Friday, December 14, 2001

311 Back From Chaos (MTV Asia)


Long before the current rap-metal genre became part of mainstream rock, there were already many bands who were playing this hybrid music. One such band is 311 who have been fusing hip-hop, funk, reggae and hard rock since 1990.

Formed in Omaha, Nebraska, 311 almost broke up after a couple of years because they were broke and their brand of music wasn't very popular yet. Fortunately, they were signed up by Capricorn Records and released their debut album "Music" in 1993. Touring became second nature to this very hard working band and their second album "Grassroots" was released in July '94.

All the touring and energetic live shows paid off as their fan base kept growing. 311 finally made a breakthrough with their self-titled third album in 1995 which gave them two hits, "Down" and "All Mixed Up," on Billboard Modern Rock Chart and MTV. "311" sold over three million copies and the band began drawing huge crowds to its shows. Two more studio albums -- "Transistor" (1997) and "Soundsystem" (1999) -- proved that 311's success was no flash in the pan.

After fighting a legal battle with their record company, the band is back with their sixth album called "From Chaos." 311 frontman Nick Hexum talks to's Patrick Chng about the new album, the state of rock music, Napster and keeping things fresh.

How do you think the rock music scene has evolved since you guys were formed in 1990?
One of the biggest things is when we started out in 1990, there was really no genre of rap-rock, you know. When we first started out, we didn't really have that bit much of a chance of getting on radio because radio at that time was dominated by grunge and Nirvana, Pearl Jam... you know. Then when we finally had a hit with "Down," we were one of the first rap-rock groups to do that. It's been a really big change.

You guys were mixing hard rock with hip hop, funk and even reggae way back when, who were your main influences when the band was just formed?

When the band was just formed, we were into the Chili Peppers, Bad Brains, Urban Dance Squad... a lot of different things, definitely more straight hip-hop like Beastie Boys and stuff like that. We just try to be really open-minded and we're into all kinds of things.

I think you guys were described as rap-metal long before this genre became immensely popular, did you feel pigeon-holed by that categorization?

Not really because I thought it was a genre where you can make your own rules. Modern Rock is one of the most open-minded genres to be in because you can have anything from ska to metal to hip-hop to reggae influences, Latin, funk, whatever. It's a pretty wide open spectrum. I've always felt pretty free to make whatever kind of sound we wanted.

Rap-metal is huge now with bands like Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Papa Roach, do you feel part of this scene?

Yeah, I think we're definitely part of that scene but I kinda see us as being a band that... you know, there's newer rap-metal type like you said, like Papa Roach, Linkin Park and stuff like that, that more appeals to younger audiences. And then there's more sort of adult-oriented rock which would be like Radiohead and U2 and stuff like that. And I think we're somewhere in between that where maybe people in the 30's like Radiohead and people in their teens like Linkin Park, people in their 20's are going to be more appealing to 311 I think.

Whenever a genre becomes huge, there are bound to be bands who would jump onto the bandwagon. Already we're hearing loads of bands who sound really generic. How do you feel about that?

It happens but I don't mind it. If anything now, the music industry has to take rap-rock as a serious form of music and would have to consider us more where before when we first started out, they just figured that rap-rock in general is just a fad and they would just dismiss the whole genre. But now, they have to acknowledge the whole genre or at least give it more of a chance to be acknowledged.

One thing that sets 311 apart is that you guys have a very positive vibe as opposed to just angst and whining. Do you agree that this is one of the things that make you guys different?

Yeah I think that that's something that is definitely kind of unique for us but we just kinda happen to grow into that. But we feel in this day and age with all the blessings that we've been given and the chance to do this, that probably the last people who should be complaining about how tough life is, is the people in modern rock who are complaining about life sucks... whatever. To me, I would feel embarrassed to be saying that because these people who are saying it usually have every advantage in the world, so I just feel it's our duty to balance all that stuff out by spreading more positive messages.

You guys came up before those bands who are now bigger than you guys. They're selling more records than 311. How do you feel?

I would say that... we feel that we have sort of a comeback to make but I don't feel any spite or jealousy of bands who are maybe influenced by us and are bigger than us now because, if anything, they've helped get the genre of hybrid music acknowledged. If people are sort of acknowledging it, then rap-rock is a force to be reckon with and that's only going to help us in the long run.

Why is the new album called "From Chaos?"

"From Chaos" just means that it came out at the time when we sued our record company and got off that label. It was a lot of uncertainty and chaos during the time that we made the album. But we just try and take that chaos and have it make us stronger, make us more focus and more hungry for the mission to be accomplished.

How has that incident affect your views of the music industry?

I think it's a unique thing because most people when they sue the record company, they're just doing it to try and get a better deal. But we were actually doing it to get off the label. And we did that and that's a pretty rare thing. Most people are usually just doing it to try and get more money. And we were able to re-negotiate our deal as well as get on, what we consider, to be a way better label.

From 311's Chaos Comes A Tour (MTV)

311 will promote their sixth studio album, From Chaos, with a worldwide tour this fall, according to co-manager Peter Raspler.

The reggae-flavored hip-hop rockers will spend August in Europe, September and October in North America, November in Japan and Europe and December in Australia.

The North American trek kicks off September 8 in San Diego and wraps up on Halloween in Los Angeles. Alien Ant Farm will tour with the group for two weeks in late October, their publicist said.

311 will release "I'll Be Here Awhile," From Chaos' second single and the follow-up to "You Wouldn't Believe," on September 11, Raspler said.

A second home video is also in the works for the Omaha, Nebraska, natives. The sequel to "Enlarged to Show Detail" is being edited and may be released by November, Raspler said.

Alien Ant Farm's second album (and major-label debut), ANThology, climbs to #18 on the Billboard 200 albums chart this week on the strength of their cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal."

The single is expected to get another boost this weekend with the opening of "American Pie 2," which features the tune prominently. A new AAF song, "Good (For a Woman)," is on the movie's soundtrack album.

Singer Dryden Mitchell and crew are in discussions about performing "Smooth Criminal" at "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years," which will feature an array of pop stars ranging from Britney Spears to Shaggy (see "Missy Elliott, Ricky Martin, Mary J. Blige Added To Michael Jackson Tribute").

"We would love to do more than just play that song," Mitchell said. "I want [Jackson] to come and play it with us. We're good players. I'll stand there and hold Michael's hand while he sings the whole thing if he wants to. I just want to do it."

AAF bassist Tye Zamora looks forward to touring with 311. "It's gonna be great, 'cause they're like one of our most favorite bands of all time in the world," he said.

311's North American tour dates, according to their management (more dates will be added):

•9/8 - San Diego, CA @ Street Scene Festival
•9/9 - Fresno, CA @ Wild Waters Waterpark
•9/11 - Las Vegas @ Hard Rock Hotel, The Joint
•9/12 - San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
•9/14 - Puyallup, WA @ Washington State Fair
•9/15 - Portland, OR @ Roseland
•9/16 - Boise, ID @ Big Easy
•9/18 - Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
•9/19 - Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theatre
•9/20 - St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
•9/21 - Memphis, TN @ Mud Island Amphitheatre
•9/23 - Columbus, OH @ Brewery District Pavilion
•9/25 - Madison, WI @ Alliant Energy Center
•9/26 - Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
•9/28 - Richmond, VA @ Classic Amphitheatre
•9/29 - Cleveland, OH @ Nautica Stage
•9/30 - Detroit, MI @ State Theatre
•10/1 - Toronto, ON @ The Guvernment
•10/2 - Montreal, QC @ Le Spectrum
•10/4 - Lowell, MA @ Paul E. Tsongas Arena
•10/5 - Burlington, VT @ Contois Auditorium
•10/6 - Asbury Park, NJ @ Convention Hall
•10/7 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
•10/9 - Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
•10/11 - Baltimore, MD @ Reitz Arena
•10/12 - Washington, DC @ Nation
•10/13 - Norfolk, VA @ The Boathouse
•10/14 - Charleston, SC @ Joe Riley Stadium
•10/16 - Orlando, FL @ University of Central Florida
•10/17 - Boynton Beach, FL @ Orbit Room
•10/18 - Gainesville, FL @ University of Florida
•10/19 - Pensacola, FL @ Bayfront Auditorium
•10/22 - TX @ TBA
•10/23 - TX @ TBA
•10/24 - TX @ TBA
•10/25 - TX @ TBA
•10/27 - NM @ TBA
•10/28 - Phoenix, AZ @ Mesa Amphitheatre
•10/30 - Santa Barbara, CA @ UCSB Events Center
•10/31 - Los Angeles, CA @ Universal Amphitheatre

Shaq Goes 'Psycho' With Members of 311 and Korn

WEST HOLLYWOOD, California — It ain't easy being Shaq.

Being one of the most celebrated players in NBA history is so difficult, in fact, that Shaquille O'Neal recently teamed up with members of Korn and 311 to record the mad rock rant "Psycho" on which the Lakers center vents about the snags of stardom.

