Runt Rant

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

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/27/16 – Aaron Kirby!

June 27th, 2016

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Hey there excitable nation! How is everyone feeling on this lovely day? I hope awesome and guess what? It’s time for our next 311 fan spotlight! Let’s read the story of Aaron Kirby!

At the age of 14 in 1995, Aaron was really into rollerblading. He and his friend watched a skate video that had the song “Omaha Stylee” in it (See link here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2tep15 ). They both loved the song so they went to Target where Aaron purchased Grassroots and his friend purchased Music. “After a few days we switched.  I was hooked.  A few months later I was watching MTV and Carson Daily premiered Down.  I still remember getting goosebumps!” What drew him in was how original their music was. “Nothing else sounded like 311. Their seamless blend of so many styles of music was captivating.”

Aaron started seeing 311 live in 2000 at the Murat Theater in Indianapolis with Zebrahead as the opener. He’s been to 35 shows so far which include cruises two and four, as well as 311 Day 06, 14, and 16. “After Cruise 2 was when I really started hitting a lot of shows. I had less than 10 shows under my belt prior.”  Favorite? Aaron said it’s hard to beat the beach show from cruise two. “ It is my favorite overall experience for a show.” Although he said best show for music itself was 311 Day 2016, night two, and favorite regular tour show was the Chicago one 2015 where they surprised the audience with the Blue album in its entirety. “Did I mention Omaha 2014?  That road trip was very special because it was my first time really getting to know other fans through the Familia.  Stephen and Sandy Gwaltney, Tim Zinkan, Tessa Chambers and Shannon Crummy joined me for an epic journey to the homeland for Grassroots in its entirety.  My only tattoo is of the poster from that show.”

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Favorite song goes to “8:16AM” since it was his first love. Favorite lyrics come from “My Stoney Baby” – “”The fish who keeps on swimming is the first to chill upstream.”  He said it’s usable for so many situations in life.

A little about Aaron’s upbringing comes in quote form: “I grew up tall and I grew up right, with them Indiana boys on them Indiana nights. Lol.” He still lives in the same area he was born which is Lafayette, Indiana. He and his wife have been in real estate brokerage together for a decade, as well as having some real estate investments.

Something unique about Aaron is that he has two different colored eyes, one brown and one that ranges from green to blue depending on the day. “They used to both be green.   My dad now says that I’m half full of shit.”  Another unique attribute? He’s 6’ 7” so you can always spot him at the shows! “My friends have no problem finding their way back after a beer / bathroom trip.  I have a great view no matter where I’m at.  The downside is having someone at EVERY show ask me to move or duck because they can’t see.  Yeah, I was here first, you can move.  Short people need to learn some manners! Haha!”  Guilty pleasure? “I love cooking on my Big Green Egg.  I’ll  make you some killer food.  Better than the Pecan Lodge ever tried to be. :)”

Other bands he loves include Dirty Heads, Rebelution, Iration, DMB, Jack Johnson, 21 Pilots, Sublime with or without Rome,  RDGLDGRN, Rage Against the Machine, and Bad Religion. “I’m all over the board.”

Aaron’s message to 311:

“Thank you for the lifetime of music, fun and constant positivity that has played such a huge roll in my life.”

His message to all the other fans:

“I can’t wait to see so many of you and make some new friends this summer and on the cruise next year!”

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Now you’ve all met Aaron Kirby! Such a great story. Thank you Aaron for sharing and thank you all for reading! You guys seriously rock and are all the reason that this community is amazing. Now go start your week and bring the positive to every day!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/20/16 – Mike Kleczka!

June 20th, 2016

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Welcome again excitable people near and far! It’s that time again, to meet our next fan spotlight! This week, let’s learn all about Mike Kleczka.

Freshman year of college, back in 1993, was the year Mike found 311 totally by accident. In high school he found new music simply by going to as many shows as possible. Then in college he progressed to joining the college radio station as a DJ. “The school station was operated like a commercial station so, the music director could get on the guest list to almost any show in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.” The preferred venue was Lupo’s in Providence and one day the music director told Mike that if he like Rage Against the Machine, he’d like this band called “three eleven” that they were going to see that night. Mike said he thinks the director meant he’d like them because they incorporated hip-hop into their sound. “Not knowing any of the material, I just took it in. Turns out, I really liked it! So, when I prepped for my shows, I added  the “Freak Out” single to my playlist. Eventually, I dug out the full length “Music” album from the music library and played more songs.”

Fifty-three shows is where Mike is at for seeing them live (Fifty-four if you count the secret Hive show). He’s seen them at least once a year since 1993, with the exception of 98, 99, and 2007.  People not into 311 like he is ask him all the time what his favorite show has been, and he says it’s a tough question to answer.  “I think that my favorite shows are the ones over the past three years and “the next one”. I say that because I’ve met some really awesome people the past few years and getting to experience shows with them is what I love. I’ve seen them play most of their songs live at one point or another. At this point, WHO i’m going to the show with is just as important that WHAT songs we’re going to hear. We know that the band will put on a great show, regardless. I just want to enjoy it with my friends. And I love the notion that I can possibly make new friends at any show I go to. (I usually do, too!)” To date Mike has seen 311 in 13 different states.

