Runt Rant

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

Please give a warm welcome to our new spotlight, Ms. Angela Gonzalez!

September 22nd, 2014

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Well hey there excitable friends! It’s just another manic Monday and that can only mean one thing…the new fan spotlight has arrived! Say hello to our slinky sister Ms. Angela Gonzalez!

Take a trip with me back to the mid nineties. Angela was a mere 15 years old and was starting to discover different types of music. The youngest in the family, her musical choices were often influenced by her siblings.  It was her older sister who first heard 311 on KROQ and bought their albums on tape, so naturally Angela and her sister Rae “borrowed” them and made their own copies. “Hearing them for the first time was like a breath of fresh air.  It was different from what I used to listen to and I loved the fact that they had so many styles and sounds all rolled into one.  From that point on I loved them.”

A year later at age 16, Angela saw 311 live for the first time and fell even more in love. Not only was it her first 311 show, it was her first concert…period. “Their live show got me even more hooked and I’d see them and my other favorite bands as much as I could.”  Angela’s show tally is now at a whopping 84 and she’s kept all of her ticket stubs safely stored away in a book. All of those shows have meant something special to her but one of her favorites was in 1999 at the Ventura Theatre. “It was the first time I saw the guys in a small venue and spent it with my sister and great friends. I loved the setlist, and I was also lucky enough to meet Nick and Chad for the first time.”

We all know what it’s like to hear a favorite song live for the first time. Angela vividly remembers hearing one of hers. The song is “1,2,3” and it holds a special place in her heart. “I remember hearing it, then seeing it live for the first time, and just thinking WOW! Hearing it always puts me in a good mood and reminds me to surround myself with things and people that make me truly happy, not drag me down.”  One of her all time favorite quotes, that she hopes to one day soon have tattooed on her, is “Take on the love and the good karma.”

Angela is a born and raised southern California girl, although she now resides in New York. She lived in Cali most of her life, except for a few years when she attended George Mason in Virginia, where she obtained her B.A. in Psychology. She just transferred from the west coast to the east this year to be with her boyfriend Joe, who she met through their mutual love of 311! Their goal is to eventually move back to southern California. For now she resides in the east and works at W.B. Mason, which she says is, “A nice change of pace and scenery from healthcare.” Even though she’s only been at her new job since June, she’s already known for going to a lot of concerts!

I mentioned earlier that Angela has some siblings and one of them is her sister Rae. What you may not know is that Rae is Angela’s twin! Her full name is Rachel and they’ve been best friends “since the womb.”  Angela says, “She’s the person that ‘gets me’ and has always been there for me and with me through everything. Even though we are across the country from each other, we still have our twin moments, which makes us feel even closer.”

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Do you love movies? Probably not as much as Angela! “I’m a movie quote fanatic. I talk to my twin in movie quotes a lot of the time and we will quiz each other on them.”  She really loves the horror of psychological thriller genres, which she says she inherited from her mother. When not watching movies, or listening to 311, Angela can be found listening to some classic rock like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Chicago, The Doors and Queen. She also likes a good mix of other bands such as Passafire, Angel’s and Airwaves, U2, Coldplay, Bush, Sublime, The Lumineers, and Coheed and Cambria.

311 has brought so much to Angela, including love, and for that she’d like to tell them:

“I would just want to say thank you so much for choosing a life of creating and playing music that so many people love, and for bringing so many memories and wonderful people into my life.”

As for all of the wonderful positive vibe merchants who are reading her story:

“I am super lucky to share the love of 311 with you all, and to have met so many of you throughout the years. The music brings us together but the memories always bring us back for more.”

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That’s a wrap on the story of Ms. Angela Gonzalez! Thank you for reading and I hope you all loved hearing the tale of her relationship with 311! As we part, remember this…we are a group of positive people, given the honor of spreading the love and message of unity that our favorite group has gifted to us. So make sure you extend that each & every day of your life! Keep on rockin’ until next time!

Much love! – The Runt

We have a bearded brodel in the house! Meet Anthony Colenzo!

September 15th, 2014

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Hello, hello! Glad you came back for more my brodel & slinky friends! A new week starts and the spotlight takes aim at a new excitable! It’s time to learn all about bearded brodel Anthony Colenzo!

Turning 13 is a big time in a persons life. You officially become a teenager and progress into young adulthood. It was at this age that Anthony became a 311 fanatic. “Use of Time was playing and it was the first time a guitar solo really took me for a ride. I felt what 311’s music was giving off.”  His love for the band was really sealed when at 15 he was moved from Florida back to a town he had no recollection of in upstate New York. “It was tough on me and 311 became my outlet.” Anthony said that no matter where he went, 311 was in his CD player. “What drew me to the sweet elixir of 311 was they just had everything I wanted in music to be honest. The hard chugs, funky bass lines, catchy sing alongs and some feel good reggae, on one album. It was nice not having to change the CD in my CD player. Ever.”

As far as number of shows for Anthony, he said he believes he hit the “double nickel” this summer at the Pier 97 show in NYC (that’s 55 for any older folk out there like me, who aren’t hip with the lingo haha).  Of those shows, I forced him to choose just one that was his favorite. “Hard and weighted question but 311 Day 08 has to be my favorite. A setlist binge, I was seriously mainlining 311 for the first time after going to so many shows before that. After that I said I was never missing another 311 Day. Ever.”

