Runt Rant

30ish. Married. Educated. Foodie. 311 Fanatic.

past college football odds

311 Fan Spotlight – Beth Haskin – 7/27/15

July 27th, 2015

me cruise

Hello again excitable friends! Welcome back to another fan spotlight and happy Monday! Time to kick it into high gear and meet Mrs. Beth Haskin!

Beth’s discovery of 311 came like many of us with the release of the blue album and the radio airplay of “Down.”  She liked the different sound and style they had. “I had never heard anything like them before and honestly, I don’t think there’s anyone like them today.” While she liked the music, she never really dug deeper into it or saw them in concert until she met her husband Chuck. “He was a huge fan and I could relate to his obsession because I had my own with The Dave Matthews Band. His passion for them made me want to explore their music more.” After he burned her copies of all their CD’s she discovered just how much more there was to the band than she knew. Then on July 19, 2013 Chuck took her to her first show. “He made sure I was on the rail front and center. My mind was blown! I was hooked and the rest is history!”

In the past two years Beth has seen them 8 times, including 311 Day 2014 and the recent cruise to Jamaica. Her favorite so far is without a doubt the cruise. “It was the most incredible trip I have ever been on!  Charles proposed to me shortly after boarding the ship, and we spent the next four days enjoying the band we love, visiting Jamaica and celebrating with amazing people who feel like one big family.  It doesn’t get much better than that!”

with band

group cruise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song that means the most to Beth is a hard question to answer because like many of the fans, there are just so many that she loves. “I’ve always had a thing for “Beautiful Disaster” and I really dig “Freeze Time”.  I also can’t seem to get enough of “Five Of Everything”.  I love the way it sounds and I think a lot of us can relate to it.  Like many other 311 songs, it reminds you to live in the moment and appreciate what you have instead of always being in search of something more.” Favorite quote comes from “Sunset in July” – “Here I was happy.” She says it reminds her that being happy is a choice and we should live in the moment and appreciate it.

Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Beth didn’t always have a great life. She grew up in a poor family where her dad was never around and her mother was an abusive alcoholic. She learned to take care of herself and her brother at a very young age. Due to her situation, she wasn’t raised to have confidence or self-esteem and she fell for the first person that she believed cared for her. At age 18 that relationship moved her to Maryland (where she still currently lives) and she was then married at 20. At age 27 she gave birth to her beautiful daughter Lyric.

While she stayed in a toxic relationship longer than she should have, and while she may have endured some very dark times in her life, she overcame them and doesn’t regret the past. “I had a lot of issues early on in my life due to abuse that I had to work through and overcome.  Music was always there for me and helped me get through.  Despite the fact that I have endured many dark days in my life, one thing is for certain…I always stayed positive!  I always felt that there was something better for me on the horizon and that I would make it through.  I learned to take control of my life, and that I am in charge of my own happiness.  Now I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.  I am happily married to a man who respects me and treats me like gold.  I have a beautiful, smart, healthy daughter and life is one big adventure.  I don’t regret the things that have happened in my life because I think they have made me the person I am today, and I think that those experiences make me appreciate all the good in my life that much more.”

While 311 has become a major part of her life, her main musical obsession is The Dave Matthews Band. “I’ve been listening to them for 25 years and they have gotten me through the hardest times in my life. Like 311, their music also promotes positivity and reminds you that life is short and you should live each day like it’s your last.  I love music that speaks me and has meaning.  DMB also has a huge “family” like 311.  It’s amazing to connect with people through music and experiences, and know that you’re not alone.”

If anyone reading is a fan of the band KISS, then you’ll like that Beth was named after their song! “One of the few things that I  appreciated about my mother was that she had eclectic taste in music.  She listened to everything and exposed me to all types of music growing up.  Music was very important in our household, and it became very important in my life as well.  I am grateful for that.”

Beth is extremely good with children and she studied Early Childhood Education. She has been a child care provider for 21 years, nannied, taught preschool, worked with children with special needs, worked in various child care centers and even ran her own licensed in-home center at one point. “My friends call me the baby whisperer because I can calm any baby, and children are drawn to me every where I go!”

When not calming babies and children, Beth sometimes likes to indulge in some guilty pleasures. “I love reality TV!  Shows like Teen Mom, Kate Plus 8, The Little Couple, etc.  It fascinates me to see how other people live their lives, and at the end of the day it feels good to just relax and watch something that I don’t have to think too much about.”

Beth’s message to 311 is one of gratitude:

“I would thank them for making music that unites people and promotes positivity.  Life can be hard, but it helps to know that are others who have felt the same way, and that there is music out there that can help you get through.  I would also thank them for everything they do for their fans.  Not a lot of bands tour as much as they do, do special days and trips for their fans and take time out to take pictures with their fans.  You can tell that they appreciate their fans very much.”

To all the fans that appreciate everything this band does:

“Nick says it best…”Stay positive and love your life”!  Truer words have never been spoken.  Whatever you’re going through, you will get through it.  Life goes on and this too shall pass.  Happiness is a choice, and you must choose to be happy everyday and live life to the fullest.  Never let anyone but you control your happiness!!!”

us water

——-

And there you have the story of Beth Haskin my friends! I’m glad you all got to learn more about her and thank you as usual for reading! My love goes out to all of you for being the amazing humans that make up this 311 family. Until we meet again, keep on rockin’ and passing on the good vibes to others!

Much love – The Runt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

311 Fan Spotlight – Mike Morel – 7/20/15

July 20th, 2015

IMG_5873

Welcome back my fellow 311 fans!! Happy Monday to all. I hope your weekend was excellent! Let’s start this awesome week by introducing you to another fan. Time to meet Mike Morel!

