311 (band)

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311
311 Austin.jpg
311 performing in Austin, Texas on August 14, 2011.
Background information
Origin Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Genres Alternative rock, reggae rock, rap rock, funk rock, alternative metal
Years active 1988–present
Labels 311, ATO, Volcano Entertainment, Capricorn, MapleMusic Recordings (Canada)
Associated acts The Dirty Heads, The Hold Steady, Slightly Stoopid, Sublime, Ghostwolf, DJ Leisure vs DJ Lofton (Nick Hexum), Hollows Follow, Zack Hexum
Website www.311.com
Members Nick Hexum
Doug "SA" Martinez
Aaron "P-Nut" Wills
Tim Mahoney
Chad Sexton
Past members Jim Watson

311 (pronounced "three-eleven") is an American rock band from Omaha, Nebraska. The band was formed in 1988 by vocalist/guitarist Nick Hexum, lead guitarist Jim Watson (who would later be replaced by Tim Mahoney), bassist Aaron "P-Nut" Wills and drummer Chad Sexton. In 1992, Doug "SA" Martinez joined to sing and provide turntables for 311's later albums, rounding out the current line-up. The band's name originates from the police code for indecent exposure in Omaha, Nebraska, after the original guitarist for the band was arrested for streaking.[1]

To date, 311 has released eleven studio albums, one live album, four compilation albums, four EPs and four DVDs. After a series of independent releases, 311 was signed to Capricorn Records in 1992 and released the albums Music (1993) and Grassroots (1994) to moderate success. They achieved greater success with their 1995 triple platinum[2] self-titled album, which reached No. 12 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of the singles "Down" and "All Mixed Up", the former of which topped the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks in 1996.[3] The band's next three albums, Transistor (1997), Soundsystem (1999) and From Chaos (2001), did not achieve the massive success of the self-titled album, though they were still successful, with the first going platinum and the last two going gold.[2] Their 2004 compilation album Greatest Hits '93–'03 was also certified gold. The band's most recent studio album is 2014's Stereolithic. As of 2011, 311 has sold over 8.5 million records in the US.[4]

History[edit]

Early recordings (1988–1992)[edit]

311's first independent release was the Downstairs EP, which was recorded in 1989 in Nick Hexum's basement. Unlike many of their releases, it had no cover art. It features the song "Feels So Good," which evolved with altered lyrics, to become one of their signature songs, recreated/remastered in the album Music, which became a staple of most of 311's live shows.[5]

In 1990, 311 produced their second independent release, Dammit!, and is often considered 311's first official album.

In 1991, 311 released their third independent release, Unity, recorded at Rainbow Recording Studios, Omaha, which was released with far greater numbers than their first release Dammit!, which was also recorded in 1989 and released in the following year. While Dammit! only printed 300 cassettes, Unity had 1000 CDs and 500 cassettes printed and was distributed through consignment and also sold at shows.[6] The band began to headline shows in local clubs, such as The Ranch Bowl and Sokol Auditorium, and became a local success.

In 1992, S.A. Martinez, who had been making various appearances with 311 over the past years as a vocalist, was officially asked to join the band. 311 recorded a six-track demo, called Hydroponic, also recorded at Rainbow Recording Studios, and moved to Los Angeles. Within their first few months, 311 was signed to Capricorn Records.

311 considers their first show to be held on June 10, 1990, opening for Fugazi in Omaha, NE, at the Sokol Auditorium.

Music and Grassroots (1993–1994)[edit]

Their first major record, Music was released in 1993. The single "Do You Right" received airplay on modern rock stations and reached No. 27 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. However, the album failed to chart at the time.