Favorite song? Anthony said they all are, each and every one.  They all have some sort of special meaning to him in one way or another. “It’s a real glitch trying to figure out what song means the most to me. I’ll listen to the whole discography and disappear for a while.”  Anthony even has difficulty naming favorite lyrics because there are so many that he loves. “SA is the dopest dude ever and Nick just makes magic happen. When they harmonize is when it’s on. For a while I wanted ‘Trust your instincts and let go of regret’ tattooed on me but that hasn’t happened…yet! ‘I believe we came from the same cloud, two drops in the ocean’ because my lovely queen has that tattooed on her. The list goes on!”

Anthony was born in Utica, N.Y. but raised until the age of 15 in South Florida. He was 10 years old when he really got into the skater/punk lifestyle and it was during this time that he was fully introduced to 311 when they released the Blue album. Anthony still resides in Utica and he likes to rep his roots. “What makes me, me, is my city here in Upstate NY. We’re all a bunch of rockstars not on tour, except some of us who rock out all summer long and turn up the heat in the winter! 311 reps their hometown, so I do the same.  I have a whole leg tattoo sleeve of Utica and my father who is a hometown great in Utica. We have our own beer and we drink it proudly, Utica Club is our own Golden Trophy.”  Anthony is an Agronomer by day (a groundskeeper) and a supervisor for a private security company by night. He also says he picks up odd jobs when he doesn’t have security gigs. “Security is my 311 fund I guess we’ll say, because one job is for the bills and one’s for play and other bills.”

If you know Anthony, or have looked at his picture above, you can see that he has one hell of a beard and he says it’s one thing that makes him pretty unique. “I can grow a great beard! I hear it’s a guideline for prospering beards.” He’s also really good at Scrabble and was in a Pepsi commercial with Mike Piazza back in 1998!

Guilty pleasures of his include Paramore and The Cranberries. “Something about those ladies rocking a stage.” For T.V. it’s any cartoons, but particularly Looney Toons. He also loves all of the Toy Story movies. One thing he listed as a guilty pleasure, which honestly is more cool than anything, is that he recently picked up engraving as a hobby. “So I can make some neat fan made trinkets for some of my friends made through this 311 Nation.”

311 is his number one band to listen to, but who are number two & three? “Before 311 it was Lagwagon. Still on my bucket list to see them.”  He also is really in to Meshuggah, “I just can’t get enough, they are soooo good. I saw them at the HOB in Boston before the cruise in 2013.” Recently he started getting into instrumentals like this band El Ten Eleven. “They’re just awesome.”

It’s obvious that 311 impacted Anthony in a positive way like so many of us, so to the band he would like to express his gratitude by saying, “I’m happy I’m awake during this time period and I didn’t miss this incredible journey, thank you.”

As for all of you, excitable nation:

“To think you’ve only had your best day so far can be endless in positive thought. The world needs more people like us and we should keep this scene alive. Always remember, you’re awesome.”

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Fantastic ending words Anthony! So I’ll simply give my thanks for reading again my friends. Keep on livin’ & rockin’ the positivity!

Much love – The Runt

 

 

A new 311 fan spotlight arrives! Meet Evan Stern!

September 8th, 2014

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Greetings and salutations my excitable friends! Welcome back for another edition of the 311 fan spotlight. This week we feature Mr. Evan Stern!

Does anyone remember the MTV show 120 Minutes? Well Evan Stern does because it is that show that brought 311 into his life. “Homebrew was the video and it blew my mind. I had never heard anything like that before and I was intrigued.” Shortly thereafter the Blue album was released and Evan was hooked.

Losing count of the tally of shows that you’ve attended is easy to do when you’ve been seeing them live since 1996. “I saw my first 311 show in May of 1996 at the Roseland in NYC (scalped a ticket for $20, I know right?).”  Evan then saw pretty much every show in the New York area for the next decade and a half. “I think the only one I skipped was the Sprite Liquid Logic Tour with Jay-Z and Hoobastank. I am not a big fan of Jay-Z.”  Evan’s favorite event he’s attended is the popular choice of 311 Day 2014 in New Orleans. “It was probably the best single performance I have ever seen…the energy, the setlist, the overall performance.” He also loved the second cruise was amazing, especially because you have to factor in the beach show. “That was an amazing experience.”

Evan has a special connection with the song “Homebrew” since it is the song that introduced him to the band. “It holds a special place in my heart.”  One of his favorite quotes however comes from the song “Get Down” – “In the now is why we’re here.”

Growing up in Queens, New York, a mere 15 minutes from Shea Stadium, you can probably guess that Evan is a big Mets fan. He attended school in Manhattan, which he says is, “As awesome as you’d expect it to be.”  After high school he “floundered about” until he “finally got some sort of degree that said I was good at art or something.”  He now works doing research and development for new product and business ideas. “Basically somebody has an idea, we help them figure out what to do with it. I research products, draft patents, build presentations, and write copy – a regular jack-of-all-trades. On the side, I dabble in graphics.”

Evan’s dabbling and creativity have made him many peoples go-to person for graphics, which he says is humbling. “There are a lot of other great artists out there, but to repeatedly get people asking for YOUR assistance is pretty fantastic. It’s nice to have that kind of appreciation amongst your peers. I just wish I had the time and focus to say YES to every request.”

