Runt Rant

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

Happy Thanksgiving week to all! Time to meet 311 fan Ron Ivanjack!

November 24th, 2014

Ron Ivanjack

Happy Thanksgiving week my friends in 311 nation!! I hope you all have fun plans for this week of gratitude. Let’s kick it off properly with the new fan spotlight on Mr. Ron Ivanjack!

1996 was the year that Ron’s college roommate introduced him to the wonders of 311. Then “Down” blew up the MTV world and he bought the Blue album. “I loved the combination of hooks, aggressive guitars and complex drum patterns. By the time we got to “Hive”, I was IN!”

Since he’s been hooked, Ron has enjoyed seeing the band live. How many shows has he been to? An amazing 158 in 35 states! “I don’t see it as a competition.  With that being said, I’m proud of this accomplishment.  It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and passion.  My first show was December ’97 in Chicago.  It was a radio show and 311 played early on a bill that included The Cure and Duran Duran.” Obviously he’s seen some amazing shows with the number he’s been lucky to attend, so it’s hard to choose one that means the most. He said though a popular answer, cruise number one gets “the slightest nod.”  “I’d never been on a cruise and had no idea what to expect.  We knew we were seeing historical shows and that’s when I came out of my shell a bit and realized just how many friends I was making.” Of course, he holds a dear spot for the 2011 Atlantic City and Uncasville shows, because they were part of an “elaborate first date” with his now wife Becky Graziano! “We were married 11/23/13.” Happy 1st Anniversary Ron & Becky!

Ron mentioned the song “Hive” earlier, saying he was hooked on 311 by the time he heard it. It also happens to be his favorite song. “It connected the strongest to me initially, it was the first song I heard live, it was played for me once at a soundcheck in Hawaii and Nick even dedicated it to me at my 100th show in Ventura, CA.”  One of his all time favorite quotes is, “Love is a stream that will find it’s own course, making due is a thing I think I will do no more.”

Chicago is the city where Ron was born and raised. “Yes, actually in the city on the south side which is also why I love the White Sox.”  Then after college, Ron spent about ten years in the northern suburbs before heading to Orange County, California for three years. He is a human resource manager and worked from home while in OC, which allowed him to take on the heavy traveling to shows. Ron and Becky dated long distance (she was living in South Carolina) until they decided to move to Chicago together. It didn’t take long for the Chicago winters to make them realize they wanted a warmer climate though, so now they reside in Dallas, Texas.

Ron has played drums since he was 4 years old (which he says is why he is always air drumming at shows). While he doesn’t drum much anymore, he is quite good at it. He hasn’t played in a band for about 15 years but he did have the privilege of jamming at 311 fan parties in Denver and New Orleans. Ron is a quiet guy, which he says causes some misunderstanding that he is a jerk. “I’m not a jerk. I’m usually not very talkative while waiting in line because I am extremely focused on getting my spot.”  And while he loves 311, he admits he’s terrible at getting the lyrics right. “You’d think I’d have them all memorized but SA especially throws me into fits. I often wonder if they see me on the rail and wonder why I’m not singing all the words.”

While 311 is Ron’s favorite band now, he says KISS was his first love at age 4. “In general, I am a metalhead.” Some of his favorites include Slayer, Mastodon, and Anthrax. He also loves music from St. Vincent, Soundgarden, Goatwhore, King Diamond, Genesis, The Cure, The Beatles, Juliana Hatfield, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Breeders, Deftones, and Faster Pussycat. Since he loves 311 and music as a whole, plus you know how many 311 shows he’s seen, can you guess his guilty pleasure? “Concerts!! Duh.”  He has been to 570 overall!

With all the shows Ron has rocked out at, he’s been lucky enough to meet the guys on numerous occasions. One thing he hasn’t said to Chad that he’d like to though is, “When are you gonna let me play your drums or join in on ‘Applied Science’?”

And his message to all the magnificent people in the fandom of 311:

“The music of 311 has changed my life in so many ways.  The friends I’ve made and experiences I’ve had as a result of this band are almost incomprehensible.  I am so thankful.”

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There you have it folks, the story of Ron Ivanjack! Thank you all for reading the latest edition of the fan spotlight. My gratitude is overflowing as always! Now go enjoy your Thanksgiving week and remember, always “Stay positive and love your life!”

Much love – The Runt

 

 

Ladies & Gents, folks of all ages, it’s time to meet Kevin Joseph LaBella!!