"'Psycho' is just the other side of me — the side that I'm really not allowed to show," the hoopster/rapper said Monday at the Key Club, where the Lakers were celebrating their second consecutive NBA championship. "It's just how I get sometimes. I get stressed out, and I get pent up." Korn bassist Fieldy and 311 singer/guitarist Nick Hexum and drummer Chad Sexton accompany Shaq on the track.

"He wanted to make a rock track where he's just going off, ranting and raving as this character called Psycho," Hexum said. "He's going off about all the pressures that are on him and how he just has to bust out sometimes." Shaq declares in the song, "I want y'all to hear me/ Respect me and fear me/ Ahh, I suggest you don't get near me/ I'm psycho, and I don't think clearly." The randomness of his ranting at times recalls an Eminem outburst, complete with lines bound to make listeners laugh: "Critics, when you hear this, don't say jack/ I'm the sh--; I was born out my mother's a-- crack." Shaq said "Psycho" is readymade for slam-dancing, something there'll be plenty of on his upcoming U.S. tour. The rapper will hold a contest called Take Down Shaq, offering $10,000 to any audience member who can knock him down.

"I love all types of music — I love rock music, I love people going out there and slam-dancin', and 'Psycho' is a definite head-banger, banger-boogie, slam-dance-type song. And if anyone can knock me down in a slam-dance competition, I'll give 'em 10,000 out of my pocket." "Psycho" will not appear on Shaq's upcoming album, Shaquille O'Neal Presents His Superfriends, Volume 1 (September 11), but it'll be available in limited numbers through select stores. The same approach was used for his Lakers victory song, "Shaq's Tribute to the Lakers (It Takes Two)," which samples Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's classic "It Takes Two".

Nicole Scherzinger of Eden's Crush was invited to sing the tribute track's hook on the advice of 311's Hexum. "Shaq loved Nicole because she's just radiant and sang her ass off on the song," Hexum said. Shaq thanked 311 for their help on "Psycho" and "Shaq's Tribute" by appearing in the reggae-punk band's video for "You Wouldn't Believe." "He's a lot of fun to hang out with," Hexum said. "He's always making everybody laugh." Although he performed "Shaq's Tribute" at a victory parade for the Lakers earlier Monday, Shaq left the entertainment up to Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell and up-and-coming Los Angeles hip-hop group Latin Froz at the Key Club party. Farrell delivered a typically eclectic DJ set of jungle and trance mixes in a private room downstairs, while Latin Froz got the upstairs dance floor shakin', with even the Laker Girls out there getting down.

Latin Froz, whom Shaq invited to perform, will release the single "Metelo" to radio next month, with an album due in the fall.

311 Shows Softer Side on Upcoming Album

311 want to show they're down with a softer sound, too. That's why the hip-hop reggae rockers, currently recording their sixth studio LP, recently switched gears from "bludgeoning" to "uplifting and transcendent" on the as-yet-untitled project.

"When we first started making the new album, we wanted to make hard-ass songs to mosh to — fast tempos, rapping, big guitars," singer Nick Hexum said on 311's official Web site. "That style will definitely make up a large portion of the new album, but at one point a couple of months ago we had a revelation. We realized that creating beautiful sounds and melodies was at least half of the reason that we love being in this band," the post, verified by 311's management as Hexum's, said. "Rocking hard and yelling is fun, but everyone is doing it lately.

"All the 'harder than thou' bands of today are destined to be viewed as the hair-metal bands of yesterday," Hexum continued. "It takes a band with a full emotional range and great melodies to last forever. Awesome bands like Deftones and Incubus have the ability to save rock and roll." 311 are recording the new album with producer Ron Saint Germain (Creed, Soundgarden, Tool), who also produced the band's 1995 self-titled breakthrough, featuring the hit single "Down." Though now working in their own Hive Studio in Los Angeles, 311 spent their first two weeks of recording at nearby Sound City Studios — in the same room where Nirvana recorded Nevermind. "The room seemed to have a lot of magic, and 311 were definitely feeling the good vibes," Hexum said.

The band is expected to wrap up recording by mid-March. Current song titles include "Full Ride," "Sick Tight," "You Wouldn't Believe," "From Chaos," "Bomb the Town," "Uncalm," "We Do It Like This," "Champagne," "I'll Be Here Awhile," "Hostile Apostle" and "Amber." Rappers Will.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas and Tre "Slimkid" Hardson of the Pharcyde joined the Omaha, Nebraska, natives on a track tentatively titled "Slappy," although 311's manager said the song is unlikely to appear on the album.

Though 311 expect a summer release for the record, the band has yet to finalize a deal with Volcano Records, which recently purchased Capricorn Records, the band's former label it was suiting for allegedly failing to properly promote them. A spokesperson for Volcano said the label has not set release dates for any of Capricorn's former artists, including the New York hip-hop rock crew 2 Skinnee J's, whose Volumizer was originally scheduled to hit shelves last fall.

311 — Hexum, rapper/turntablist S.A. Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney, bassist P-Nut and drummer Chad Sexton — plan to promote their next album with summer and fall tours. The group supported 1999's Soundsystem by spending much of their time on the road last year with Zebrahead and Incubus.

311 Added To Warped Tour Lineup

Groovy reggae-rockers 311 are the latest additions to this year's Vans Warped Tour lineup, according to a source close to the tour.

Singer/guitarist Nick Hexum, singer/rapper S.A. Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton and bassist P-Nut will join previously announced main-stage acts Rancid, Pennywise, Less Than Jake, Weezer, and others when the annual multi-band tour affectionately known as "Punk Rock Summercamp" kicks off June 22 in Phoenix.

Despite suing their label, the group is working on its as-yet-untitled sixth studio album which it hopes to release this summer, so expect to hear new tunes when the band takes the Warped stage.

311 Settle On Numbers For From Chaos

Reggae-rockers 311 have given some order to their forthcoming album From Chaos by settling on a track listing and confirming a release date. 311's sixth studio LP, recorded mostly in their Hive Studio in L.A., is set for a June 19 release, according to a band spokesperson. Singer Nick Hexum earlier this year described the band's 12-track follow-up to 1999's Soundsystem as "uplifting and transcendent," as opposed to the "bludgeoning" sound found on previous albums.

After putting the finishing touches on the album, the Omaha, Nebraska, natives will join co-headliners Rancid, Pennywise and Less Than Jake on this year's Vans Warped Tour, which kicks off June 22 in Phoenix.

The track listing for From Chaos, according to a band spokesperson:

•"You Get Worked"
•"Sick Tight"
•"You Wouldn't Believe"
•"Full Ride"
•"From Chaos"
•"I Told Myself"
•"Hostile Apostle"
•"Wake Your Mind Up"
•"I'll Be Here Awhile"

311 Go Digital with second ETSD

March 11 is the official 311 Day, but fans will have something to celebrate four months early this time around.

On December 11, the Nebraska-bred rap and reggae rockers will release their second "Enlarged to Show Detail" home video while re-releasing the first edition on DVD, according to co-manager Adam Raspler.

"Enlarged to Show Detail 2," due on VHS and DVD, will include live performances of "Come Original," "Beautiful Disaster," "Freeze Time," "Feels So Good," "What Was I Thinking" and "Pyscho," a collaboration between singer/guitarist Nick Hexum, drummer Chad Sexton and basketball star/rapper Shaquille O'Neal (see "Shaq Goes 'Psycho' With Members Of Korn, 311").

The new video will also feature backstage footage of 311 on recent tours of the U.S. and Japan, a section on 311 Day 2000 and videos for "Transistor," "Prisoner," "Come Original," "I'll Be Here Awhile," "Flowing" and "You Wouldn't Believe." Documentaries on the making of the latter two videos will also be included.

As was the case with the first "Enlarged to Show Detail," released in 1996, an EP of unreleased material will accompany the second volume. The track list for the album includes Soundsystem outtake "Dancehall"; From Chaos outtakes "Bomb the Town," "Will the World," "We Do It Like This" and "Dreamland"; and an acoustic version of 311's latest single, "I'll Be Here Awhile," recorded and mixed by Sexton at the band's Hive Studio, according to Raspler. "Will the World" and "Dreamland" are instrumental interludes.

The new DVD of the first "Enlarged to Show Detail" will include all of the material on the VHS version (like live versions of favorites "Do You Right," "Feels So Good" and "F--- the Bullsh--"), plus the videos for "All Mixed Up" and "Don't Stay Home."

And if that's not enough reason for 311 fans to celebrate, the guys have also made seven exclusive remixes available for free download on their Web site. The tracks include two versions of "All Mixed Up" and "Prisoner," and one remix each of "Transistor," "Uncalm" and "You Wouldn't Believe."

311 recently wrapped a fall tour with Alien Ant Farm and will play radio station festivals in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Providence, Rhode Island, before breaking for the holidays.

311's Chaos Tempers Testosterone With Trippy Harmonies

On their latest album, 311 managed to pull off a feat many bands with five albums under their belt fall short of accomplishing: while blazing ahead, the Nebraska natives haven't lost sight of their past.