Favorite song is another difficult question to answer. At 40 years old and having been a fan since 93, he’s been listening to 311 for more than half his life. “The band keeps doing something a little different with each album they release. If they kept releasing Music and Grassroots, I don’t think a lot of us would still be here today. People get on them for albums like DTOM and Uplifter. Long for the Flowers? It’s Getting OK now? great songs. 2009 was one of the best summers. Uplifter was the soundtrack. Never Ending Summer? I Like the Way? Sun Come Through? I think it was great because it was different than what they’d been doing on previous albums.”

Some lyrics though that Mike loves are as follows: “You make me feel uncalm and I think I like it.” and “I love it when the only sound I hear is your infectious laughter. I will hear you again in 800 years if I’m still lucky.” These lyrics make Mike think of his amazing wife Tina. “She is not “all in” as some of us are but, Tina is a fan and travels with me to the event shows. She’s met some amazing friends, too. “The 311 wives club’ as she’s come to call it.” One more lyric he loves is, “Time of our lives, here I was happy.” He said this is one because, well, he is!

Mike was born and raised on the east coast in New York and New Jersey. He is the oldest of four boys, all of whom love 311 as well. They still try to see at least one show a year together. He said you also might here him call the band three to eleven sometimes, which is a nod to him mom. “She asked me, one time, when my younger brother wanted to go see 311. She said, “Tell me about this band he wants to see, Three to Eleven. What’s their deal? is that a secret code or something? What time does that represent? It’s not another pot code is it?”  Once i stopped laughing, I filled her in. Since then, Mom understands.”

Mike attended college in Massachusetts and Pittsburgh, and graduated from Robert Morris University with a degree in Communications. “Pittsburgh is an awesome town with a crazy local dialect. “Yinz going don ton to see the Stillers?” Love that place!”  Mike moved to Michigan to start a family and career. He said as he was answering the questions he can finally say career and family have finally aligned. He is about the begin working for Fathead (the company that does the wall graphics of athletes, superheroes, etc.).

Mike said his wife Tina is extremely supportive of him (and tolerant he added). They have five amazing children together that keep them on their toes. His oldest son has already been to 13 shows and his daughter and second son both went to their first show last summer. Mike works hard to fund his 311 habit and they go to as many shows as the budget allows. “I’ve met many friends at shows and through poster collecting. I like to see them as much as I can and going to shows is how it gets done.”

Collecting posters, prints, and merch is a hobby of Mike’s and he’s an admin for the Facebook 311 Trading Post. “Along with four friends, we have a group that enables 311 fans to buy, sell and trade 311 merch and posters with other 311 fans. There’s a whole sub group within the 311 community and it’s awesome to be a part of it. You’ve probably seen us camping out at shows so we can be sure to get a poster before they sell out. Some folks can’t imagine why people would line up to get posters or t-shirts or hats or whatever the hot item is. Honestly, it’s just like tailgating. There’s beer and snacks and everyone there has something in common to talk about. It’s actually a fun place to be before a show. Well, maybe not that 311 Day 2014 line. :)”

When not “311-ing”, Mike can be found playing hockey, strumming a guitar, or running to kids activities (naturally a lot since of those since he has five). Something that makes Mike unique is his Lego tattoo. “I have a min-ifigure fishing on my arm.” He said other than that he can juggle. “I’m not a professional by any means but people seem to be surprised when I do it and I don’t know many people that can.”  Guilty pleasure is that he still plays video games, mostly sports games and Call of Duty. “After a long day, when the kids are all in bed and the wife has retired for the evening, I like sitting by myself, in peace, and scoring a virtual hat trick or fake blowing shit up.”

Of course, having been a DJ, Mike is into a lot of bands. “I feel that I come from the rock/punk/hip hop side as opposed to the reggae side.” Some bands he currently listens to are Fugazi, Tiger Army, Beastie Boys, Alkaline Trio, The Urge, Frank Turner, Gaslight Anthem, Bouncing Souls, The Loved One, Public Enemy, Atmosphere, DOOMTREE, RDGLDGRN, and Sage Francis.  Mike said he’s also started to cultivate over to the reggae side the past several years. Dirty Heads and Passafire are a couple of new bands he’s starting to enjoy. “I guess it really doesn’t matter the genre. If it clicks in my mind, if it is well received by my aural receptors, I’ll listen to it.”

Mike’s message to the band is:

“Please don’t stop! Keep pushing the boundaries of your music. We will still be here. The next album could be Chad farting on a snare drum and I’d still buy it.”

And to all the other fans:

“To the 311 community, this is a great thing we have going here. There’s not many artists that are able to have a career as long as 311 and to keep a core community together like this is amazing. We should appreciate it, and each other, for as long as it lasts. I love being a part of it and look forward to meeting more folks at the next show. Til then, you know the drill… Stay Positive and Love Your Live! I know I do!”

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There you have it folks, Mike’s story of his love for 311. Thank you for reading as always! You are all amazing people and I love doing this! Until we meet again…keep spreading the unity, positivity, and love!

Much love – The Runt

 

 

 

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/13/16 – Nick Greenwall

June 13th, 2016

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Welcome back friends to the next edition of the 311 fan spotlight! Let’s kick this thing off and meet Nick Greenwall!