1993 was the year. Mike’s cousin asked a favor of him – to hit up the mall and buy him Music on cassette tape. Later on they listened to it together and Mike heard “Visit” and “Do You Right.” “I had never heard a band like that before. Two singers, perfect harmonies and such a unique sound.”

For live shows, Mike is somewhere in the mid 40’s range. His first show was at the State Palace Music Theater in New Orleans on October 30, 1994 when the band played with The Cramps. “That was the day I became a fan for life. Such high energy and sounded just like their albums.” Of the forty-something shows that Mike has been to, he said it’s the last cruise that takes the prize for the best. “The 3rd cruise was my first and it changed my 311 experience forever because of all of the amazing people / friends I met. I now have friends all over the country and friends for life because of it, and I’ll never be at a 311 show alone again thanks to the Familia.”

image1

Favorite song is a tie between “Jackolantern’s Weather” or “Golden Sunlight” since they are both so rare to hear live and the harmonies are amazing. “Although ‘Great Divide’ is moving up quick in the rankings.” Mike’s favorite lyric though comes from “Paradise” – “Musics what I need to keep my sanity.” He says music is something he can’t live without and he needs it in his daily life.

Slidell, Louisiana is where Mike lived until the age of 24 when he moved to South Mississippi for a job. He’s been there ever since. “I work at FedEx and that has helped me attend all of the shows and events I have been to.” One of those events was Pow Wow back in 2011. “One of my goals when I went to the Pow Wow by myself was to meet the Puffy Hand guys. So during the Transistor set I met Josh Hurley and Matty K and they gave me my first official Puffy Hand. Now I am one of the guys in the Puffy Hand Crew and I represent them any time 311 comes to the South East. This July I’ll be in Charlotte, Jacksonville, Orlando and Birmingham with my Puffy Hands.”

Mike has two daughters, ages 13 and 8, that are his pride and joy. “My oldest is just like me. I love spending time with them and of course they are 311 fans.” Earlier I said Mike can’t live without music in his life and he is a self-proclaimed music geek. “I can pretty much tell you the artist or a song title just from hearing the first few notes of a song from 1954 to now.” Another love is football. He’s a huge fan of both professional and college. “I have season tickets for both the New Orleans Saints and LSU Tigers. Football season is my favorite time of the year.”

Some other bands that Mike is into are Incubus, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, Faith No More, Dirty Heads, The Urge, Our Lady Peace, Blue October and RDGLDGRN.

To the guys that make up the awesomeness that is 311, Mike has this message:

“I would just like to thank them for changing my life by bringing some awesome people into it. And always being able to keep me positive and happy whenever I listen to their music and see them live. I hope they never quit making music.”

Now to all the amazing fans that come together to make up this phenomenal community:

“I just want to thank all of the awesome, friendly, positive fans out there for being part of the Excitable Crew and Familia. There are too many people to list, but I love seeing all of your faces and rocking out with you at their shows. I can’t wait to see y’all for our next 311 experience together.”

———-

That is Mike Morel slinkies & brodels! I hope you had a blast reading his tale. I love relaying all the awesome stories of fans to you all! Thank you as always for reading. Now go conquer the week and spread that love & positivity as always!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Chris Barry – 7/13/15

July 13th, 2015

0703150838

Excitable friends, welcome back!!! Monday has arrived and so has our latest fan spotlight. Time to meet Chris Barry!

Growing up Chris listened to KROQ in California and heard “Down,” “All Mixed Up,” and “Don’t Stay Home” on the station. Then in 5th grade a friend brought him a taped copy of Soundsystem and he got a little more into the band. However, it wasn’t until he heard “Creatures” in 2003 that his fandom really clicked on. “About two weeks after I got Evolver I went out and bought every other record the had released to date. The rest was history. For me, the first thing that drew me to 311 was the drums…Chad Sexton is the reason I started playing!”

Now at 40 live shows and counting, Chris doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. He’s attended four 311 Day shows and two of the cruises. Narrowing down his favorite out of all the shows is tough though. He said it’s hard to compare club shows vs. arena shows vs. the cruise. “I’d have to say this past cruise tops them all though. I had my two best friends in the world with me (Kelsey and Darryl) and it was their first cruise. There is no feeling like that sail-away show.”

“Existential Hero” has become a favorite song of his. “That song is the epitome of 311 bringing the swagger. The song feels like you are being taken on a journey through space and time, and the song has some of the best drums in 311’s catalog.” One of his all time favorite lyrics comes from “Omaha Stylee” – “Got more funky styles than a laserjet got fonts.” He said that line always cracked him up.

Orange County, California is where Chris was born and raised. He now currently resides in Laguna Hills where he works in administration for a private high school. We know he loves 311 and drumming, but one of his other passions is aviation. “I got my pilots license in 2012. One day I would like to fly with Eric Stone and Gus Chavez, some fellow 311 aviators!”

Chris mentioned before that he started playing the drums thanks to Chad’s sound and style, and it’s something he considers unique about himself. “I started playing because of Chad and he became my biggest influence growing up. His style is so unique that I think it helped me learn some styles are prevalent in 311’s music.”  Chris is in California’s only 311 tribute band named The Brodels. “I get to play with a great group of talented guys down here. We are jamming for some shows coming up later this summer and early fall, so come see us if you can!”

Any music with good drumming catches Chris’ ear. Some other bands he loves are Tool, Dirty Heads, Pretty Lights, John Brown’s Body, and Slightly Stoopid. Guilty pleasure of his is anything Star Wars! “Counting down the days until Episode VII on 12/18!”

To 311, Chris would like to say this message:

“Thank you for the amazing experiences, life (and music) lessons, and creating an amazing community. And if you guys ever get a private jet, I know a pilot…”

To the amazing 311 community:

“See you all at 311 Day! Over the years I have had some incredible memories and met some amazing friends. If you ever see me, come say hi! Much love to all.”

