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

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

May 25th, 2015

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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.”

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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!”

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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

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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.”

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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.”

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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!!”

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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

311 Fan Spotlight – Nick Terrell – 5/4/2015

May 4th, 2015

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Hello, hello again excitable nation! Thanks for coming back again for the new 311 fan spotlight!! This week we feature Mr. Nick Terrell!

Nick’s 311 love started back in 5th grade when he was hanging out at a local skating rink. A song came on that he had never heard before and he was instantly intrigued by the sound. “I went to the DJ about 10 times after that asking who it was and if he would play it again. He told me to go away and that I was bugging him. However he told me the song was called “All Mixed Up’ but never who it was.” Flash forward to Christmas at his grandparents when he received a Best Buy gift card. He went to the store the very next day to use it. “While I was going through all the CD’s I stopped at an album that had 5 guys on it with their eyes blacked out and alien heads all around the case. It caught my eye so I picked it up and was looking at the song titles when I saw “All Mixed Up’ on the track listing.” He bought the CD right then and there, went back to his grandparents and locked himself in their computer room to listen to it. “I didn’t leave their office till I had listened to the entire album, twice. I never looked back after that.”

Live shows for Nick started in 2000 and since then he’s been to 22 of them. “I tried to go to a show a year but my time in the Navy prevented that more than once. But I made up for it a bit last year and this year.” Last year he would have said that his favorite show was 311 Day 2014 since it was his first, but the cruise this year has now taken the cake as his favorite. “I have never had so much fun with other 311 fans.”

“Can’t Fade Me” is what he would say is his most loved song usually, but since Stereolithic came out the song “Existential Hero” has moved up to the top spot. His favorite lyrics he loved so much he had them tattooed on him – “Keep my feet on the ground, keep my head in the clouds.”

Nick was born in Houston, Texas in 1981, and after spending a few years in Austin, they moved back to Houston. He played baseball for 14 years including in high school where they were nationally known and ranked in the top 15 high school baseball programs in the country, with one of the most winningest coaches in state and national statistics. Growing up he had great friends that he still has to this day, including his wife Amanda. “I met my wife growing up when she moved to my area in the 7th grade. No we were not high school sweethearts. In fact, she wouldn’t give me the time of day though I tried for years lol. We were still very close friends though besides that.”

After high school Nick say he was a “stupid kid” for a year and just worked an partied. Then he decided to join the Navy and left for bootcamp on September 6, 2001. “It was a very interesting time in bootcamp given what took place 5 days later.” He was a Hospital Corpsman (medic) for 8 years, during which he was the medivac coordinator, responsible for making the arrangements to get injured Marines and sailors back to the east coast for further treatment after injuries. He was also the liaison between the Naval hospital and the entire base of Camp Lejeune.

It was during this time that he had won Amanda’s heart and they started dating. They were married later when he returned from Guantanamo Bay (he said no he didn’t witness any beatings but did have Al Qaeda members tell him they would kill him and his family while he was treating their illnesses). It was 2003 when he and Amanda married, and they had their first child Kaylee later that year. Three years later they welcomed their son Gunner to the family. Family is and always has been very important to Nick. He comes from a hard working family and he was very close to both his mom and dad’s sides. Nick says they do what they can when they are able in regards to attending 311 shows. Kaylee is going to her first show this summer in Houston! “She even has a self made sign on her bedroom wall that says Slinky in training.”

Since Nick is from Texas, one of his many talents is two stepping. “I can two step like no other.” While he thinks he’s pretty ordinary, he can play instruments by ear but can’t read music. “I sang and did theatre and taught myself guitar, drums, and piano a bit.” Nick really loves all music, although he says the only artist that rivals his love for 311 is Sublime. “They share almost an equal place in my heart. I actually peed my pants a bit a few months ago when Bradley’s wife added me as a friend on Facebook. I know it’s FB and not real life, but I didn’t add her…she added me.” Aside from 311 and Sublime he loves many different genres including metal, old country, and classic rock since his dad raised him on it. Guilty pleasure for Nick comes in the form of ranch Wheat Thins. “I can destroy a box within minutes.”

To the band that means so much to Nick he’d like to say, “Thank you for being one of the biggest parts to the soundtrack of my life.”

