty cocaine phase, and we learned from that. We all agree that with cocaine and crystal meth and all that shit, you start using it over a long period of time, and then you start lying, and your personality starts to change. We all learned that a long time ago, so we're trying to pass on the information to people who maybe haven't learned it. We really think there are bad drugs and good drugs. Cocaine would definitely be among the bad ones.
What do you classify as, say, "good drugs"? I notice some psychedelic references in your lyrics. Are the "creative drugs" considered acceptable?
Basically, the two drugs we agree with that are illegal are marijuana and mushrooms. Those are what we call the "good drugs" that are illegal.
Is there any particular reason for that?
Just because heroin will fuck your shit up, and cocaine will fuck your shit up. We're into what's best for us, and we just kind of tell it on record. We're not saying, "Hey, nobody should go out there and do cocaine," and we're not saying, "Hey, everybody should go out there and do mushrooms and smoke pot." We're saying... we're just that way. We find that way works best for us. We're not going to preach or put anybody down who's doing as much heroin as they want; it's their life. But we're stating our experiences, and stating how we feel about certain issues. It's just our opinion, basically.

Do you have any plans to use a certain type of producer in the future? I know you guys are really happy with Ron St. Germaine.
Yeah, we're really happy, because he is a kick-ass producer. However, we might want to do this next album on our own. We've done three albums with different producers, and worked with all different people. Now, on this fourth one, I think it's time for us and our sound engineer, Scott Ralston, to dothe album. It will be pretty much self-produced, with the help of Scott, who's worked on all three albums, and who does our live sound during the tour. He's always with us. He already has a grasp on our sound.
Scott is integral to the sound?
Definitely, man. He is the shit. He had so much to do with the recording of the last album; great, great ideas. Not only did he help with mixing and EQ'ing of sounds, but he came up with actual parts that should be in the music. He's a sixth member of the band; I would go so far as to say that, because he makes our sound so tight. I would be scared to hear somebody else do our sound at this point, because it takes at least two months to just get it really tight and understand what we're about. He's a great asset, so it will probably be just us and him on the next album.
So, to lose him would be like amputating a limb, practically.
311: It would crush me. Yeah, we could recover. There's always another great sound man. I guess it's just building up the relationship and building up the sound. There may be so many sound men that don't think like you do on various things. We're just lucky that Scott is right along our lines, in terms of living and music.
A large portion of your audience is comprised of the skate/snowboarder crowd, which tends to gravitate toward music from the Long Beach/Orange County area. I know you guys came from Omaha, which is a long way from the digs of Sublime and No Doubt. It seems kind of odd that you managed to develop a sound like yours independently, unlike bands in certain regions, who tend to influence each other. Were there other bands like you out there in Omaha, or was it you guys forging it all on your own?
We definitely forged it on our own, without a doubt. The thing is, different styles of music exist everywhere. We could buy the same kind of albums that they could buy in LA and New York, give or take a few really hard-to-find imports and reggae albums. Omaha has MTV and radio stations, of course, so we were just influenced by the music; not really by live bands, but by record albums. I know Nick and myself have always been interested in music. My parents are musicians, so music has always been there for me. I guess, in one way, it shouldn't freak people out that we come from Omaha, because music is such a universal thing. You get influenced by the same record albums and MTV everywhere. But, I agree with you -- there's not really any bands coming out of Omaha or hardly anywhere else, except for, I guess, Seattle, Athens, L.A., New York... It's a big surprise to people -- I know that -- because it seems like we came out of a farm place, but Omaha is actually a big city of maybe about 700,000 people. We just love music as well as anyone else does. We were just like, "why can't we do this?". It's amazing to have so many people try to tell us, "No, you can't do that," and a lot of people doubting us.
What kinds of people doubted you?
Just lots of people. We had our fair share of backstabbing and people just saying shit about us all the time. That's pretty much in the past now, or I hope it is, but it's amazing. I think it's somewhat natural for people to be jealous, or maybe a bit bugged, that you're doing something that you're happy doing. I don't really have an answer as to why some people were so against us doing it. I don't know why people wouldn't say, "Yeah, go for it, man," instead of saying, "Oh, really," shit like that. But we came from Omaha, and all I have to say is we, fuckin', just kept believing it, put everybody to the side that said we wouldn't do it. In actuality, maybe all those people gave us more power to prove our point -- that we knew we were as good musicians as 750f the bands out there. We were willing to fuckin' risk our lives and fuckin' drop out of college and fuckin' just pick up and leave. It was pretty brave, man, and people still don't really respect it. You just can't please everybody. You pick up and move to L.A., and some of the Omaha people will say, "Oh, they sold out." It's as lame as that. We have a lot of people on our side, also. I guess it is just a little bit more difficult coming out of Omaha than out of L.A. or New York or whatever. But we did it, and we're stoked that we did it.
It's kind of hard for me to believe that you wouldn't get virtually everyone supporting an idea like that.
Yeah, I know. It's just that everybody doesn't really believe in positive mental attitudes. It's a proven fact that if you just keep thinking positive about things, better things are going to happen in your life. If you're always doubting yourself, you're going to end up with not as good a career. We believe there's always a force you can't see -- your attitude affects your life. You control your life. If you want to be happy, you just think about the good things in your life and try to improve upon them. Luckily, it's worked out. Our philosophy is proven to us, because we've had that philosophy since 1988. We know there's another force out there that you can't see, that really does make a difference; it really does change, depending on your attitude toward life.

Do certain members of the band have any religious convictions?
It sounded kind of spiritual, the way you were going off there for a minute.
We're not religious. Nobody goes to church. I know nobody in our organization believes in organized religion. But we're not bad people. We're fair people. We have the same morals as some of the organized religions, but on the whole, we just like to do what's best for us; apply those rules to us; offer those rules to other people, because we're so fucking happy right now.
Is it pretty much the positive attitude that got you through those rough times, or were you prepared ahead of time by your musician parents?
Now that I think back on it, we had a lot of rough times. We had a producer who went psycho on us. We had all of our equipment burn up. We've had a lot of obstacles to really get over, and I'm amazed at how many we've gone through, actually. But it always goes back to your attitude after these things happen. We saw our shit burn to the ground. What I had on was a pair of shoes and a pair of shorts, and that's all I came out with. I didn't have anything. We lost everything, and we all just talked. We knew that we'd be OK, because everything we had created, even the instruments that we had gotten, we had gotten by thinking about it and creating music. We knew that even though we lost everything, we had everything that we'd need to make it again inside our bodies, and inside our brains. If we wanted to, we hadn't lost that yet. A lot of positive thinking did go into us succeeding; I couldn't stress that enough to people. You just might not believe it until it happens to you. Positive thinking helps you get through everything, If you can just find that little niche to turn it around from bad to good, whatever it may be.
Do you have a fatalistic attitude, where everything that happens is for the best, so if our truck burns down, that's what was meant to be?
I don't know if it goes so far that we think, "Oh, this was meant to be." I don't think we get that analytical about it, but whatever happens, we have to make the best of it anyway. Positive thinking is power.