From Chaos, released Tuesday, contains tracks clearly sprung from the band's rock roots as well as songs that continue to mine the melodic reggae that dominated the group's last two albums. Although it seems like the band was a bit confused, 311's mixed message was completely intentional.

"We know that on Soundsystem (1999) and Transistor (1997) we made good albums, but they were so experimental that they left some people looking elsewhere," singer/guitarist Nick Hexum said. "This album is faster and harder and simpler, and more people like that, but we had to experiment [on a few tracks] to get that out of our system." Hexum said the group originally wanted to give its sixth album the hard-rock feel found on its early LPs Grassroots (1994) and Music (1993), making a "hard, fast, jump-up-and-down, go-crazy album." "And then halfway through we realized that there are so many bands doing that and that the one thing that we can do [differently] is pull off harmonies and more beautiful moments and make a love song or something like that," he said. "We wanted to show both sides, so our focus changed to 'let's make the pretty stuff more beautiful and trippy and ambient, and the lyrics that are really coming from the heart.' But then also [we have the] balls-to-the-wall [stuff] on the other end, trying to take both to new extremes." From Chaos's debut single, "You Wouldn't Believe," with its wiry metal riff and smooth lyrical flow, is making a strong impact at radio. Currently #14 and rising on Radio & Records' alternative airplay chart, the track was written for one of Hexum's pals, but it contains an optimistic message applicable to anyone in need of a confidence booster.

"'You Wouldn't Believe" is a song I wrote about a friend who was going through a breakup, getting dumped," the platinum-topped frontman explained. "He was really bummed, and I was trying to tell him he's got a head full of ideas that you wouldn't believe. I was just trying to cheer him up." For the song's video, which shows 311 performing in the Long Beach, California, airplane hanger where Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose was built, the band called in a small favor from a big friend.

"In the middle [of the song], there's an instrumental break, and we were like, 'We need something to cut away to, so lets have a basketball hoop,'" Hexum said. "[The other members of 311] were like, 'OK, we just did Shaquille O'Neal a favor, let's see if he'll come be in our video.' He was like, 'Sure, they hooked me up, so I'll hook them up.' So he came down and we played a little one-on-one." 311 will begin a five-week run in a headlining slot on the Vans Warped Tour on Friday in Phoenix.

311 Planning Extensive Fall Tour (Billboard)

Los Angeles-based funk-rock quintet 311 will embark on a headlining North American jaunt a month after finishing its summer stint with the Warped Tour. That trek wound down yesterday (Aug. 12) in Pontiac, Mich., although 311 only played with the traveling festival through a July 29 gig in Tampa, Fla.

The group is taking a three-week break before heading to Europe for a few assorted festival and club dates. On Sept. 8 in San Diego, 311 will kick off a two-month North American tour, logging 32 dates in the U.S. and two in Canada. The dates come in support of the band's sixth album and Volcano Records debut, "From Chaos."

The album debuted at No. 10 on The Billboard 200, while lead single "You Wouldn't Believe" reached No. 7 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart earlier this month.

Known for its hard-touring ways and energetic live shows, the band concedes the dates are subject to change and more could be added. Visit the 311's official Web site for on-sale dates and more information.

Here are 311's upcoming tour dates:

Aug. 19: Weeze, Germany (Bizarre Festival)
Aug. 20: Berlin (Berlin Knaack)
Aug. 21: Hamburg, Germany (Hamburg Logo)
Aug. 23: Geneva, Switzerland (Usine)
Aug. 24: Paris (Le Divan Du Monde)
Aug. 25: Hasselt, Belgium (Pukkelpop Festival)
Aug. 26: London (Extreme Fest - Mile End Sports Ground)
Sept. 8: San Diego (Street Scene Festival)
Sept. 9: Fresno, Calif. (Wild Waters)
Sept. 11: Las Vegas (the Joint/Hard Rock Hotel)
Sept. 12: San Francisco (Warfield)
Sept. 14: Puyallup, Wash. (Washington State Fair)
Sept. 15: Portland, Ore. (Roseland)
Sept. 16: Boise, Idaho (Big Easy)
Sept. 18: Denver (Fillmore)
Sept. 19: Kansas City, Mo. (Uptown Theatre)
Sept. 20: St. Louis (Pageant)
Sept. 21: Memphis (Mud Island)
Sept. 23: Columbus, Ohio (District Pavilion)
Sept. 25: Madison, Wisc. (Alliant Energy Center)
Sept. 26: Chicago (Riviera Theatre)
Sept. 28: Richmond, Va. (Classic Amphitheatre/State Fair)
Sept. 29: Cleveland (Nautica Stage)
Sept. 30: Detroit (State Theatre)
Oct. 1: Toronto (Guvernment)
Oct. 2: Montreal (Spectrum)
Oct. 4: Boston (Tsongas Arena)
Oct. 5: Burlington, Vt. (Auditorium)
Oct. 6: Asbury Park, N.J. (Convention Hall)
Oct. 7: New York (Hammerstein Ballroom)
Oct. 9: Philadelphia (Electric Factory)
Oct. 11: Baltimore (Loyola University)
Oct. 12: Washington, D.C. (Nation)
Oct. 13: Norfolk, Va. (Boathouse)
Oct. 14: Charleston, S.C. (Joe Riley Stadium)
Oct. 16: Orlando, Fla. (Univ. of Central Florida)
Oct. 17: Boynton Beach, Fla. (Orbit Room)
Oct. 18: Gainesville, Fla. (Univ. of Florida)
Oct. 19: Pensacola, Fla. (Bayfront Auditorium)
Oct. 28: Phoenix (Mesa Amphitheatre)
Oct. 30: Santa Barbara, Calif. (UCSB)
Oct. 31: Los Angeles (Universal Amphitheatre)
Nov. 9: Osaka, Japan (Zepp)
Nov. 11: Nagoya, Japan (Diamond Hall)
Nov. 12-13: Tokyo (Blitz)

311 'Enlarges' Home Movies (Billboard)

Modern rock quintet 311 is readying a pair of home videos for Dec. 11 release on Volcano. The group's 1996 VHS release "Enlarged to Show Detail" is getting an upgrade to DVD, and its sequel, "Enlarged to Show Detail 2" will see release the same day in both VHS and DVD formats.

The 1996 film features live concert clips, band interviews, backstage footage, and videos for the songs "Down" and "Homebrew." The DVD version will include bonus videos for "All Mixed Up" and "Don't Stay Home." The sequel sports concert footage from the group's past two tours as well as behind-the-scenes footage and videos for "Transistor," "Prisoner," "Come Original," "Flowing," "You Wouldn't Believe," and "I'll Be Here Awhile."

"Enlarged to Show Detail 2," like its predecessor, will come packaged with a CD featuring unreleased recordings. This one features such cuts as "Dancehall," "Bomb the Town," "Will the World," "We Do It Like This," and "Dreamland," as well as an acoustic version of "I'll Be Here Awhile," from the group's latest album, "From Chaos" (Volcano). That set debuted at No. 10 on The Billboard 200 in July.

In other 311 news, the band has posted seven remixes of its songs for free download from its official Web site. Two remixes each of "All Mixed Up" and "Prisoner" join a version of the title track to 1997's "Transistor" (Capricorn) and two songs from "From Chaos" ("Uncalm" and "You Wouldn't Believe") in the "audio" section of the Web site.

In Person: Positivity (Japan Today)

American alt-rockers 311 take a special interest in Japan. Dan Grunebaum reports.

Five regular guys from heartland USA pick up their bags upon graduating from high school, move to LA and start a rock band. A decade later and they’re on the rock A-list, releasing their sixth album and filling venues around the world.

Sounds like a classic success story? It is, but as 311 turntablist/vocalist SA Martinez explains in a telephone conversation from the Florida venue they’re playing tonight, it hasn’t all been cherry pie for this bunch of high school buddies from Omaha, Nebraska.

In 1991, 311 were flat broke and playing dives when, to add insult to injury, their touring RV caught fire and exploded, destroying their equipment, money and belongings. Hearing about the disaster on the news, friends and fans donated equipment, and 311 persevered, canceling only one show before continuing their tour.

“Everyone pays their dues and it’s all part of the process,” says a reflective Martinez. “We don’t want to skip any of that because it makes what’s above it sweeter.”

Fast-forward a decade. It’s the summer of 2001 and 311 are on the prestigious Warped tour, joining the cream of alternative rock for the summer’s biggest cross-country tour. They’ve also just released their new CD From Chaos (Volcano), an album that, as the title implies, came out of a turbulent period.

“We were not very happy with how they [previous label Capricorn] were marketing our last few records,” says Martinez. “The long and short of it is that we wanted something different. We took them to court and Volcano came to the rescue.”

Signing a three-record deal with independent label Volcano put 311 in good company. Volcano is owned by the same people who run Prime management, the home of Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and other alternative rock war-horses. Volcano also hooked them up with producer Ron Saint Germain (Tool, Soundgarden, etc.) for From Chaos, an album that exudes the band’s characteristic positive vibes, while pushing their amalgam of punk, rap and ska in harder directions.