Financing their own tour, the band drove around in an old RV borrowed from Chad's father, and towed a Volkswagen bus which held their equipment. After tackling a steep incline while en route to an Omaha show, the RV caught fire. The only door out of the vehicle was surrounded by flames so the band jumped through the fire. All of their equipment and possessions were lost, though no one was seriously injured. The band continued their tour, using borrowed equipment. The incident is referenced in various songs, including "Omaha Stylee", with the lyrics:

When one girl dreamt a fire in hers and then it happened
To me and my family my bro's and I were driving"
The RV bleeding flames us leaping through fire surviving
Zoned with no home there was fire all on it
Umm let me have my life I want it

The following year, they released their second studio album, Grassroots. Although none of the singles charted, the album reached No. 8 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart and No. 193 on the Billboard 200, and tracks from Grassroots began popping up on college charts nationwide. It was during this time that 311's loyal fan base began to take on the form it remains in today.

Mainstream breakthrough (1995–2001)[edit]

In 1995, 311 released what was to be their biggest selling CD, the self-titled 311 (also known as The Blue Album). Produced by Ron St. Germain, the album was recorded live in contrast to their previous two albums in which all instruments were recorded separately. The first single "Don't Stay Home" was a modest success, reaching No. 29 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. But the follow-up single "Down", which was released 14 months after the album, received heavy airplay on mainstream radio and the accompanying music video was on MTV's rotation. The song hit No. 1 on the Modern Rock chart. The band made their network television debut on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on August 23. The third single, "All Mixed Up", enjoyed almost identical success, reaching No. 4 on the Modern Rock chart. These singles propelled the album to platinum status in 1996. The album eventually went triple-platinum. They also appeared on Late Show with David Letterman playing "Down".

In the following years, 311 continued touring and on August 5, 1997 they released Transistor which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, their highest position on that chart. While featuring popular tracks like "Beautiful Disaster", "Transistor", and "Prisoner," the album also dealt with more weighty subject matter such as world affairs ("Borders"), spirituality ("Inner Light Spectrum"), and mysticism ("The Continuous Life"). Although not garnering as much fame as some of 311's previous output, the album quickly went platinum.

In 1998, 311 released Live, a live album from a 1997 performance in New Orleans, Louisiana. 311 also released Omaha Sessions, a compilation album from their early independent releases.

In 1999, 311 released their fifth major album, Soundsystem. "Come Original" was the album's first single and had success on radio and MTV. The song reached No. 6 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. The video was heavily requested on MTV's TRL, and was No. 60 on TRL's Top 99 of '99. The second single, "Flowing", had American Pie's Eddie Kaye Thomas featured in the music video.

The success of these albums helped the band's first two major albums, Music and Grassroots, reach certified gold status.

In 1995, the band purchased a recording studio in North Hollywood, California called The Hive. The band has recorded every album at The Hive since 2000, beginning with the sessions for From Chaos, 311's sixth major record release.

From Chaos was released in late 2001 and debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200. Its first single, "You Wouldn't Believe" featured basketball star Shaquille O'Neal in the video and had a solid run of success on MTV. The album is also known for its third single, "Amber", an ethereal love song with surf guitar and the group's signature reggae-flavored sound, it became the band's biggest hit to date, it is often seen as the band's signature song and it's the band's only single to have a certification by the RIAA, achieving Gold status.

Evolver and Don't Tread on Me (2002–2006)[edit]

Their seventh major release, Evolver (Produced By Ron Saint Germain), came in 2003 and marked a return to the straightforward guitar-heavy sound that the band had become known for. Evolver debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200, and the single "Creatures (For A While)" reached No. 3 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.

In Summer 2003, 311 launched their inaugural Unity Tour. The tour included openers G. Love & Special Sauce, O.A.R. and Something Corporate.

In 2004, 311 covered The Cure's "Love Song" which became a No. 1 hit on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. It also reached No. 59 on the Hot 100, their first single to reach that chart. It was featured on the soundtrack for the motion picture 50 First Dates and then a few months later on their own Greatest Hits '93-'03. The compilation debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold. The album also featured two new songs. "How Do You Feel?" and "First Straw". Of these new tracks, "First Straw", was released as a single and reached No. 14 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

In Summer 2004, 311 kicked off their second annual Unity Tour with openers The Roots and Medeski Martin & Wood.