Something cool that Evan owns? A custom 311 LEGO set with a stage and all.  Something cool he got to do? He was once on a game show called AOL Gold Rush. He said it was an internet show so not many people know about it, but he got to fly to Vegas and L.A. on someone else’s dime. “I was on Entertainment Tonight, The CBS Early Show, and in a few other lesser media outlets, including TV Guide. Won $100,000 and got to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Also met some rad people who are still friends today.”

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When asked what guilty pleasure he has, he answered, “Well, I really dig Barry Manilow. He writes the songs that make the whole world sing.” Aside from the smooth crooning of Barry, Evan says his number one band is the Beastie Boys. 311 comes in second and then The Bouncing Souls land at number three. “I also really love me some good hip hop (not that crap on the radio), punk, hardcore, ska, reggae, jazz, funk, soul, and pretty much anything except electronic and most country.”

Evan would like to tell the guys of 311, “Keep doing what you’re doing. We only get one trip through this crazy thing called life, so make the most of it. Do what you love. Unless it’s illegal…then just do it with discretion.”

His message to all of you awesome excitable fans is a simple one:

“Don’t stop believin’. Steve Perry said that. It’s good advice.”

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And so ends another 311 fan spotlight my friends. As always, thanks for reading. You keep reading, I’ll keep writing! Until we meet again…

Much love – The Runt

Lillian Valdes! You’re the next contestant on the 311 fan spotlight!

September 1st, 2014

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Hello my 311 companions! Happy Labor Day to you all! I hope you are having an excellent long weekend and are loving life as summertime winds down. It’s time to aim the spotlight on another amazing 311 fan! This week we introduce Ms. Lillian Valdes!

Lily’s story begins in Miami back in 1995, when the University of Miami radio station played “Omaha Stylee.” Lily says, “It was love at first listen. I called the station to find  out who that was that I had just listened to.”  It wasn’t until a few months later when the video for “All Mixed Up” came on MTV that Lillian’s love for the band was set in stone. It was this that made her a 311 fan for life.

While she has no clue as to how many shows she’s seen, she does know that she has attended every South Florida show since 1996, as well as been on the cruises and 311 Day. She mentioned that if she is going to travel for any regular tour show, it would definitely be to Red Rocks. Her favorite show/event? Well she says she’s enjoyed every single show she’s been to but there are a few that stand out of the crowd. “My very first show in 1996 with Goldfinger opening up (my sister took me), Guavaween in Ybor City, FL in 1999 (I hopped on a Greyhound bus with one of my friends and we had a blast), House of Blues in Orlando, FL in 2000 (I went by myself but got to meet Nick, SA, and Chad that day), and the first 311 Caribbean Cruise (the energy was electrifying!).”

Lillian’s favorite song or one that means the most to her changes depending on the time in her life. “Different songs mean different things to me. It all depends on how relatable it is. Right now I am feeling “I’ll Be Here Awhile.”  It’s an anthem of survival and being able to depend on loved ones when you need it most.”  One of her favorite quotes from a 311 song though is “I’ve seen the other side and I say I’ve been insane and I won’t ever be the same.”

Lily is a first generation American in an all Cuban family. She was born, raised, and currently still resides in Miami, Florida. Even though she grew up in a Spanish speaking household, even her Abuela (Grandmother) knew who Tres Once was! Lillian currently works as a finance assistant at a major car dealership but hopes to finish up her degree in special education. She went to school for radio and T.V. broadcasting when she first graduated from high school and worked at the rock station WZTA for awhile. However they eventually changed the format and there are now NO rock stations in Miami! While she loved radio she said she needed more job security in life and that’s why she left it. She loves her city and loves her culture and says, “So, here I am livin’ and rockin’ in sunny South Florida with my boyfriend Steven Weis.”

Having lived only twenty minutes from the ocean her entire life, you would think Lillian would love to swim right? Wrong! She doesn’t know how. She vows that she doesn’t have any talents…”I’m not a good singer, I can’t play an instrument…I do enjoy dancing though and I’m pretty good at it.”  She also says that she’s great at being comedic relief in awkward or tense situations.

Lily is an avid pop culture and trivia junkie, so she has a vast amount of pop music knowledge. She also said, “ I enjoyed the shit our of NKOTB and The Backstreet Boys.” She can spend hours watching detective shows like The First 48 and Snapped “I love a good murder mystery. Is that morbid? Lol.” She also has a passion for makeup, although she buys a lot more than she actually wears.

An eclectic taste in music means that the other artists she loves are all from various music genres. “If it makes me feel something; sadness, happiness, the desire to act like a fool, the I like it.”  Some of the people she’d pay money to see live are Nonpoint, Fiona Apple, Portishead, NIN, No Doubt, Tool, Lady GaGa, Jimmy Buffet and Queen. “This world wasn’t ready for Freddie Mercury. He was so far ahead of his time.”

Face to face with the guys from 311, Lily would simply say, “Thanks for making music that has been a driving force in my life through the very sad and incredibly happy times. And also for introducing me to so many of my friends.”

To all of you, my excitable friends:

“I cannot wait to have most of you here in Miami in February! Shout out to the Florida Familia (especially my roomies)! I’m so happy we’re connected.”

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That is the story of Lillian Valdes! I hope you all adored her story.  If you are headed to her home town in February, find her and say hello! I know I will be! Thanks for reading and enjoy the day!

Much love! -The Runt

 

What’s the time? It’s new 311 fan spotlight time – Meet Dave Coultas!