Turning to their forthcoming tour, Martinez says that 311 have a special affinity for Japan. “We’re all looking forward to it and are excited about the Japanese run we have coming up,” he says. “It’s a whirlwind trip every time, and we always come away anticipating our next trip as it’s our best market outside of the States.”

Unlike many touring bands that never see anything of Japan beyond the interview room, 311 have established a strong bond with the country. “We go out whenever we have time,” Martinez says. “It’s pretty much mandatory that we have time off there because we really enjoy the culture and find it very unique. There are so many things that inspire us about Japan, and an endless amount of good things going on there.”

Martinez isn’t just uttering empty platitudes. 311 have toured with some of Japan’s leading alt-rock acts, and have even tried to bring them to the US. “We’ve played with Mad Capsule Market’s and Back Drop Bomb,” he says. “Both of them are really innovative [and] are poised for success in the States.”

As 311 enter a second decade and the members their fourth, the band is in a good position. While off the peak of their popularity in 1996 when the song “Down” off 311 went to Number One on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart, they still command a loyal fan base.

“There has been a big pop resurgence in the past few years,” says Martinez about the pop acts like ‘N Sync that have challenged alt-rockers like 311 and Limp Bizkit for chart dominance. “But we can still draw a few thousand kids to different venues every night, and there are a lot of bands that have been around for a while that don’t have that kind of support.”

311 have also managed to stay clear of the internal divisions that seem to bring a fractious end to all too many bands. “We are fortunate as far as the band is intact,” says Martinez. “We are all content with what we’ve got, there are no conflicts and never have been. It’s a good thing because there are a lot of bands that haven’t made it this far that have been destroyed by conflict.”

As the members of 311 enter their 30s, none of the usual solo projects, marriages or kids? “311 is a full time endeavor,” says Martinez. “If we’re not writing we’re touring, if we’re not touring were recording, if we’re not recording we’re writing. So it’s pretty much our lives and has been for 11 years.

“We are in a position that a lot of people would kill for,” he concludes. “Our ending has yet to be writ, we’ve still got quite a few years of making music together.”

311 play Akasaka Blitz on Nov 13.

Back From Chaos (Most Beautiful Men)

Long before the current rap-metal genre became part of mainstream rock, there were already many bands who were playing this hybrid music. One such band is 311 who have been fusing hip-hop, funk, reggae and hard rock since 1990.

Formed in Omaha, Nebraska, 311 almost broke up after a couple of years because they were broke and their brand of music wasn't very popular yet. Fortunately, they were signed up by Capricorn Records and released their debut album "Music" in 1993. Touring became second nature to this very hard working band and their second album "Grassroots" was released in July '94.

All the touring and energetic live shows paid off as their fan base kept growing. 311 finally made a breakthrough with their self-titled third album in 1995 which gave them two hits, "Down" and "All Mixed Up," on Billboard Modern Rock Chart and MTV. "311" sold over three million copies and the band began drawing huge crowds to its shows. Two more studio albums -- "Transistor" (1997) and "Soundsystem" (1999) -- proved that 311's success was no flash in the pan.

After fighting a legal battle with their record company, the band is back with their sixth album called "From Chaos." 311 frontman Nick Hexum talks to MTVAsia's Patrick Chng about the new album, the state of rock music, Napster and keeping things fresh.

How do you think the rock music scene has evolved since you guys were formed in 1990?

One of the biggest things is when we started out in 1990, there was really no genre of rap-rock, you know. When we first started out, we didn't really have that bit much of a chance of getting on radio because radio at that time was dominated by grunge and Nirvana, Pearl Jam... you know. Then when we finally had a hit with "Down," we were one of the first rap-rock groups to do that. It's been a really big change.

One thing that sets 311 apart is that you guys have a very positive vibe as opposed to just angst and whining. Do you agree that this is one of the things that make you guys different?

Yeah I think that that's something that is definitely kind of unique for us but we just kinda happen to grow into that. But we feel in this day and age with all the blessings that we've been given and the chance to do this, that probably the last people who should be complaining about how tough life is, is the people in modern rock who are complaining about life sucks... whatever. To me, I would feel embarrassed to be saying that because these people who are saying it usually have every advantage in the world, so I just feel it's our duty to balance all that stuff out by spreading more positive messages.

You guys came up before those bands who are now bigger than you guys. They're selling more records than 311. How do you feel?

I would say that... we feel that we have sort of a comeback to make but I don't feel any spite or jealousy of bands who are maybe influenced by us and are bigger than us now because, if anything, they've helped get the genre of hybrid music acknowledged. If people are sort of acknowledging it, then rap-rock is a force to be reckon with and that's only going to help us in the long run.

What's the mood like in the band right now with the impending release of "From Chaos?" What are your hopes for this record?

Very optimistic. It's like we know that we're feeling the calm before the storm because it's going to be a very big time for us. We're trying to tell our fans who are with us now -- 'cause some of our fans are scared and saying "311 is going to be so big soon" and you know there's going to be more mainstream "trendy" people into the band -- we try to assure them that we're just going to stay the same and be making the music that we love to make and just ignore all the business side of it.

An Interview with SA Martinez (Rag Magazine)

When 311's hallmark single "Down" hit the charts in September of 1996 and held radio captive for months, their self-titled debut album had been out for fourteen months by then. That is a perfect example of a band that continuously manages to buck the trends and stay ahead of the curve. And it works damn well for 311. Since their inception back in 1990 when they played their first gig opening up for Fugazi, 311 have forged their own path and never looked back. This past summer 311 released their sixth album "From Chaos" (Volcano/Jive Records) and scored an immediate radio hit with the first single "You Wouldn't Believe". 311, comprised of guitarist Tim Mahoney, vocalist S.A. Martinez, bassist P-Nut, drummer Chad Sexton, and vocalist and guitarist Nick Hexum, deliver an outstanding collection of their trademark blend of rock, reggae, hip hop and funk. Many bands have tried to duplicate the sound, but no one does it as effortlessly and brilliantly as 311.

Rag Magazine spoke to 311 vocalist S.A. Martinez by phone from his home in California just days before they embark on their latest headlining tour.

Rag: How do you feel about the new cd?

S.A.: it's my favorite 311 record that we've done to date. It's got a lot of our styles that we are known for, the rock, and hip hop, funk, and reggae. Also it's got a lot more of the melodic side to it, which I think is something that we'll be getting to more so in the future. It's something that we always have been involved with creatively, melodies and what not. I just think it's something that we want to do naturally more so. Something that I'm looking forward to doing.

Rag: This is your sixth album, and you guys have covered a tremendous amount of grounds musically, do you feel that you've ever over-stretched yourself musically?

S.A.: I don't feel that way, but I think that we tend to maybe-we try too much sometimes. It's good to pull the reigns in here and there. But it's also being creative too. It's just a fine line to walk down and to find that balance of what you want to do musically. We're just fortunate enough to be able to have a career at it and tour and what-not. I think if we wanted to we could take it more mainstream if we wanted to. It's not something that's in our hearts, but I think we can take our music to a broader fan base then we have before, with out jeopardizing what we've done. It's a delicate balance, but it's fun though, and it's challenging.

Rag: I think there are very few bands today that can pull off such a diversity of sounds, and then continue to do it for six albums.

S.A.: Yeah, we're definitely fortunate in the regard that we've established something that's been around with us for a while, you know, our fan base, and it's a blessing. We're just very fortunate to have it.

Rag: Twelve tracks on this album, did you have an abundance of material?

S.A.: Yeah, we had a lot of songs. We definitely had at least four or five tracks left over. It was a very creative period for us. We were just coming out of a record deal and going to another one. All at the same time basically as we were working on the record, we really didn't know if the record was going to be coming out any time soon. Luckily things went in our favor and we got a deal with Volcano and were able to put the record out. But yeah, it was a creative time, I really want to rekindle that magic again soon. I think everybody wants to start working on another record; we have a lot of ideas. As far as directions we'd like to take, we're really pleased with the album right now.

Rag: Why did you end up leaving Capricorn and going to Volcano Records? It seems as though you had quite a bit of success with Capricorn.

S.A.: Basically what happened with Capricorn, it's an unfortunate situation...we're really not supposed to talk about it, but I'll go into it a little bit. Pretty much what happened was we were uncomfortable with the distribution that was occurring with Capricorn. They were basically bouncing from distributor to distributor for almost every record of ours. That really didn't give us any leverage in the stores and a lot of areas that are key in promoting your material. Really it left is with no's something that happened and I think we're better off for it. We're with Volcano now, Zomba in the other territories in the world, and already we can see a difference. There's a label presence pretty much everywhere we go, and that's something that we were not accustomed to, so it's good. And we have three records with them, and this is the first ("From Chaos"), and hopefully the next two will see the benefits of a long relationship with someone.

Rag: Looking at your bio, it says that 311 has sold 5.4 million records. I had no idea.