November 17th, 2014

image3 Good morning excitable people! Another week and another spotlight has arrived! This week we meet one of the members of the Unity Allstars – Mr. Kevin Joseph LaBella! Kevin’s story takes us back to 1995 when he was in the sixth grade. He heard “Down” on the radio, then saw the video on MTV, and was blown away by the music. It was when “All Mixed Up” was released that he became hooked. “Still probably the song that will always put me in that place that only certain songs can. Definitely love all the double guitar riffs and the harmonies. Plus the two distinct vocal styles between Nick and SA is a perfect combo.” Fifty to sixty is the rough estimate of shows that Kevin believes he’s attended. Those shows include the cruise shows and he sees them now at least 3-4 times a summer. His favorite? He’d have to say 311 Day 2014. “We got to play an amazing show 2 nights before, then throw in Ballyhoo and Full Service the night before, playing on the Brigade Brunch cruise, helping out Bruice3 and TJ as well as J Randy….jamming on the street w/ Windex Pete and his washboard. Finally getting to play Saints Go Marching in on my horn on the street in NOLA…..plus we had a 200 year old house we rented right on Bourbon street. Everything was incredible and having my crew there with me took it to another level. Then seeing 311 play w/ the Unity Orchestra literally brought me to tears. That was the most intense thing I have ever seen at a concert. I can’t wait for that live album!” “Trouble” is the song Kevin says he really related to immediately when he heard it. “I really feel like I’m always tiptoeing the line of going too hard sometimes, but then I remember that I need to chill out a little bit and keep my shit together. It’s always a good reminder for me.” One of his favorite quotes though comes from the song that hooked him for life – “You’ve got to trust your instincts, and let go of regrets.” As he said, no explanation needed. Kevin grew up in Port Chester, New York, which is about a half hour north of Manhattan. He loved sports and music and excelled at both, becoming a jazz trumpet player and baseball pitcher. “I learned trumpet in the 4th grade, bass guitar in the 5th grade, and taught myself guitar in the 8th grade. Our band program in Port Chester was top notch. We did the Macy’s Parade my freshman year, won multiple championships at Giant’s Stadium, and our band is in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street and Spiderman 3.” He then went on to college at SUNY Albany where he met some friends that he still plays music with today – Brian Sweeney and Aaron Zuckerman, who are also members of the Unity Allstars. After college, Kevin was hired to work in a stats position for MLB.com and has been with them for 10 years now. “My job with them now is running the pitch trax system from the stadium for the Colorado Rockies(used to do it for the Yankees and Mets….did some Red Sox and Phillies, then a season with the Texas Rangers). I basically get paid to watch baseball from the stadium. I get to meet players, go on the field and know when every pitch is or isn’t a strike. It’s pretty fn sweet!” Kevin currently works for Comcast in Denver, Colorado, running master control for the NHL network. This year his job sent him to the Stanley Cup Finals where he ran into the one and only Nick Hexum! Kevin told his boss he should thank Nick for Kevin working for him. Here’s why – after the first cruise, Kevin joined the Familia and met a bunch of awesome people he became friends with. Then on the second cruise he befriended Brandon, Eileen, Mike and Melanie – otherwise known as “The Big Heads” (the people with the cardboard cutouts of the heads of 311). Then after the third cruise he was looking to move from New York and his plan was to head to Denver, since he had family there and knew it had the awesome Rocky Mountain Excitable crew. He ended up getting a better job offer from Eileen in Dallas so he headed there. It was short lived though because after getting there, Eileen’s office shut down. Kevin scrambled to find something and that’s when he found the job in Denver with Comcast. He packed up his stuff, crashed on an air mattress at Kyle Knox’s place for a month before he got his own place (right across the street from John Dawkins) and then his girlfriend Jamie moved out as well.  “Now I am in an excellent situation, with 2 amazing jobs (watching baseball and hockey), have an amazing crew, and everything is awesome. In a strange twist, that was all a year ago, now Kyle sleeps on my couch! Oh sweet irony! So when Nick came back in for the 3rd period, My boss said “Hey Nick, Thanks” Nick looked dumbfounded as he had no idea what my boss was thanking him for and he just looked at me in my Rangers jersey and said “Hey good luck in the 3rd period guy!” Kevin can play trumpet and bass at the same time! “Did it in jazz band back in high school. Can’t be anything ridiculously hard but I can do it. Left hand on the bass, right hand on my trumpet.” He also says he has an impeccable memory. “I can remember everything as long as it is tied to a sporting event or music event. Anything that happened on a day the Yankees did anything special I can always remember. Now if I could just remember the things that went on during cruise 3…” Guilty pleasures? “I own every Def Leppard album on vinyl from back in the day. One of my faves growing up, love all that hair metal – Skid Row, Motley Crue, Ratt…then onto GnR, then Nirvana changed the world!”  His favorite band of all time though is Sublime. He even got to meet Bradley Nowell’s sister, who showed Kevin the grave site. “My guitarist Brian Sweeney and I played a little acoustic sesh @ his grave which is some all time, bucket list shit for me. It was absolutely amazing playing for the man that has influenced me so much.” The first time Kevin played in a band he was just 10 years old and they were called Negative Upbringing (which later became Gov’t Cheese).  He played bass while his brother sang and played guitar. “We were mostly a Nirvana tribute band but did all the good 90’s stuff like Silverchair, Spacehog, Toadies, etc…”  As I mentioned above, Kevin now plays with the Unity Allstars. You may have seen them in New Orleans this past March or at other various venues. They even made a theme song for the upcoming cruise! (See the video here… http://youtu.be/1ctLvni8QUo) Are you headed out to sea with us on the next cruise? You may just get lucky and get to see their song live on the ship! ;) The band is also playing a pre-party before the cruise – check out the event page! https://www.facebook.com/events/393071107517325/ image1 image2 It’s obvious that 311 has had a major impact on Kevin’s life. He’d like to express his gratitude to the guys: “Play “Too Much Too Fast” more!!!!! (This is what I always tell them, and they played it as an encore on cruise 2) But seriously I would just like to thank them for being so dedicated to their fans and having all these cool events. Cruise 1 and the events following changed the direction of my life. Thanks for all of it!” Now his message to all the awesome people that make up the 311 fan universe: “I want everybody to come out and see their Unity Allstars play the night before the cruise in Miami. We will be playing like 55 songs, we will have a full horn section and plenty of surprises for the crew. If anyone saw our show in NOLA you know how we throw down. That was the best show we ever played and seeing all the excitables singing along to every song we played was an absolutely amazing experience.  CJ’s Crab Shack Feb 24th, 10pm till whenever!!!! Let’s kick this Cruise off right!” ——- As Kevin said to me, that’s his story and he’s sticking to it! Glad you could join us for another edition of the fan spotlight my friends. Until we meet again…rock on! Much love – The Runt