August 25th, 2014

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Welcome back excitable nation! Another Monday is upon us and that means it’s time to recognize another member of the positivity posse. This week we feature Mr. Dave Coultas!

Dave’s love for 311 goes back to the year 1994 when a friend of his, who lived in Nebraska and went to high school with the guys, told him to go see the band because he knew Dave would like their music. Low and behold his friend was right. “It blew my mind and I was hooked instantly.”

Just the other day, on August 15th, Dave celebrated his 25th live show in Salt Lake City, which is where the picture above was taken. Of the 25 shows, it’s the cruise in 2013 that Dave says truly changed his life. “I had never really done anything like that up to that point in my life! The fun I had on that boat was unmatched and when I came back the positivity lasted for months! I also felt so confident that I asked Brooke DaSilva out and we’ve been together ever since!” Dave and Brooke have been happily in a relationship for almost a year and a half now. Dave said, “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but with her because we’re soul-mates.”

Dave is born, raised, and still residing in Portland, Oregon (he currently lives in North Portland).  During the winter of 94 he lived in Park City, Utah. Currently Dave works for Toyota Motor Sales and just celebrated 19 years with the company. A single father of a 10 year old special needs son named Ewan, Dave says that he has learned a ton from him over the years and continues to do so on a daily basis. He also has an 11 year old Staffordshire Terrier named Jango, loves the Portland Trailblazers and Kansas City Chiefs, and is a self-proclaimed “major Star Wars geek.” He even has a tattoo of Boba Fett somewhere on his body (location not disclosed! Haha).

His beard is what Dave says most people say sticks out in their minds when they hear his name or think about him, but that isn’t the sole thing making him unique. He mentioned that he can literally talk to anyone because he is very laid back and easy going. “I always tell people that I could have fun at an insurance seminar, hahaha.” Dave is also a huge fan of professional wrestling, but when not watching that he’s additionally is a “mega fan” of Seinfeld.

When not jamming out to 311, some other musical interests in his life are The Grateful Dead, Phish, Beastie Boys, Swollen Members, Jurassic 5, Bad Brains, Cake, Fishbone, RHCP, Black Sabbath, Snot, Hieroglyphics, and Del the Funky Homosapien.

Dave loved The Grateful Dead enough to follow them around for years. His favorite 311 song is “Off Beat Bare Ass” and he says he relates to a lot of the lyrics because of his travels with the dead. It’s just the song that hits home for him. “I also get pretty fired up when horrible criminals are released to make room for someone who has sold marijuana. It just touches all the right buttons for me and it is also my favorite 311 song!” One of his favorite quotes though comes from “Paradise:”  “Music’s what I need to keep my sanity.”

Dave has just one thing to ask the band: “After all these years what keeps 311 going?” Feel free to answer guys if you are reading! :)

His message to all of those who love 311 as much as he does:

“If I could give a message to all the fans reading this it would be what I’ve always done myself which is be yourself. No matter what anybody thinks. I’ve been the same guy since I was 18 and I try to practice kindness and positivity as much as possible with the hopes that karma brings it back around. And it has for me in my life. Treat people the way you want to be treated I guess. I know for sure that it’s always not going to be positive and will be bumpy but keep a level head and move forward towards the positive. It’s worked for me so far.”

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That’s all for this week’s spotlight folks! Thank you to Dave for taking part in this fun and to all of you excitables who keep coming back and reading! It’s an honor to be able to write about all of you awesome people each week. Until we meet again….”It’s time to get down, boots to the ground!”

Much love – The Runt

 

 

Ladies & gents, the new 311 fan spotlight focuses on Mr. Patrick Hillin!

August 18th, 2014

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We meet again my excitable friends! Right about now you might be looking at the photo above and thinking many things. I can assure you, this weeks fan spotlight is as interesting as the photo! Let’s not delay and get to it. It’s time to meet Mr. Patrick Hillin!

Let’s travel back in time to Patrick’s high school days. He and his “brother from another mother and fellow 311 junkie” Dan Millican were playing what they like to call the “sit up” game. “Basically, we had to sit up on a futon and the first one to lean back lost and got punched.”  As they started this game, Dan put on the Grassroots album to listen to as they played. Patrick had never heard the CD before. After a few bong hits and a couple of songs in, he turned and looked at Dan. “I look over and I’m mesmerized because he knows every fucking lyric, even the SA lyrics, and he’s just steady sitting there singing and rapping along. This goes on for almost the entire CD, him lost in the music, me lost in his singing the music (remember the bong rips). All of a sudden he looks over at me and says, dude what the fuck! How long have you been sitting back?!”  Patrick then got punched (a few times) and the two of them laughed for what he said felt like hours. That’s when Patrick says he became a real fan of 311.

Patrick’s show tally sits at 17, which includes 12 regular shows, 311 Day 2010 & 2014, and the third 311 cruise. It was hard to choose his favorite, however he said it hands down is the cruise. “Being able to be there with Jeremy Rawlings and Dan Millican, who are my brothers for LIFE, was incredible. Then of course there were three 311 shows, Rebelution, my introduction to Bad Rabbits, getting chocolate wasted in a banana suit off of non-stop soft serve ice cream, pizza sammys, no means yes and yes means anal, all of the wonderful people I met, free beer day, and of course the most amazing part: Getting to high five and take a picture with 311, dream come true. Every time I look at that picture I get pumped! It really captured the level of excitement running through all of our veins, truly amazing.”