S.A.: Most of it we sold, pretty much, almost 3 million with our third album, but all the other records combined have sold about 2 million, I guess. It's amazing [laughs]. It's something that we definitely have put in a lot of time and energy towards, on the road and promoting our record while we tour. And here and there we've been lucky with a single or two that's caught some fire and taken off. It's a combination of a lot of things that have propelled us to where we're at. Hopefully, we just released "Amber" [the third single], and it's doing fairly well for it's first few weeks of release. Maybe we'll have some luck with "Amber". We haven't really had a huge hit in some years, so it'd be nice to have one of those again. Although I'm not holding my breath or anything.

Rag: I hope it's not a case, for your instance with your third album featuring "Down", and for example Metallica, where the Black Album was such a monster that it's always lurking in the shadows.

S.A.: Yeah, you're always trying to top your commercial hits and you could go crazy [trying] to do it. We've definitely maintained a constant fan base, we pretty much go gold every time we release something, so that's good. A lot of acts can't say that, and there are a lot of acts that get released every week. We're lucky to be where we're at.

Rag: Of course this leads to why you went back with Ron St. Germain producing, who also did your self-titled album. What did he bring out of 311 that nobody else did?

S.A.: He's got such a great energy. He has so much enthusiasm, he's a great motivator, and he just lights a fire under us. We have a great chemistry working with him. He also has a lot of knowledge in the studio, that's just something that you can't put a price on. He's very well-rounded, and he definitely has a lot of constructive criticism towards road maps of songs. He is very influential, and again, he's great to have in the family, and maybe we will work with him again in the future. I think that we probably will. It's been a really good marriage of sorts for us.

Rag: Are you comfortable with your current level of success after six albums?

S.A.: We're comfortable with where we're at, but we're always striving to get elsewhere. You're always trying to sell more records, you're always trying to have a hit, but we're not going to kill ourselves trying to do it. If it comes-it comes, and a lot of times, it's a matter of timing, really, and luck. It's so hard to say what's going to hit and what's not going to hit, so you really never know. We're really happy where we're at, and we keep working at it, and we're very dedicated to what we do, we're pretty hard working. We've been out since June just touring on this record, with two months to go, and maybe more, depending on if our single takes off. This is what we chose to do, and I would to say we're taking two months off right now, but that's not the case [laughs]. When we're out, we get into a work mode and things just move right along.

Rag: You guys have been around for so long and pretty much created the melding of the rap and rock sounds and having two vocalists, and now we're swamped in it.

S.A.: When we came out, there wasn't a format on the radio for rock and rap. Now that's all there is, well a lot of it anyway. I Have no problem with it. There's a lot of really good music in that genre that's come out. For us, it's time to do something a little different, maybe buck the trend...I mean, we just released a reggae song [laughs]. You can't really buck the trend anymore than that. For 311 it's always trying to stay ahead of the curve a little bit, and not necessarily be what's in at the moment, just keep plugging away at something that's not being heard.

Rag: 311 has an amazing fan base, and for the fans to stick with somebody through six albums is phenomenal.

S.A.: Yeah. I think a lot of it is the message, the positive attitude that we have, is the number one thing that our fans grab onto it seems to me, because a lot of times they'll come up, and will be saying, 'Thanks for what you're doing, it means a lot to me, and it's got me through...whatever'. And music does that, it does it for everybody I think. I think having a positive message amplifies it even more, and it makes it a little more special's something that I think, we work at all the time, because we're just positive people. It's all about the struggle to be positive and to maintain that outlook. That's what it's about for us.

An Interview wiith Tim Mahoney (Earth Rise)

The imagination is antithesis to physical limitation. Strolling through daily life, humans are constantly confined by flesh, weighed by thought, and serve as victims to the oppressive forces of gravity. Bound by logical influence of modern education mixed with illogical emotion, the mind often serves as buffer between fantasy and reality, forever deciphering and categorizing various occurrences. By standard, we are told to believe that the tangible is proven and therefore exists, and by default the invisible lives only under false disguise. Yet it is what we do not know that drives us. It is the unseen that is intriguing.

Be it cold whispers from closed shutters or suspicious auroras in Roswell, we share a cultural allegiance to the invisible. The mere chance of connecting with the infinite unknown is a dream shared by many, and shows through in all of our art forms. With a history dating back beyond Mesopotamian and Dravidian societies, our attempts at contacting other forms of life through music, literature, and painting have been timeless.

When 311 added their interesting blend of reggae, rock, and hip-hop to national airplay with their self-titled third release, in 1995, their triple-platinum success was painted with references to these infinite possibilities. While more infatuation then dedication, their reaching out merely exemplifies the evolution of human searching.

"Thinking about things that exist outside of the earth, I try not to say I know anything," says guitarist Tim Mahoney. "It just seems that the possibility is greater that things exist outside of our planet. It's interesting to think about. There's so many conspiracy theories, and it's good that people are thinking there is more than what we now see. It's just our curiosity, but I'm just as curious about going inward and being an inward astronaut, because there's just as much to learn inside. I try to keep my mind totally open to any possibility."

This open-minded approach has helped Tim lead these groove masters to international stardom. Intense spiritual reflections combined with essential elements of rock and roots dub music, 311 became a household name when "Down" was on constant rotation in the country's largest radio stations. Two albums later, in celebration of their latest release, Soundsystem, the boys from Omaha are enjoying further success via "Come Original." Reaching this level of acknowledgment without compromising can be difficult for bands to be truly creative. yet 311 have built a career on being consistently diverse, finding a niche on radio where it once seemed none existed.

"As long as we've been together, we've just been playing music the way we play music without worrying about the business," Tim says. "We've been fortunate enough to always have artistic freedom and control over our music. We don't really try to fit in, but it's difficult because we don't fit a lot of radio station format at times. We're just trying to create good music and keep it spiritual.

"A lot of times the most spiritual music isn't the most mainstream, whether it's jazz or reggae or blues. We just write music that's true to ourselves. All the business is second to the creative process."

This integrity has kept 311 alive since their roots were laid on high school stages in 1988 in Omaha, NE. Influenced heavily by reggae musicians like Peter Tosh and Bob Marley, jazz cats such as Bill Evans and John McLaughlin, rock idols like Jimi Hendrix, and hip-hop outfits De La Soul, Cypress Hill, and The Pharcyde, 311 have been able to create original rhythms borrowing from all these styles.

While this is all apparent on record, one need only to see them live to ingest the true energy transferred. Currently on tour in smaller venues with two recent nights at Irving Plaza, they are happy to get back to the intimacy shared outside arena life.

"We just want our shows to be a celebration - people gathering, listening to music, just coming to enjoy themselves and have a positive experience," Tim states. "We just travel around and have little celebrations each night, and have a release of good energy. "The energy just flows back and forth, and it amplifies so much greater the smaller the place is, so we're really enjoying playing these sized venues."

Originally trained on trombone in his grade-school band class, Tim picked up the guitar shortly thereafter. Waywardly reminiscent of his old muse, the six-string instrument quickly became the voice with which he spoke. Moving with his posse to Los Angeles after exhausting all resources in Nebraska, the band patiently watched their recognition grow after each show. Soon they were opening for the bands that influenced them, eventually headlining major showcases.

While Tim's personal style was developed through jazz and reggae experimentation, hip-hop grabbed his attention early on.

"The drum beats and the production of hip-hop really grabbed me," he says. "Besides all the sociological aspects of it, of course. It's a cool evolution of music. There is many tribal aspects and intelligent social commentary, as well as just looking at it as sound without the lyrics."

Advocates of the technological expansion of music through digital means, 311 have spent the majority of their career experimenting with sounds, be it Tim with an envelope filter or co-vocalist S.A. Martinez on the turntables.

Transistor was an extremely successful dive into alchemizing dub reggae rhythms with rap and rock. Soundsystem, while more straightforward, still exhibits various space grooves and roots echoes throughout. Tracks like "Leaving Babylon," a Bad Brains cover, delve back to organic Jamaican influence, while "Livin' & Rockin'" employs futuristic breakbeats. "Flowing" begins with a melodic aura that makes one feel as if floating through the music of the spheres; a light, serene journey reminding one that life is about the trip itself, not necessarily the goal.

311's dedication to open-mindedness serves as an example to the general tide of American culture today. While we have seemingly moved backwards in terms of interpersonal relations, highlighted by racial tension and an influx lawsuits and divorce hearings, our technology is expanding at speeds unfortunately uncontrollable. The Internet has saved our economy while offering endless new job and business opportunities, and is restructuring the music industry as well. Songs like "Evolution" point to this movement in hopes that we use our electrical skills for progressive actions.

"The web is great because of the alternate forms of communication we can have with each other," notes Tim. "It helps people get different angles on news, rather than having to rely on only three or four networks. But the whole process is up to humans to have good intentions with everything involved.

"Recording has evolved as well, so that now you don't have to have a record deal to make a great sounding CD. With digital, a band can make a record in their home and sell it over the web, and charge per copy. It will be interesting to see how all of this evolves in the future."