To all the amazing fans out there in 311 nation:

I am so glad to have met so many of the awesome people that I have. I look forward to meeting so many more! I hope to see lots of you in Texas this summer. I will be at all 3 shows. So bring your asses and lets party!!”

 

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There you have the story of Nick Terrell my friends! I hope you had fun reading it and get to meet him in person someday soon! Head down to Texas and party with him! Until next week my friends, keep on spreading that unity and love to the rest of the world.

 

Much love! – The Runt

 

 

 

311 Fan Spotlight – Mike Taylor – 4/27/15

April 27th, 2015

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Hello again all of my excitable friends! Monday, Monday…can only mean one thing! It’s time for the new 311 fan spotlight – feast your eyes on this weeks fan Mr. Mike Taylor!

Eighth grade is where Mike’s journey with 311 began. His pop gave him five CD’s – Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Soul Coughing, Hed (pe), and 311. “Needless to say, those 5 albums started my musical path.” Mike said it’s hard to put into words what drew him to the sounds of 311. “It just made sense to my ears!”

While he isn’t sure of the exact number of shows he’s attended, he believes the last cruise allowed him to get to the 30th mark. He added them up on memory alone. While each show and event he has been to are all his favorite for different reasons, if he had to choose one it would be the second cruise. “2 words: Beach. Show.” Which leads us into the song that means the most to him, “Stealing Happy Hours.” I’m sure he thinks of the cruise when listening to this song! Favorite lyrics from a 311 song are, “Nothing in life is above being honest.

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A small town just outside Rochester, New York, is where Mike was born and raised. He moved out at the age of 18 and has moved twice since then, but he always stays in the Upstate N.Y. area. He funds his 311 habit with hard work and he says a mind that never rests. “I will take my shirt off my back for anyone. I try my best to do my best in everything I do. Music is my life. I love climbing trees, throwing frisbee’s and kicking the hack sack. I love to drive. I am always the DD for everything ever and I like it that way. I like words. Using words. Listening to words. Writing words. Playing with words. Reading words. Which is to say I love communication. I listen to, analyze, appreciate and follow every single word to every single song to all my favorite bands. The lyrics, rhyme scheme, message and meaning of the words in a song are one of my favorite things about almost all the music I listen to.”

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Music plays a big part in Mikes life and he said as far as his favorite bands, he could sit here and list them for hours. “I am into every and any type of music that is real, raw, soulful, funky, emotional, energetic, you name it. If it comes from the heart, soul, and mind, it is music I will connect to.”

Do you know what or who you were in your past life? Mike does! “I used to be a Cheetah. I think that is why I still had 9 lives when I started in my current human state. Although I have only a few lives left now (been in a couple intense traumatic experiences growing up).” Mike also said that most people don’t know that his skull is half metal!

A little cool tidbit of info about Mike – he was born on 6/11 at exactly 6:11 A.M. “I became human on 611 at 611. So 611 is a sacred number to my perceptions and I live my life by the numbers. I mean the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42 so why not!”

Guilty pleasure for Mike is chocolate. “It may very well be the death of me someday but I am ok with that.”

Mike would simply like to tell 311 “Thank you.” And to all of the amazing fans that make up 311 nation:

“Infinite Love is the only Truth. Everything else is Illusion.”

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That’s a wrap on this weeks edition of the 311 fan spotlight! I hope you enjoyed the story of Mike Taylor! Now go kick some Monday ass and remember to keep on spreading the message of positivity, unity, and love wherever your path takes you!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – Josh “Puffyhands” Hurley! 4-20-15

April 20th, 2015

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Welcome back to another edition of the 311 fan spotlight my friends! It’s time to kick this Monday off right, so without further ado I introduce you to the infamous Mr. Josh “Puffyhands” Hurley!

The college years were the time that Josh was introduced to the awesomeness of 311. A friend of his picked him up from English class, and had brought along a bag of mushrooms and the 311 Day 2004 DVD. “I had barely heard a couple of songs but couldn’t tell you anything about the band. Needless to say that DVD changed my life.” Josh and his friend Matty K became obsessed with 311 after that day. “Anytime we found a new song or b-side, we immersed ourselves in it. I remember we use to do a song of the week and we would debate ourselves trying to decide which song it was gonna be that week. We basically lived 311 (and still do).”

Josh says what drew him in was the combination of the music genres that the band embodied. “It was all of my favorite genres of music jam packed into one electric sound. I had never experienced anything as awesome as that before. Sometimes you can’t help but to just jump up and down (cuz that’s the 311 sound).”