1995 was the year and Nick was in high school when first introduced to 311, via the blue album of course and the radio airplay of “Down.” It was the combination of styles that attracted Nick and he said it was a refreshing change from everything else out there. “They had a special energy that drew me to them.” Nick said it’s great to discover a band that already has a few albums because then you can go back and listen to their previous work. After listening to Grassroots and Music he was completely hooked. As Nick put it, “311 has been positively influencing my life since 1995.”

This August, at Red Rocks in Colorado, will mark Nick’s 19th show, and his 8th at Red Rocks. “If you have never experienced the power that is Red Rocks, then you are missing out!  It will change your life!” His first show was in 1995 at the KTCL Big Adventure Festival at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater. “It was a special experience as my two older brother’s band at the time was playing the 2nd or 3rd stage so I got to be their roadie.”

While Nick has had many memorable experiences over the last 21 years, there are a few that stand out over the rest. One lucky thing he got to do was Skype with P-Nut for an hour a couple of years ago. He got to actually have an intellectual conversation, get introduced to his family and P-Nut was introduced to Nick’s. “  He is a down to earth human and a genuine family man.  We had a lot in common.” The cruise is another great memory for Nick, and he said if you can afford it to find your way there. “It’s the ultimate 311 experience!” Then there’s the time he stood outside, almost freezing to death, to get into the Fox Theatre in Boulder to see 311 on a frigid day in October 1999. “311 put on an incredible and intimate show for a small crowd and Nick did his signature stage dive.” Finally there was the first time he met the band as a whole back at Red Rocks in 2011. “I was blown away by how appreciative and sincere the guys were towards their fans.  That experienced reinforced everything my heart had told me about these guys all those years…that they were the real deal.”

There are too many to choose from for Nick to narrow down his favorite song. However he said there are certain albums as a whole that can always bring him back to a certain place or memory in his life, which brings him great joy. “Make it Rough” from Stereolithic stands out to him and he said makes him realize that you can’t get too caught up in the future that you forget to live for today. As far as lyrics, on of his favorites is from “1,2,3” – “It’s alright to feel good.  It’s alright for nothing to be wrong.  The deepest dream that we have could….be tomorrow’s song.”

Nick was born in Minnesota but grew up in a small farming community about thirty minutes north of Denver, Colorado. He bleeds purple as he is a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan. He is a husband and dad, and really enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter exploring their beautiful state. His daughter’s favorite 311 song is “Never Ending Summer.” “She always does the, ‘3! 11! 3! 3! 11!’ chant at the beginning with a huge smile on her face.”  Nick works at a local credit union in Denver for “many moons” and he loves having the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them to learn and grow financially.

A little fact about Nick most don’t know is that he loves learning about anything to do with World War II. “What an amazing time in history.  Ever since Band of Brothers came out that gave me an entirely new perspective on some of the battles fought in Europe and what the soldiers had to fight through and endure.  If you know one, thank a veteran!  If you are a veteran, thank you for your service!”  When asked what makes him unique, he said there are many things! “Get to know me. If you see me at a show, say hello!”

An eclectic taste in music is what Nick says he has. Some of his staples aside from 311 include Deftones, Rebelution, Shiny Toy Guns, The Bravery, The Cure, Bob Marley, Dave Matthews Band, Grateful Dead, Tool, Hall & Oates, The Doors, Duran Duran, Elvis, Fleetwood Mac, Sublime, Pink Floyd, Erykah Badu, MNDR, Metallica, and Type O Negative. He also has really enjoyed the 311 side projects NHQ, Los Stellarians and Ghostwolf.

Main hobby right now is collecting and trading 311 posters and merch. He says the most enjoyable part of it is the negotiations and conversations that happen during the process. “It’s not actually getting the poster in the end. I’ve met a lot of great people from simply sparking up conversations over potential trades.”

Nick’s message to 311 is this:

“Thank you for continually striving to progress both musically and as people and for giving back so much to the fans who are truly inspired by you.”

Now his message to all the awesome fellow fans:

“I have met some exceptionally remarkable people within our group.  People who inspire me to be a better person and live life to the fullest.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many of you up to this point and look forward to meeting more of you in the future.  Our experiences in life and the people we meet shape us into who we are today or who we will become.  My advice to all would be to get out there and live life, experience new things, make new memories, continually broaden your perspective, and most importantly…have fun in the process.  Life is grand!”

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That’s the story of Nick Greenwall my friends! I hope you enjoyed reading it and learning more about him. Thank you as always for reading and being the amazing community of fans that you are. Until we meet again…keep on loving and spreading the positivity!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/6/16 – Lauren Piekarz!

June 6th, 2016

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Happy June excitable nation! Time to kick off the new month with our next fan spotlight. Let’s meet the lovely Lauren Piekarz!

Lauren considers herself a relatively new 311 fan. While she knew most of their hits during high school and college, it wasn’t until she met her boyfriend Ian that she became the huge fan she is now. “He introduced me to not only a band but a way of life. Hell we totally plan our vacations around this amazing band.” Like all of us, the music is what fully drew her in. “I listened to each album, starting with Music, all the way through. It was an interesting journey for a few months.”

Total number of shows is somewhere between 15-20, depending on how you count the cruise shows. As far as her favorite, she couldn’t pick just one. “I truly think each even I have gone to has given me a different feeling and experience. I wouldn’t trade one for another.”