Time for the new 311 fan spotlight! Meet Charles Haskin!

November 10th, 2014

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Hello again excitable people! Happy Monday! November is rolling right along and we have a new 311 fan to introduce! You met his best friend Tony last week. This week the spotlight aims at Charles “Wafer” Haskin!

Chuck’s love for 311 begins the same way that Tony’s did. It was the 89X Festival on September 5, 1994. Their friend Dan M. told them they had to see this band 311, so they did. “They played a 8 song set, we ripped out a street light cause it was in the way of the pit, Tony ended up with a bloody nose, and it was the first time I heard FTBS as they closed with it. I was hooked.”

How many shows has Chuck been to? “July 6th, 2014 in Detroit was my 50th show since that first one in 1994.” He keeps a spreadsheet so he can keep track of the shows he’s attended and the songs that he’s heard. He’s tracked all but 4 of the 50 shows. Out of the 50 shows, he’s been to all of the cruises (and will be on the next) and five 311 Days. Forced to pick a favorite, Charles says that the Lido deck show on the first cruise is up high on the list. “Met a lot of good people.  311 Day 2008 holds a lot of importance for me in my life. November 23, 1999, 311 at the Orbital Room in Grand Rapids, MI is up there as well. Tiny venue, lots of energy.”

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It was tough for Chuck to pick one song that means the most to him. His all time favorite live song is FTBS. “As evident in my 311 Day 2014 video when they played it, I may have lost my mind a little.” To pick a favorite studio recorded song, he’s going with “Come Original.” He also added that every time he hears “Rub A Dub” he thinks of the first cruise. Some favorite lyrics of his are, “From chaos comes clarity,” “Fuck the naysayers,” and the popular lyrical motto of most fans, “Stay positive and love your life.”

Michigan is where Chuck was born and raised and he said the first eleven years he was living off of 8 mile, “Just the nicer part of it.”  He moved to Indiana for four years, then back to Michigan for another seventeen. In 2006 he hit rock bottom, ending up unemployed, in a rocky relationship, and battling with depression. Then in 2007 he packed his bags and took off to Sweden. He went there to work for SAAB and the next fifteen months he was there he turned his life around. “I found myself, ended that bad 9 year relationship, sold my house in Michigan, cut out any negative in my life and became closer to my true friends and family. I flew from Sweden to New Orleans for 311 day 2008, and regardless of jet lag, that was one hell of a weekend trip.”

After Sweden, Chuck ended up in Arizona for a few years and then transitioned to Maryland where he still resides today. He funds his 311 fun by working as a CAD Designer. “For the last 2 & 1/2 years I have been design support for unmanned drones.”  He says one question he constantly gets asked is why he sees 311 so much and doesn’t it get old. His reply is, “Never. Every show is different. Yes there are the handful of staple songs that will get played almost every night, but until you are there at the show and feel the energy of the crowd as they are playing you just will not understand,  and most recently I am getting watch my girlfriend experience these things for the first time.  311 Day 2014 was her 2nd 311 show,  before we met she knew of 311 briefly but Dave Matthews Band is her obsession. I am reminded how I felt when I first saw them 20ish years ago.”

While his job is mainly sitting at a desk all day, Charles mentioned he loves working with his hands. Most recently he built a 320 linear foot fence around his yard! He’s also in the process of converting the attic into a livable space. If you don’t know Chuck, you may not get his sense of humor at first. “Very quick witted and can turn any comment into something dirty. Your mom jokes are also still very funny. Very blunt and honest, I do not have the ability to sugar coat anything.