—–

That’s the story of Chris Barry my friends! Thank you all for reading each week and I hope you like meeting another fellow fan! Until next time, keep rocking out at those summer shows and hopefully I’ll meet some of you at them!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Kevin McNeill – 7/6/15

July 6th, 2015

29324_564066773560_5903487_32997768_2091250_n

Monday is here my excitable friends! Welcome back and I hope all of you had an amazing Fourth of July. It’s time to meet the latest fan spotlight. Give a big warm, 311est  welcome to Kevin McNeill!

When the blue album was getting popular, that’s about the time Kevin was really starting to get into music. His friends had the album and used “Down” as the entrance music when they wrestled. Kevin enjoyed the music and as more came out, he downloaded a few songs here and there. “I downloaded Come Original on Napster when it was still free/illegal. I remember taping You Wouldn’t Believe and Amber off the radio too.” While he was listening to 311, he wasn’t fully hooked until college thanks to his friend Liam. He would walk into Kevin’s dorm and say, “K-Mick we’re going to smoke a joint…you’re driving…and we’re listening to 311.”  It was Transistor that made Kevin fall hardcore for the band. “Use of Time” hooked Kevin, he was floored when he heard it. It’s even the song he narrowed down as his favorite. “If only because it was the song that most connected to me when I first heard it.  Tim’s solos in it are incredible, and I remember being with Liam on one of our drives, and hearing the guitar and imagining hearing them live, and the chords ringing in my ears, and it gave me goosebumps.  On top of that, the line “Every time I turn the volume down, all I hear is the deafening sound, of your heart’s pound” really touched me at the time, and it an example of the kind of beauty that their music creates and incites.”

After Transistor, Kevin stumbled onto Evolver and became even more hooked. “I couldn’t really understand what I loved about them so much; everything else I listened to was screamo or metal, and then there was 311.  I think it was my subconscious trying to tell me that not everything had to be so glum; there was “positivity” in the world, to steal a common 311-esque phrasing.  Liam invited me to see my first 311 show in August 2003 in Gilford, NH, and it was the definition of face-melting.  I was speechless, then sweaty and exhausted, and finally hooked for life.  My next paycheck was spent on purchasing the remaining albums that I did not yet own.  Been a lunatic fan ever since.”

Kevin has attended 14 shows since his start in Gilford and he believes there is no greater joy that he can obtain than attending a 311 show (Granted, he said he hasn’t gotten married yet or had a child). While he said 14 may not seem like a lot, it is considering he didn’t see them live from June 2010 to July 2014. His location isn’t ideal for seeing live concerts. He’s seen them in a variety of locations though. “I’ve seen them in Gilford, NH; Mansfield, MA; Boston, MA; Lowell, MA; Portland, ME; and most recently in St. Louis, MO.  And I’ll see you fuckers at 311-Day 2016!” Favorite show that he’s discussed many times with various 311 fans such as Dan, RJ and other tweeps is Gilford, NH 2007. “That show was incredible.  They played “Gap”, “Borders”, “Let The Cards Fall”, “Life’s Not A Race” and “Creature Feature” for the first time ever.  Pretty incredible show, and to know that I shared it with some friends that I’ve since met on Twitter is pretty cool too.”

Kevin grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts, in a town called Peabody, right next to Salem (as in the Scarlet Letter and Salem witch trials). He lived there most of his life, then spent 4 years in Lowell attending school at University of Massachusetts Lowell. He graduated from there with a degree in Criminal Justice, but didn’t really want to head into that field professionally. After working in retail for a while, Kevin moved to Carbondale, Illinois in 2011 (way…..WAY down in southern Illinois he said, about 2 hours southeast of St. Louis). His girlfriend of 7 years is working on her PhD there and Kevin decided to go back to school while there too. He now has a Masters of Art’s in Teaching with a concentration in English. He currently is an English teacher at the local high school and he absolutely loves it! “It’s 1000x better than working retail.  I love messing with the students, and I even have a 311 Quote of the Day, and write a different clever or inspiring 311 lyric on the board every day.  All my students know I’m a crazy fan and pick on me for it.  But they also say stuff like “Mr. McNeill!  I heard 311 on the radio this weekend and I thought of you!” and that’s worth it!”

Cooking is a hobby of Kevin’s and something he says he does excellently. “I don’t like to do it every day, which is why I don’t try to work in a restaurant, but I love messing with spices and flavor profiles, and I’m surprisingly good at it.” He is also a bit of a neat freak and likes to keep everything organized and tidy. “So, the interesting fact is that I’m perfect husband material because I cook and clean.”

A unique talent Kevin has is that he can pull out a Simpson’s reference pretty much for any occasion. “It’s actually pretty pathetic.  But when I do it, and someone else gets it and starts laughing, it’s worth the previous 2483 times that only I laughed.  Every Wednesday, me and a group of my friends go to trivia at a local bar, and every week we name our team some obscure Simpsons reference.  Last week, we were You Don’t Win Friends With Salad.” As far as his guilty pleasure, it’ all about the craft beer. “I’m a craft beer aficionado, and I’ve become quite obsessive about it.  I used to be able to dabble in a few crafty things: Harpoon IPA, Yuengling, a few different Sam Adams.  Now I’m maniacal.” Kevin has an entire cabinet full of craft beer that he says he is purposely aging. He also has a case underneath his guest room bed and 8-10 bottles that are too tall for the cabinet. “Everywhere I go, there needs to be some craft there, and I always want to try something new.  I used to be a status quo kind of guy, and now I need to be on to the newest, tastiest brew I can find!  So thank you craft breweries, for making my drinking problem seem like a neat hobby!”