“Omaha Stylee” is the song Patrick says he loves the most, but not for any sentimental reason or anything. “To me, that’s just raw 311, pure energy, throwing out MAD props to their (grass)roots and going hard in the process. That’s what it’s all about.” His favorite lyrics however come from “Freak Out” – “To all my friends, it’s not the end, the earth has not swallowed me yet.”

Some people live in one place their whole life. Others move around and Patrick is one of them. Born in Dallas, Texas, he lived there until he was 6, and then headed west. He has lived in Thousand Oaks, California, Tucson, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and then finally he returned back to his place of birth. If he had to pick one place that was his favorite stomping grounds, it would be Tucson. “Yeah it’s hot but there’s no humidity, the mountains and wildlife are amazing, tons of good golf, and monsoon season in the summer is fantastic. Every night in the summer, around the same time, the storm clouds come rolling in over the mountains and it POURS for about 2 hours with some kick ass lighting storms, and then it’s done. After that it’s nice and cool outside and the sweet smell of the desert makes you never want to go back inside. So yeah, Arizona was my favorite.”

To fund his 311 addiction, Patrick draws civil and structural plans for commercial construction projects. As he said, he gets paid to sit around and draw all day. “I have been fortunate enough to have my name on a lot of big projects in the greater DFW area. It’s pretty great to pour months of hard work into a project on paper and then a year later be driving down the road and see it constructed. Other than that it’s all the same old stuff: work hard to play hard, love everyone always, don’t be a dick.”

Patrick was asked what makes him unique, and he said he can’t think of anything. However something you may not know about him, which I believe makes him unique, is that his 4 front teeth are all fake as the result of a bike accident when he was 12. “I went right over the handle bars and face planted hahaha. I woke up in the hospital with one front tooth missing and now all four up front are fake.” Patricks guilty pleasure lately is something different that some of us (like me) would not be able to handle. “Lately, for whatever reason, I’ve been eating a lot of sardines, right out of the can. I have no clue why I ever started doing this, but it’s been going on for about 3 weeks now and I can’t get enough. Sardines.”

Patrick would like to give a shout out to 311 and deliver this message to them: “You guys are my musical heroes, I fucking love you, but will you please play some Skynard?”

As for his message to all of you in the universe of 311 fandom:

“You look good out there **slaps butt** good game, keep that shit up.”

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Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading again folks. Without you, I would be nothing. Each and every spotlight thanks you as well! Leave some love in the comments if you feel inclined. Until next time…”Life’s a bowl of punch, go ahead and spike it.”

Much love! -The Runt

 

Ladies & gentlemen, direct your attention to our spotlight on Ms. Vanessa Holliday!

August 11th, 2014

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Hello my excitable friends! I hope you had an excellent weekend full of positivity. Here we gather again to read another fan spotlight. This week we feature a fabulous lovely lady, Miss Vanessa Holliday!

It was Vanessa’s friend in middle school who got her loving 311. Her friends older brother would drive them around to activities before they had their licenses. “He was constantly blasting 311! I have to admit that at first I wasn’t really into them, haha. But they grew on me pretty quickly!”

With her show tally right around the 75 mark, I’d say her love for them grew tremendously! She doesn’t know the exact number but she has held on to all of her ticket stubs over the years. Picking her favorite show though she says is a tough one. “Transistor is my favorite album by far, so Pow Wow was an amazing experience event-wise, but the back-to-back Orange Peel shows in Asheville, North Carolina in 2009 still always stand out to me as my favorite regular shows to date.”

Vanessa has the title of her favorite song, “Time is Precious,” tattooed on her ribcage in her parents handwriting, so you can tell it holds a special place in her heart. “I definitely feel that this is one of their more lyrically mature songs and it’s one of my absolute favorites!”  She also LOVES the song “Galaxy” off Transistor. “I don’t think any other song comes close to it in a live setting!”

The Washington, D.C. area is where Vanessa has lived all of her life, minus when she was attending Virginia Tech and living in the mountains of southwest Virginia. She funds her 311 habit by working as an outside sales representative selling datacenter IT to the Army. Her residence is about to change though when she moves to Denver, Colorado, where she got a house with her awesome boyfriend, whom she met through 311! “Should be an exciting new experience!”

What else is Vanessa into? Well she loves classic rock and says Led Zeppelin is her favorite band from that genre. She also loves blasting hip hop music in the car and can get into pretty much anything except top 40 pop and country. Her guilty pleasure is reality T.V. and she calls herself a “reality T.V. junkie of epic proportions.”  “All the bad shows are on my DVR including (but not limited to) Dance Moms, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Bad Girls Club, Real Housewives…and many, many more!”

Vanessa prides herself on being physically fit and she is very active. “I love lifting weights and striving for excellence in all aspects of fitness. I also have a guilty obsession with Zumba, so I try to attend a class at least once a week!”

The other love in her life besides her boyfriend and 311 is her miniature turtle Yoda! She bought him at a beach store in Myrtle Beach for a dollar and was told he’d only live about 6 months. Six years later and he’s still with her! “He’s surprisingly pretty active and it’s fun to watch him splash around in his tank!”

Vanessa’s love for 311 has brought her a ton of fun over the years, helped her find love and also a ton of friends! Her message to them is this:

“Thanks for all the awesome memories and experiences I’ve had over the years as a result of traveling for your shows!  I’ve met all my closest friends as a result of being a fan of this band, and I’m very grateful for that…now if I could just get some of those friends to actually live in the same timezone as me, everything would be perfect haha.”