Chuck loves listening to the Eminem Pandora station, watching NCIS and CSI, and he collects a ton of 311 merchandise. “I have over one hundred 311 shirts, which were featured last 311 Day when 311 tweeted my pictures of all of them on my bed. Posters, so many posters. Last Christmas my girlfriend said to me, ‘I looked to get something 311 for you but it seems you already have everything.”

311 is actually not Chucks number one musical artist. That spot goes to Suzanne Vega. 311 is second and Ani DiFranco comes in third. “I have seen Vega live in Norway, Germany, Sweden, west and east coast, and in the midwest about 16 times. Yes she is still touring and releasing new music, and yes she knows me on sight and we talk after every show I have been to.”

Chucks’ message to the band is simple: “Thank you. Thank you for everything you do and the messages within the music, it gets people through things. Personally the music got me through a very dark place and time in my life and I probably wouldn’t be here or who I am if not partly because of your music.”

His message to all in the 311 universe: “Don’t forget to have a good time, it’s a Ani Difranco lyric (one that will be added to my tattoo soon). People get worked up over things and you just have to step back, find the good in your life and focus on that. Dwelling on the past or holding onto the bad is no way to live,  I was like that for half my life, now I live with no regrets.”

 

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There you have the story of Charles Haskin! I hope you were entertained and it helped pass this Monday by a little quicker. Until we meet again my friends, have a kick ass week!

Much love – The Runt

Attention one & all, the spotlight takes aim at Anthony Perazzo!

November 3rd, 2014

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Good Monday morning my fellow excitable friends! Welcome to another edition of the 311 fan spotlight!! This week we feature a friend of mine that I met at the pre-party before the first cruise.  Let me introduce you to Mr. Anthony Perazzo!

Back on Labor Day in 1994, Tony went to the 89X Fest at the Phoenix Center in Pontiac, Michigan. He went to check out Weezer and MC 9000 foot Jesus when one of his friends said they should go check out this rock/reggae/rap group from Nebraska that was on one of the other stages. While he wasn’t really into rap or reggae, he decided to check it out thinking there would at least be a pit. “We were in the front row but there was no barrier, just a couple of security goons and a lamp post. The show started with “Taiyed” and things were pretty chill and groovy. Then “Freak Out” started and I was hooked.”  The pesky lamp post became quite wobbly and was going to become a problem, so with the help of Tony and his longtime friend Chuck, they and the security guards took the whole thing down, wires and all. Then during the song “Homebrew”, Tony & the girl in front of him ended up butting heads, resulting in a mass of blood from Tony’s nose. Even with the blood flowing, Tony and the girl continued to party on with 311 playing in the background. It was when the guys played FTBS that Tony said he knew his “musical horizon had been broadened more than ever in his life.”  He even still has the setlist from that show…

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Since that fated first show, Tony has seen the band 53 times, including five 311 Day’s and all three (soon to be four) cruises. He’s also been to every Red Rocks show since 2006. His favorite show so far? “Lido Deck on the first cruise was probably the most charged 311 show ever. We “borrowed” beers from the deck boy with our new great friends whom we met the night before, Chris and Chrissy, and the show was astounding.  I’ve been to every 311 Day since 2006 and they keep getting better.  Every show is a very different experience for me. Every night a different song is my new favorite.”

When asked what song means the most to him, Tony said, “Amber, because it has a Pavlov effect and I have to urinate every time I hear it.”  In reality though, I know his real favorite is “Creatures (For A While).”  As he says, “It reenergizes me after I’ve been jumping for an entire show. When it’s played my legs find the energy to jump wildly for the rest of the show.” Tony also said that the beginning of “Silver,” when Nick says, “Ok, let him in. Bobby, you be quiet out there,” reminds him of his pup Darwin every time.

Tony grew up in Oxford, MI, about an hour north of Detroit.  His father played him Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” when he was still in the womb by putting headphones on his mothers belly. Then on the night he was born, they were hosting a party to watch Alice Cooper’s The Nightmare television special.  He only listened to one cassette tape a year because it was all he could afford to buy in those days. It started with Huey Lewis and The News Sports and ended with Pearl Jam’s Ten. Then he got a job and was able to buy more music. It was that first time he saw 311 though when his music genres started to vary.

Per Tony, Oxford was the gravel capital of the world until a Japanese company took that title over. When the economy bottomed out in 2006, he moved to Denver, CO and has been there ever since. “I love it here. In the winters I ski. In the summers I take my jeep off road. All year I go to concerts of many bands. I fund my 311 habit with a career in land surveying. I sit on my ass in the office and analyze history, law and math to figure out who owns what.”

Some other music Tony is in to: Beethoven, Alice in Chains, Anthrax, Slayer, and AJ Croce. Even his pup, Darwin, loves Beethoven. “My dog barks along with Beethoven’s 9th in tune.”  Guilty pleasure? Tony listens to the Harry Potter books on tape at least two times a year. And if you know Tony at all, you know his shenanigans can sometimes lead to injury. “I have fractured my skull after Fireball shots. I’m not sure how exactly but I woke up with a shiner and pricker bush in my underwear.”