Kevin is into many different varieties and genres of music. He said besides 311 his other favorite band is Funeral for a Friend. He also said that most of his other favorites fit the “posthardcore/screamo/alternative genre.”  Nineties alternative also is a selection he loves like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots. Being from New England, he still has some local groups he likes such as Too Late the Hero, The Receiving End of Sirens, Therefore I Am, and Me As Time. “All great bands…check them out!

To the band that has meant so much to him over the years he’d like to send this message:

What you guys should do, is hold a worldwide 311 Tribute Band contest, judged by the fans, and whichever 311 Tribute band wins, gets to go on tour and open for you every year, so we get to see twice as many songs at each show!  You could call it the ‘Who Can Be the 311-est? Contest’.”

Now to all the amazing fans in the land of excitable nation:

“It’s been a pleasure to meet and get to know all of you over the past few years on social media.  I can’t wait to run into all of you at a show someday!  Keep living the dream!  Somebody has to do it, might as well be us.

And thanks to Christina for doing this stuff all the time!  You rock!”

—-

Aww thanks Kevin! And thank you to all the supporters of my Runt Rant. I appreciate the time you all take to read more about your fellow fans. This is truly a passion of mine, writing about all of your amazing people week after week!! I hope you enjoyed Kevin’s story. Keep on rocking and being the amazing humans you are! You make the world a better place!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Greg Gardner – 6/22/15

June 22nd, 2015

Greg is in the center of this photo :)

Greg is in the center of this photo :)

Hi there my excitable friends in 311 nation! Happy Monday! It’s everyones favorite time of the week when we meet a new 311 fan. Let’s read the story of Greg Gardner!

8 years old was the age that Greg first was exposed to 311 through the song “Down,” which was getting a lot of radio airplay at the time. “That was the coolest song I had ever heard in my life. 311’s sound is so unique, there is not another band like them.”  As Greg got older, the lyrics started really resonating with him and he fell in love with the band even more. “In my opinion, they created their own genre and they are the only band in it. I love that all of their music is so positive and uplifting. Even when they are referring to life’s struggles, there is always a positive that they try to convey and it has definitely helped me through all aspects of my life.”

14 is the number of live shows that Greg has reached so far. He went to one show a year when 311 would come to the D.C. area and then he finally got to fulfill a lifelong dream of attending 311 Day back in 2014. “It was at this event where I met a ton of amazing people whom I now consider to be some of my best friends.  Now that I have friends all over the U.S. with a similar passion for 311, I will traveling to 5 shows this year at venue’s I’ve never been to.”  While this event had a huge impact on Greg’s life by introducing him to his second family, he now says that his favorite event is the cruise to Jamaica. “It was like reuniting with family I hadn’t seen in a year.  I can’t put into words how much I loved the Cruise, it was not only my favorite 311 event, but maybe the single greatest time of my life.  I am ALL IN for the next one.”

usand311beardedbrodels

Greg was born and raised in Northern Virginia and growing up constantly surrounded by music. His parents are the reason he loves so many great bands because they were big into 70’s and 80’s classic rock, which shaped his musical taste. Some of his other favorite bands include Pink Floyd, The Doors, and Led Zeppelin. Another love is sports and he says he rarely watches anything else on T.V. “I played baseball, football, and basketball growing up but baseball was always my true love. I am a diehard Washington Nationals fan and I try to go to as many games as I can. I’m also a big Green Bay Packers, Washington Capitals and Lebron James fan.”  Greg is also an alumni of West Virginia University so he is a HUGE fan of WVU football and basketball. Apart from music and sports, Greg simply loves hanging out with friends and his awesome girlfriend Sam Cabrera, who he has molded into becoming a die hard 311 fan as well. “She always enjoyed the shows but 311 Day and the cruise have got her hooked!”

The song “Made in the Shade” really had a big impact on Greg’s life. It’s because of lyrics in that song that he woke up and realized he was tired of his job and feeling like he wasn’t getting anywhere. “An opportunity presented itself that was way outside the box from what I was doing before but I took a chance and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” Greg now works for a construction company as a Customer Service Manager and the company is growing rapidly. “I am extremely busy but it is exciting being a part of a company that is having so much success.  It is very rewarding to get feedback from customers and knowing not only that I could help brighten their day but really better their everyday life.” His company was even recently on The Today Show! Greg said it was the lyrics, “Bout time to give up on, the same old stuff I’m stuck on” and “I’ll be looking out the same old window, years later on a Monday thinking something would come from doing the same things” that really made him make the bold move to his new career.

You already know that Greg is really into sports, but what you don’t know is that his little league team won the Virginia state championship and advanced to the South East regional of the little league world series. “I pitched a game where we upset Florida, who was a favorite to win it all, but we lost to Alabama in the regional championship.” He’s also really good at impersonations. “My favorites are Butters and Mr. Mackey from South Park. I also do a good Harry Carey.” As with most of us, Greg isn’t immune to having a guilty pleasure. “I am a big fan of The Voice. It is really the only thing I watch on T.V. other than sports. I think it is really cool seeing people go after their dreams, and being a big fan of music, it is just awesome to watch people grow throughout the show. I also like that unlike other singing competition shows, they don’t show all the BS and only give air time to the people that deserve it.”

With the impact that 311 has had on Greg’s life, he’d like to plainly send this message:

“ Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration for me.”

To the fans, the community of awesome people:

“Thanks everyone for just kicking ass as a fan base.  There is no other band in the world with a fan base that is as loving, friendly, and passionate as we are.  To my Plurbie crew, you all already know how I feel about you.  I love you guys to death and can’t wait to party with some of y’all at the shows this summer!”

plurpeeps

—–

That’s how Greg fell for 311 and now you all know more about him!! I hope you all enjoyed his tale and thank you as always for reading. You are all awesome people and I can’t wait to interview each and every one of you! Until we meet again, I leave you with one of Greg’s favorite 311 lyrics: “Life’s a bowl of punch, go ahead and spike it.”

