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Maui Gets Down With 311

March 30, 2010 - Trisha Smith

The homegrown national sensation returns to rock the Valley Isle, and fans prepare to be electrified once again by the sounds of 311. The Omaha-bred, multi-faceted band will turn out the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Events Lawn on Saturday evening, April 10, for an unforgettable rockfest under the stars in paradise.

(***I WILL BE GIVING AWAY A PAIR OF TICKETS ON TWO RADIO SHOWS THIS WEEK....

TUNE IN TO Q103 FM WITH THE ONE AND ONLY, SHAGGY, FROM 3 TO 4 P.M. ON TUESDAY, APRIL 6, FOR A CHANCE TO WIN. ANSWER A FEW SIMPLE TRIVIA QUESTIONS AND SCORE A PAIR OF SWEET TIX.

AND, TUNE IN TO MY FRIDAY MORNING RADIO GIG ON THE MAUI BREAKFAST CLUB ON FRIDAY, APRIL 9, FROM 7 TO 8 A.M. ON KAOI 1110AM & 96.7 FM TO WIN TICKETS.

ANSWERS TO TRIVIA ARE IN THIS BLOG, SOMEWHERE....)

I’ve found a love-hate relationship among my friends and music industry associates over the years when it comes to the funky-fusion outfit, 311. From pals with tattoos committing their lifelong dedication to the band to individuals who cringe at the mention of their very name, 311 has stimulated various reactions over their 20-year career in and out of mainstream music. 

Regardless of your taste, 311 has proven its talents and unique staying-power in a music industry saturated with overproduction and mediocre hits. These nice guys stay true to their sound and are committed to their solid fanbase, which can seem nearly cult-like at times.

The five eclectic bandmates have remained on solid ground and continue to persevere with their underlying message of unity and positivity, and steadily produce successful records and tours that incorporate a variety of styles including hip-hop, alternative, rock, punk, reggae, metal—you name it.

Their first jazz album is due this fall—kidding!

Forming in Omaha, Neb. in 1990, vocalist/guitarist Nick Hexum, vocalist/DJ SA Martinez, lead guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton and bassist P-Nut, probably never thought they’d still be together, and boasting over 8.5 million units sold nationwide to date.

Nick and Chad have been playing music with Tim since high school, and the current line-up has remained consistent for nearly two decades.

“We’ve been sharing creative freedoms throughout all these years together, and working collaboratively to keep it going strong,” said Tim in a recent phone interview.

This band of "brothers” continues to "get along real well” and shares the stage during their electrifying concerts.

“It’s been a great ride,” said Tim.

Funky fact: The guys faced controversy on their road to success when a rumor floated around that the band’s name alluded to the Ku Klux Klan. (K is the eleventh letter of the alphabet, yada, yada, yada…)

This myth was busted when the band revealed the name’s true origin came from the citation number of an offensive violation.

According to 311’s funny-guy/guitarist Tim, the “original, original” 311 consisted of P-Nut and a few of his friends who got together to start a band back in the day in Nebraska.

“P-Nut and their guitar player were skinny dipping, and P-nut’s buddy got caught, while P-Nut got away,” said Tim. “The poor guy got taken home, naked, by the police.”

And, the citation number #311 was checked for indecent exposure, and the rest is history…

Six 311 albums have reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Top 200 Sales Chart, and eight of their contagious singles have reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Alternative Rock Chart. (Not too shabby for a band who’s claim-to-fame for a lot of folks was their intoxicating, music festival favorite, Who’s Got the Herb?, from the mid-‘90s benefit compilation Hempilation: Freedom Is NORML.)

The band attributes their longterm success to their slow-growth grassroots development.

Right at the beginning of their career, 311 released three records on their own independent record label, What Have You Records. These releases—Dammit, Hydroponic, and Unity—and their busy tour schedule helped them blow up in the Midwest. They eventually relocated to Los Angeles, with starry eyes and the willpower of a small army, and sought out major labels.

In 1993, 311 released their first major release, Music, with catchy single, Do You Right. I can remember rolling around in my teen years, jamming out to this record and thinking I was really cool. I’m still trying to figure this out…

In 1995, they released the self-titled, 311—aka The Blue Album—which is undoubtedly the quintessential 311 record. From start to finish, this record kept listeners engaged, and it rarely left my CD player during my high school years. Even if you don’t like 311, you like this album. Admit it…

The three singles Don’t Stay Home, All Mixed Up and Down achieved stellar approval, thanks to heavy radio rotation and MTV videos. (Yes, MTV did play music videos for good bands at one point.) The singles drove the album to platinum status in 1996, and the album eventually went triple-platinum.