Tony’s had the opportunity to meet the fellas but he sometimes clams up when around them. So one thing he’d like to tell them is: “You should release every show like Pearl Jam and Metallica do. I go to Live311.com every day hoping that something has been posted.”

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And to all of you out in the 311 universe:

“Just let me jump and if I bump into you nudge me back to wherever I came from.”

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That my friends is Mr. Anthony Perazzo! I met him on the eve of my first big 311 event. It was like it was meant to be and we ended up hanging out all night and then throughout the entire first cruise. One thing I can say is he has a good heart and is very loyal to his friends. And he’s fun to drink with…just look at this photo of him wearing my shirt the first night I met him..

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Thanks for reading my friends! Until we meet again, have an amazing week!!

Much love – The Runt

 

Attention 311 nation…meet the one & only Klawson Borges!

October 28th, 2014

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Hello my friends and happy Tuesday to you all! I know, I’m a day late with the post but it’s worth the wait because this week we meet the one & only Mr. Klawson Borges!

Klawsons’ story takes us back to the summer of 1995 when a west coast friend of his named Jesse Naval distracted him with the music of 311 while he and some other friends smoked pot. “He asked if I ever heard of them, I said no. So he gave me his Walkman and I was instantly hooked.  This happen shortly before 311 dropped the blue album.”  It was then his first show at the Roseland Ballroom, where No Doubt opened, that the deal was sealed for Klawson. “Seeing how much energy they put into their show made me swear to see them any chance I could.”

He kept that promise to himself and while he doesn’t keep track of the number, he believes its close to fifty at least. “I personally don’t care about how many shows I’ve been to. All I care about is the next show.”  The first cruise holds a special place in his heart because it was the first 311 cruise ever and as he says, “making me the fanatic that most of you know me as today.”  However, the second cruise is where he proposed to his wife Stephanie, mother of his son Kayson.  “The second cruise also had great weather, the craziness of the beach show, it had white out glow out and it didn’t have the banana drama of the third cruise.”  He said the second cruise didn’t have the energy of the first, but it had the better experience for him. It really in the end doesn’t matter which was the better one. “I’m just happy that I got to go on all three, soon to be all four.”

Like many 311 fans, there isn’t just one song that means the most to Klawson. Currently his jam is “Freeze Time.”  “I’m always looking for balance in my life.” His favorite quote is one of mine as well, “If you don’t have someone to do it with, it’s not worth doing.”

Klawson was born in Brazil, raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s lived in the neighborhood of Bay Ridge since he was four.  He said being an immigrant in a neighborhood built on immigrants you would think he was easily accepted but that wasn’t the case. “It was trying at times to say the least. In my pre-teen years I was often made of fun of and called a sissy. The name calling came from the fact that when I would get teased I would tear up out of frustration and not because I couldn’t handle it, but is was taken as me being a fairy. I heard fairy a lot in my life.”  What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and Klawson believes that the majority of the hatred directed towards him was out of jealousy. “I’m not full of myself but I’m not that hard on the eyes and my mother worked her ass off to provide the best of everything. I always wore name brands and had more than most what a immigrant from Brazil should have according my Irish and Italian counterparts.”

It was right before freshman year when Klawson met Jesse and things started to change for him. He began hanging with an older crowd, one that was less judgmental and they helped him become more comfortable with himself. “The music of 311 reinforced that.”  He said that listening to 311 also gave him peace with his way of thinking. With his high school years came more isolation, and as he says his refusal to conform to the mainstream way of thinking. “The mainstream way would become the lesser road traveled. This was the beginning of my stay positive attitude and the end of my needing to fit in need. The majority of my funds that feeds my 311 habit has come from tax returns, my mother’s generosity,credit cards and some savings.”

I think it’s fair to say that Klawson is pretty much an open book. “There isn’t much people don’t know about me.”  However he did reveal that he was a skateboarder for over 10 years and was really good at it. He also speaks two other languages besides English, which are Portuguese and Spanish. One of his unique traits is that he’ll never forget a face! “Over my years of working in the hospitality industry I’ve developed an ability to remember faces and names associated to them.”

Some guilty pleasure time! Klawson loves watching reality television shows…everything from Survivor to Property Brothers.  His guilty pleasure band he says is the Ting Tings. “Their “We Started Nothing” album was at one time on heavy rotation.” He also said that, “The Hebrew Hammer is so bad that it’s good.”

There are so many bands he loves that there are too many to list, but he did give up a few, including new recent faves Full Service and Passafire. In the past he was into RHCP, NOFX, Green Day, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Aerosmith, GNR, Tupac, and Wu Tang Clan. “I’ve never been into punk but I can appreciate it’s history and its influence on music.”