You're very much survivors, it sounds like.
Yes. We've been through some shit, but we're very happy now. It's really great. We grow at a pretty slow pace, but it's the pace that's right for us. Who knows, in a couple of years maybe we'll be one of the biggest-selling bands around. All we want to do is see how far we can take it with our positive thinking and our hard work. You can't just sit around and think positive things and expect them to come to you. You have to think positive things, and go out and get it -- go out and work for it. You also have to know the road map -- how to get to your goal. That's our basic philosophy.
When's the last time you guys had some time off the road?
Not too long ago. We had December and January off, and then at the end of January we went on this tour, which has been six weeks. Before December last year, we were on the road for about five months straight. This tour ends in about a week; we're almost to the end of it, and we're going to be taking a couple of months off. Then, we're going to go back on the road with our own headlining tour, and just have a great summer tour -- just celebrate that we're happy and that summer is here. We've seen cold-ass weather, so we're ready to get back to summer.
Any experience that's happened since your last interview that you want to get out?
Not really -- I think I've gotten most of it out. I was just thinking, there's Grammy awards and there's Billboard awards... there's all these different type of awards... I was thinking, what is my band successful at? Innovating and bringing different kinds of music together. I have a faith that we will win in the end, even though we don't have the big radio hit or the gold album. We have wonderful music that a lot of fans really love. I guess the biggest thing I've learned on this tour is that our music touches people in ways I didn't expect. It goes on a deeper level. It goes so personal that we've had people thank us for making this music, just because it changed their life around or it opened them up to positivity, or... I actually had a guy who said, "Your music has saved my life. I'm not bullshitting you." Just to have that force of music and of energy that you can't grasp with your hands; your ears can only pick up the sound waves, and your body can only feel the energy when you're on stage, but it's such a deep force. It goes so personal to so many people that I was thinking, if I was born all over again and somebody said what do you want to do, I would want to reach people in that same deep, mysterious type of way that you can't touch, or is not tangible. It's creative. I'm really happy that that's how my life is right now -- that I can touch so many people in that very abstract way.
In a powerful way.
In a very powerful way. Not only that, it's a positive way. We're not telling 13-year-olds to go smoke dope. We're just kind of stating that we do it. There's no real negative message coming off our music.

You mentioned that you can see the band going on for 10, 15, 20 years, maybe, and having more longevity than a novelty band. It seems also that you really reached a point of satisfaction with this last album, which is self-titled. What do you see ahead? Do you see 311 trying to evolve into a brand new direction, or trying to refine the sound more and make it better, or do you have plans to just let it run and see what happens?
The first two albums were very creative, and no-holds-barred, basically. Just write your music, practice it and record it. And then the third album came, and at least I was thinking, from a writer's standpoint, "I'm going to make my song a little more basic and a little more simplified." So, they're not as tricky as the songs on the previous album, called "Grassroots." Generally, I just made it basic, made everything a lot simpler -- maybe a little bit easier to understand. I accomplished what I wanted to do as a writer from that standpoint. I think the other writers, Nick mainly, accomplished what they wanted to do also. So now, this next album is kind of what I said to you at the beginning of this conversation. We're just trying to let it come out naturally again. We're not going to think, "Is this person going to like it? Is this radio station going to play it?" We're just going to say, "Wow, this is the most interesting music. Let's fuckin' try and play this," or, "God, I got this great idea." Just from the music standpoint, that's where we feel happiest -- writing a really cool, maybe sometimes awkward, very unique style of music. On this next album, compared to the last one, "311," I'm going to let it flow, basically, now that I know I just want to be creative and let everything come out naturally -- not gear it toward being simpler or being heavier or anything; let it be as creative as it wants to be. That's where I'm coming from as a writer, and I think the rest of the people in the band would agree. We've got to let our innovative methods and our creativity flow naturally, not gearing it toward anything except innovative music.
Does anybody have plans to explore different musical styles and directions that wouldn't fit with the band? Anybody planning a solo project or working with different musicians?
Everybody's more than welcome to do what they want to do, basically, but 311 is always going to come first for every member of 311. There's not going to be, "well, I've got to do this tour guys, so you're going to have to wait." Of course, you just never know. Somebody in the band could be producing another band, or shifting in the music business. Whatever you're interested in, you should go for it, whether it be making extra money by doing commercials, or by being in the studio helping a band out, or whatever. Everybody's free to do what they want to do; but after touring six weeks, you have two months off, and then you go back out on the road for two more months. You really want those two months off. We're always writing in our spare time, so it's not like we're taking the full two months off. There's really not a lot of time for other shit to happen. Plus, everybody loves their free time so much that I think they'd rather cook their nice meals, play their guitar and write -- just be chill, rather than go to the studio and record another album for another band or something. But, like I said, there's no real rule. Everybody's free to do what they want to do. For us five, I know that 311 comes first. We're going to work it long-term. I don't want to be done with this in five years. I just want to keep evolving.

Chad Sexton Interview (DRUM! Mag)

Drum! -Which drummers influenced you the most?
Sexton -When I was growing up I listened mostly to Dennis Chambers, and I listened to Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl and Terry Bozzio a lot.

Drum! -Those guys are primarily fusion players. Was that the style you listened to when you were a kid?
Sexton -Yeah, pretty much. In junior high I was more into Missing Persons and Frank Zappa. The basic rock music is boring to me-with the eigth notes everywhere. I know rock has progressed since I was in high school. But I didn't list any rock drummers as influences, because I was playing that stuff in junior high school and it got kind of boring. I liked the more challenging stuff that Weckl would play or Bozzio.