And to all of you out there loving 311 as well:

“See y’all in Jamaica ;-)”

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That my friends is Vanessa! I hope you all adored her story! So Denver excitables, make sure you give her a warm welcome once she gets there and if you see her on the cruise, make sure you say hello!

Until next week my friends, keep livin’ & rockin’!

Much love! – The Runt

 

 

 

Forget Match.com, try 311 for finding love! Meet Zack & Diane Freeman!

August 4th, 2014

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Hey hey hey there my fellow 311 fans! Happy August to you all! Time to embrace the new month and week with the new fan spotlight! This week we have not one but TWO people in the spotlight! Now you may be wondering just why these two chose to do their spotlight together. Well it’s because without 311 they wouldn’t have met and fallen in love! Meet Zack & Diane Freeman!

Let’s begin with how the two of them fell in love with the band. Zack first heard 311 when the blue album came out, but really got into them when his friend Ryan told him to listen to Soundsystem. Ryan also told Zack how the band was all about spreading positivity and unity in their music. “I was mindblown and the music just spoke to me like it never had before.”  Zack then went and saw the band live on New Years Eve 1999/2000 when they opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers. “This was only my second concert I had been to and we were in the front of the stands and I loved it! So when they were going to play the House of Blues in Los Angeles on 1/30/2000 I was there! That was my first pit show and the show that made me the fan for life that I am today!”

Diane discovered the band in 2000 when her boyfriend at the time played Grassroots for her. Until then she only knew the songs that were played on the radio and she wasn’t really into that style at the time. Grassroots was different for her though and she was drawn to their musicianship, sound, and the change in the songs. “Instant fan drawn by their skill and message. And then I saw them live! Mind blown. That show ended up being a life changer for me.”

It really was a life changer for Diane and inevitably Zack. After that show Diane wore her Grassroots shirt to work the next day, pushing the boundaries of casual Friday because she was just so excitable from the show. It caught a guys attention and he asked her, “You like 311?” She replied, “I LOVE 311!”  In case you haven’t figured it out, the guy was Zack. Here is what happened next: “About a year later we started talking at a friend’s new years party. 311 came up and we spent the party talking about what their music means to us. That started our friendship in 2003 we started dating in 2005 and we married  in 2013. I love that I have been able to share 311 with my family and friends and turned most into fans by getting their ticket and taking them to shows!”

Diane and Zack got engaged at 311 Day 2012 (see photo below). So naturally, 311 Day events are very special to them! They were at the most recent one in New Orleans and said it was amazing because of the people they met that they know they’ll be lifelong friends with. Zack and Diane both said their all time favorite shows are a toss up between this event and the island show on the second cruise. Neither one have kept an accurate count of exactly how many shows they’ve seen, but Diane knows she is at 50 at least and Zack is somewhere between 60-65.

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What song was the lovely couples first dance at their wedding to? Why 311’s “Two Drops in the Ocean” of course! Zack listed that song as one of his top 3 favorites, followed by “Uncalm” (which he loves because of the energy, rhythm, and beat along with the lyrics) and “Let the Cards Fall” (because of the musical structure and message of laying it all down and being real).  Diane said “Jupiter” is the song that really speaks to her. “No matter what goes wrong, there is always something in our lives to be grateful for.”  She also mentioned that a new favorite is “Tranquility” as it helped her develop a newfound peace in handling the death of her brother who passed away a year and a half ago.

Both Diane and Zack work for a bank, which is where they met and also how they fund their 311 habit! They were both born in California, although Zack spent a brief period as a child in Arizona. Then his parents divorced and he moved back to Cali. Diane credits her brothers for her love of music and she said her niece claims she is a “music encyclopedia.”  Zack says that Diane is awesome at going to 311 shows because she has a knack for planning their 311 adventures! When not on one of these fantastic adventures you can find Zack lounging in his recliner listening to vinyl, while Diane watches her guilty pleasure, which is any of the real housewives shows! Zack also loves to play guitar and he is in a band named Secret ‘Stache. He also has a ticket stub from the 311 show in Vegas that was scheduled for September 11, 2001. For obvious reasons, that show never occurred, but he is hoping to one day have the stub signed by the guys.

Each of them have lyrics that mean something special to them. For Zack those are, “It’s alright to feel good, it’s alright for nothing to be wrong, the deepest dream you have could be tomorrows song” and “Can you hear the void I describe, what can I say vacancy sounds like.”  Diane’s favorites include, “You gotta keep on climbing the hill cause if you think you’ll make it you will” and “Savor the sun, but when the clouds come make animals.”  They also share a favorite quote, that every 311 fan love, “Stay positive and love your life!”

It’s obvious that without 311 these two love birds might not have ever had the connection that made them realize they were meant for each other. They each have a message to the band they’d like to relay.

Diane: “Thank you! For creating the music that has become the soundtrack of my life, and for putting together such epic events. Because of 311 I have had vacations I only dreamed about and have met the most amazing excitable friends!”

Zack: “Thank you for being a band that inspires me every day musically and personally to continue to be real and spread Positivity, Love, Unity, and Respect.”