After 11 years, 311 are showing no sign of slowing down. Five studio albums, one live disc, and endless singles fill record store shelves. Their live intensity is unmatched, and their commitment to avoid mediocrity is a powerful inspiration to many of their fans. As the millennium clock dwindles, we are on the brink of another step of our own evolution. This will be a personal process shared among our physical and spiritual community. Regardless of outcome, it is apparent that changes will occur. Be it technological catastrophe or deeper reflections by our inner astronauts, there is a climax being reached, offered by an influx of artists and musicians.

Once worried, Tim sees this as another step, one to be handled as it occurs. The guitar will continue to speak for him as great as any voice can project. As for the worries, he'll leave that for somebody else.

"I hope that people realize that 2,000 years is relative to human history on earth," he says. "People get so caught up in thinking that they are the most evolved species in the universe and don't realize that humans created time, created this whole Y2K syndrome. I mean, is there even one clock that has the exact time? For a little while I was totally paranoid about it, now it just makes me laugh."

Warped Tour Article (

It's that time of the year again. No, not time for your annual bath. No, not time for you to sign up for summer school because you somehow managed to fail P.E. No, not time for peace, love and happiness. Fool, it's time for rock bands to hit the road in search of groupies with huge racks and loose morals. It's time for you to willingly shell out 30-odd bucks for the privilege of baking in the sun and emptying the rest of your wallet out to buy $5 bottles of water. It's time for you to experience the stench of a high school football team's locker room coming to life as the crowd around you ripens. It's time to get your ass kicked by a girl in the pit and spend the rest of the day keeping an eye out for her. It's time for you to miss seeing your favorite band because the lines for the porto-crappers are 20 minutes long. It's time for you to wonder where the hell you parked. Yes indeed, it's that time of the year again.

The cool kids know what we're talking about, the cool kids have broken their piggy banks to pay for a day of punk rock summer camp before. It's called the Warped Tour, people, and it's coming to a venue somewhere near you at the end of June. You've seen the ads touting Pennywise, The Vandals, Living End, NOFX and so on, but like every round of the long-running summer festival tour there's at least one band that could seemingly pull in the same size crowds on its own. This year that band is 311, and the Hollywood-based quintet couldn't be happier about rocking the main stage.

"It's all about getting out there and playing a little bit, having some barbecue and drinking a beer or two," says guitarist Tim Mahoney, who is reportedly single for the first time in seven years and is looking forward to some serious quality time with naughty female fans. "The Warped Tour just seemed like a fun thing to do and it's a good way to get our feet back in the water as far as touring and traveling."

But for a band that's used to a rigorous touring schedule of around 150 shows per year and 90 minute sets, it seems like the shrunken 30 minute blocks allotted on the Warped stage won't be enough time for 311 to connect. "It's hard to play short sets because you get warmed up and then you're done, but when I see a band that I like play for a half hour, I still enjoy it," says Mahoney, who notes the longest set his band ever played took place last March 11 (wink, wink) in New Orleans and came in at almost exactly three hours and 11 minutes (nudge, nudge).

The 311 plan for the Warped Tour is to cram in as much music as possible, which means the band will have to cut out its notorious between-song dead spaces. Mahoney claims he and his co-horts are well aware of the pregnant pauses of the past where fans would commonly yell, "OK stoners, let's hear another song!" and are fixing to tighten things up and hopefully kick out six to eight jams. Ah, but which jams to kick? With six albums worth of original material to chose from, including the forthcoming From Chaos, it would seem some decisions need to be made.

"I think it will be mostly new stuff with a couple old ones and the occasional radio hit mixed in. The songs off From Chaos have great energy and they should translate well live," he says. "Now I've just got to go back and review a lot of our older songs because we don't play most of them live. I mean, we could but we really don't, so we tend to forget how to play them. It's kind of fun when we're rehearsing to play old ones we haven't tried to play in years. One time through it and we all remember it."

And what about that new 311 record? Fans haven't heard any fresh material from the band since 1999's Soundsystem, which went gold despite its former label self-destructing all around it. Few are probably aware that although 311 has sold over five million albums in the States alone, the band was never happy in its contract with Capricorn Records. Before said label could fold it was snatched up by Volcano Records, home to the polar universes of Tool and Weird Al Yankovic, and 311's contract with it. Luckily the band ‹ which was really the only reason for buying Capricorn ‹ was able to re- negotiate certain aspects of its contract and feels a little bit better about how things are going now.

"There were times in the past when we tried to get out of our contract and there was just no way to do it. So now we just try to look at it as guaranteed work," says Mahoney, who notes that Capricorn was the only label that offered his band a deal in the pre- nu metal era of the early Œ90s. "We know bands that have deals that are way more fair to the artist, but I guess that's the price you pay for being an artist. I'm on the one side so I think the artist is always getting screwed, but I really don't know how you could argue anything other than that."

Even though 311 is contractually obligated to make music, the members plan to keep making music for themselves and their steadily growing fan base. The band has landed a handful of radio hits over the years but Mahoney says 311 has always been after the long-term following of people interested in the albums, rather than the short-term mass appeal afforded by hit singles and videos. "You don't want to have to rely on anything mainstream and we're fortunate to be in a spot where we don't have to because our fans will always come see us play," he says. "We've always created the music we wanted to create, and we're lucky that our core fans have stood by us."

The band spent roughly six months working on From Chaos, splitting time between Sound City in Van Nuys and its own new studio, dubbed The Hive, in North Hollywood. After years of working within the confines of other people's schedules and equipment, Mahoney says the 311 guys are really looking forward to investing in a nice mixing console and optimizing their collective investment. "It's really rewarding because it's our place and we're the only ones working there so we can do whatever we want, whenever we want," he says. "It's weird because it's taken ten years to get to this point, but it's a nice pay off."

With close to a hundred recorded songs containing more stylistic hybrids ‹ hip hop, metal, reggae, funk, jazz, punk, etc. ‹ than Oprah has stretch marks, some might wonder what 311 has left to give. Could the band have a funky polka or punk-meets-salsa track waiting to be discovered on From Chaos? Although most sane folks will hope not, Mahoney doesn't rule anything out in the future. "Anything we enjoy listening to influences us," he says. "I might listen to a polka and find some really cool ideas in there. Even obscure bluegrass stuff can give you a different perspective on how to look at music. I like to check it all out and go with what trips my trigger."

As for getting the songs on From Chaos together, he continues, "It always seems like there's a wide open space when it comes to creating music, but there's so much great music out there it gets harder and harder to put out anything unique. That's why you've just got to follow your instincts and work on the ideas that seem real to you. And as long as you're playing music with the intention of having fun, it should be all good."

Q&A with 311 (MuchMusic)

Bio Q&A With 311
Q: When did work start on the new record, and what was the mind set within the band at that time?

A: (Nick) My mind frame after the "Soundsystem" tour was that we had a lot of work to do. We were hungry, there was no shortage of enthusiasm and ambition, and we were doing two things at once; touring and writing the album.

A: (S.A) Our intention for our last tour was to basically write the record while on the road, and play the songs at sound check and during shows.

A: (Nick) It was good, because we were able to get the live energy and that feel that we had when we were on tour on this album, by going straight from the road to the studio. And that's something we want to keep doing more and more; multi-tasking with our time. Rather than having three months that's just for writing, and then three months that's just for recording, and then another three months that just for touring - we want to start blending it all together and just create more output, you know, be more productive.

A: (P-Nut): We really started, as soon as we finished making "Soundsystem". We just continued to write songs, because we had that spark. And since we're up to six albums, not including the live one, we've learned that whenever you're aware of that creative spark, listen to it and make sure that you get it down on paper, because you never know if it's going to come again or not.

Q: What kind of changes did you have in mind in approaching this new record? Were there some things you wanted to change or work on, in thinking back on the last record?

A: (Nick) Well, I think there was a shift of mission somewhere towards the middle of the album -- in my mind, anyway, because when we first started out, we wanted to make really hard-rocking songs that were really good for the mosh pit, and high energy. And then somewhere in the middle of the record, I realized that the whole heavy music thing is so saturated right now, and one of the things that I like about being in this band and that fans like about our band is the diversity and the ability to pull off a more melodic, more beautiful song that requires a lot of work on the singing and harmonies. We realized that we wanted to nurture the beautiful side of music as well as the hard-rocking side. So we started out with a mission to make a really hard album, and I would say the first half of our new album is some of -- if not the -- hardest stuff we've ever done, and then the second half is some really big steps forward, I think, as far as unique grooves with unique melodies and really good vocal performances. And it's funny, because some bands will rock really hard, and then when they figure out how to do a ballad, like the Chili Peppers, then that's what they're known for, and that's where they become more successful, when it's actually not the thing that they started out trying to do. So, who knows if that will be a similar situation for us -- our mission on this album was to make the hard stuff harder and the beautiful songs more beautiful.

A: (P-Nut): On "Soundsystem" I wrote two songs with Nick, so on this record I wanted to write two songs with Chad ("Full Ride and "Wake Your Mind Up"). I was really happy with the collaboration, because Chad and I kind of write stranger stuff, and Nick writes more melodic stuff. So, just to get a different feel for the writing cohesion, just to mix it up with a different member is something that I kind of put in my head before I started actually writing.