As far as song that means the most to her it’s “Go/Ebb and Flow.” “Go” was one of the first b-sides she got into and it was the first time she really got to see a song by 311 evolve. “Watching it evolve into what is now Ebb and Flow on Stereolithic still blows my mind.” Favorite lyric comes from “Speakeasy” – “If there’s a shadow in your life then there’s sunshine.” She loves this lyric because she tries to always remind herself that on days when things are tough you have to just “keep on keepin’ on.”

Lauren is from the Chicago suburbs and still currently resides there. She is working two jobs while finishing up her master’s degree in counseling. As if that isn’t enough, she is also a part of the Wheeler’s Weekend Jams team. “I couldn’t be happier to be where I am in life right now. I feel like things have just begun!”

An interesting fact you may not know about Lauren – she has worked for a piano moving company for four years and she has two pianos in her office. However she can’t play a piano to save her life!

If you know Lauren at all, you know that she is really crafty and loves making jewelry, and has made some amazing 311 inspired pieces! She also said she would change her job if she could…and become a panda babysitter! “I would never miss a day of work.” Guilty pleasure she said is trashy reality T.V. “The more melted my brain feels, and the dumber I feel, the better.”

Other bands that Lauren loves are the Deftones, Ben Harper, The Movement, Queens of the Stone Age, Every Time I Die, Dirty Heads, The Lumineers, and Snoop Dogg. “I could go on, I have a wide, strange range of musical taste.”

To 311 she’d like to say, “Thank you. Thank you for changing my life and bringing new, amazing people into it. Just thank you.”

Finally to all the other fans:

“I love ya all! I can’t wait to see some of you this summer. Hugs for all!!!”

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Now you have met Lauren Piekarz! Make sure you give her a big hello and a hug when you meet her in person. Thank you Lauren for being a part of this and thank you to all who consistently read the blog! It’s truly an honor to learn and write about each and every one of you. Until we meet again, keep being positive and spreading the love!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 5/30/16 – Sean Tovson!

May 30th, 2016

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Happy Memorial Day excitable nation! Before you celebrate, take a few moments and meet our new fan spotlight. Here is the story of Sean Tovson!

It was Sean’s friend Michael (O’Donnell – here is his Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/michael.odonnell.98892) that was the biggest musical influence on him in middle and high school. “We played on the same soccer team, ran in the same crowd, and he introduced me to a lot of music I would not have heard otherwise while I was being properly sheltered in the suburbs of Lafayette, IN.” It was in 93 or 94 when Mike handed Sean a copy of Sublime’s 40oz to Freedom and also 311’s Grassroots. Sean said it was his single most influential moment musically speaking. “Both became lifetime favorites.  I was unconsciously more drawn to 311′s sound than Sublime’s work.  I didn’t see my first show until 1999, 3 years after Bradley’s death, so that had a lot to do with sparking my 311 fandom even further.”

Sean credits 311 for getting him through a bitter move back to Texas in 1998, and it connected him to friends that he wouldn’t have met otherwise. “The kind of friends willing to road trip to shows or even have their dad fly a small group up to Omaha in a 4 passenger plane just to see 311. I guess I can thank 311 for molding and helping rebuild my core friend group wherever I lived.” Sean isn’t really sure how he fully became a huge fan of 311 or really anything, he said it just happened. He feels like he only truly hit true fan status for 311 and Full Service. “For others, it’s going to take more time and more albums (hint hint Manny the Martyr and Audic Empire…)  It’s a feeling, not a choice.”

How many shows has Sean seen? “The Answer from Hitchhiker’s Guide… 42.” His answer for favorite of those 42 can change he said with perspective or the day. “I’d have to say my favorite regular show would be either of the last 2 Oklahoma shows (OKC, Tulsa).  Multi-day land shows is easily the Transistor set from the Powwow in 2011.  Boat show is Cruise 3, set 2, which I spent blissfully in a hot tub with friends at the show.”

For song that means the most to him it was a tough question to answer. His three top songs are “Running,” “Lucky,” and “T&P Combo.”  However of the three, he said “Running” is probably his favorite. “I feel like I can’t shut off my brain most of the time, and this song always brings me to a calm, serene place.  Several other songs also do that for me, like 8:16am.” A lyric that really stands out to him is “Smooth like Reggie Miller in an airborne freeze frame, Funky like the kungfu that can put you to shame.” Sean said, “Growing up in Indiana, I loved the reference to my favorite player on my favorite team, and the lyrics remind me of every member of 311.”

Sean was born in Dallas, Texas but raised from the age of 3-17 in Battle Ground, Indiana. He played every sport he could until high school where he decided to only continue with soccer. Sean was a third of the way through his Junior year when he had to move to Coppell, Texas, where he completed high school. His parents made him apply to college even though he wasn’t into it, and he ended up with a scholarship to The University of Texas at Dallas. “But I had a great time there.  As a freshman in college, a roommate let me play his bass guitar, and soon I had my own.  I was 100% inspired by Aaron Wills.  I played in a band for a bit in college called New Fiction, which blew up with about an album’s worth of material I didn’t take with me. “

Sean started dating his now wife Emily Adams and got a job, so he put down his bass for about ten years to focus on providing for his family. “I graduated from college with a degree in computer science in 2003, Emily & I got married in 2004 (had a 311 grooms cake), had our first child in 2005 and second in 2007.  I quickly went from a laid-back gamer to “goddamn, get me some water” workaholic, putting in hundreds of hours in overtime to hone my software development skills.  All this time I was jamming to 311.  As my availability shrunk, so did my musical influence.  I wasn’t listening to much else besides 311, Blindside, Incubus, Deftones, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, etc… but mostly 311.”