Drum! -Since your original influences were fusion drummers, have you ever been interested in doing occasional jazz gigs on the side?
Sexton -Yeah, I would be interested. But I don't know, maybe I'm a little different type of a drummer. I don't like to be drumming all the time. I enjoy my time off. I enjoy working for four hours a day on drums, and that's basically it. But you know, on tour and stuff when we have free time at soundchecks, we like to jam with people from different bands, and sometimes you can find a guy who can play straight ahead, and I've had a lot of fun just jamming with that. But, yeah, one day I might have a lot of time off, and would love to go play jazz gigs. I haven't played it in so long. It takes a little bit of time to get back in shape.

Drum! -What do you like to do when the band is off the road?
Sexton -My hobby is mostly just making music. So far I haven't really messed with any drums when I'm not on tour, except when we're recording. But I like to put loops together and songs electronically. That's really my hobby. I just relax a lot and write music and put it together, mix it, and make little demos. When I'm done with one song I just want to do another one, so it's just a never-ending hobby.

Drum! -How does the band normally write songs?
Sexton -We write songs different ways. Sometimes I'll have a finished song and bring it to the band, and teach them the guitar licks and what have you, and they'll go write lyrics for it. Or somebody else else will write a song and bring it to the band, we put it together and they write lyrics to it and it's done. Or we'll collaborate on songs. One person will write the first verse and someone will write the chorus or combinations of different riffs that might fit together. So we write it all different ways. Some songs come out of jams. Most of them don't, but some have. Lots of different ways.

Drum! -When the band writes material, what do you focus on for your drum part? Do you listen to the guitar or bass or vocals?
Sexton -Well, I guess I try not to think about it. I try to just let the drum lines come to me as they want to. I don't try to listen to anything. I just sit down and make sure I don't have one thought before I play it-this probably sounds weird. I just try out different things as everybody's rehearsing the song together. I'll try entirely different drumbeats for different sections and pick one of them. Sometimes it's good and sometimes I put a drum line on the album that I wish I would have spent more time writing, definitely.

Drum! -So do the songs evolve organically as you play them on stage?
Sexton -They really do. If you heard us play the songs from Grassroots live, I would say it's 50 times better than the album. It's just way better, and that's just because we keep evolving the songs. We never stop. After the album's released I keep changing the drum parts, and we even do entire different sections in songs. So we always keep it fresh.

Drum! -Does that occur because the band writes new arrangements over time, or does it happen through improvisation on stage?
Sexton -Both. Definitely. And then there's another issue, too. You're on the road and you're playing these songs for months, and it just seems a little stale at times to just play the same things over and over, even though that's what tons of bands do. So we like to do different solos and do different drum fills, and even change entire grooves. If it feels good to develop it that way, and it's getting stale in its original form, then we change it, but not so drastically that you can't recognize what it is.

Drum! -In concert you play a solo on the song "Applied Science". That makes you one of the few rock drummers who currently plays a solo every night.
Sexton -Yeah, I know. I run into that. People are like, "God, man, I haven't seen drum solos since Kiss!"

Drum! -And even then they didn't see a drum solo...just kidding!
Sexton -[laughs] I know.

Drum! -Do you keep a pulse going through the solo?
Sexton -For some of the solo I do, and then I just kind of go free-form, and do different things. I make it up off the tope of my head until I do the signal for the band to come back in, which is just a fill. There's a general outline but I try to keep it fresh every night, and do different things all the time.

Thursday, October 24, 1996

311 Makes It Out of the Grass and Into the Green (Rolling Stone)

Mainstream Success Is Easy Going
Posted Oct 24, 1996

After five years of lukewarm record sales and little attention from the media, 311 seemed destined to remain in the shadows despite a solid grassroots following. They basically made a living as a touring band with relatively little airplay and even less critical respect. When they introduced their rap/rock/reggae/jazz fusion on 1991's "Music," grunge reigned supreme, and the music world revolved around Seattle, not Omaha, Nebraska--a city where easy-going agrarians are a hell of a lot more likely to praise the beloved Cornhuskers on Saturday than give a rat's ass about a band like 311.
That's all changed, however, with the release of the band's third full-length record, simply titled "311," and a video for the first single, "Down" that landed in MTV's Buzz Bin. The last year has been good to the band: a platinum record, a No. 1 video and even a slot at Madison Square Garden in New York supporting Kiss. At his new home in Los Angeles, lead singer Nick Hexum recently spoke with ROLLING STONE.COM'S Kevin Raub about his recent purchases, the next record, and the bands spiritual connection with four old guys that wear makeup.

ROLLING STONE.COM: You just finished a relentless touring schedule. What've you been doing with your free time?

NICK HEXUM: I moved into a house and got a couple of puppies--two Dobermans but one's a Min Pin [Miniature Pincher]. They're the exact same color but one of them is tiny.

RS.COM: You guys seem to finally be getting some critical attention. Why do you think it took so long?

NH: Well, I think the world wasn't really ready for us. When "Music" came out, everyone was still really into grunge, and now I think people are moving away from straight rock and getting into bands like No Doubt, Goldfinger and Korn. They are hybrid bands such as ourselves with either ska or hip-hop elements. I just think it's time that people are appreciating cross-genre stuff.

RS.COM: "Down" is a shout out to your grassroots fans, thanking them for always being there. It's ironic that it's the song that broke you.

NH: Yeah, I had a real good feeling about the song because it had that hook that I kept singing and then everyone else started singing it. But it is ironic that it would be a grassroots message that would bring us to the mainstream. It's kind of funny, we finally had gotten to a place where we really didn't need MTV and everything because we could make a living though touring. And I always kind of thought that when we didn't need them, they would come to the plate. And it happened.

RS.COM: What was it like opening for Kiss at the Garden?

NH: It was a gig.

RS.COM: You aren't a big Kiss fan?

NH: Not really, but there are some parallels between our band and theirs. They never had much critical acclaim or acceptance but they still made a really good career out of it. We've been snubbed in our careers as far as critically and we figured we would be like that forever.

RS.COM: How'd the crowd treat you?

NH: I heard that we did really well because we got booed the least of any band that opened for Kiss. The show was already sold-out by the time we got put on the bill so there weren't a lot of 311 fans, but they gave it up. But there was some booing. It was different, not having a pit and stuff.

RS.COM: What can we expect from your next record?