Much love! – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Dwayne LeBlanc – 6-15-15

June 15th, 2015

11421573_978311228875087_1789074700_n

Hello again and another happy Monday to all of you in the excitable 311 nation! Tis the time to read about another amazing fellow fan. This week’s spotlight takes aim at Dwayne LeBlanc!

Dwayne credits his best friend at the time for hooking him on 311. He told him about 311 Day 2002 and they decided to go. That’s where his love for them began. Since then he’s been to almost 40 shows. “I’ve got about 35 ticket stubs but I know I’m missing a few.” His favorite event so far though has hands down been the most recent cruise to Jamaica.

11350025_978311208875089_1426873761_n

The song “Daisy Cutter” holds a special place in his heart, not only because it’s he and his lovely ladies song, but also because they named their daughter after it! Another favorite of his is “Tribute.”  Some of his favorite lines though come from “Hydroponic” – Everything I eat is from the Earth, right? I am what I eat, straight up Earth, right? Nothing but a walking sack of Earth, nice to meet you, how do ya do? Guess what? Ya you’re one too.”

Born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana, Dwayne grew up right outside New Orleans. He’s a southern boy who works hard doing plumbing work for his family’s company, which he’s been doing since the age of 17. He loves his job and that it funds his 311 addiction. “I just simply save up everything I can months before a big show, or I just jump on something and spend all my money and hear it from the wife later lol.”

Dwayne said his number one love really is his family which includes his beautiful wife and three awesome children. Outside of that his other love is music. “I love to play my bass when I get the time.” He said that playing music is one of his talents and he has a great ear for it. He also said his life really revolves around music! Some of his other favorite artists are RDGLDGRN, Soja, Tribal Seeds, Rebelution, and anything from the Marley family. He’s big into Reggae but also enjoys other genres ranging from Grateful Dead to Van Halen. Incubus, Deftones, Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and the whole Taylor Gang, plus Lupe Fiasco are just some others he’s into to name a few.

Guilty pleasure for Dwayne comes in the form of comic books. “I’m still a comic book nerd and I also still watch more cartoons than my kids hahaha. I’m just a big kid so they say!”

His message to 311 is simple and sums up his gratitude for them well: “Thank you for everything y’all do for us crazy excitables!”

To all the fans that make up this amazing community of positivity:

“I just wanna thank all the excitables I’ve gotten to meet over the years. I’m so happy and blessed to be a part of this movement. Y’all are truly the greatest people on this Earth. Keep doing y’alls thang, I love every single one of y’all!”

11421407_978311255541751_1410513716_n

——-

Thanks for reading the story of Dwayne LeBlanc! I hope you all enjoyed meeting another fellow fan. As you all know by now, you keep reading, and I will keep writing! Now go enjoy your day and pass on that positive vibe to those you see today.

Much love! – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/8/15 – Jordan Ouzounian

June 8th, 2015

11034265_10153166254941639_3657633317083371822_n

Happy Monday excitable nation!! Another week is here and it’s time to meet another awesome fellow fan! Let’s not delay – here is the story of Jordan Ouzounian!

Ninth grade year was the time and it was friend Britton Williams who introduced Jordan to the wonderfulness of 311. “The first album I listened to was Grassroots and that got me going.” Then in 2007 he went to his first show in Salt Lake City on 8/6. He’s been hooked since!

The Salt Lake City show on May 8th this year was number 11 for Jordan. Of the shows he’s seen he said that his favorite has been 311 Day 2014, which he attended with Britton and his cousin Artin. “That was a trip to never forget. From the get go that shit was the most random yet fucking awesome 36 hours of my life!”

While every song of theirs is unique and means something in one way or another to Jordan, he said it’s the songs that drew his family in that mean the most. “For example, June 30, 2008 the band played “Champagne” in SLC, which is my moms favorite jam. I earlier had gone on the BB and requested that song. Come to find out SLC was the only time they played it during the summer tour! That was a pretty cool coincidence or not.” Jordan also said one major reason he convinced his cousin Artin to go to 311 Day was because he would hear his favorite song, Beyond the Gray Sky”, live. Jordan’s favorite quote comes from “Brodels” – “I cannot think of a better way that we could celebrate freedom than to think of a set of goals and cold beat ‘em!”

Jordan is the youngest of five siblings and has called Salt Lake City, Utah his home all his life. “One thing I love about where I live is the access to the Wasatch and Uinta mountains. I fly fish and hunt so this is really a perfect place for me to be located.” To fund his 311 addiction he waits tables at a large scale restaurant. He also resells items on eBay as well.

An interesting fact about Jordan is that he is legally blind in his left eye! But he says that doesn’t stop him from being talented in the kitchen. And his guilty pleasure? “Nothing can clear my head quite like a day on the river. Although I don’t feel guilty about it :).”

Other music Jordan is into is metal and bands like Pantera or Lamb of God. Although he  said, “Honestly who am I kidding, 311 is 95% of my music intake!”

His message to the guys is a simple one: “Thank you for all you do!”

To all the awesome fans out there his message is this:

“To all of you I have met and have yet to meet, I wouldn’t change a minute! Shout out to the 801 Familia and Cody and Cori Robinson for being all that you are!”

—–

That friends is Jordan! One more amazing person in this sea of positive vibe merchants. Thank you as always for reading and for being the awesome people you are. Until next time keep on spreading the love!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – Shawn Van Houten – 5/25/15

May 25th, 2015

11205177_783585921755470_2841148326917467170_n

Happy Memorial Day excitable friends! I hope you are all enjoying this honorable holiday. Let’s kick off this day and week with the latest 311 fan spotlight on Mr. Shawn Van Houten!!