Klawson has been privileged to meet 311 on numerous occasions. Each and every time he see’s them he simply says thank you. “Thank you for so many book marks and experiences that had have given me the strength to strive for more.”

With that, his message to all of the awesome members of 311 nation is:

“Learn from your past, live in the present and plan for the future. Always remember the grass isn’t greener on the other side it’s just another shade of green. Also try to stay positive whenever possible.”

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That my friends is the man Klawson! If you haven’t met him in person, definitely do yourself a favor and make his acquaintance! He’s a good human being. I hope you all enjoyed and were entertained by his story!

Thank you all for reading over & over and getting to know your fellow fans! Until we meet again.

Much love! -The Runt

 

 

Joe Peace! The fan spotlight is aimed at you!

October 20th, 2014

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Aloha my fellow 311 fans! How is everybody today? I hope excellent and excitable of course! Another Monday is upon us and that means it’s time for the next fan spotlight. Let’s get to know Joe Peace!

Back in the 8th grade is around the time that Joe started listening to 311. He remembers the day he first heard the band because it was also the same day he met his best friend Ryan Meyer. The melody of the album Music made him fall in love. Since he first heard them, Joe has been to 20 shows. His favorites are split between 311 Day 2014 and the Friday night show in Atlanta this past summer.

Joe loves all of the music that 311 creates, but some songs that stand out to him and mean a lot are “Don’t Dwell,” “Starshines,” “Random,” and “Eons.”  When he isn’t jamming out to 311 he listens to a variety of other bands. “I love all music as long as it’s true.”  He said his father got him into hybrid music with his favorite funk/rock band Mothers Finest and that transferred to the hybrid music acts of his generation. Some of those bands are Incubus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and of course 311. Other musicians Joe loves are Kid Rock, David Allen Coe, Black Label Society, Bob Marley and Snoop Dogg.

Born and raised in a little town called Woodstock, in the state of Georgia, Joe still resides there. He spends his time as a chef and has been cooking for 15 years. “It’s one of my passions in life. My other is live concerts. My ultimate goal is life is to open a food truck and travel with 311 and cook.”

Joe may be a cook and love the art of culinary creations, but his guilty pleasure is a simple dish – cereal! As he says, “It’s my favorite shit on earth lol.”  When he is creating food though, he churns out award winning items. He’s won awards in Georgia for his wing sauce.

Interesting fact you may not know – Joe had his share of near death experiences when he was younger.  “When I was 8 I was attacked by a dog, ran over by my grandma in her Jeep Cherokee, and fell off the grand canyon, caught by my shirt collar by my brother and still alive. Pretty wild lol.”

Mentioned above, the Atlanta Tabernacle Friday night show was one of Joe’s favorites of all the shows he’s attended. He loved it so much he actually created a tattoo tribute of the two nights on his leg!

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Joe’s love for 311 runs deep in his soul so his message to them is a simple, “Thank you.”

As for his message to all you excitable readers out there:

“If you ever see me feel free to scream out Joe Peace! I love meeting new people especially at a 311 show.”

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Nice to meet you Joe Peace! I hope his story entertained you all and remember, if you see him at a show, simply holler out his name!

Until we meet again my friends, keep the positivity flowing! We need it and so do others.

Much Love! – The Runt

And the spotlight takes aim on Frank Fratto!

October 13th, 2014

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Yes my excitable friends, it’s that time again already! It’s time to meet another awesome 311 fan!! I hope you all had an excellent weekend, and oh yeah, Happy Columbus Day! Whether you are off enjoying a Monday holiday or stuck at work like me, let’s get on with it and meet Mr. Frank Fratto!

High school is where Franks story of his love for 311 begins. It was a time where alternative rock was becoming the music to listen to and Frank was in to it. His local station in Chicago, Q101, would play “All Mixed Up” and “Down” constantly, so he first discovered them thanks to the airplay. He bought the Blue album as a freshman and while he loved the sound, it wasn’t until college that he really, truly began his relationship with their music. He met a guy during that time that he says “re-introduced him” to 311. Frank only owned the Blue album and Soundsystem at the time, so his new friend played Grassroots, Transistor, and From Chaos for him. He immediately fell in love with all three albums, and he and the guy became great friends, remaining that way to this day.

From Chaos had a different impact on Frank. He spent a semester in California and bought the album while away, listening to it for what he says was “almost an entire month straight.” He says it’s, “The perfect mix of funk, rock, punk, ska, reggae, and hip hop influenced beats.”  One of his favorite quote comes from the song “Full Ride” – “Livin’ my life nice in pursuit of grooveology.”  Frank says, “It’s a motto I try to live by. I’m sure there’s an alternate meaning to the guys in the band, but I’ve always looked at it as living life the way you want to live it. Enjoying life, taking it for what it has to offer. Being happy.”