NH: I think we're going to go more in the direction of our first album. We did a lot more production, we used samples, and a lot of percussion and trippy dub-style effects. We're going back to more psychedelic. We're just going to really try to get out there as far as some ambient stuff. I've also been trying to learn the old jazz standards. I'm not listening to that much rap right now. The De La Soul record is amazing but other than that I don't have much rap going through my CD player.

HORDE Fest Literature (1996)

Nicholas Hexum, Chad Sexton, Timothy J. Mahoney, P-Nut and SA Martinez are 311. Or as Hexum defines it, "311 means three plus one plus one...there were three of us and then we added one then one more."

These guys fuse hard rock, funk, rap and reggae into a potent musical cocktail. It is only fitting that the band members, who draw their influences from everybody from Bad Brains to Bob Marley to Nat King Cole, grew up in the center of the United States - Nebraska to be exact - where East meets West, providing a perfect breeding ground for the 311 sound and its many dimensions.

Currently based out of Los Angeles, California, 311 has covered a lot of territory since their inception: the band played their first gig opening for Fugazi in 1990, has put out one album per year since 1993 and tours almost non-stop, selling out clubs and theaters nation wide thanks to the massive grassroots fanbase they've cultivated over the years. This band thrives on live performances: all Hexum wants to do is tour into infinity, like the Grateful Dead. In a recent interview, he commented that "live shows should really be the cornerstone...we've always focused on that." Hexum said that their shows are "intense and hard-hitting, but it's a festival vibe. the overall feeling is one of celebration." Kind of a befitting attitude for a HORDE band wouldn't you say?
And speaking of attitude: the overwhelmingly positive attitude of 311 has been a sustaining force through tough times. It was most notably illustrated in the summer of 1993, when the band's RV exploded into flames- destroying all of their equipment, the VW van they were towing and most of their personal belongings- the members of 311 barely escaped with their lives, yet managed to return to the stage for a performance in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska the very next night. "There was never any question that we wouldn't carry on after that, " says Hexum. "The life affirming element that came out of the situation is that we realized all we really needed was what we still had: the songs in our heads and each other."

New Continent, New Record (The Reader, 1996)‏

AMSTERDAM - "McDonald's. We need to find the McDonald's," 311 singer Nick Hexum says, gazing up at un unintelligible street sign.

It is the beginning of a beautifully mild July day in Amsterdam and Hexum and his bandmates have just pulled into town with food on their minds. And with the minds in question being American minds whose bodies are finding it hard to live on $15 a day per diem, the automatic solution to the problem is, of course, a visit to the red and yellow land that Ronald built.

"There it is," a determined Hexum says, spying the Golden Arches and making a beeline for them. "Let's eat."

Ten minutes later, Hexum, drummer Chad Sexton, rapper mixmaster Doug "S.A." Martinez and Trevor Cole, the band's guitar and "good vibe" tech, are hapily munching on Royales with cheese and discussing the previous evening's show in a small Holland town an hour north of Amsterdam. For most of its month-long, 16-show European tour, the Omaha natives in 311 have played the role of opener for Shootz (SHOO'teez) Groove, a rap funk-metal outfit of Brooklyn, N.Y. One notable exceptionwas the Glastonbury Festival on June 24, which took place in the English town of the same name near London and featured the likes of Plant and Page, Soul Asylum, Stone Roses, Offspring and Spearhead on three stages during three days. While 311 played at 10:30 a.m. slot on the second day, it was nonetheless good exposure for the band and hey hope, a sign of things to come.

It is the prospect of things to come that have infused the 311 camp with a tempered excitement and a cautious optimism as band members look toward the future. More to the point, things are looking up and the band is feeling good again after hitting what could be termed a low point in its career little more than a year ago.

First off there is Europe. Hexum, Sexton, Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney and bassist P-Nut landed in Great Britain on June 20 and by July 7, when they are scheduled to fly back to the U.S., will have traversed parts of Germany, Holland, France, England, and Scotland. It is for most of the members of 311 their first trip overseas and they are enjoying the mostly positive reaction of European fans (and some backpacking Americans) to their music, as well as taking some sights.

Second, and perhaps more important, is the release of 311, the band's self titled third effort for Capricorn Records. After a few bad experiences recording the last 311 record, Grassroots, the band sat down for two months this time around and did nothing but wrote songs. Twenty one of them, in fact. Then it went out and got "the ballsiest roducer" it could, Hexum says, recorded those songs live in a real studio and has come up with what band members call "the definitive 311 record." Hence its name.
And finally, none involved can think of anything else they'd rather be doing for a living than traveling the country, or the world as the case may be, and playing music.

"I just listened to the (new) record again last night," Hexum says later as he strides up the stairs of the band's double decker tour bus, "and God...it's so good."

Those in the band and crew who happen to be standing around nod their heads in agreement. After navigating Amsterdam's "silent but deadly" street cars, as the band calls them, Hexum and his fellow Big Mac lovers, bellies full, are back at the combination hostel/bar/coffeeshop/restaurant where they will play that night with the Shootz Groove. Those not on the bus are spread throughout the compound, playing chess or connect-4 in the coffeeshop or lounging on the pation in the warm Dutch sunshine. The day is theirs to kill and, as anyone who's been to Amsterdam can testify, it is a good town in which to kill a day.
"It just keeps getting more comfortable," Hexum says in his typical calm, confident, semi-aloof manner. "Bigger buses, nicer hotels... things like that. We're getting more people to shows and amking more money."
But just over a year ago, life didn't look quite rosey.

During the writing and recording of Grassroots, the band was letf mostly to its own devices after personal problems affecting producer Eddy Offord worsened and he was unavailable to help much with production. Coupled with Offord's absence was the fact that Grassroots was written as it was recorded at the bands house in L.A. and not in a real studio. As a result, hexum said,, the record sounds a bit more experimental and less cohesive than Music, 311's major label debut. "Right now I would say Grassroots is our weakest record because of all the stuff going on at the time and not being recorded in a studio," Hexum says.

"But if you take all that into account, it really sounds pretty good."

Learning from earlier mistakes, 311 did things differently this time. And taking time off to focus on writing songs was just the first step. Next the band enlisted the guidance and experience of producer Ron St. Germain, who has worked with a slew of other harder edged alternative bands, something Offord has not done, Hexum says.

"Eddy was from another generation," Hexum says. "We didn't grow up listening to YES and those kinds of bands. We grew up listening to Bad Brains and bands like that."