They also have personal messages for all of the awesome people out in excitable nation:

Zack: “Becoming a part of the 311 familia has been one of the most rewarding and unbelievable experiences of my life. Please continue to be the most peaceful, loving, united, and respectful people I’ve ever met so that we may hopefully bring some joy and positivity to this broken world.”

Diane: “Thank you we are an amazing community/ familia. Lets keep living and rockin!”

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How cute is this couple? Hope you all enjoyed their joint story and learning how 311 brought them love! Leave them some love in the comments if you feel so inclined! Thanks to all for reading another spotlight, it makes me and the featured people feel all warm inside knowing that you do!

Much love! – The Runt

 

Tis the time for a new 311 fan spotlight…Meet Erik Walder!

July 28th, 2014

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We meet again my friends out there in the 311 universe! I trust you all had an amazing weekend and are ready to take this new week by storm! So let us not delay another moment and start it off right by meeting this weeks 311 fan spotlight – Erik Walder!

Back in the mid 90’s Erik was really into the whole rap/rock genre of music that was happening and it was during that time that he saw the video for “Down” on MTV (back when they actually showed music videos). Erik loved the song and went down to the mall, to a store called Sam Goody’s, and bought the album. “I was really into the alien theme back in those days. I had alien hats, posters, candles, movies, X-Files stuff, etc. As soon as I saw the blue album had alien heads on it, I knew it was a good sign.”

Since then Erik has been to 33 shows and also 1 Nick Hexum Quintet show. This past 311 Day in New Orleans is included in that show tally and he claimed it ranks as one of the happiest moments in his life, behind the day he married his wife Sharon and the day his daughter Maia was born. Erik saw the band this summer in Scottsdale, Arizona and he said it was an amazing experience. “We had planned our family vacation to Arizona, and after we had already booked our flights, 311 announced the summer tour. It was awesome that they were playing the same weekend we were out there. It was awesome to rock out with my wife on the rail, and it was my brother and sister-in-law’s first 311 show ever.”

Erik originates from the Baltimore region and has lived in that area all of his life. He attended Rider University in New Jersey from 1996 to 2001. During that time he was always blasting 311 and it was in his hallway that he met Wayne Slater. “He had room #311 and had a giant blue oval logo sticker on the door number. When I joined a fraternity, I met Ian Silber. Instant friends. He took me to my first show at Asbury Park on 11/11/99. I only had 2 friends that were 311 fans, until my senior year.”

Right before Erik’s final semester at Rider he started collecting live shows and found a website that had bootleg trading. Since Erik didn’t have anything to trade the guy for live 311 shows, he worked out a deal with the guy. “I didn’t have anything to trade, so the guy that ran the site told me to send him a spindle of blank CD-R’s and a money order for return shipping. The only way he would burn me all 83 discs that I requested, was that I had to promise never to sell any of them. I could make as many copies for my friends as I wanted, but I was not allowed to sell them. That’s when I realized that the 311 fan community was something special. I’ll never forget it. I hope that I can find that guy and thank him for feeding my 311 addiction.” If you are out there reading this stranger who helped out Erik, say hello!

Since graduation Erik has been working in his family’s poultry business and he has been there for almost twenty-one years. “I love what I do, and I got to spend more time with my grandparents and my brothers while also learning the right way to do business: honesty and experience go a long way. I’ve tried to keep those same morals and values in all aspects of my life.”  Erik met his wife Sharon back in 2002 and they married in 2006. Sharon has been to a few shows (Erik said he thinks her show tally is 4). His daughter Maia is following in dads footsteps and loving 311 just as much as him! “She’s so amazing! I play Stereolithic in my car and she loves to sing along with me. She even asks me to put 311 on instead of Frozen! I can’t wait to take her to her first 311 show one day. She keeps asking when she can go.”

Erik found the Familia on July 14, 2013 and he said his life changed forever because of it. Being from Baltimore, Erik is a Orioles and Ravens fan, and 311 never had any themed shirts for the teams. Erik found a way to make his own by creating custom jerseys with 311 on them. It was thanks to this that he found the Familia. Erik had attended an O’s game and the next day his friend messaged him asking if he had seen the photo of him on the Familia page. Erik said he asked, “What’s Familia?” His friend Chris Sabol added him to the group and he saw the photo that someone took of him, and it had 133 likes and tons of comments. Since then Erik has met amazing people through the group and he said some of the people know him better than his non-311 friends.

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If you are friends with Erik you know that he loves to grill. While he says he doesn’t really have any special talents, he does try to always look at the bright side of things, no matter how bad a situation may be. He always tries to keep himself level-headed. “In times of trouble, everyone joins a team.”  He collects 311 posters as a hobby and he loves to trade them (you can find him posting often on the 311 Trading Post). “I love to see all the great art that 311 inspired. Even fan art is awesome. There are so many talented people out there. It’s just amazing.”

There isn’t one 311 song that particularly means the most to Erik because he said each one has a different meaning to him at different points in his life. Although he mentioned he’s been on a non-stop Stereolithic kick since it was released. “I’ve been saying it over and over again that this album has the potential to be one of the most important albums that I have ever heard in my entire life. There’s just so much meaning in the lyrics, and it really describes how my life has been going in the last few months.”  Erik has a lot of quotes from songs that he likes. One in particular is “I always say what I feel and that is a promise. Nothing in life is above being honest.” If you want to see more, just check out his Facebook profile if you friends! There are some great ones listed there!