It’s now ten years later and Josh loves the band just as much as he did from day one. He is still as excitable now as he was that first day. He doesn’t keep track of the number of shows he attends (the only numbers he wants to be defined by are 3 and 11) but he thinks it’s probably somewhere in the upper 60’s or low 70’s. Since 2005 he has attended five 311 Day’s, four cruises, Pow Wow and Halloween 2010. Which event or show is his favorite he said will more than likely change if you ask him each year. “I would change my answer to the most recent 311 Day or cruise. The Jamaica cruise really stands out right now because I was up front for Soundsystem and I was on the best acid I have ever done in my life. Magical, to say the least.”

There isn’t one song in particular that means the most to Josh, there are multiple ones. Here they are in no particular order: “Sever” (which he says no song has probably gotten him through more than this one), “Right Now,” Trouble” (which he says describes him in a nutshell), “Freak Out,” “Lose,” and “Boom Shanka” (to which he added AF). Some favorite quotes are, “I do, I don’t, whatever,” “Just think of all the good times, instead of wish we could times, so much better that way,” and “This too shall pass.”

Josh is from Nashville, Tennessee but wants to move west soon, hopefully by the end of 2015. “I’ve set a personal goal of moving out of here by the end of this year. I’m thinking either Portland or Denver (or wherever I can get legal weed).” He has a Bachelors degree and a Masters in accounting, so he funds his 311 addiction by being an accountant. He says it helps funds his 311/Puffyhand adventures.

Which leads us to the story of the origin of the Puffyhands. It was Halloween 2009. He and Matty K went to a STS9 show and part of Matty’s costume were Puffyhands. The ended up doing mushrooms and LSD that night, and the Puffyhands became the most fun aspect of the night. “Puffyhands just kinda made complete sense to us.” A week later they went on a 311 road trip and the Puffyhands were still in the car, so they took them into the shows with them and they were a huge hit. “Matty K and I have always rocked out hard together, but once we started rocking out to 311 with Puffyhands, everything just seemed different. There’s something magical about rocking out with Puffyhands (especially to 311) that I can’t explain. Sometimes P-Nut feeds off of their powers and you can just feel it.” Puffyhands has become huge (I’m the proud owner of one!) and Josh even has a wholesale distributor based out of China, so he usually wears a fresh pair to every show. “Gotta stay fresh!” He also dressed up as a giant puffy hand for the Halloween show in Atlanta in 2010.

Many of you may think Josh’s last name is Hurley…but it actually isn’t. “It was a nickname I got in college and it has just sorta stuck. Now everybody knows me by that. It also helps keeping my coworkers and bosses from finding me online hehe.” His guilty pleasure he said is “tobacco water pipes.” When not rocking out to 311 he can be found listening to Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, or STS9.

Josh has this puffy message to send out to 311: “Thank you – you’ve gotten me through so many ups and downs, that I am forever grateful. I wholeheartedly believe that music is the language of the universe and I’ve never felt more alive or at peace that when listening to 311.”

And now his puffy message to all of the amazing fans:

“311 fans are the most positive group of people I’ve ever met in my life. I’ve met some of the coolest people ever through 311 and I just wanna say thanks. Also a special puffy shout out to Matty K, Billy/Dave, Brett, Suzanne, Cathie, McGuire and Felicia, Jackie, Sharky, and Matt and Heidi. Thanks for rocking out with me.”

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That’s the story of Mr. Puffyhands himself, Josh Hurley! I hope you enjoyed reading about his journey of love for 311. I know I did! Make sure to say a big puffy hello if you ever meet him in person! Thanks as always for reading. Until next time my friends, keep on spreading the message of love, unity, and positivity!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Dan Okopnyi – 4/13/15

April 13th, 2015

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Hello all of my friends out there in 311 nation!! Welcome to a new week and a new fan spotlight! I apologize for the lack of a spotlight last week, so how about I make up for it? It’s time to meet the latest fan spotlight on the one and only Dan Okopyni!