St. Germain, who coincidentally produced Bad Brains' I Against I, proved to be a major asset, Hexum says. The new record was recorded live in the studio with fewer overdubs than on previous efforts in order to capture the band's live energy, he says. All 21 songs were put down on tape, however the band whittled the number of songs on the record to 14 after a secret ballot.
The results of their toils appears to live up to 311's considerable talents. Most of the 14 songs on 311 clock in between three and four minutes. They are focused on cohesive and bear more in common with Music than Grassroots. While Sexton's drumming, Mahoney's deft riff and P-Nut's funky bass sound stellar as usual, perhaps the most pleasent surprise is that Hexum and Martinez both sing on more than a few. In fact, not just sing, but harmonize together in a way that has been threatening to come to the forefront of 311's music since Martinez joined the band.

The reason for cutting the number of songs on the record, Hexum says, is simple.

"Everything we've ever recorded has been released," he says, explaining that the band thought it would be nice to have some unreleased songs to put on the b-sides of singles. Other options for the seven castaways, which Hexum describes as "a little more experimental," are compilations and movie soundtracks. In fact, one of the songs will appear on the soundtrack to the new National Lampoon movie, "Senior Trip," while another will be featured on the Musicians Against Racism and Sexism (M.A.R.S.) compilation.

311 takes the stage about 9:30 that evening, just as the crowd is begining to filter in. Martinez and the band's drum tech Yeti (also an Omaha native), just make it back from a trip to Western Union in the nick of time. They both seem a bit rattled after a wild cab ride in which the slightly crazed Dutch driver told them to "hold on to your stomaches."

Hexum and Martinez lead the charge as the band kicks into "Freak Out," from Music. And charge they do. These guys, Martinez in particular, never stop moving. Mahoney, proudly showing off his pierced nipples and ahoulder to arm tattoos, alternately bangs his head up and down or closes his eyes to the sky, lost behind his stringy hair. P-Nut, on the other side of the stage, holds his base like a weapon as he struts around like a rooster, giving the crwd a looksee at his body art, including the Aleister Crowley quote, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," located on the outside of his lower left leg. And of course, Sexton, the drummer, the forgotten man in the back, who with an intense scowl of concentration is worrying about whether he's going too fast or too slow as he powers the band along.

Throughout the tour, 311 has been playing, with minor nightly changes, more or less the ame 45 minute set, heavily laden with songs from Music. Usually opening with "Freak Out" and closing with "Fuck the Bullshit," the set also features "Feels So Good," a killer, funked-out version of "Nix Hex," "Lucky" and "Off-beat Bare Ass" from Grassroots, and "Down" and "Jack O'Lanterns Weather," two of the best new songs, among others. The evening's set comes off without a hitch and flows beautifully, to the delight of the audience, a few of whom call for an encore.

Though small compared to the number of people the band draws in many areas of the United States, the crowds in Europe seem to be taking to it, as evidenced by a show in Berlin on June 30 at which approximately 80 people (it was a small club, to be fair) were up and groovin' to the five guys from Nebraska. One vocal fan kept calling for "Unity," and being good Midwestern boys, they oblige him. But the band agrees that the show in Paris on July 5 was the best reaction it's had so far, with one fan even yelling "Slinky Girl," a song from the band's self-released first record, Unity.

According to Hexum, "Recording is cake. This (touring) is the hard part." For a major portion of the year, the band members seperate lives are combined into one while they're on the road, sleeping, eating and hanging out mostly with each other. Hexum likened the experience to being in the army where all one's needs are taken care of and all one has to do is go out every day and perform the task that keeps the whole machine running.

But instead of handing their lives over to a drill instructor as a new recruit might, 311 hands its lives over to manager Adam Raspler. At age 24, Raspler is the man who gets things done for the band. He is constantly running around making phone calls, coordinating interviews, schmoozing record company reps, handing out passes to get into the club, passes to eat and generally making sure that everything runs according to schedule. Raspler originally worked as an assistant to 311's former manager, but when the band realized Raspler was doing all the work, they fired his boss and welcomed him into what has become known as the "311 brotherhood."

Plastered onto the sides of the bands equipment cases, as well as on shirts, are emblems emblazoned with those very words: 311 Brotherhood. Apparently, there exists in California a clothing company by the name of "Local 311." When the company heard of the band, it sent over some of its wares with "311 Brotherhood" on them and the phrase seems to have stuck.

"They were cool shirts, and well...(the phrase) kinda fit," Mahoney says, with a shrug of his shoulders.

The band refers to it as paying their dues. It is four days later at a club in North London, a show 311 was supposed to headline but was bumped down to the opening slot (and a 35--minute set) by the club's management. To make things worse, it isn't allowed a sound check. Consequently, the show suffers as the sound is horribly muddled, and the crowd is not impressed. but such is life and the band takes it in stride.

"We're just paying our dues," Mahoney says later, hoping such hassles will fall by he wayside when and if his band hits the big time.

With only a few more dates to play on this side of the Atlantic, the band is becoming less excited about being in Europe and is eagerly looking forward to its upcoming American tour, where the largest crowds (Atlanta, New York, Los Angles) will number in the thousands instead of the tens as they frequently have in Europe. After 311 lands in New York City on July 7, it will shoot a video (with a $70,000 buget) for one of the new songs, then immediately embark upon a tour that is expected to last for approximately six months.

For now 311 is optimistic about its future and plans on aggressively getting the word out about itself and packing more people into shows.

"We're never going to be a hit-oriented band. But so may cool people would like us that haven't heard us," Hexum says with a note of frustration. "If you have a crowd of people, 20 people have never heard of us and one person loves us."

But beyond all the hassles-the comunal living, unreliable club owners, monotonous interviews with clueless journalists and too many Big Macs-there is the music, always the music. And that is, of course, what keeps them doing it.

"It's fun to play and get people dancing," Hexum says. "Everybody has to have a job and this is a great job."

311 Kisses Up to Hippies and Skate Punks (Rolling Stone, 1996)

When 311 drummer Chad Sexton was 8 years old, he had a bloodcurdling experience that left and indelible mark on his life. Fortunately, the blood wasn't real, but it was an incredible simulaation spewed by none other than Gene Simmons during a 1978 Kiss concert in Sexton's hometown of Omaha, Neb.