While From Chaos is his favorite album as a whole, his favorite song, the one that means the most to him, is “Strong All Along.”  Frank didn’t go into detail, but he mentioned he’s been through some rough times in his young adulthood battling depression, anxiety and loneliness. That is where “Strong All Along” comes in. “No matter what happened, any time I listened to this song I immediately felt very happy. Very fortunate to live the life I have lived. This song reminds me of how music transcends the instruments, vocals, and musicians and makes the listener actually feel something. It’s a simple, upbeat, catchy, poppy sing a long reggae song but to me it defines 311. It’s why they are my favorite band, why they put out great music, why they connect with their fans. The positivity. Believing in yourself. Believing that you can do anything you want to do.”

Since he fell for the awesome talents of 311, Frank has attended 16 shows and is grateful for every one of them. “I know some people have seen them a whole lot more and probably have done a lot more traveling than I have, but I’m pretty happy and consider myself very fortunate to have seen my favorite band multiple times in different places.”  Frank has seen the band play in Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Las Vegas, and then last year in International waters on the cruise.  Of all the shows and events he’s been to though, it’s 311 Day 2012 in Vegas that takes the top prize. “Epic is just one of the many words I would use to describe this experience. It was my first major 311 related event outside of concerts that I attended. I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a Las Vegas guy, I don’t gamble, and it just never really appealed to me. I had to make an exception for 311 and I’m glad I did. I’ve been to several concerts, so I know the feeling of being with hundreds of other fans and feeling connected but the 311 day experience is beyond that. It’s the mecca of 311 fans, I’ve never seen anything like it. Getting off of the plane people were greeting me instantly with high fives, commenting on my 311 shirt, just making me feel very welcome. I met so many other fans that weekend in Vegas that I never thought I’d meet in my life.”

One of the fans he met was Michelle Roche. He made the decision to attend a fan party after the show on 3/11/2012 and while at first he had reservations about going because he is pretty shy and reserved, he’s glad he did something he doesn’t normally do. “During a random conversation at the party, I was briefly introduced to Michelle, a fellow 311 fan and Familia group member. I have to be honest, I don’t exactly remember everything that was said, but I do remember her eyes looking directly into mine. I left the party that night feeling more happy than I have felt in years.” After the party Frank and Michelle kept in touch, talking pretty much every day. Then Michelle went to visit Frank in June of 2012 and after that weekend he said he knew his life was changed forever. “We’ve been dating for over two years now, and I consider myself a lucky guy every day. I think you can understand why the 311 day 2012 experience was my favorite of the two events I’ve attended.” Yay 311 love! :)

Frank was born and raised on the south side of Chi-town in the Bridgeport neighborhood and now resides in the southwest suburbs of the city in Tinley Park (about 30 minutes outside of Chicago).  He is the oldest of five children in his Italian family (he has two sisters and two brothers). He now lives with one of his brothers and is very close with his entire family. “I come from an Italian family, so we are very close, we are very vocal, we enjoy spending time together, we love each other, and we love talking with our hands (haha). I’m the only real 311 fan in my immediate family, and although some of my family doesn’t understand it, they certainly can respect it.”

While not an athlete himself, he is a dedicated Chicago sports fan. “Growing up on the South Side, I was raised a Chicago White Sox fan, who are still my favorite sports team to this day. My dad used to take me to old Comiskey Park when I was younger to watch players like Harold Baines, Frank Thomas, Robin Ventura, and Ozzie Guillen. I can’t go a year without going to at least a few Sox games and I enjoy watching them on TV too.”  He’s also a big fan of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bears, and Bulls.

Frank’s funded his passion for 311 by working hard at his job at the Illinois Tollway and has been there for almost 10 years now. He began his career in 2005 in the traffic operations center “working long and unusual hours.”  He was just promoted last year to the engineering department and he says it’s definitely helped contribute to his concert fund, as well as that he lives with his bro and isn’t married (yet!!).

Frank claims he isn’t really an interesting person and doesn’t believe he has anything unique about him, but I say F that, because we are all amazing human beings!  He’s had the opportunity to go on a couple of fishing trips in Canada that brought him once in a lifetime experiences. The first trip he jumped off of a cliff 40 feet high into a lake. Then his second trip, which was with his dad, he was lucky enough to catch a 46 inch Northern Pike that weighed almost 30 pounds! “Took both me and my dad to get it on the boat. For someone who doesn’t fish often, I’d say that’s a pretty cool thing to happen.”  Frank also has a photographic memory which makes him have a really great knowledge of movies, actors, musicians, athletes and sports. “I can remember things that many people may have a hard time remembering themselves. For example, you probably never knew that the lead singer of a punk rock band called Pulley (a band i listen to) also used to be a starting pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, named Scott Radinsky. Scott Radinsky still has ties to baseball as a coach, and still rocks out with Pulley at shows.”