The well known 311 songs are how Dan was first introduced to the band (songs such as “Down,” “Beautiful Disaster,” “Amber” etc…) and he always enjoyed them. However it wasn’t until later on when he saw his first concert by the guys that he really and truly became hooked. “I think the actual moment I became a fan was when I was invited to see my first show and saw the raw energy on stage that the band exuded, much different from how I knew Nick as a friend. I was astonished. Shortly after watching them rock the stage, I watched the crowd (I am a people watcher by nature) and was in awe of the positive energy of everyone rocking out. It was not like other concerts I had been to before, it was quite a spiritual experience; a lot of love and good vibes were being put out by people and I had never felt anything like it.”  That show sealed the deal and hooked Dan. He knew he wanted to see more shows and while he says he feels like he has more to learn and witness, he also feels like he has a tiny part in the world of the Familia.

Positivity is what drew Dan to the music and the band. He knows they are unique and that no matter what mood he is in or what he is going through, he can always listen to them. “I ride the emotional waves as all humans do, 311 is like the surfboard that propels me across the emotional currents the comprise my life.” Dan feeds of energy (he says in a good way, “not to be confused with a creepy teenage vampire or something”) and the energy of 311 is what continues to keep him drawn to them. “When the lights go dark and the black lights come on, and I watch as the boys are about to hit the stage; I can feel the crowd and it feels good.”

It was in 2010 that Dan saw his first show, although he hasn’t kept count of how many he’s attended. He goes to most of the Southern California shows and has been to all of the cruises and the 311 Day events since 2010. While he doesn’t have a favorite show per se, he can classify how he feels at some of the places he’s seen them. He loves Chula Vista because it feels laid back and relaxed. Irvine is usually a “family” show since it’s where most locals come to see the band and it always has good energy. Santa Barbara he loves because the venue is beautiful. 311 Day 2014 in New Orleans was an event he’ll always remember. “New Orleans 311 day was awesome and truly magical; the food and the good times were definitely embraced by me and the show was amazing, with that band that came on to play some of their songs with them. I love it.” Then there are the cruises where Dan says he feels he can truly be himself. “I feel like I am able to meet most of the fans at those events, because let’s face it, you’re trapped on a damn boat with me so…yeah, you are probably going to see me and I am going to see you. I feel like the cruise is where I can truly be me; wandering the halls of positivity without a care in the world. I meet the coolest people on the ship and all of them have a special place in my heart for the experiences I have gotten to share with them. I am so thankful for those moments and memories.”

When I asked Dan what song means the most to him, he chose the NHQ song “A Song for Driving.”  “It holds a lot of personal sentiment due to the nature of how the song came to be, and the lyrics encompassed how my life used to be when I was on the road a lot for work. I remember talking to Nick about my job and how I was always on the road, when we took a road trip to Vegas. He then later told me our conversation inspired him to write that song; I was really blown away by this and it made me feel really good inside to be a part of someone’s artistic expression that I only wish I could begin to have the talent to do.” One of his favorite lyrics of 311 comes from “Creatures (For A While)’ – “Sometimes I go a little crazy.”

Born to an immigrant family in San Jose, California, Dan was raised there and says he “fully adopted the grunge generation with bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana.”  He has also lived in Arlington, Texas, Bakersfield, California, and now currently resides in Los Angeles. He lives with his younger sister, girlfriend Kristina, and his adorable, loving dog Toby. How he makes his living is by what he calls being a huge computer geek (he’s a Server Administrator for a medical foundation). He loves traveling to new areas for shows and is planning on hitting Salt Lake City this year. If you catch him at a show, make sure you say hi. He says he likes to think he is easily approachable. “I like running around the venues a lot, seeing people and just generally never can sit still. I have to be honest in the fact that I am not much of a dancer really, so at the shows you can catch me head banging and jumping to the heavy songs, but that’s about the extent of it.”

Dan spends much of his free time giving back to the community around him and helping others because he has been through difficult times in the past. “I feel that helping others is the best way to have my own spiritual peace.” When he has time to just relax he keeps it pretty basic, enjoying movies & T.V. series, or surfing social media. He likes to make people laugh and does so often with witty Facebook comments. He’s been getting into hockey lately and really enjoys football. “I generally play fantasy football every season; even have a 311 fans league, though the waiting list to get in is usually pretty long.”  Some guilty pleasures of his are Star Wars, binge watching T.V. series such as Gotham, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men, and he loves to cook for people.