"My mom had taken me to the concert, and Simmons spit up blood on this towel," the soft-spoken 25-year-old recalls. "He threw it, and my uncle caught it for me. it was a dream come true, because I used to listen to Kiss all the time." You can imagine Sexton's excitement when 311 were asked to open for Kiss during the firebreathing band's stop at Madison Square Garden, in July. "It was kind of a full-circle thing for me, definitely," Sexton says.

Opening for Kiss was only one of the many things that have come full circle for 311 in the past year. Their third album, called simply 311, released last June, has gone gold; their video clip for the single "Down" has landed a spot in MTV's Buzz Bin; and the band is playing stints on two of the summer's higher-profile rock fests: the Warped Tour and H.O.R.D.E.

Sitting in the living room of the Hollywood Hills, CAlif. house that three of the five members of 311 share, SExton and the band's 26-year-old frontman, Nicholas Hexum, recount the ups and downs of their past six years together, with a Midwestern reserve that belies 311's boisterous music. The band-which also includes bassist P-Nut, guitarist Timothy J. Mahoney, and singer and turntableman SA Martinez-plays a bristling hybrid of rap-inflected, reggae-tinged, metal-edged, hippie-spirited rock that was tough to sell. But its tirelss punk work ethic has kept 311 on track ever since their first gig, opening for Fugazi in 1990. Even after 311 moved their home base from Nebraska to the glitzier clime of Los Angeles two years later, they stuck to their no-frills regimen of relentless touring and no-holds-barred shows.

"We didn't come out with a big bang-you know, billboards and videos and all kinds of shit," Hexum says. "It was really grass-roots, which in the long run seeems like a good thing, because some bands blow up resal quuick and then they don't know how to sustain it. We were like, 'OK, these magazines won't write about us and MTV won't play us-well, fuck 'em. We're gonna take it to the streets. We're gonna take it to the people.'"

Sure enough, the people have taken 311's music to heart. Playing their music among sunburned skate punks at the Warped shows and between the sprawling neo-Dead jams at H.O.R.D.E. may seem incongruous, but to 311 it makes perfect sense. "What we strive for is the same thing that was happening at a festival or carnival or holiday thousands of years ago in Europe or Africa or wherever," Hexum explains. "It's something cathartic that everyone needs to go through. I don't mean to sound grandiose, but I feel that moshing and rock are the tribal dance that this culture has been missing. It sounds so cliche`, but it's true-rock & roll will never die."

Rockers Cry Foul (Omaha World Herald, 1996)

           Just because 311 has a song titled "Don't Stay Home" doesn't mean the band dislikes home cookin'.
           "We love to come home," 311's lead vocalist and songwriter Nick Hexum said Saturday afternoon. The band performed a concert here Friday night. "...We're trying to put Omaha on the map for popular music. But it's embarassingthat the two biggest controversies for us have happened in our hometown."
           Hexum was referring to two incidents during the last two months involving the funky bunch of rappin' rockers and Omaha officials.
           In April, three District 66 schools banned 311 T-shirts after receiving information from the police department's gang unit linking the group's name to the Ku Klux Klan. The group denies any connections whatsoever to the white supremacist organization.
           The second incident occurred Friday at the concert. Omaha police made a record 76 arrests -- mostly for drug- and alcohol-related offenses. Of those arrests, 73 were for misdemeanor offenses and three were for felony possession of powder cocaine.
           "If people are doing those white powders, they're stupid," Hexum said. "It's just embarassing that the only people who are uptight about marijuana smokers are in Omaha. The uptightness of Omaha is really embarassing."
           Hexum and other members of 311 are vocal proponents of the legalization of marijuana. He said police subjected the band's concert to increased scrutiny because of that position.
           "I have to not let it bother me, but you need to be careful when you come to a 311 show," Hexum said. "I don't think that's going to stop people from what they are doing... but it's extra tax dollars being used by the police."
           "Kids smoking pot is not that big in the grand scheme of things."
           Before Friday's show, PRIDE Omaha, Inc. held an anti-311 rally at Gene Leahy Mall to protest the band's advocacy of marijuana. About 30 people attended, said the organization's executive director, Susie Dugan.
           "We are tired of people pushing drugs to our kids -- whether it's in actuality or in attitude," Mrs. Dugan said. "We support law enforcement and we hope it continues."
           Mrs. Dugan also organized a protest of a Cypress Hill concert in Omaha a few years ago. 311 toured with Cypress Hill, another pro-marijuana band, this year.
           "Some parents have no idea what kids are doing at these shows," Mrs. Dugan said. "I think pro-marijuana (stance) in the entertainment industry is getting back to the time 20 years ago when you had Cheech and Chong and John Lennon saying it was OK."
           Hexum said Mrs. Dugan's group doesn't realize that his grpu has released songs opposing cocaine and other "hard" drugs.
           "I think it (PRIDE Omaha) is a sick little club," Hexum said. "They don't have any more right to Omaha than we do. We'll just ignore them, but I'm sure people will be more careful where they hide their pot at the next 311 show."
           MORE ON 311:
           The "home cookin'" members of 311 seem to like most comes from La Casa Piezzeria near 44th and Leavenworth Streets. Friday, drummer Chad Sexton had a La Casa pizza topped with pepperoni and black olives. Vegetarian and guitarist, Tim Mahoney chose black olives, onions and mushrooms (the legal kind, mind you). When 311 played Sioux City, Iowa, last month, Sexton's ,other, Linda McDonald, made a special delivery of La Casa pizzas.
           311 swings back this way Wednesday night when it plays at the Civic Center in Des Moines.
           Hexum said 311 previously turned down an offer to appear on "The Conan O'Brien Show," but the band likely will appear as a musical guest on the late-night show in August.
           It was six years ago Monday that 311 played its first gig under that name at Sokol Hall in Omaha. The band has said it took the name from a police code for indecent exposure.

Shooting Stars Section - 311 (Hit Parader, 1996)‏

The line between the formerly divergent worlds of hard rock and hard rap have been further and further eroded in recent years. While it wasn't too long ago that any true fan of traditional rock would look with downright disgust upon anyone who voiced a preference for rap, a number of bands have been making significant headway in merging these separate musical factions. One of the latest of these rock/rap units is a band form Omaha, Nebraska (noted as a bastion of strength for both the hard rock and rap empires...not), that goes by the name 311. With the release of their self-titled third album, these heartland rockers have done their share to bridge the still existing rap-rock gap.