Erik’s message to the band is simply this: “Thank you for combining many different types of music to create such a unique sound. The lyrics speak to me more than any other artist or group out there. I could listen to the entire 311 discography and never get bored.”

To every fan out there in 311 land: “I always knew that the 311 community was full of great people. After I joined the Familia last year, my assumptions were correct. I’ve met some great friends who share the same love of a band as I do. Lifelong friendships formed because of a band! Can you believe that? “In the comfort of strangers, you don’t see the danger of just letting it flow. This I know.

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There you have it folks – you have met Mr. Erik Walder! I hope you appreciate and enjoyed his story. Oh and before I go, Erik’s birthday is this Wednesday July 30th, so make sure you leave him some birthday love in the comment section!

Until our next encounter, just remember…”There’s a door open to walk through, all I want is, just beyond…”

Love you all! – The Runt

 

Meet our latest 311 fan spotlight – Roland Dewitt!

July 21st, 2014

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Here we are again my excitable friends in 311 land! Another week has begun and this can mean only one thing…it’s time for the new fan spotlight! Let’s not delay and read on about Mr. Roland Dewitt!

Back in 95/96, when Roland was just 11 years old, his friend Hiram hosted a party and was playing “Down” on repeat pretty much the whole time. Since then, Roland has been blasting the 311 pretty much every day. “I was drawn to their music because I can relate very much to it.  311 is an intelligent band, with awesome music.  This is a mix that is hard to come by.  Being somewhat of a nerd, I was drawn to their more intelligent lyrics and the perfection of their live show.  Once I saw them live, I was 100% hooked.”

Roland’s show tally is at 30 currently, but he’ll add shows 31 and 32 to that in just a few days when he sees the band in Atlanta at the Tabernacle. He said it was really hard to narrow down the answer to his favorite show so far. If he had to choose though he would pick the show from 3/18/2002 since it was the last time he was at the Tabernacle.

Like most fans, Roland has many songs and lyrics that really mean a great deal to him. He said he really can’t just pick one song that means the most to him, but he does love “Beyond the Grey Sky,” “Sometimes Jacks Rule the Realm,” and basically all of the Transistor album. As far as lyrics, he posts some of his favorites on Facebook pretty much every day. Those include “Do what thy will should be the whole of the law” and “Nothing in life is above being honest.”

Roland was born and raised in Auburn, Alabama, but he says, “No, I don’t have a southern accent.”  This is due to his father being from Michigan and his mother, while from Northern Alabama, lacks an accent. He said his parents are very well educated and even though they didn’t have a ton of money they got by. Roland has both a younger and older brother and he has only lived in Auburn. Working since he was 14 has helped fund his 311 addiction. He now works for Auburn University so the likelihood of him ever living anywhere else he says is slim. “The only bad part about Auburn is that about ½ of the population are students.  This is fine with me, but that results in friends who leave every 4-5 years.  Most students leave Auburn, so I have few friends left in Auburn.  Also, the students are getting younger and younger (ha), and I am getting older and older.  It is a unique environment.”

Something Roland says most people don’t know about him is that he was fired from his first job at the age of 14 because he was “too young” (which is interesting because they hired him and clearly knew his age at the time!).  He also has a pretty unique talent – he can ride a unicycle, juggle, and do both at the same time! Although he said he’s a bit out of practice with it. Guilty pleasure? He has just one, “Marijuana, and lots of it.” Other music that Roland listens to includes techno (not dub-step), some rap, The Beatles, and basically anything from the 90’s. He also really likes the band Incubus, but he was upset when Dirk left in 2002. He hasn’t seen them live since then.

Roland had the opportunity to meet the guys back in 2006 and wants to share his story of that with you all. “Back in 2005 there was an altercation with 311 and Scott Stapp.  I believe Stapp was being a dick and 311 had to protect themselves, essentially beating Stapp up in self-defense. I told my girlfriend at the time that I wanted to shake Chad and SA’s hands for doing what was necessary.  (I don’t agree with violence, but if someone punched my wife, or even myself, I would react with appropriate force.) On 3/9/2006, I thanked the band for standing up for themselves and more importantly, beating up Scott Stapp.  I find it funny that I was actually able to thank the band for this act of necessary violence.  Here is the article that can shed more light on the incident: http://www.mtv.com/news/1517207/out-of-control-scott-stapp-incites-melee-with-311-at-baltimore-hotel/.”

Roland’s message to all the awesome people out in the 311 universe is:

“Keep coming to the shows!  I see a lot of people at shows who have been going since I was 13/14 years old.  We run into each other at 311 shows and are like “Hey, you are that guy” and I’m like “Hey, you are that guy.”  Recently, at 311 day 2014, people from the Familia came up to me and asked if I was Roland DeWitt.  I believe 7 people did that, whom I have only met online.  It was awesome, as I didn’t think anyone would recognize me.  I was quite flattered.  Also, once in Halloween 2010, a clown came up to me and asked “Are you Roland DeWitt?” I was a bit taken aback, but it turned out to be Brad Downen (a 311 taper and huge fan) who recognized me.  Thanks, Brad for wearing full-body clown makeup and freaking me out.  It was surreal.”

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Another 311 fan spotlight is in the books my friends! Thank you all for reading about Roland and I hope you have an excellent week! Show some love & leave a comment if you feel inclined! It’ll make my day seeing your words in the comments as I filter through the spam!

Much love my friends! – The Runt

 

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