Shawn’s journey with 311 begins at a young age when he first saw the video for “Down” after he snuck out of his room to go watch MTV. “As I grew up, I constantly surrounded myself with all styles of music. I think I always liked them because they appealed to so many styles that I am into.”

Since his introduction to them, Shawn has seen the band 38 times. Narrowing down his favorite was tough because there are so many great ones. For example, this past cruise he says was one of the most incredible times in his lift because he got to play with The Unity All Stars. After mulling it over though, he chose 311 Day 2014 as his favorite event so far. “I was there for a week, saw a ton of great music in the process, stayed in an amazing house with so many people who became some of my dearest friends. Banana Brigade Brunch. Seeing everyone rocking to the Stereolithic for the first time, as one, at the pre-party was truly something I will never forget.”

“All Mixed Up” is the song that is one of Shawn’s favorites, because he said it defines an all around good feeling for him. “From the time I heard it, I’ve always held it close, whenever I’ve needed a song to get me that positive, fun spirit, that’s my go to.” Some of his favorite lyrics come from “Life’s Not a Race” – “The natural way things organize.” He also loves these lyrics from “Prisoner” – “A laser light pinpoints the top of my dome, then through my body as if Scotty’s beaming up a wayward soul.”

Raised on Long Island, New York, Shawn now resides in Brooklyn. He’s lived in New York his whole life and has been a music addict just as long. “I was born into it. My mom was a hardcore Dead-Head. I’ve never met my father, but my family has told me he was a roadie for Led Zeppelin and other bands. I’ve played music all my life. I play guitar, sing, play bass, and play the saxophone.” To fund his 311 habit, Shawn has been working in the restaurant industry for years, both serving and bartending.

Being a music addict, there are many bands and artists that Shawn loves besides 311. Some of them are Rage Against the Machine, Incubus, Pantera, Eminem, Dillinger Escape Plan, Bassnectar, Deftones, Minus the Bear, Mute Math, The Offspring, and Slipknot. Shawn sang in a metal band for a few years during high school. He then went on to form a punk/melodic hardcore band. They even toured, released a record, and as he says, “Fucked shit up. It was a lot of fun.”

A special talent Shawn has that you may not know about…he can balance things on his nose and chin! “Bring me a wiffle ball bat, or a chair, or a table, or a ladder. I’ll balance that shit.” Guilty pleasure for Shawn comes in the form of Facebook. “But I don’t care cause it keeps me in touch with the 311 community.”

When asked what one sentence he would say to 311 if given the opportunity, Shawn wrote this: “There’s really not much to say in one sentence to these men who have changed my life, spirit and energy indefinitely. I guess a simple Thank you for all your hard work, and your impact on me and so many that I care about.”

Now to all of you amazing individuals that come together to form the awesome 311 nation:

“Thank you to this entire community. Thank you for being awesome, understanding, unique, strong, personable, caring, and being the greatest friends on earth. You’ve impacted my life beyond belief, I have such love for so many of you, and I cant wait to meet even more.”

——

That concludes Shawn’s story and I hope, as always, that you’ve enjoyed reading about another fellow fan! Have an amazing week my friends, and don’t forget to keep on spreading that love and positivity everywhere you go.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Josh Kutscher – 5/18/15

May 18th, 2015

Josh is the one with his tongue sticking out :)

Josh is the one with his tongue sticking out :)

Welcome back my friends in 311 nation! Time to kick off the new week with the latest 311 fan spotlight! Let’s meet Josh Kutscher!

10 years old was the age Josh discovered 311, back in 1994. His sisters boyfriend was playing the Grassroots album and while he didn’t really understand most of the lyrics at the time, he was hooked on the sound. “I distinctly remember how the music grabbed me, how different it was than what I was used to listening to. The whole package just blew my mind.” Josh then begged his dad to take him to a show, and his father agreed because Josh said he had no idea who they were and probably thought it was an all ages show. “He got tickets to a show in Baltimore at a place called the Eight By Ten. If you’ve been there you know it’s called that because it’s literally an 8×10 room, it’s so small and intimate. When we got there however, it was 21 and over, so I was denied. I remember walking back towards our car and I was obviously upset. The manager of the venue saw my dad and I and asked what was wrong. We explained that I was too young and couldn’t get in. He looked at me, and looked at my dad and said “Come with me”. We walked back to the front and he went to the door guy and said “I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be drinking”. From there he took my dad and I to the side, up the stairs and let us watch from the side right next to the stage. The show was amazing, my dad was probably freaked out a little. I just remember thinking how tall all the guys were cause I was right by them. I’m 5’7 now as an adult. So I was teeny tiny back then.”

After his first live experience with 311, the Blue album came out the next year and he was completely hooked. He fell off the obsession for a bit until early college with a friend Russ, and that’s when the obsession fully took over. “I met so many amazing people through social media and being older and able to travel on my own allowed me to start doing all the big events.”  As far as how many shows he’s been to, Josh lost count a long time ago. He believes he’s definitely close to the 100 mark. When asked what his favorite show or event has been so far, he said it’s hard to choose. But he ended up saying the second cruise because of the weather and the fact that his favorite local band, Ballyhoo, was on it for the first time. “Those guys made that trip so special for me and I’ll never forget how kind they’ve been to me over the years. I have a special place for those guys. They made me want to get back into music, and hopefully my latest degree in business will help me get to that point but on the other side of things. I still love to play music and do whenever I can. I love writing songs, I wish I was more tech savvy so I could record more easily, it takes me a little longer for things that shouldn’t, but the end product is still the same.”