"Coming for Omaha, you don't feel the need to fit into certain peer groups," said vocalist Nick Hexum. "You don't have the ethnic mix, or the ethnic tensions you do in a bigger city. In Omaha, you can just appreciate music for what it is, and not for what social statement it's making. There's an energy to rap, reggae, or some types of jazz that's really similar to the energy that a lot of rock music has. What we do is just a natural extension of our personal tastes."

While they still proudly call Omaha home, the fact is that 311 has been located in the sunny climes of Los Angeles since their debut album was released in 1992. While that album--and its follow-up--did little to distinguish these boys from a variety of other "white soul" men, their new disc has seemingly done the trick with everyone from MTV to rock and urban radio jumping all over the band's songs. But before these guys are gonna tip their caps and give the media credit for their success, Hexum want the world to know EXACTLY how hard 311 has worked to achieve their current success.

"It's our fans , the people who came to clubs to check us out, the ones who bought our first two albums, who really made it happen," the singer said. "It's been a word-of-mouth buildup taht eventually reached MTV's ears. They didn't create us--though we're very thankful for their support."

Featured in the 14th issue of Diesel Music Publication out of Salt Lake City, Utah

311 started out playing little clubs in the Omaha area several years ago. They made several albums in their hometown and grew from there. 311 moved to Los Angeles in order to record their first album on Capricorn Records, simply titled "Music." 311 has played all over the United States and Europe and have developed a pretty big fan base. The band has made several video's and have a little feature in the November issue of High Times. 311 is a powerful mix of hip hop, reggae, and rock. Their influences range from BOB MARLEY to AD BRAINS. Their self-titled album was released in the summer and has been selling pretty well ever since. I had a chance to speak with the lead guitarist of 311, Timothy Mahoney. Here's the rundown of the interview.

Diesle: What happened to Eddy Offord?

Tim: Eddy Offord went crazy. I shouldn't say he went crazy, but in a lot of respects, he did. Right when we started working on "Grassroots," he started drinking a lot, and things developed to a point where we were unable to work with him. It was just kind of a falling out, and we ended up doing most of the album by ourselves. We did run the drum tracks in a studio, and everything else was overdubed at the house. We just had a falling out, and ever since then, we haven't talked to him.

Diesel: Now that you're being played on mainstream radio, do you think that radio has had a bigger effect than word of mouth?

Tim: Not for us, but maybe, that's the case for some bands. For us, this is our third record with Capricorn, and it's like we've been building from a grassroots level ever since we started touring. We've developed a fan base over the years, and that fan base has developed by word of mouth. For us, it's like one song is out there for radio, and that's only one song of so many that aren't played. I think our music spreads by word of mouth and all the people coming to shows to check us out.

Diesel: What do you think of stage divers?

Tim: It's okay, as long as they get up and get off. The only time it's a problem is when people get up and run around and dance on stage. They tend to stay on stage. We have guitars and stuff up there, so for me, I have equipment on the ground. I can't really have anybody dancing by me. I don't really mind as long as they get up and get off. If that's all they do, it's ok by me.

Diesel: Two of your shows in Salt Lake were a 21 and over club. Did you play there because you have no choice, or because you might have been paid more?

Tim: When we first started coming here, that was the only place we could get to play. When we first started touring, we didn't have fans and stuff, so we had a booking agent, and it was his job to get us shows. A lot of times, the promoters have and easier job booking shows that are 21 and over, where they can make money off the bar. The amount of money we were paid at the time would have been irrelevant. We pretty much do all ages, even though some states require we play 18 and over.

Diesel: What are the ups and downs of living in Los Angeles? How does it compare to Nebraska?

Tim: Well, it's different in a lot of respects. Omaha was a great place to grow up and go to high school. After that, we wanted to keep growing. Part of that was to move out of Omaha. Los Angeles is a place that everyone likes. It was hard to get used to, but now, everyone likes it because it is our home. It's really cool because there are a lot of people out there and a lot more is going on. It's a good part of the earth out there with the ocean and the West coast.

Diesel: One of your first shows was opening for FUGAZI. Were any of you MINOR THREAT fans?

Tim: I was, but I actually wasn't in the band when they opened for FUGAZI. Right after they played that show, I don't know what happened to the guitar player they had, but he left, and I started playing. I was a big MINOR THREAT fan. I still am. I listen to their music all the time.

Diesel: The first week your album came out, it sold 20,000 copies and was number 56 on the Billboard charts. Do you think the album will do that well?

Tim: No. When "Grassroots" came out, I think it debuted at number 186, and we were really hoping to beat that. We had no idea that it would reach number 56, so we were super stoked. Now, it's been out for about nine weeks, and I think it's still in the charts at 176, right now, so it's still hanging in there. It's been cool, and it was a pleasent surprise that made us happy.

Diesel: Your first single off of "Music" was "Do You Right," but I thought "Hydroponic" was the song that stuck out more. Was there a censorship thing that kept you from releasing "Hydroponic" as the first single?

Tim: I think that it was the record companies choice to release that single. They wanted to pick a song that they think would work with radio and was more friendly and had a chance. That's probaby why they chose that one, so we really didn't have much say in it. I think it would have been cool to release "Hydroponic" as the first single.

Diesel: What happened to your RV? Did you know that you'd be furnished with a bus, if the RV was destroyed?

Tim: It was not a plot to get this bus. We were just out of Springfield, Missouri, and we had a bad exhaust system. I think the bad exhaust sparked a flame, which ignited some fuel somehow. It went down in flames when it hit the gas system. P-Nut had gone ahead to the show with a friend, so it was SA, Nick, Chad, and me. There was only one door so we had to jump through a flaming doorway. We lost all our gear and all our clothes. We lost the van which we were pulling which had all the gear in it. We went out and played the next day and bought another used RV.

Diesel: Have you seen Senior Trip yet?

Tim: No. I haven't, but I really want to see it. The song that they used for that soundtrack was a b-side from the recording of "311." We recorded seven extra songs that didn't make the record, and we gave those songs to a person who was deciding on the soundtrack. They decided on a song, called "Outside."

Diesel: Do you think that it's important to vote?

Tim: Oh yeah. At least you can have some choice, but in some respects, it's like there is not much out there to vote for. I wish there was some way to organize young people in the country to create some force to get old fucking whitey out of government and possibly, some new thinkers in. We need some human rights for the advancement of human living conditions and all quality of life for all human beings.