Q: Have you noticed that your vocals have changed over the years, the way you sing? Have you worked on different aspects of your vocal delivery, or is there anything that you tried on this record that's different?

A: (S.A) Yeah, I guess I'm now a little more conscious of how I'm recording some things as opposed to when we first started recording music. If I'm doing the same vocal track over and over, I'm conscious of trying it in different ways more so than in the past, and just trying to understand it more - understand a line more and what it means, and that will effect how I give a performance.

Q: Did you have ideas of things you wanted to try lyrically?

A: (S.A) For some songs, Nick and I sat down and focused on a theme -- maybe, let's make this song about this. And then sometimes it wasn't so regimented. Some of my lyrical ideas were inspired by, you know, a relationship or just how I look at things, or my take on some things. So, it was a little bit of both as far as executing lyrics.

Q: How was it different recording this time? Did you record a lot of the album live, and how did you end up re-connecting with Ron St. Germain?

A: (P-Nut) I think we always knew that we'd come back to Ron since we had so much fun working with him on the self-titled album. But we didn't really realize how much we missed him until we started working with him again, and having him here at our studio and having him stand in the room with us while we were rehearsing the new songs, and just having him physically going off. He just feels like a sixth member of the band. Just a great relationship. He did push us to get the live energy on the album, and I think that's what makes "From Chaos" and the self-titled album so great.

A: (S.A) He's cool. He's very enthusiastic, and really knows the technical side of recording -- how to get the best sounds, and he just has really good ideas, things you should try here and there. He has a very strong opinion, and he knows what he wants. I found more often than not that his opinion, even if I didn't like it, was probably more right than wrong, you know?

Q: Is there an emphasis on any kind of musical styles on this record, or any new types of music that appear, or maybe re-appear?

A: (P-Nut) We visited some drum and bass-style beats. We're having fun with that, just because a lot of the time, it's like a half-time feel, and it's really easy to rock to -- just a little bit different than some of the stuff we do all the time. But other than that, I think it's very signature 311. I think the record is a timeless piece of work -- everything included. Because it all compliments each other. The softer songs reflect off of the harder songs, and it's just a beautiful thing, I really like it.

Q: Did you have new ideas as far as things that you wanted to try whether it be vocals or music?

A: (Nick) Well, I think that there's so much angry angst music these days, so when we realized that we wanted to pull off a broad range of styles, we were thinking about what makes the great bands of our time and past generations great -- like, The Beatles, and Zeppelin, U2. When those bands all first started out, they were considered really hard-rocking, but then what really set them apart is that they were also sensitive human beings that were able to really be very forthright in talking about what emotions really matter to them and how they really feel about things. And so, you know, there's love songs on this new album, which there hasn't been for years. The lyrics on "Soundsystem" were very emotionally revealing, but it was more of a troubled time for me. And then now this new record was made during a really happy, fun time. Even though we had the chaos on the business side -- the label situation -- just, like, ideologically, we knew where we were headed, and it was just a real labor of love. There was no pulling teeth, it was just like letting it flow on paper.

Q: "From Chaos?" Why don't you give us some more background on that.

A: (Nick) Well, the song "From Chaos" is based on the lyric "from chaos comes clarity". It's about learning from the challenges that you go through in life. When a revelation results after some sort of trial and tribulation, then it really has an impact that you never forget. Originally, I wanted the title of the album to be "Brainstorm" because we feel like we had a real brainstorm when we were making this record. We knew what we wanted to do, it was like a revelation, or an epiphany. And "From Chaos" kind of conjures that image of a light at the end of the tunnel, or just, you know, getting out of a sticky situation. And philosophically, it's also about the situation we were in with the label. We were in a lawsuit with Capricorn and it was a chaotic time. But we decided to move forward and record an album, on our own, even though our label situation was sketchy. As a result, we didn't actually miss a beat. If we had stayed with Capricorn, our record would be coming out probably the same day, if not later. So to be able to sue a record company, get off the label and get on a new label without missing a step is something that I would not have considered possible. I'm glad it all worked out.

Q: Why don't we talk about specific lyrics on some of the songs. The first single, "You Wouldn't Believe"

A: (Nick) The song "You Wouldn't Believe" is about a good friend that is going through a break up and is basically feeling rejected, and has lost sight of his self-esteem. He's finding it really hard to move on and hard to stop thinking about the person. In the song, I'm saying to him, "Man, you got a head full of ideas that you wouldn't believe, heart made of pure gold" -- like, so many traits that you've just forgotten about because your whole outlook and self esteem is so weak. It's kind of like the movie "Swingers" when all of these guys are talking to the main character, going, "Man, you're so money and you don't even know it." It's like, you've just forgotten what you love about your life, and what's great about you, and you just got to get through this time, and get used to being alone. It's something that I think everyone's been through, seeing someone that's just really down in the dumps because of being rejected by someone. And it's kind of a universal theme, and was something that I was seeing around me at the time.

Q: I'll Be Here Awhile?

A: (Nick) That song talks about getting through really dark times and going through a time of self-destruction and saying, "I'm going to live through this. I'll be here awhile. I'm not going to let this stuff take me down." And it was actually something I wrote 10 years ago when I was 20 years old, as a message to my family, like, "I know I seem a little crazy right now, but I'll be here awhile. I'm going to stay around to see this through." And in the song, I talk about making it through to being 30. And then now, at age 30, it's appropriate that this song finally sees the light of day. It started out as a straight ballad, but then when I thought of the idea to make it sort of ska, with a break beat kind of drum feel, I realized I could put a pretty pumping groove underneath it and make it a very unique song that I don't really think can be compared to anything that we've done exactly , or that I hear from any other band. Because it's not like Orange County, really fast ska, it's more like early Bob Marley, like rock-steady ska, which is around 130-140 beats per minute. So it's a new feel and lyrically it means a lot to me.

Q: What about "Amber?"

A: (Nick): "Amber" is like a metaphor for saying something you like about a girl. "Amber is the color of your energy" -- amber is very soft light in the spectrum -- it's not like a harsh blue light, -- "amber is the color of your energy", -- is like the light of a candle. It's very soft and pleasurable to look at. It's sort of a compliment, saying amber is the color of your energy. Right now pop music isn't really coming from the heart, you know what I mean? Back in the day, artists were writing love songs that they were singing themselves and that were coming from the heart, and people have gotten so far away from all that with all the malcontent in rock right now. So, I always naturally find 311 to be bucking any kind of trends that are going on. Like, on "Soundsystem" when rap rock was huge and everyone was talking about it, then what did we do -- our two singles, one was like dancehall reggae and then the next one almost had a Brit pop feel. So, even when rap rock -- something that we helped usher in -- was huge at that time and we could have perhaps cashed in on that, we were off doing something totally different, you know? And just like back in the early '90s, when we were doing rap rock, radio was supporting grunge at the time. And so, I think we always kind of thrive on being the outsiders a little bit, and being the underdogs, and bucking any kind of trends -- which probably makes marketing our band difficult, because we're not fitting into any scene. I guess we fit into the Warped Tour, because that's a pretty open-minded festival, but we wouldn't really fit into the Ozfest, because there's not enough sort of darkness in our music to fit with that.

Q: "You Get Worked," the first song on the album.

A: (Nick): "You Get Worked" is something we would say to each other as a joke, like, "You get worked," you get messed up, you get beaten down. It's just talking about how everyone has setbacks, everybody gets worked now and then. Getting worked is like a surfing / skating term -- having a wipe out, and just something that we say a lot and turned into a song. But I guess the underlying message is to keep your head up and stay focused, stay positive, and don't let temporary setbacks grind you to a complete halt. Like the lyric "What gives? Are you after me? Breaking me down, won't you let me be? Won't be having none of your mind control, it ain't going to work on me no more." It's just like breaking loose of someone trying to control you. There's probably a lot of little messages in there. It's not specifically about one thing like "Amber".

Q: How about "I Told Myself"?

A: (Nick): Lyrically, one of my favorite songs on the new album is "I Told Myself," because, you know, that whole image of, "I told myself I wasn't going to call you again, and here I am doing it," - like, the inner struggle of someone saying they're not going to do something. And everyone's been through that, but in this song, it's about knowing you should resist calling a girl, but you feel really compelled to, and just that inner struggle of how many times am I going to let you do this to me.

Q: Are you anxious to return to touring, and playing live?

A: (Nick) I really am looking forward to getting back on the road, because that feeling when you look out and see a whole ocean of people rocking in unison is -- for me a spiritual moment - to have all these people connected through this energy, this pulse that's coming off the stage. We just feel so grateful that we're able to do this for a living, and to enjoy the feeling after a satisfying show when you know the crowd was really into it -- that feeling afterwards is just such an amazing natural high. And at certain points in your career, you can get burned out from touring too much, or working too hard, which I think maybe we did after the big two year tour of '95-'96, and I was kind of burned out on it. But I'm so far from that now. I'm so hungry and ready to get out there and just pretty much live on the road. And I'll miss my dogs, but they'll understand. I'm going out to earn them some dog food.