Can any of you speak fluent Ukrainian? Dan can! It’s one of his many talents. He also has a very creative mind when it comes to writing stories. “I have an overactive imagination that if I get time to put down on paper, ends up being some amazing stories.”  When not listening to 311, Dan enjoys mostly heavy bands such as Metallica, Korn, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, The Used and Mudvayne. He also listens to classical when he is at work. “It helps me think.” Rap is another genre he likes, with some favorite artists being Young Jeezy, UGK and Tupac.

Dan would like to say to 311 this message – “Thanks guys. Thanks for being so damn cool to me and the conversations we’ve had. I really appreciate everything you do.”

To all the awesome peeps out in 311 nation:

“You are all beautiful, amazing, heartfelt people with whom I am glad to have met or hope to meet soon. You each carry within yourselves a personal story, a life lived and your own unique characteristics. Please keep being you, the world needs more positive people like yourselves. Thank you for showing me some amazingly good times with equally powerful conversations and above all else, I am glad to be able to call some of you my friends.”

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That is the tale of Mr. Dan Okopyni! I hope you all enjoyed his story and had fun kicking off your week with the new spotlight. Thanks as always for reading and for being the awesome people you are. Until next time…keep spreading the love & positivity out into the world!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Jp Prater! 3-30-15

March 30th, 2015

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Welcome to this groove my excitable friends! New week means the new 311 fan spotlight! So lets get this party started – meet Jp Prater!

Jp was a young boy when he first heard 311, he was only about 6 or 7 when the blue album was starting to become popular. His dad was loaned a copy from one of his old Air Force buddies. “The way the music sounded was unlike anything I had heard at that point, especially Chad’s drums and SA’s voice. It just stuck with me for years and when I was about 12 or 13 I bought a copy of the blue album for myself and the obsession started.”

Jp has attended three summer Unity Tour shows in Cincinnati and then one fall show at the Louisville Palace in December of 2011.  The fall show was his favorite by far. “30 songs and not to mention they played BOMB THE TOWN! Plus I met a lot of the Familia , most memorable having beers with Adam Salomon.”

All time favorite song of Jp’s is “Don’t Dwell.”  “Song is just sick as hell and it was always my favorite from Evolver. That song alone is the reason I decided I wanted to play bass.” Narrowing down his favorite lyrics is more difficult. “Oh how about all of them. The entire Evolver album is basically about growth so I like it. I also like the chorus to Boom Shanka.”

Jp grew up in Lexington and Richmond, Kentucky, although he was born in Alamogordo, New Mexico. He’s also lived in Gypsum, Colorado, Guyton/Savannah, Georgia, and Bluffton, South Carolina. He’s played drums since 1995 and guitar since 2004. 2005 was the year he started playing bass and has been doing so ever since. He’s just starting up a new project of piecing together material from lo-fi cell phone recordings of himself jamming.

Jp credits his father for his musical diversity in both his listening taste and playing style. “He owned around 300 CD’s, and every time that I would ride with him it was a different genre every day. One day 311, next day Prince, and then Metallica and so on.” Jp also has a two year old daughter Jaine and he’s passing on his love for 311 to her. “She can sing along to most of Stereolithic and even My Shadow Pages (Nick Hexum Quintet).”

The diverse music choices mean that Jp loves many different artists. Some of them are The Beastie Boys, Weezer, Beck, Prince, Dead Kennedys, Offspring, Green Day, Hopsin, Del tha Funkee, Homosapien, Greydon Square, The Clash, Isotopes, Screeching Weasel, Descendents, Eminem and Sublime.

Jp was once in a heavy metal band and he says he totally didn’t fit in. “It was like putting Pnut in Metallica. Just not going to work.” He also plays multiple instruments but says he is best at the drums and bass. “I’ll more than likely be the only contributing musician on my EP when I finish it.”

Remember the song “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls? That song is Jp’s guilty pleasure. “I don’t give too much of a **** what anyone thinks about this, but when I hear ‘Wannabe’ by the Spice Girls, I just get really happy. I don’t know if it’s because of nostalgia or what, but I would totally bust that song at karaoke.”

To the band Jp would like to say, “Thanks for all the years of good music. Not many bands can stick around for so long, especially keeping the same five guys around for us to grow with.”

To all the fans his message is a simple one:

“Stay positive and love sex, 311 and food.”

There you have the story of Jp! Hope you all enjoyed it! Oh and by the way, Jp is the guy who has all sort of rarities from 311 on YouTube – check out his page! :) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuLVrPIlqf6ORZrB0zz_1-g

Thanks as usual for reading and remember to keep spreading the message of love, positivity and unity.