Diesel: How come "Slinky" or "Soul Sucker" weren't on the "Music" album?

Tim: Probably because they were on two previous albums, I guess. We used some of the songs from "Unity" for the album, "Music," but "Slinky" was a song for that period of time, and we wanted to leave it that.

Diesel: Do you think mushrooms and LSD, should be legalized?

Tim: Yeah, I do. I think that a human being should be able to do whatever they want with their body as long as they don't infringe on the rights of other people's reality tunnels. At least, becaue nobody should go to jail for those. As long as it's in a safe environment, I'm all for it.

Diesel: Do you think that playing stoned enhances your performance?

Tim: No, I wouldn't say it enhances my performance. A lot of times, I am high when I play, but sometimes I am not. I wouldn't say that it's any better or worse. There are other factors. How the music sounds on stage each night is a little more important than the stoned factor. As far as the show goes, my brain works the same.

Diesel: On your press release, it says that your music is associated with the surf/snowboard/skate culture. Do you do any of those things?

Tim: I think that was written because a lot of our fans surf, skate, and snowboard. Nick has a pair of inline skates. I used to skate, and people used to skate, but when you're doing what we're doing, you really don't have any time to go out. I'd like to go snowboarding, but we just don't have the time.

Diesel: Do companies like Fresh Jive and Graffix kick down free stuff just for being an awesome band?

Tim: Graffix has been really nice to us. They set us up at the end of last year's tour with a bunch of pieces. Everyone in the crew and band got at least one bong. We got some 4-foot and 3-foot bongs made out of glass. Everything was made out of glass. Every night, it seems like we're smoking up with different people, so we smoke out of graffix bongs. Graffix bongs are the best in my opinion.

Diesel: I know that you have your own fan club. Are there any 311 groupies?

Tim: I guess. Groupies is kind of a weird word. We have the 311 Hive, which is a fan club and information line. P-Nut's mother and stepfather run that thing. They have done a good job of staying on top of that. It has really helped us out a lot. Fans that want to come to the shows can now call and get information on the tour and venues.

Diesel: Was your original intent to mix several types of music? What do you think about other bands doing it these days?

Tim: I think that Nick and SA really enjoy rapping and singing. I play guitar and enjoy that. We are all into hip hop, so it's a natural thing that happens when we make music. A lot of things just happen, and it really depends on each song as to what happens. We decide wheather to rap or sing. As far as other bands, we've toured with a lot that are into mixing styles. The band we're out with right now is called NO DOUBT. They mix ska and punk rock with really good singing and horns. We travel with a lot of good bands. We've travelled with the URGE. They're a good band, but they haven't been signed yet. They have some sort of indie deal, but I can't believe they haven't been signed to a major label. Other bands include the PHUNK JUNKEEZ, SHOOTZY GROOVE, and there are a couple others. A lot of the bands mixing tend to be underground bands. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE is similar, but they are a little bit heavier than us. SUBLIME's cool. I've listened to them and watched them play. I think that over the past couple of years, people have gotten into the kind of music, and it's a little scene which started and has grown.

Diesel: Do you notice a sizable differance between clubs and bigger shows?

Tim: Yeah. It's definetly a different energy. It's really cool playing big shows because you can feel all the peoples energy. It's also great to play the smaller places because of the intensity. I say they both have their pros.

Diesel: What do you think about people who call you sellouts?

Tim: I'd have to say that they have no idea what they are talking about. God. If we're sellouts, then every band you see on MTV or hear on the radio is a bigger sellout than us. I really don't care what people like that think. They don't have to listen to us or come to our shows.

Diesel: What's your favorite place to play and why?

Tim: I don't have a favorite place to play. All the shows have been really good this year. Every show is a blast. I think the crowds vary from town to town, but they're all good crowds. Salt Lake is going to be a good show. We did Denver last night, and that was a good show.

Diesel: Was the picture inside "Grassroots" taken from an old playboy?

Tim: That's so funny you should ask that. We were just looking at my laminate yesterday, and I always forget. I know I've heard it a bunch of times, but I always forget. I think it's a modern day picture that they are trying to make look like an olden day picture.

Diesel: Did you guys meet Daddy Freddy?

Tim: Well, we had a mutual friend who knew him. He'd hang out a couple of times and smoke with us. He would take us and hook us up with the "Lambsbread." He hooked us up with weed a bunch of times. He's a fucking nice guy. We asked him if he'd be interested in laying down some vocals for "Nix Hex." He came into the studio one day and laid it all down.

Diesel: Do you have any idea of the style on the next album?

Tim: I don't know. We haven't put any new songs together since the last recording sessin. We're going to take off December and Janurary and go out Feburary, so we will be playing shows all next year. The next time we will start recording is hard to say.

Diesel: In a couple of years down the road, do you plan on keeping on playing music, or do you plan to start a family?

Tim: It's too late to turn back now. We plan on being like a GRATEFUL DEAD or any of those bands that stay together for a long time. I plan on playing until I can play no longer. I think everybody feels the same way. We're striving for longevity. Not many bands out there last a long time like the GREATFUL DEAD did. We'll be playing even if we're jazz or reggae when we're fifty.

Diesel: What are some of the things you tell people when they ask what 311 maens?

Tim: We tell everybody something different. One of them is that it was a number dictated to me by a higher intelligence. The number 3 in numerology represents male, and I think 11 is magic. It does not mean KKK. K is the elevnth number in the alphabet, I can tell you that it does not mean that. It's our band, and I think that it's sort of generic. It doesn't apply to anything, so you have to rely on the music to judge us.

Diesel: Do you notice the stuff that people put together on the internet about 311?

Tim: We don't. We travel, so we'd probably need a cellular modem or something like that. I do really enjoy checking it out, but I rarely get a chance. Sometimes, the fan club records conversations and mails us copies. I think that there is a really cool network out there. I'd like to write down the guitar tabs with the help of chad. I think that would be fun.

Diesel: What do you expect from the Salt Lake crowd tonight?
Tim: I don't know. Word is that the show is sold out. Last time we were here, we were tripping out because we were looking at the stadium thinking how big it was. There was a good turnout at that show. We are hoping the turnout will be like last time or even bigger. We're excited. I think it will be great. I think all the people will soak up the sound. We're gonna rock it.