311 (band)

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This article is about the band. For other uses, see 311 (disambiguation).
311 Austin.jpg
311 performing in Austin, Texas on August 14, 2011.
Background information
Origin Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Years active 1988–present
Associated acts
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 and 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, two live albums, 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]


Early recordings (1988–92)[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 was recreated/remastered in the album Music, and a staple of most of 311's live shows.[5]

In 1990, 311 produced their second independent release, Dammit!, recorded at IEV Studios in Papillion, Nebraska.

In 1991, 311 released their third independent release, Unity, recorded at Rainbow Recording Studios, Omaha, which was released with greater numbers than Dammit!. 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 311 recorded a six-track demo, called Hydroponic, also recorded at Rainbow Recording Studios, and moved to Los Angeles.[citation needed] Within their first few months, 311 was signed to Capricorn Records.[citation needed]

311 considers their first show to be held on June 10, 1990, opening for Fugazi in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Sokol Auditorium.[citation needed]

Music and Grassroots (1993–94)[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.[7] 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.[citation needed]

The following year, they released their second studio album, Grassroots.

Mainstream breakthrough (1995–2001)[edit]

In 1995, 311 released 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[9] 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,[10] their highest position on that chart. The album went platinum.[11]

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. The song "Come Original" reached No. 6 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.[12] The second single, "Flowing", had American Pie's Eddie Kaye Thomas featured in the music video.

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

From Chaos was released in late 2001. Its first single, "You Wouldn't Believe" featured basketball star Shaquille O'Neal in the video.

Evolver and Don't Tread on Me (2002–06)[edit]

Their seventh major release, Evolver (Produced By Ron Saint Germain), came in 2003. 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,[13] 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 featured two new songs: "How Do You Feel?" and "First Straw".

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. 7 at Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles.[14][15]

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 Wailers. 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 (2007–11)[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 bands that have been able to successfully tour "off-cycle", headlining amphitheaters each summer.[citation needed]

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[16] while in 2010, supporting act The Offspring and opening act Pepper were featured.[17] In 2011, Sublime With Rome and DJ Soulman & DJ Trichrome were the openers on the Unity Tour.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] Universal Pulse is their shortest album yet, only having 8 songs.

311 Pow Wow Festival and 311 Caribbean Cruises (2011–13)[edit]

In March 2011, 311 began hosting a yearly Caribbean Cruise.[citation needed] 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 "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.[21]

On March 10, 2012 311 hosted their second Caribbean Cruise, departing from Miami and landing on a private island, Half Moon Cay, 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.[22]

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.[23]

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

311 sponsored the NASCAR stock car of Jeb Burton in 2015

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.[24]

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.[25][26] However, on July 15, 2013, their eleventh album was announced to be released on March 11, 2014 to coincide with 311 Day 2014.[27] According to P-Nut, the album is to have "darker themes", and will be produced by Scotch Ralston.[28]

On 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.[29]

Stereolithic, the band's first independently released studio album since 1991's Unity, was released on March 11, 2014.[30]

On November 18, 2014, 311 released a live album, 311 with the Unity Orchestra - Live from New Orleans - 311 Day 2014. The album documents part of the 311 Day 2014 concert wherein the band was accompanied onstage by a symphony orchestra for nine songs.[31]

311 Archive, a four disc compilation album featuring 81 previously unreleased songs, b-sides and demos, was released on June 30, 2015.[32]

311 Day[edit]

On March 11, 2000, 311 began celebrating an unofficial holiday of their own creation, which they called 311 Day.[33] 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.[34] 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.[34] 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.[33] All 60 songs, 32 of which were different from 311 Day in 2008,[35] were broadcast live on the web in a video on demand format described as a "professional multi-camera HD production."[36] 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.[37] More specific subgenres they have been categorized as includes alternative rock,[38] reggae rock,[39] rap rock,[40] funk rock,[41] and alternative metal.[42]


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 appeared with 311 at the 2001 KROQ Weenie Roast, performing his song titled "Psycho".


Main article: 311 discography


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  2. ^ a b "RIAA certifications". Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
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External links[edit]