The late ‘90s gave birth to Transistor, which included a few amiable tracks characteristic of 311’s homegrown sound. 

After leaving high school, I simmered down on my obsession with 311, but time and time again, I found their tracks sneaking onto my playlists. Whether it was faux entertainer punk-out (Come Original), sugary energy anthem (Amber) or my jogging jam (Creatures (For a While)), 311 has weaved its catchy, multi-genre tracks into my music collection now for nearly two decades.

I have to admit, I wasn’t thrilled about their lackluster cover of The Cure’s Love Song, but apparently the rest of the nation was, as the 311 version topped the modern rock charts in 2004. 

311’s latest effort Uplifter— produced by Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, Aerosmith, The Offspring)—was released in June 2009. It debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart—the band’s highest chart position to date.

The band is so well loved that an entire day on the calendar has been set outside for fan appreciation. Guess which day?

Every other year on March 11 (311 Day), the multi-platinum group holds a very special event that attracts thousands of its fans from around the world. The music extravaganza is usually held in New Orleans, and as a result, the mayor of New Orleans presented the band with a plaque and officially proclaimed March 11 as 311 Day in New Orleans.

According to Peter Raspler from 311’s management office, this year’s 311 Day at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, sold out of its 12,000 tickets in just a few hours. For 2010, the 311 Day event moved to Las Vegas due to over-booked hotels in New Orleans during the same time for a medical convention of some sort. The band is extremely dedicated to its fans and wanted to make sure everyone could be accommodated, so they moved it.

“Vegas is an easy destination for our fans to get to, with marketing deals galore for cheap rooms and airfare,” said Tim.

“It’s clear that 311 Day has become more than a concert—it’s a true happening,” said Peter. “An event that began organically and has taken on a life of its own.”

311 played a five-hour, marathon set of over 60 songs, with state-of-the-art production to keep the party going all night long.

“We pace the show and ourselves—do about three or four sets throughout the night, so it’s not too long at one time,” said Tim.

“It’s easier for us than for the fans,” said Tim. “I’m in my head, concentrating—lots to think about. Physically tiring, and mentally a workout, but it’s such an amazing experience.”

Coming off a four-show, jam-packed stint in Japan, 311 is looking forward to nestling in with the island verve.

“We like to play Japan because than that means we usually get to go to Hawai‘i,” said Tim, with a chuckle. “Alooohha!”

It’s a good time in Japan, according to Tim, but the crowds are definitely different than say places like Hawai‘i.

“They’re going crazy in Japan during the songs, but then very quiet between songs,” said Tim. “It’s strange and interesting.”

311 is set to play Thursday and Friday, April 8 and 9, on O‘ahu, before landing on Maui for one of their final shows of their energized spring tour. (They’ll also hit up the Big Island on Sunday, April 11, for a newly-added show.) 

“We like to decompress and get back to U.S. time,” said Tim. “It’s not an accident that Hawai‘i is at the end of our tour—it’s a great place for us. We love it there.”

On Saturday, April 10, King Michel Concerts presents 311, with special guests Hawai‘i-bred reggae rockers Iration, and an adrenaline-induced opening performance from Maui’s own badasses, The Throwdowns.

The dynamic show will surely feature some of 311’s hits—old and new—and the raw performance power audiences have grown to adore over the years.

“We’re not taking our clothes off as much these days as we’re getting a little but older, but some of us are still taking them off,” said Tim, with a laugh.

Iration recently released their latest CD, Time Bomb, and The Throwdowns are still flying high off their national distribution deal of their debut, Don’t Slow Down, with ADA.

(Visit www.irationmusic.com and www.thethrowdowns.com for information on these rad bands.)

Gates open at 5:30 p.m.; show starts 6:30 p.m. Sorry, no outside food or drinks will be permitted. Concessions available. 

Cameras and video recording are also prohibited at this all-ages show.

Get your tickets now at www.mauiarts.org or by calling 242-SHOW (7469). You can also grab your tickets today at Green Banana Café in Pä‘ia, Requests Music in Wailuku and the Old Lahaina Book Emporium. Tickets run for $35 presale, $40 day of show.

Visit www.kingmichelconcerts.com and  www.311.com.

 
 

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