His first software development job came to him just out of college. After that he changed jobs a few times before he ended up at the company that he works for today. He’s been there for about eight or nine years in pension administration. He also once tried to build a travel technology business with another developer but ended up squashed out of the industry contractually. Sean has also created a lot of gig flyers, logo designs, and posters in the last couple of years. Some of his work can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/TovsonArt, including some 311 fan art he’s created.

On cruise number three, Sean roomed next to Kyle Boudreaux and after the cruise they kept in touch. When 311 released grab bag shirts, Sean said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a place to swap these with other fans to get another shirt you want more?” Kyle then added Sean to a group on Facebook where other 311 fans hook each other up for extra show tickets. This eventually grew into the 311 Trading Post group. “I spent hours into the thousands trying to build a place for fans to safely trade or sell 311 merchandise, which really grew a greater perspective of our excellent fan base.”

Something you may not know about Sean is that he has a somewhat secret band project and their first show is coming up on August 20th. They’ve written a few dozen songs at this point and have been jamming for a few years. He’s also working on a music video for Betray the Dreamer (a local Dallas progressive rock band that he loves). Sean’s wife Emily and his daughters, Katie (age 11) and Caroline (age 9), also share Sean’s love for both 311 and Full Service. Their daughters have even already attended their first show at Red Rocks back in 2014!

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Something that makes Sean unique? “I’m really quick at Photoshopping anything into anything into anything.  Like… 2 minutes and you’ve turned into a mushroom quick.  Right, Jimmy?” Guilty pleasure, he has many he said. But right now he said he loved the show “Veronica Mars” and would still watch it if it was still on the air. “I absolutely love Kristin Bell.  I’d love to meet her & bring a baby sloth to make her happy cry.”

Sean’s message to 311 is this:

“It’s always been my dream to do a show print for you, and I would do you right with a great design.”

Now to all the other amazing fans:

“You’re my larger family, spread out all over the place.  We’re here, there, & everywhere following a band together.  There are so many of you that I have met through this common bond we share, and have for over 25 years.  We have so many great times ahead and our friendships will continue throughout our lives.  I’m so happy to have met you all, and I hope we continue to come together, whether it be a 311 show, a cruise, a powwow, a 311 day, a Full Service Circus, or just a meet up for drinks & brisket.  Keep it positive, and scroll on by the drama.”

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Well said Sean! Such a great story and I thank you for sharing it! I hope everyone enjoyed learning more about Mr. Sean Tovson just as I did. Thank you all for reading and now you can go enjoy your day a little more I hope. Until we meet again – keep on spreading the love & positivity!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 5/23/16 – Vanessa Velasquez!

May 23rd, 2016

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Another week is upon us and that means another fan spotlight has arrived! This week we meet the fabulous Vanessa Velasquez!

Vanessa’s 311 journey begins in the 7th grade. She and her brother were on the bus home from school and she had forgotten her earphones in her locker and her brother was kind enough to share his with her. “At the time, he had just gotten a burned CD called the “Stoner Mix” that a girl he liked gave to him for Valentines day. Omaha Stylee and Beautiful Disaster were the two songs that caught my attention and made me want to listen and learn more.”

First live show fell on July 20, 2008 which was the summer right after Vanessa graduated high school.  “I used some of my graduation money to buy my best friend and I a ticket.” Since then she’s seen 43 shows which include four 311 Day’s from 2010 to 2016, and four cruises. Of those shows, Vanessa said there are four events that hold a special place in her heart. “Pow Wow because they played Transistor (one of my favorite albums) and because I got to kiss my crush for the first time after briefly meeting him on the 1st cruise and keeping in touch after that. Cruise #2 because I got to see 311 play on the beach. OUR VERSION OF PARADISE, 311 Day 2014 and 311 Day 2016 because it was in NOLA and I love that city, even though it’s dirty.”

Favorite song is a little difficult for Vanessa because she said there’s just too many too list and there are many that make her tear up when she see’s the played live. “One song I do always listen to when I’m feeling down is Strong All Along. Never fails to put a smile on my face. Also Use of Time- with the Unity Orchestra version. Nick sounds like a god and I just love it.” Favorite quote from a song is, “Stay positive with love, just see the good in everybody.”

Vanessa was born in Garden City, Kansas and grew up on a farm with her grandparents in a strict Catholic home. Her mother was just a mere 16 when she had her, and both her parents were always working to support the family. It was mostly weekends that she got to spend time with them but that changed later once they got themselves on their feet financially. “I was the kinda kid that would wake up early and help out with the animals, one of my favorite things was milking the cows and helping my grandma make cheese!” In 2004 her family moved to Northern Virginia, where she said she discovered what a mall was! Now she lives in Georgia and waits tables at Mellow Mushroom to fund her 311 habit.