Much love! – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Stan Price – 3/23/15

March 23rd, 2015

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Another happy Monday to you all my excitable friends! The time has come once again for the new 311 fan spotlight. It’s time to meet Mr. Stan Price!

The fall season of 1999 is where Stan’s story begins. He and some friends were out to lunch during his senior year of high school. One of his friends popped in Soundsystem. “And the rest is history, I was in love!”

Stan has been to 21 shows since 2002. His favorite one he said was when The Waiters opened for them during the 2006 Unity Tour, although he thinks all of the openers 311 has had are decent.

The song that stands out as his choice for which one means the most to him is “Flowing.”  “That song was what sold me, I had my friends repeat it at least five times for me lol.” His favorite lyrics though come from the song “Purpose” – “They say love is a stream that will find it’s own course.”

Stan grew up in Orem, Utah, but now lives in Santaquin, Utah. He once went on a two year Mormon mission during which he didn’t hear any 311 songs! During his Mormon mission he lived in Seattle. He has an amazing photographic memory, which he says, “Can be a blessing and a curse at the same time lol.”  He also said he’s been told he’s a really good cook and he loves making restaurant inspired dishes. “I love the art of cooking and food.”  His guilty pleasure are the T.V. shows “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “Friends.” He owns all of the seasons for each show on DVD.

Some other musicians Stan loves are Incubus, Bob Marley, Slightly Stoopid, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones, Linkin Park, Korn, Stick Figure, Tribal Seeds, Rebelution, Pearl Jam, The Foo Fighters, The Beach Boys, and Jack Johnson. He also really likes old school hip hop.

If face to face with the guys, his words would be these:

“THANK YOU so much for letting your music be a big part of my life!”

To all the other awesome 311 fans in our community:

“Stay positive and love your life! :) Take care of yourself and someone else.”

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There you have the story of Stan Price! Hope you enjoyed the latest edition of the fan spotlight. Thanks as always for reading! Keep spreading the love and good karma my friends.

Much love! – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Em Mathewson – 3-16-15

March 16th, 2015

collage Hey hey 311 nation!! Happy Monday and happy new fan spotlight day! Let’s get to know one of our slinky sisters. It’s time to meet Emily Mathewson!

The year was 2000. Emily’s age was 16. Emily and her friend Brittany were walking into a tanning salon when her friend handed the blue album to her and told her to listen to this amazing band 311 while she was in the tanning bed. “When I came out, I have to sadly admit that I told her all the songs kind of sounded the same (I know, I can’t believe I said that).” Brittany reacted by saying, “NO!!!!!” and telling Emily to give them another chance. She gave her a few more CD’s and they also listened to some of the music together. Brittany and another friend Dustin asked her to listen to the creativity, harmony, and amazing lyrics of the songs. She started to become fascinated with the band then and she credits Brittany and Dustin for, “Showing me how to break down the music and listen, feel and experience it. They are why I listen to 311 today.”

Emily went to a concert with a guy when she was 15 of some bands she didn’t know. While she had fun she admits she didn’t really listen to the bands much, she mostly just messed around with her friends and didn’t pay attention to the music. “Can you believe that the show was 311 opening for Incubus?? I shake my head at that now, those being my favorite bands to date and not even paying attention then lol.” So that was Emily’s first 311 show technically, and she’s seen them about 15 times total. She tries to see them at least once a year. Her favorite show hands down has been Pow Wow. “I have never been to a 311 Day, cruise, Vegas, or anything so I can’t say it was the best for everyone, but for me it was epic. A lot of people complained about the heat, bugs, or whatnot but it was the most magical time I ever had.  I met some amazing life long friends in our “tribe”, the atmosphere was filled with positivity and love, and it just really felt like our own world there.  I loved camping, the heat, the sweat, the spirit of Suwannee, the sweet tea river, just all of it!  And you can’t top that 311 played Transistor in it’s entirety!”