On August 16, 2005, 311 released their eighth studio album, titled Don't Tread on Me. "Don't Tread On Me", the first single, reached No. 2 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and No. 1 at R&R. The next two singles, "Speak Easy" and "Frolic Room", did not receive the same success as the first, neither of which made it past No. 20 on the Modern Rock Charts.

In Summer 2005, 311 kicked off their third annual Unity Tour with openers Papa Roach and Unwritten Law.

On July 20, 2006, 311 kicked off their Summer Unity Tour, playing 37 shows in 27 states and featuring opening bands Pepper and the legendary Wailers. Though their album sales have declined in recent years, the band continued to attract record crowds to their shows. Over 18,500 people came to see the band in Atlanta, their largest audience ever in the city. Other cities with high turnouts included New Jersey (17,210 people), Boston (15,276), Washington DC (13,812), Omaha (13,467), Kansas City (11,156), and Colorado (10,000).

After completion of the tour, 311 announced they would be taking a break, their first official one in over eight years.

Uplifter and Universal Pulse (2007–2011)[edit]

In January 2007, 311 stepped back into their Hive Studios with Nick's younger brother Zack Hexum. They recorded a cover of Toots & the Maytals song "Reggae Got Soul" for the soundtrack from the film Surf's Up, which was released on June 5, 2007. 311 is also one of the selected group of bands that have been able to successfully tour "off-cycle", headlining amphitheaters each summer.

Their Summer Unity Tour in 2007 included supporting acts Matisyahu and The English Beat. In 2008, they featured opening acts Snoop Dogg and Fiction Plane.

In 2009, they had another Summer Unity Tour which featured opening acts Ziggy Marley and The Expendables[7] while in 2010, supporting act The Offspring and opening act Pepper were featured.[8] In 2011, Sublime With Rome and DJ Soulman & DJ Trichrome were the openers on the Unity Tour.[9]

Uplifter, 311's ninth studio album, was released on June 2, 2009. The album, produced at 311's Hive Recording Studios in Los Angeles by Bob Rock, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, the band's highest chart position in the U.S. to date.[10] The band followed up the release of the album with tours in Summer and Fall 2009. They have completed their Spring 2010 tour, which included 311 Day 2010, held in Las Vegas, Nevada. A Summer tour with The Offspring began in June 2010. 311 also held a 2010 fall tour. In early 2011, 311 finished recording their tenth studio album called Universal Pulse at the Hive in Los Angeles, with producer Bob Rock. The album was released July 19, 2011. The album's first single, "Sunset in July" was released on June 3, 2011.[11] Universal Pulse is their shortest album yet, only having 8 songs.

311 Pow Wow Festival and 311 Caribbean Cruises (2011-2013)[edit]

In March 2011, 311 began hosting a yearly Caribbean Cruise. The 2011 Caribbean Cruise which featured three shows, over four days leaving from Miami to Turks and Caicos, and featured guest bands: The Movement, DJ Soulman and Nocturnal Arts, Full Service, Pepper and The Expendables. Fans were further treated to a Q&A session and a photo with the entire band before returning.

311 hosted their first ever "Pow Wow" Festival from August 4 to August 6, 2011 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL. Along with 311, it featured DJ Trichome, Murs, SOJA, Deftones, DJ Soulman, The Movement, Full Service, Streetlight Manifesto, The Dirty Heads, Sublime with Rome, Shinobi Ninja, Ballyhoo!, The Supervillains, Ozomatli, G. Love & Special Sauce, and comedians Doug Benson and Graham Elwood. Along with fire performances by Nocturnal Arts. 311 played four sets and the album Transistor in its entirety.[12]

On March 10, 2012 311 hosted their second Caribbean Cruise, departing from Miami and landing on a private island in the Bahamas for three consecutive nights and featured guest bands including: The Dirty Heads, Shwayze, 2 Skinnee J's, DJ Soulman, Outlaw Nation, among others.[13]