Vanessa credits her brother solely for getting her into 311. It was her twin brother who unfortunately passed away who had her listen to them for the first time and he always wanted to see them live. “My brother passed away in 2003 in a car accident with my uncle. He introduced me to 311 and his dream was to see 311 live one day. Now I’m living that dream for him.”

Vanessa’s talent she says really isn’t a talent. “I would like to consider myself somewhat of an old fashioned Suzy homemaker. I think my grandma and mother for teaching me everything I know, from making tortillas by hand to cooking or just being good at cleaning and keeping my home organized. No shame in being a little domesticated, right?”

Nessa said that her music taste is weird when not listening to 311. “Besides 311 I like dancing music we call CUMBIA in Spanish. I also enjoy jam band, reggae music, and R&B pop from the 2000’s. Seriously it’s all over the place.”

Guilty pleasure comes via the T.V. show “Desperate Housewives.” “I love Eva Longoria and Marcia Cross in that show.” Another one is the second and third album from the band Good Charlotte. “I love the Madden brothers!” Vanessa also mentioned that she loves camping, kayaking, learning about craft beer, and CATS!! :)

To the band her message is this:

“Thank you for all the smiles and happy tears you guys have put on my face, life would be boring without 311.”

To all the other fans of the band:

“To all the brodels and Slinkies I have met in my journey as a 311 excitable and to those I have yet to cross paths with. THANK YOU for making these life experiences much more fun by being a part of it. “If you don’t have someone to do it with, it’s not worth doin’”  You guys are much more than just people I see at a show/ event. you are family. Peace, love, UNITY! and respect <3”

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And there you have Vanessa’s story! I hope you loved it and that you all get to meet this amazing soul in person one day. Until next time, go be awesome, amazing, and keep spreading the positivity!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 5/16/16 – Marino Radke!

May 16th, 2016

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Hello again excitable friends! Now is the time…the time for our next 311 fan spotlight! This week we learn the story of Marino Radke!

Fresh out of the Navy is where Marino’s story begins. He returned from overseas and moved into his first apartment. After finally getting cable hooked up, he turned on MTV and there was the video for 311’s “Down.” “I turned it up all the way and was literally glued to the TV.  Never heard anything quite like it and I was ready for some new music in my life. Went the next day and bought the Blue CD, fell in love and when that happened I needed more, went out over that summer and found the rest of their CD’s.”

Twenty-seven is where Marino stands for live shows. He’s seen them 3 times this year already and has two more planned (Atlanta shows). “I was a late bloomer to seeing them live, making up for it now!”  Of all the amazing shows and experiences he has seen, his favorite comes in as a tie between Pow Wow and his first ever show back in 2000. “That first show I really didn’t know what to expect and it was an amazing set list with Jimmies Chicken Shack opening and the venue was so small (Music Farm). But I’m still hoping the best is yet to come!”

“Come Original” is the song that speaks the most to Marino. Then there is “Beyond the Grey Sky” that brings back memories of his dad. “Visit” is another favorite, because visiting the world is his other hobby. The one that really means a lot to him though is “Two Drops in the Ocean.” “I was lucky enough to get married on the beach in Cancun with my wife walking down the aisle to this song. Forever our song!”

Some of his favorite lyrics come from “My Stoney Baby” – “The fish who keeps on swimming, is the first to chill upstream.” Marino has a koi tattoo with 311 bars on his calf to remind him to never give up and keep giving his all. Another favorite lyric comes from “Eons” – “Nobody knows just what you’re battling inside, you can hide.”  Marino believes we all have a story and we are all going through something. “Another reason I love the band, the inclusion and the positivity.”

Marino grew up in Seal Beach and Garden Grove, California. “Loved surfing, most everyday if I could as a kid. The beach was my favorite place to be.” He was raised around some great uncles who were really into music and got him into bands like The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Hendrix. After high school Marino joined the Navy and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. He got to travel all over the Mediterranean including France, Italy, Greece, Israel and Spain. He also went to almost every island in the Caribbean. After he left the Navy he chose to stay on the east coast and after moving around a bit, he finally settled in Fort Mills, S.C. He lives there with his lovely wife (who he says understands his 311 habit), his teenage son Zack and daughter Caswell. He’s even brought his kids to three shows already!

Currently Marino supervises an order fulfillment center for Time Warner Business Class. He’s also a huge fan of most music and has attended over 2500 show and festivals. Some other bands he loves are RHCP, Pearl Jam, Social Distortion, Rancid, The Movement, Sublime, The Offspring (who he went to high school with), WAR, Bob Dylan and the Stones. When not seeing shows, he enjoys relaxing with friends to some good music and great beer, and most weekends it’s at the pool. “At this point in my life I believe life is about living and experiences with the ones you love.  I will sleep when I’m dead.”

Something that makes Marino unique? “Useless information. I have the ability to remember tons of it!” He said that over the years he read a lot about music, movies and travel. They always had Rolling Stone magazine in the house as he grew up and that’s where he got a lot of the info. “I am often asked by friends to answer questions. I would attend trivia with friends and our team would kill.  It’s really amazing since I can’t remember everything from work.  But when it comes to music especially, I can remember everything from set lists from the 90’s, bands I’ve seen and where they are now, just random information. Origins of bands, Band names, members gone from band, what band they used to be in.” Guilty pleasure he says is that he’s a huge Rolling Stones fan, but I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed about! “I have been to 6 shows over the years, all but 1 with my parents and uncle. I have a deep catalog of their music. I was raised on all the early stuff at family parties or when I would come home late in high school my Mom would make me stay up a lil longer listening to the Stones on vinyl.  The music is so raw and rocking, what rock music should be!”