California is where Emily was born, but much to her chagrin she wasn’t raised there. Her parents moved her and her older brother back to Michigan when they were still babies. She moved around the metro Detroit area a lot until the age of 21. She credits the strong music scene in Detroit for shaping her to have a very open minded and well rounded liking of music. “My heart will always be there, and my experiences and the friends there made me who I am today.”  At 21 Emily and her mother packed up and moved to Florida. “We were over the cold weather! I just remember a couple of weeks after moving down, we moved to Daytona Beach, I found out that 311 was going to be in Tampa. I didn’t have any friends yet so I just bought a ticket, drove 3 hours across to Tampa, had a blast by myself at the show, met some cool people there too, and drove back home! It was awesome.”

Now settled down with her husband and two sons, Dylan, 6, and Tyler, 4, she’s a stay at home mom with a small craft business. When she first met her husband she told him how much she loved 311 and he said he used to skateboard to them. Now he is a huge fan just like she is! So are the boys and Dylan has already been to see the band. “We took Dylan to his first show when he was 5. He loves 311 and is crazy about Pnut! His face was priceless when he saw him walk on stage. He had so much fun and the fans were SO cool to him. We sat on the lawn and rocked out like crazy. He has been to 2 shows now and counting.” They also can’t wait to finally take Tyler to his first show. Both boys have already started playing drums and strumming on guitars. They want to be in a band together! While Emily says they may not have been to a 311 Day or been on a cruise, they are very blessed to be able to see 311 once a year and share their love with their children. “We love that we get to bring our son, and eventually both of them, so they can experience the vibe that 311 and their fans give off.”

Interesting fact about Emily – at the age of 16 she went and followed Phish on tour! She went with her brother and boyfriend at the time. She pawned anything she could and they bought bus tickets to New York City from Detroit to start following them. Unfortunately she didn’t tell her parents, so she essentially ran away from home and feels bad that she did that to them. But she said it was a life changing experience that she wouldn’t trade. “We sold p,b, & j’s, slept where we could, and partied like crazy for a good couple of weeks in the Phish lot. It was one of the most interesting, insane, exciting, scary, incredible, liberating times of my life. To this day I feel awful for doing that to my parents and am not looking forward to the karma coming back because I now have kids…but I don’t regret it.  It really changed me somehow and will always remember it.”

Music inspires Emily so she decided to create a business out of it. She makes and sells guitar string jewelry such as bracelets and earrings. She also does stuff with picks and even vinyl records! While she makes other non-music related items, she specializes in the music stuff. Her husband is a musician, so music is a major part of her life and she likes to express that.

While she tries to be a good girl by eating right and exercising, she does have a guilty pleasure that she just can’t quit and that is dark beer! “I am a sucker for them.  I love stouts, porters, dark ales all of it.  My fav right now is called Shake. It’s a chocolate porter and SO good!  But they also give me pretty bad hangovers lol and I feel like I need a hard day at the gym after too, but I still go for them.  When will I learn!?”

Even though so many songs mean a lot to Emily, her all time favorite 311 song she said has to be “Down.” She even designed a tattoo to represent lyrics from the song. She said the lyrics – “Keep my feet on the ground, keep my head in the clouds, electrified by the sound, comes from the down” really sum up who she is. “I strive to be grounded but still let myself dream and not take things too seriously.  I am electrified by the sound of 311 for sure haha and just the message of Down means a lot to me.  They thank us in that song, and they always play it for the “old school fans”.  I may not be considered very old school since I didn’t start listening till about 99/2000.  But our school was very small and a group of us were pretty hard core 311 fans.  Well, after a few years of rockin’ the music everywhere, everyone in the school knew who 311 was and either loved them or wanted to love them.”

Emily would like to relay a simple message to the guys: “Thank you for being you.” She elaborated on why she wants to say that short simple sentence. “I could have said thanks for making a difference in my life etc, but honestly if they were not exactly who they are now, we would not have the band 311.  THEY are who makes everyone’s lives change for the better, and THEY are what makes the music and lyrics so absolutely incredible, mind blowing, beautiful, out of this world.”

To all the amazing fans that make up 311 nation: “We are who keep this family thriving and rockin together we are one organism that loves and breathes in this music.  Don’t stop sharing the love for 311 with others.  It could be a life changing experience, it was for me. Fuck the Naysayers, be who you are, and if you are ever in a rough patch, really listen to some 311 lyrics because they will always take you home.  Stay positive and love your life! <3”

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That is Emily’s story my friends! Thanks for taking the time to read about another awesome member of this truly amazing family. Until we meet again, keep spreading the love and good karma! Much love – The Runt

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