311's 2013 Caribbean Cruise departed Miami on March 1, 2013, but this time went to a different private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. The 2013 Caribbean Cruise featured guest bands and comedians including: Rebelution, Less Than Jake, Exes of Evil, DJ ABD, The Urge, Tom Green, and Doug Benson among others as well as SA Martinez and Exes of Evil performing in their side project Ghostwolf.[14]

To date, 311 have yet to announce a second Pow Wow Festival and have indicated via their website that there would likely not be one in 2013.[15]

Live311 launched and Stereolithic (2012–present)[edit]

On August 5, 2012, 311 announced the launch of Live311, a site where live concerts would be made available for download in MP3, FLAC, and ALAC formats, as well as some shows being released on DVD. To date, 311 have made twenty four of their live concerts available via Live311, with three being released on DVD: the August 6, 2011, 311 Pow Wow Transistor Set; July 14, 2011, Chicago, Illinois, concert; and August 8, 2012, Columbus, Ohio, Concert.[16]

In Summer 2012, 311 embarked on their tenth annual Unity Tour with Slightly Stoopid, SOJA, and The Aggrolites.

On August 24, 2012, Doug "SA" Martinez told Phoenix's Up on the Sun that an eleventh 311 studio album is in the works and planned for release in 2013.[17][18] However, on July 15, 2013, their eleventh album was announced to be released on March 11, 2014 to coincide with 311 Day 2014.[19] According to P-Nut, the album is to have "darker themes", and will be produced by Scotch Ralston.[20]

In July 2, 2013, 311 started their eleventh annual Unity Tour with Cypress Hill and G. Love & Special Sauce. The tour ended on August 4, 2013.[21]

Stereolithic, the band's first independently released studio album since 1991's Unity, was released on March 11, 2014.[22]

311 Day[edit]

On March 11, 2000, 311 began celebrating an unofficial holiday of their own creation, which they called 311 Day.[23] The band chose the date based on its numerical association with their own name: March is the third month of the year, so March 11 is written as 3/11. Every other year on March 11, the band performs an extended concert for thousands of their fans.

In 2000, the band played 47 songs.[24] In 2002, they increased the set list to 59 songs. In 2004, 311 played 68 songs. The band played entire albums, rarities and covers. Later that year, a DVD was released of the performance that contained 64 of the 68 songs.[24] 311 Day in 2006 was held at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee, where the band played 65 songs. The intended set list was cut short from 69 songs because of a strict midnight curfew. The band recorded the entire show in high definition,and a 2-hour edit of the show aired on HDTV on December 10. In 2008, 311 Day was held in the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. Over three separate sets, the band played 63 songs to a sold-out crowd of 14,000 fans, who represented all 50 states and 13 countries.[citation needed] In 2010, 311 Day took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.[23] All 60 songs, 32 of which were different from 311 Day in 2008,[25] were broadcast live on the web in a video on demand format described as a "professional multi-camera HD production."[26] In 2012, 311 Day took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and, for the first time, was split into two days. The band performed 79 songs during the two-day concert. On July 3, 2013, the band announced at the Unity Tour show in Chicago that 311 Day 2014 would be returning to New Orleans.

Musical style[edit]

311's music is a blend of rock, reggae, hip hop and funk.[27] More specific sub-genres they have been categorized as includes alternative rock,[28] reggae rock,[29] rap rock,[30] funk rock,[31] and alternative metal.[32]

Members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Nick Hexum – vocals, guitar, programming (1988–present)
  • Doug "SA" Martinez – vocals, turntables, DJ (1992–present)
  • Tim Mahoney – lead guitar (1991–present)
  • Aaron "P-Nut" Wills – bass (1988–present)
  • Chad Sexton – drums, percussion, programming (1988–present)

Side projects[edit]

Former members[edit]

  • Jim "Jimi" Watson – guitar (1990–1991)

Guest musicians[edit]