Cool fact about Marino – for a few years growing up he and his mom lived in the same apartment complex with members of the band WAR. “I was probably 3 or 4, they would jam in the garage and me & my mom would hang out with them.  Mom said I would dance and just loved it…I took her word, still love WAR to this day! Music is timeless and I thank my mom all the time for instilling in me the love of music and sharing her appreciation for all music.”

To the guys in 311, Marino’s message is, “The band is more than just music, it’s a community they have brought together.  Sincerely, Thank You, we as fans appreciate you and we can tell you appreciate us!”

To the community of fans:

“It’s so Simple….Stay Positive & Love your Life.  I say this all the time to friends now and they think I’m a weirdo, but when they think about it, it’s all you really need!”

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And that is the story of Marino Radke my friends! Thank you all for reading each week and learning more about the amazing community of 311 fans. Until we meet again, go be awesome and spread the positive vibe!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 5/9/16 – Chad Neustifter!

May 9th, 2016

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Happy new fan spotlight day 311 excitable nation! Sorry for the one week hiatus but we are back at it today. Let’s not delay the fun…meet Chad Neustifter!

The year was 1996 and the setting was a car where Chad first heard 311. He and some friends were just driving around, nowhere in particular, when one of his friends had him pop the blue album into the disc-man that was connected to the car with a tape adapter. “Ended up listening to it straight through and it was glorious!”

Last tally of shows Chad was at is around 32 depending on how you count the multiple show events. Favorite of those shows is his first 311 Day back in 2006 in Memphis. “It just seems unbeatable. I met some of the most amazing people that year and created some really great friendships that I think/hope will last forever. Can’t believe that was already a decade ago!”

There isn’t one song that Chad can pick as his favorite or most meaningful because in a way 311 has really just soundtracked the last 20 years of his life. “So many songs take me right back to different times of my life and remind me of what was happening at that time. Too many fuzzy/wonderful treasures to recollect.”

Chad is a born and raised “Wisconsonite.” He was born in Oshkosh and lived there most of his life. He also lived in Milwaukee for a few years in his early twenties when he went to college. While he didn’t get into this as a career, Chad was a literature major with an emphasis on medieval literature. He currently works as a restaurant general manager between 311 adventures.

Unique quality that Chad has is a different one. “I can shotgun beer faster that anyone in the Familia! I will take on ALL challengers!”  Guilty pleasure for him is the T.V. show Nashville. “I can’t stop watching it. I don’t even like country music. I can’t explain it.”

Other music that Chad is in to comes in a variety of genres. “I’m an incredibly huge fan of music and am listening to some form of ti for at least 8 hours a day…my taste is all over the board.” Chad listens to everything from hip hop to golden oldies. His current playlist is at about 250 GB. “Not a huge fan of country and whatever it is the kids are listening to these days.”

Chad’s message to 311 is this: “Thanks for making all of the wonderful music and all the amazing friendships it has blessed me with!”

To all the wonderful other fans:

“I love each and every one of you so very much. I’ll see you this summer in Chicago and Milwaukee. Antonio R., watch out, I’m coming to win that tie breaker beer shotgun race!”

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There you have the story of Chad Neustifter excitable friends! Thanks for reading it and I hope you loved it. Now go be awesome and spread the light, love & positive vibes!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 4/25/2016 – Joe Kirk!

April 25th, 2016

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Hello excitable friends! The time is here…it’s new 311 fan spotlight day. Time to kick this week off and meet Mr. Joe Kirk!

1995 is the year and Joe, like so many, saw the video for “Down” on MTV. Unlike others though he didn’t like the song at first. Then his childhood friend Steve had purchased the album from the local music store and put the CD on while they were hanging out one day. By the end of the day, Joe had traded his friend 5 other CD’s so he could have the blue album. Then around Christmas that same year Joe first heard Grassroots and he realized just how special 311 is. “What drew me to their music was the combination of excellent instrumentals, unusual unique lyrics, great energy, and an overall positive message.”

76 shows total is where Joe stands currently. His favorite so far was 311 Day 2004. “It was my first 311 Day!” Next in line is the beach show from the second cruise, then the 25th Anniversary show with the set at The Hive. He also loved the double set in Atlantic City, New Jersey back on 12/2/11…and then of course Pow Wow and Halloween 2010 in Atlanta.

It’s hard to pick just one song that means the most to 311 fans, so Joe picked a few that mean the most to him, including “Welcome,” “Lose,” “1,2,3,” “Inner Light Spectrum,” Stealing Happy Hours,” and finally “Coda.”  A couple of his favorite lyrics are as follows: “Music’s what I need to keep my sanity,” “Challenge comes and goes and there will be another, I say bring it on,” and “Let’s think of all the good times, instead of wish we could times.”

Joe is currently 32 years of age, born and raised in New York. For the last twelve years he’s been working as a mental health therapy aide for NYS. “I provide care for the mentally ill, currently work in a Community Residence overseeing 16 patients.  It’s a challenge everyday and I enjoy it thoroughly.” Joe met his amazing fiancé Angela (Gonzalez, another fan spotlight!) through 311 and thanks to the Facebook Familia page. They are planning to get married on October 1st in California.