It was hard for Josh to narrow down his favorite song, he even told me at one point he was stuck on answering it because it really changes depending on the time or mood he’s in. He said there are about four or five that have helped him through things. “Down” he chose for sentimental value, because he says it’s what sealed the deal eventually. “I just remember being 11 or 12 years old and watching the video on MTV and thinking how cool they were after already getting sucked in listening to Grassroots. I got so excited when I saw them on TV because I didn’t remember hearing them on the radio or anything before that.” As far as which song impacts him emotionally he chose “Sometimes Jacks Rule the Realm.” “I remember Vegas 311Day 2012 they played it and I remember just getting lost in Tim’s solo and remember thinking at that moment how amazing my life is with 311 in it.”

Josh has lived in Reisterstown (a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland) his entire life. He was adopted at the age of 6 months old and has a non-biological sister who was also adopted. It was at an early age that his parents got he and his sister into music. He was able to play piano really well by the age of 5 or 6. Then he was taught guitar, saxophone, and bass guitar. “Because of piano, I was able to play pretty much any instrument with how I had to do music theory and stuff. When learning the guitar, I pictured a piano on my fret. Piano is whole and half notes, and scales etc. The guitar is the same thing. It’s just taking those scales and putting them to strings. Half notes are black keys and whole notes are white. I bet many people never thought of the guitar like a piano in that sense.” He credits his dad as his biggest influence in music. “He got to see all the good bands like The Beatles, The Doors, and The Who. He said when he saw The Beatles he didn’t hear one song. I asked why and he said it was too loud because of all the girls screaming and technology back then. If you weren’t semi close it was hard to hear.”

Something many may not know about Josh is that he has two degrees. “I probably don’t come across as a smart person lol, and not that I’m a genius, I worked for every A that I got. But I have an engineering degree and worked in that field for 2-3 years before realizing I hate it. Went back to school for Business because I really want to do something in music or just business in general.” Right now to fund his 311 habit, Josh works as a bartender. “It’s weird, I’ve had an engineering job before and make more bartending now. But I guess that’s life.” One thing Josh knows is that he really wants to succeed in business and he knows he will because it’s all about the opportunities that present themselves. “I think it’s funny when people ask me what I want to do. It’s more like what don’t I want to do, and they think because I don’t have one set thing specifically that I don’t know what to do, but really it’s that I don’t hinder myself to one path. Life is funny that way.”

If you’re friends with Josh on Facebook, then you know he has an adorable pup named Coda and he loves him!! When I asked him if he has something that makes him unique he even said, “If napping and cuddling with Coda was a unique talent, then I’d be very unique.” Coda means the world to him and obviously his name comes from 311. One of Josh’s guilty pleasures is this British band call Rixton. “They’re like a British Maroon 5. I hate to admit I love them but that one song ‘Me and My Broken Heart’ is so damn catchy.” He said he also sadly loves The Voice. “A lot of people will hate on me for that because it’s bad for music, but I wish I could sing. It’s the one talent I don’t have and if I did I would write so many more songs. I have a ton lying around I don’t record because I can’t sing. I just play the piano to how it should be sung with the lyrics.”

Favorite lyric from a 311 song he says has to be “Fuck the naysayers and he has a great explanation of why these words are his favorites: “Just because life is too short. I’ve been guilty in the past of miscommunication etc. so don’t think I’m on my high horse saying this, I’m older now, a little wiser, more laid back. People are surprised when they meet me for the first time in person. I’m very different than it may seem online. I really have nothing but love for everyone. I feel bad when there’s someone who thinks there may be an issue between us or holds a grudge because I would squash it in a heartbeat if there’s still bad feelings. I genuinely love everyone for their individuality and it’s what makes it so fun to be a 311 fan.”

Josh would like to send this message to the band (I only gave him one sentence to do it): “When are you bringing me on tour?”

Finally his message to all of the fans out there in 311 nation:

“I just want to say to everyone out there in 311 land- No matter if we’re friends or we haven’t met yet, or have been friends but aren’t anymore, that I have nothing but love for all of you and cherish all the moments we have together. I know communication is hard when it’s over miles and miles and we’re all so passionate. Things can come across differently than they are meant, or things can get taken wrong as well. But I know it’s not purposeful, and we are all here for the same reason, to enjoy the band we all love. Some of my most rewarding friendships have come recently from people who I have had a disagreement with in the past and have squashed whatever the issue was, or people who judged me based on what other people said despite never meeting me in person, and after meeting me in person having such love and admiration for each other. Each and every one of you and every experience good or bad has shaped me and changed me for the better. I owe so much to all of you and words could never express how much you all mean to me. If you see me please always say hi! I don’t always recognize or remember everyone but I don’t want to miss out on making a memory with any of you. PLUR!”

—–

That my amazing friends is Josh’s story! I hope you enjoyed it as always and I can’t thank everyone enough for reading, let alone all the people who participate in my project! Can I conquer writing all of your stories? I can promise you I will surely try. Have an amazing week 311 nation!! Keep on spreading the love and positivity everywhere you go.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Amanda Terrell – 5-11-15

May 11th, 2015

521707_4954136385664_1433404550_n

Hello and happy Monday again excitable friends!! Hope your weekend was full of fun, love and sun! Time for the latest 311 fan spotlight and we meet the wife of last weeks feature. Let’s read about Amanda Terrell!

Amanda’s first memory of 311 coming into her life happened the summer before her junior year of high school. She was sitting in the back of a bus with friends as they made their way on a trip through the United Kingdom. They all had a ton of CD’s with them and they often shared. A friend of hers saw she had the blue album and he had Transistor. They decided to swap and that’s when her real love for them began.  “Something about Transistor really resonated with me at the time, and we traded right then and there. I can’t really explain in words what drew me to their music but I’ll try. I always liked 311, I liked them more the older I got. I went through weird music phases my entire adolescence, country, Christian music, pop, do-wop, swing music, hip-hop, jam bands, you name it, I listened to it but the 90′s rock scene is the only genre that has ever really impacted me in a positive light, it has always remained close to my heart and 311 falls under that compass.”