No matter what anyone says, every one of us has a guilty pleasure. For Frank it’s that he’s a closet fan of bad 80’s music. “Everything from hair metal to contemporary. My girlfriend isn’t thrilled about it but I don’t care. I can’t help it.”  He also loves John Mayer’s music. “It’s funny because I used to bash him and wrote him off as another pop garbage singer when in reality the man can play the guitar and sing like no one I’ve ever seen.” Aside from some of his guilty pleasures, Frank says he really listens to a wide array of music genres. He credits dad for getting him into older bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.  He said it was when he was as young as 10 that he was exposed to the world of rock music. A few other bands he listens to often are the Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Linkin Park, Incubus, Less Than Jake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, The Offspring, Rise Against, and Chevelle. Along with 311 Frank says, “These are the bands that make me who I am.”

Frank met 311 just once and it was very brief so he didn’t get to say as much as he’d like to them. “If I had the chance to sit down with them for a few minutes and actually talk to them, I would thank them first off for taking the time to meet and talk to me and thank them for their music and continuing to put on amazing live shows. Chances are that I would be extremely nervous and probably wouldn’t remember what it is that I wanted to say to them though, haha. I am curious to know when SA began to incorporate the use of turntables and what his influences are as far as records to mix in each of the songs. I also would like to know when the band started the applied science drum solo routine.”

And now his words for all of you awesome excitable people:

“I just want to thank everyone who has ever introduced themselves to me at shows, shook my hand, bought me beer, sent me posters, sent me music, and just acknowledged me as a person. I’m a genuinely nice guy, if you approach me at a show and say hello, I’ll say hello right back to you.”

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Well my friends, that is our brother Frank! I hope you all enjoyed his tale of his 311 love. Thank you, Merci, Gracias, for reading once again. It is my pleasure to introduce you all to each other and to learn more about each and every one of you! Until we meet again… “It’s alright…wherever you are right now…”

Much love – The Runt

 

 

 

Fear not friends, it’s time for a new 311 fan spotlight! Meet Dan Economico!

October 6th, 2014

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Hello again my friends! I’m sorry for the brief hiatus from spotlights last week. Technical difficulties! But don’t worry, I’m back and we’ve got a fresh new spotlight! So I’ll stop wasting time and get to it – Meet Dan Economico!

The year was 1999 and Soundsystem had just dropped when Dan became a fan of the 311 awesomeness. He had heard them on MTV prior to that but never really got fully into them, that is until he saw the video for “Come Original.”  “I then went to my friends house and saw her bro had two of the blue album so I ‘borrowed’ it and listened to the whole thing. After that I became obsessed!”

Since 99 Dan has seen the guys live 45 times. He’s been all over to see them, including cruises and 311 Day’s, but he says that 311 Day 2012 in Vegas has to be his favorite out of all of the shows he’s attended. “I got dead center rail for both shows and it was the first time I finally heard “Salsa” live. I waited 30 shows for that!”  So can you guess based on that last statement the song that means the most to him? “Just love everything about that song. The music, SA’s rap, everything!”

If he’s going to discuss some lyrics that he loves though, he says the chorus from “Too Much Too Fast” is where it’s at. “I just love to sing it, I wish they played this song more live!” And just in case you don’t know the exact lyrics off the top of your head:

“Too much too fast for the moment to last, I tumbled to you while stumbling through, How do I get my head up off the tracks, Listening for a train? Ah-ah, cuz that’s just no way to live, I’ve got so much love to give, much too fast ooh-ooh.”

Born, bred, and still residing in suburban New York, Dan works at A&P to fund his 311 addiction. He’s been with A&P for 18 years and is lucky to get 3-4 weeks off a year which he uses mostly for 311 fun. “I use about 80% on 311 events.” He also says he stands out in the summer crowd because he is covered in tattoos! (Which you can see some in his photo above). Tattoos are Dan’s other addiction and his guilty pleasure. “There’s not a month that goes by that I don’t get some work done. I always say I’m almost done but then I find some skin that I just need to get covered.”  Another guilty pleasure is that he loves pro wrestling. “I never go out on Mondays. Those are devoted to Raw ever since it started back in 1993.”

Dan doesn’t believe he has any interesting facts about him, but I know him personally and can tell you he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet! He also has an impressive poster collection hanging up! Oh, he got to hop on stage with Green Day and sing “Longview” when they played in Connecticut in 2013. I know because I was there and took a picture!

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Besides 311, Green Day is a band Dan says he can’t live without. There are only a few others that get that type of love and they are Blink 182, New Found Glory, and No Doubt.

Dan has done the VIP meet & greet, so he’s had the opportunity to speak to the fellas on a few occasions. However, when I asked Dan if he could say one thing to them he told me, “I never know what to say, I aways freeze up!” Freeze time! He he, just kidding.

However, when it comes to speaking to all of you awesome people in 311 nation, there is no freezing there:

“I just cant wait to see everyone again in a few months for the cruise and have a great time with everybody – it’s always a party when 311 is around – they bring out the best in people!”

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Well said my awesome friend! I hope you all loved reading about Dan. It was my pleasure to write about a good friend of mine and tell his story to you all! Until we meet again excitables…”Stay positive & love your life.

Much love! – The Runt

 

 

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

 

 

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