Cooking is something Joe loves, as well as Mexican food. He also loves to hike with his dog Riley. He has an ethnicity tattoo on his right calve which is an Italian leprechaun holding a pot of spaghetti. Secret talent? “I do an amazing vocal rendition of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.” Guilty pleasure is on the T.V., the show “New Girl.” In his free time Joe likes to play video games, mostly on Xbox one. He also builds and repairs computers on the side.

Joe loves music and aside from 311 his top five bands are Passafire, Bad Rabbits, Coheed and Cambria, The Roots, and Stick Figure. (There are many more too, but it was a long list haha.) He also runs the Passafire Army fan  page on Facebook and says you should check them out. Not only does he enjoy listening to music, he likes to play it as well. “I’m mostly interested in playing bass guitar; playing for about 7 or 8 years and know quite a few 311 songs. I own 2 bass guitars, 1 electric and 1 acoustic guitar, and a drum kit. I recently acquired an accordion, so I’m slowly focusing on that.  Be on the look out for my 311 accordion tribute album (lol jk).”

To the band, Joe’s words are simple but spot on: “Thank you.”

To all the other awesome fans out in 311 nation: “Stay true and go after what makes you passionate in life!”

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Thank you Joe for your story! I know I enjoyed writing it and hope everyone enjoyed learning about him. Thank you all for reading and being a part of this amazing organism we make up, the one and only 311 nation! Until we meet again, keep on spreading that positive vibe.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 4/18/16 – Gregory Rock!

April 18th, 2016

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What’s up excitable nation? Happy new fan spotlight day! Let’s get kicking and introduce Mr. Gregory Rock!

Back in 1995 Greg bought the blue album because he learned that 311 was going to be playing a show with Korn. By the time the show rolled around, Greg was more excited to see 311 than he was Korn! “What drew me in at the time was their unique combination of rapping and heavy guitars. Also, that first live show sold me!”

We now know Greg’s first show and since then he has seen them 63 more times. Only one show has he seen without his wife and that was his first one. He’s been to every 311 Day since 2006, the cruises in 2013 and 2015, and Pow Wow, which he says is his favorite event by far. “It was like a little piece of heaven, survival and glory.  We were glad we [Didn't Stay Home].” Greg also mentioned that he loves seeing them play at Mandalay Bay in Vegas and was at the show last summer when they performed the blue album live.

Favorite song was a tough question for him to answer. “All Mixed Up” and “T&P Combo” were the first two songs he really liked. “Beyond the Gray Sky” strikes a chord because he almost lost a dear friend and band member to depression. Then there’s “My Stoney Baby” because of his wife. The first thing he said to his wife was, “I like your boots,” and there is a reference to a girl looking fresh in her boots in the song. Favorite lyrics come from “Right Now:”

“I’m not one of those fools, With an ecclesiastical whitewash to set my ethical standards, You’ll never catch me lookin’ to Ann Landers, Or Moses or the Law or even Buddha. If there’s one thing I know, It’s always be true to myself.”

Salem, Ohio is the town that Greg grew up in and still lives in today. He lives in this small town with his wife Emily and they own a small business together. The company is Logue Monument Company and it’s pretty much where he says he grew up. “My father bought the business in 1973, and we bought it from him in 2011.  We sell and make cemetery monuments.  With a name like Rock, I guess you work with stone, right?” Greg also spent some time living in Columbus, OH in the 90’s where he attended “THEE Ohio State University.”

Greg also plays drums (which he said is in case that was the intention with his last name). He and his wife were in a local band called OhM for around twelve years and they got to open for many cool bands such as Phunk Junkeez, Slightly Stoopid, The Expendables, Tech N9ne, Jimmy’s Chicken Shack, Downset, Nonpoint, and more. The band even toured back in 2009 with stops in Brooklyn, NYC, Burlington and Winooski, Vermont, Geneva-On-the Lake and Salem, OH.

Greg and his wife Emily were married on 3-11-2005 and have been living together since 1996. “We moved in together in 1996 because her Mom wouldn’t let her go to a 311 show in Dayton Ohio on P Nut’s Birthday!” Then at their 50th show they were blessed to be gifted a signed poster, back in Detroit in 2013.

Something that makes Greg unique is his ability to read people and offer insight. “I usually can see both sides of an argument or discussion, and try to keep the peace!” He’s also really talented creating personalized memorials and sculpting flowers in granite with sandblast.

When not listening to 311, Greg can be found jamming music from Rush, Black Sabbath, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Pink Floyd, and Bob Marley. Guilty pleasure for Greg currently is Far Cry 4 for PS4. He also likes watching YouTube conspiracy theories for some entertainment.

To the band Greg has these words: “Thank you for your dedication, creativity, and positive philosophy.”

Now to all his fellow fans:

“Live your life as best as you can, and enjoy yourself.  Look out for one another.  Also, Go Browns, and one more thing……  LeBron!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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The story of Gregory Rock my friends! Hope you enjoyed reading another edition of the spotlight, I know I enjoy writing them. Now go be the positive, awesome people you are. Have an amazing week! Until next time.

Much love – The Runt

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