Live show tally stands at 18 (she said she’s a low man on the totem pole). Her first show she went to was right after she gave birth to their daughter. “I was in so much pain, but we rocked it, right on the rail. Nick was behind me like a sturdy stainless steel encased brick wall. Nothing was getting past him.” Since then they’ve seen every possible show they can make it to in the 13 years they’ve been together. Her favorite so far has been 311 Day 2014 and she says this even though they just came back from an amazing vacation on the last cruise. “The reason why I say 311 Day 2014 is because it’s where it all started. By that I mean meeting and building friendships with the most positive and uplifting people I ever met. I consider these people more like family, those infamous 311 lyrics, “Now I got a clique but it’s more like a family” those words ring true. I’ll be honest and I’ve seen a few people say the same thing, I love 311, I love their music, their positive attitudes, their musicianship, but it’s the people that really make 311, well 311. I was more excited about hanging out with my friends on the cruise than seeing 311. Some people may say blasphemy, but when your friends live in different random states across the country, being able to see them and share their energy as we’re jumping up and down listening to 311, that feeling is indescribable. That’s why I say 311 Day 2014 because it was the start of a journey for us, I only regret that we couldn’t start it sooner.”

10314746_10205304924497075_3211752614323777355_n

When asked what song means the most to Amanda, her response was, “Ugh there are so many to choose from lol.” She managed to narrow it down to two songs. She chose “I’ll Be Here Awhile” because she’s know her husband since the 7th grade (it was actually supposed to be played at their wedding but the DJ sucked). Then the other song is “Large in the Margin” because the lyrics just really impacted her. “I got pretty emotional when I heard it on the cruise when I heard it during the Soundsystem set. Tears were streaming down my face.”

Amanda is from Houston, Texas and she said, “No I don’t have an accent and no I don’t own a horse haha.” She said the city is rapidly growing and while they have really great Mexican food, she would like a little more space than the city provides. She and Nick have been married for 13 years and have their two kids, daughter Kaylee, 11, and son Gunner, 9. She loves watching Kaylee gracefully dance and Gunner smile from ear to ear as he plays baseball. For work, Amanda is a neurodevelopmental specialist who teaches four and five year olds. “I actually really love my job. It doesn’t pay much as most teaching positions do but it’s in those teachable moments that you realize why it is you do what you do.” Amanda is also going to school though, for the field of Marine Biology, which she has been interested in since middle school. “It is my dream. I love the ocean and all of it’s inhabitants. There is a quote about the ocean that rings true for me: Blue is known as a sad color, but when I see the ocean, all my sorrow is washed away.”

It’s not only the inhabitants of the ocean that Amanda loves, she’s a lover of all animals and has cared for many since she was just a little girl. She even spent time in the animal care field and loved it. Her and the family now have four pets. The first is a fat orange tabby cat named Flip, age 12, who is a big cuddle bug and will eat tacos right out of Amanda’s hand. Then there is Boomer, their 11 year old Boxer, who has a super positive attitude in spite of his age. Next is their 5 year old Boxer/Pitbull mix Sampson, who is a big goofball that gives great hugs. The baby is their 1 year old grey tabby Eon, who Amanda says is so independent, and the total opposite of Flip. “She is definitely Nick’s cat, he has a huge soft spot for her.”

10408750_10203906375774231_1680108827468907124_n

Amanda’s second toe is longer than her big toe, which she said some people think is gross. “But it is actually a sign of royalty so BAM!”  Don’t mess with her, because even though she stands at only 4 feet 11 inches, she knows she can take on the world. “Gandalf the Grey said, ‘Even the smallest person can change the course of the future’ so you best look out! LOL! My stature makes me unique and it’s taken me 33 years to realize it.”

Amanda has a few guilty pleasures. The first is that she’s a total “Twi-hard.” “I love everything about Twilight and I’m so annoyed at myself for that, LOL.” She’s read all the books multiple times even though she doesn’t really think it’s written well by the author and if she has to answer, she is Team Jacob because she’s realized Edward is just a scary stalker vampire (I laughed out loud at this). Other guilty pleasures include TMZ and dirty tabloids (which drives Nick crazy), chocolate muffins (which she said she could eat all day), and she’s a total Potterhead. “I cannot wait until we’re able to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I will probably crap my pants the minute we walk through the gate, hahaha.”

Amanda also has a huge love for movies of all kinds, with horror being her least favorite. She loves going and sitting in a dark theater with her sour patch kids or dibs, and she’s super excited for some movies coming out this summer like Jurassic World. She’s also a huge fan of musicals and her favorite is Singing in the Rain. “I grew up in choir, and it’s actually where Nick and I met in the 7th grade. We were even partners in our show choir, the Safari Singers in high school!”

Amanda’s message to 311 is simple: “Thank you!!! I know it’s cliche, but for real what else could I say in just one sentence lol.”

To all the fans that make up 311 nation:

“Hook ‘Em Horns!!! Go Texans!! Clutch City!! Go Astros!! Oh yeah Stay Positive and Live Your Life!!”

10882224_10204808822734841_7216156667498977738_n

——

Now you’ve all met Amanda! I love reading and writing about awesome 311 couples, and they definitely are great! Thank you all for taking the time to learn more about another fellow excitable. Until we meet again, don’t forget to keep on giving out those positive vibes and spreading the positivity everywhere you go!

Much love! – The Runt

Powered by WordPress. Theme by Sash Lewis.