  • Ward Bones – guest keyboards on the version of "Fuck the Bullshit" on Dammit!
  • Black Chiney – back-up vocals on "Creatures (For Awhile)" and vocals on "Are You Ready" stage intro
  • Daddy Freddy – back-up vocals on "Nix Hex"
  • Robert Greenridge – steel drums on the song "Speak Easy"
  • Adam Merrin – piano on "Too Much Too Fast"
  • Zack Hexum – Nick's younger brother, plays saxophone in "Outside" a 311 B-side. He also plays the horns on 311's cover of the Toots & the Maytals song "Reggae Got Soul", recorded for the Surf's Up movie soundtrack.
  • Marcus Watkins – guest guitar on the version of "Fat Chance" on Dammit!
  • Eric "Bobo" Correa – guest percussionist on "Running", "Strangers" and "Stealing Happy Hours" on Transistor
  • Shaquille O'Neal – On Enlarged to Show Detail 2, Shaq made an appearance with 311 at the 2001 KROQ Weenie Roast, performing his song entitled "Psycho".

Discography[edit]

Main article: 311 discography

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How 311 Got Its Name". snopes.com. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  2. ^ a b "RIAA certifications". Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  3. ^ "311 Album & Songs Chart History: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  4. ^ "311". Red Light Management. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  5. ^ "MusicMoz – Bands and Artists: 3: 311: Discography". Musicmoz.org. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  6. ^ "311 Press Pack". 311.com. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  7. ^ ""Ticketnews.com"". Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Official website of 311". 311music.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  9. ^ "311 – 7.8.11 – Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone". 965thebuzz.com. 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  10. ^ Caulfield, Keith (June 10, 2009). "Dave Matthews' 'Big' Debuts At No. 1 On Billboard 200". Billboard. Archived from the original on 18 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  11. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: 311 Debut Funky New Single". SPIN.com. 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  12. ^ "311 Pow Wow Festival This Week! « The Pier Magazine". Thepier.org. 2011-08-03. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  13. ^ "311 NEWS (3/13/12)". 311.com. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  14. ^ "311 Caribbean Cruise 2013 | March 1-5, 2013". 311cruise.com. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  15. ^ "311 NEWS (7/19/12)". 311.com. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  16. ^ "311 Announce LIVE311.COM for live downloads". Red Light Management. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  17. ^ "311's Doug "SA" Martinez Discusses the Band's Fans". Up on the Sun. 2012-08-24. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  18. ^ "311's Doug "SA" Martinez Discusses the Band's Fans (page 2)". Up on the Sun. 2012-08-24. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  19. ^ "311 NEWS (7/15/13)". 311.com. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  20. ^ Kyle Susalla (2013-06-09). "Even after 24 years of rocking stages, 311 still producing their unique blend of music styles - Heritagewest - Heritage Newspapers". Heritage.com. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  21. ^ "311, Cypress Hill + G Love & Special Sauce Join Forces for Unity Tour 2013 @ARTISTdirect". Artistdirect.com. Retrieved 2013-07-07. 
  22. ^ "311 Going Indie for March Album (exclusive)". Billboard. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  23. ^ a b — Originally published on LasVegasWeekly.com. "Happy 311 Day! - Thursday, March 11, 2010 | 11:53 a.m.". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  24. ^ a b "311 Day 2012: Live in Las Vegas « The Pier Magazine". Thepier.org. 2011-09-17. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  25. ^ "311 Day 2010". Setlist.com. 2010-03-11. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  26. ^ [1][dead link]
  27. ^ "311 and Snoop Unite for Summer Tour - antiMUSIC News". Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  28. ^ Fran Golden, Special for USA TODAY (10 July 2014). "Rock band 311 to host concert cruise on Norwegian Pearl". Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  29. ^ "311, Matisyahu anchor a night of reggae in Irvine - The Orange County Register". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  30. ^ "Sound Check: New Concerts in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts - Hartford Courant". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  31. ^ "Utah Local News - Salt Lake City News, Sports, Archive - The Salt Lake Tribune". Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  32. ^ "10 Things To Do This Week - lehighvalleylive.com". lehighvalleylive.com. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 

External links[edit]