A: (P-Nut) Very much. Yeah, especially with this new group of songs, I can't wait to play as many as we can on the Warped Tour. It's going to be great.

A: (S.A) Yeah. Touring is a different state of mind, too. Once you're in it, then it just flows, but it's something that you have to approach with an open mind, because so much goes on, and you really have to be on your toes and be ready for anything. But once you're doing it, it's second nature. And we've been doing it for awhile, so it doesn't take much to get back in that frame of mind.

Q: The band clearly has achieved a lot over the years. Are there goals that are still in mind?

A: (P-Nut) Sure. I would like more people to hear us. I would like us to do our best to educate people through music, because it's such a great way of doing it and having a positive effect on people.

liveDaily Interview: Drummer Chad Sexton of 311

Before Bizkit, before Korn, there was this quintet from--of all places--Nebraska that blended funk, metal, rap, hip-hop, ska, and dancehall into a concoction that dominated alt-rock radio.

311, getting ready to invade Europe to support its new album, "From Chaos" (Volcano), won the masses in 1995 with infectious songs like "All Mixed Up" and the No. 1 Modern Rock hit "Down" from their triple-platinum third studio effort, the self-titled release known as the "Blue Album." Then, like many before them, they committed a music-biz cardinal sin and took serious chances with "Blue Album'"s follow-up, 1997's adventurous but occasionally meandering "Transistor."

"Everybody just f---ing hated that record with a passion," said drummer Chad Sexton. "We don't know why, but I do know that it was too long of a record. It should not have been 21 songs, in my opinion."

After the lackluster response to "Transistor," the working title of their next album (which became 1999's "Soundsystem") was "At Least We're Trying." "Soundsystem" proved to be a back-to-basics gem, melodic and cohesive. However, 311 was now one of many rap-rock bands, it endured a lengthy legal battle with longtime label Capricorn, and sales dwindled, the album only going gold. Exit Capricorn, enter Volcano, re-introduce producer Ron St. Germain ("Blue," as well as Creed, Tool, Bad Brains) and you have the re-invigorated spirit of "From Chaos."

Sexton spoke with liveDaily about "Chaos," the tour, and the whole rap-rock thing.

LiveDaily: How is the tour shaping up?

Chad Sexton: We go to Europe for two weeks, and then we come back and start our own headlining fall tour, which will last from, like, September 8th to Halloween. We'll do ten of the shows with Alien Ant Farm, who we met on the Warped tour.

LiveDaily: You reunited with Ron St. Germain for "Chaos." How did that come about?

We had producers in the past that just didn't show the enthusiasm--we could tell that it was just a gig for them, and there wasn't any love for the project. We wanted to get someone that liked and believed in our band. And talking to Ron, even our first conversation, it was magic. He's an energetic person to begin with, and he really enjoys working with us too--it was just kind of a sign that he was the perfect guy to do our album again. We didn't have to talk him into doing it.

We were kind of in a bind at the time, because we were going through a lawsuit as well. So we weren't really taking any money from the record label for our budget. So we told him, this was coming out of our pocket, and we'll probably pay you a little bit more slowly than usual. And he was so cool with that, he didn't even mind. He just wanted to get busy on making a great record. So all those things combined, it was just obvious that he was the one to use.

You guys don't mess around musically. "You Get Worked" and "Sick Tight" come out hard.

Definitely. We wanted to try and get the energy up. We had been playing some of those songs live in our previous tour in 2000, to see if we could make them rock harder or what we could change to make them different. Playing those live in front of a crowd really helped them come off on tape like they did.

It's probably asked a million times: rap-rock's popularity and your influence on it.

I think people are under the impression that rap-rock is huge, but I don't think it is, really. I think there's Limp Bizkit that has made it huge, obviously. And then maybe Linkin Park and maybe a few other bands. But I guess our philosophy is that we don't look to ... I mean, I get that question in every interview, about paving the way for these bands and whatever. We have a lot of pride of starting this movement back in the early days, and doing it along with bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers--who did it before us--and Beasties, and Rage. All of us together helped pave the way on radio.

But here's the funny thing. Now, I'll go do radio interviews, and they'll ask that same question. They'll be all, "Aren't you upset? I mean, can you believe the rap-rock thing, how big it is today? Aren't you sick of it, 'cause we're sick of it." And I'm thinking, "You guys are the ones that made it big! And now you're complaining about it. You guys are the ones that spun it like crazy, and now you're asking me?" It's so funny. They never come from the angle that they helped make this big.

We're known to stick to our guns. This is what I think the difference is. I think there are bands out there, and I'm not going to name any, that are formula. You know, they put a rap record on, have the drummer copy the drum beat, have the bass player copy the bass line, have distortion guitar put up over that bass line or doing something else, and have a guy put his own rap on it. Now when music is manufactured like that, it's just like anything else--when you fake it, put it together like that, or copy something, that's what it is. It's a copy.

And it happens over and over again.

What we like to do, we always start off from the point of view that we're music lovers first. We are true to ourselves, we don't think, "Hey, this is gonna be a huge hit." Of course, we hope we have hits or whatever, but we don't manufacture songs to have hits. We write strictly from our hearts. We did on our first record, we did on our last record.

If you could just be with me for one day when we play a show, and watch how many people come up to me and say ... like, this girl came up to me on the Warped tour and started bawling. She's like, "You guys saved my life. I would be dead if it wasn't for your music." I have people come up and say, "My brother died in a car accident, and I don't know what I would have done without your music." So that's more of our focal point, really. We try to stick to our guns and make our fans happy, and we want to keep influencing people in a positive manner for a long time--that really is our goal. Of course, we wouldn't mind if we sold five million records, but we'll be happy if we continue this for a long time. Hopefully, when it's all said and done, and it's 2148, we'll have a book of music that helped and inspired a lot of people.

311 remains part of music’s numbers game (Las Vegas Sun)

Chad Sexton, 311's drummer, remembers exactly what he was doing the morning of Sept. 11. Sleeping.

Scheduled to perform that night with his band at Hard Rock's the Joint, Sexton was sacked out in his Las Vegas hotel room.

Then the phone rang. It was a friend telling him something was wrong.

Half-asleep, half in disbelief over what his friend said, Sexton got out of bed, turned on the TV and slipped into "this can't be happening" shock over the broadcast images he saw.

"Just like the rest of the country, I couldn't believe it," he said in a recent interview from Philadelphia. "It didn't sink in at first, then you realize how serious it is. It was just such a big event and it just keeps growing inside of each of our heads. It's a never-ending thought process."

The band made a quick decision, along with its promoter and city officials, to postpone that night's show, which was later rescheduled for Thursday.

But the following night in San Francisco, Sept. 12, the band performed as scheduled.

"It was pretty odd. It was even odd to feel that we would be playing a show that night," Sexton said. "Every time we play, it's almost like a celebration. I didn't feel like playing and celebrating that night. I felt a little weird about it."

Once the band took the stage, however, he said those weird feelings quickly dissipated, as he discovered the concert was cathartic for both band and audience alike.

"It was obvious to me that people needed that outlet. The energy off the kids was enormous," Sexton said. "During the encore, instead of shouting, '311,' they were shouting, 'U.S.A.' "

This new patriotic gesture has become quite common to the band's shows, he said. But it shouldn't come as a surprise; fans have been feeding off the good vibes of 311 since the band formed more than a decade ago in Omaha, Neb. (The band name, incidentally, is the Omaha police code for indecent exposure.)

The band has always maintained an upbeat, simplistic outlook.

"I think if you think positive and live life in a positive way, you're probably going to be happy. Otherwise, you're always bickering or full of hate or finding someone else to blame," Sexton said. "Of course everyone goes through problems, but (being positive) is a way of life we started living as teenagers."

That shared feeling of optimism along with a mutual love of music is what brought 311 together in the first place, he said.

They're also what's kept 311 together: through the early hardships common among bands trying to make it big; as well as some not-so-common tribulations, such as when the group's RV caught on fire on the side of a highway, taking the quintet's instruments, money, clothes and other belongings with it.

The group also struggled with a career that, at least in the first five years or so, never seemed to go beyond opening-act status.

That is, until '96, when the band scored hits with "Down" and "All Mixed Up." Along with that success, came such perks as recognition as a musical trailblazer: one of the first groups to bridge the gap from rock to rap, along with metal and funk.

"We're very honored to be associated with that group of rap-rock pioneers, along with the (Red Hot) Chili Peppers and Pep Squad," Sexton said. "I'm glad we could open the doors for that style of music, a collaborative style of music."

Even with the accolades, 311 hasn't necessarily found increased success in record sales. The band's latest album, "From Chaos," has yet to reach gold status since its mid-June release, even with a No 10 debut on Billboard.

Sexton, however, isn't too concerned.

"We're fortunate enough to be able to be able to write our own music, even if it's not accepted on a 12-million album-sales basis," he said. "It's up to the awareness of the people to look for stuff that's creative and might sound a little different."