Runt Rant

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

311 Fan Spotlight – Scott Fairbanks – 2/1/2016

February 1st, 2016

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Hello again excitable friends! Here we are, another week which means the next fan spotlight. It’s time to meet Scott Fairbanks!

Middle school was the era that Scott was introduced to 311, which happened when the blue album was gaining popularity. “That was one of the first CD’s I ever bought with money I actually earned.”  One of Scott’s best friends was the influence for him liking the band. His friend would have them playing on the stereo over the years that they hung out. “I have always been a music lover, player, and admirer, so I appreciated their music right away.  When I really became a big fan was once I started going to shows with my friends and meeting all the other excitables at the different venues; some of the best people I’ve ever met.”

Over 25 shows is the estimate that Scott gave for how many times he’s seen 311 live, and those included cruises 1, 3, and 4. He also attended the couple of Vegas 311 Day events, and New Orleans in 2014. He’ll be at this year’s celebration as well! Favorite event though is hands down Pow Wow. He and his New Englander friends drove an RV from Boston to Florida for the festival. “Not only was it a great road trip with some good friends, I ended up meeting a girl there; that girl is now my wife.  She’s still in my phone as Gayle Pow Wow, because we were living in different states at the time.  I will never forget riding in that RV all the way back to Boston while texting back and forth with this new 311 slinky.  We hit it off, she visited a few times, and we went with the “You never win if you don’t go all in” attitude and she moved to Boston to live with me and try it.  Since then, we had a Key West Beach wedding with some 311 string quartet music playing while she walked down the aisle.” What a great story!!

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Scott’s two favorite songs are “Sun Come Through” and “Golden Sunlight,” but he can’t choose which one he likes more. “The strong lyrics and musical ability shine in both of these songs to me.”  Favorite lyric comes from “Too Much Too Fast” – “You never win if you don’t go all in.”  It reminds him that you need to really commit to something in order to get what you want. “I love all of the positive messages that 311 brings.”

Scott is a native New Englander, growing up in the coastal town of Marshfield, Massachusetts. He graduated high school in 2000. Every summer he would see 311 live when they would play at the venue in Mansfield MA, he said it was THE event of the summer for him. “Then it turned into any New England show… then maybe Mohegan Sun… then Vegas… then let’s drive to Florida… maybe take some cruises.” Scott currently lives in Tampa, Florida, so now he see’s the shows in West Palm, Boca, and sometimes Nola. He funds his 311 addiction by working as a Business Intelligence Consultant. “So I’m usually able to put on my headphones and crank out some work listening to music.”

Something very cool that happened to Scott in the seventh grade is that he won a trip to Hawaii to see the Gatorade Ironman Triathlon. “My whole family got to go and we hung out with the racers before, during, and after the race.” Guilty pleasure for Scott comes in the form of a certain cartoon. “Sometimes, after the wife goes to bed, I watch old episodes of the Simpsons even though I kind of remember the jokes.”

Scott has always had a love for music, and believes his musical ability and appreciation for it set him apart. He played saxophone growing up and was in the concert, marching and jazz bands during high school. He has since then taught himself guitar and is trying to now learn the piano.  “Playing music with other people is one of the most fun, satisfying, stress releasing, soul refreshing activities on the planet.” Types of music he likes range from alt rock and blues, to jam style music. Other bands he’s been into lately include Rebelution, old Sublime, Kings of Leon, Black Keys, Nick Hexum Quintet, and Full Service.

Scott’s message to 311 is simple and perfectly worded: “Thanks for providing a musically delivered positive attitude that literally changed my life.”

Now to all you amazing people in 311 nation:

“See you in New Orleans! Looking forward to 311 Day high fives!”

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There you have the story of Scott Fairbanks! An enjoyable one if I do say so myself. Thanks Scott for being a fan and thank the rest of you for reading his tale & meeting yet another amazing fellow excitable. Now go kick some positive energy out to the world!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – John Katchisin – 1/25/16

January 25th, 2016

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Hello again friends and fans of 311!! Welcome to the next edition of the 311 fan spotlight. Start the week of right and read the story of John Katchisin!

The year 1999 is where John’s story begins. His older brother Tommy, 12 at the time, was really into the band. The two shared a room and one day before Tommy left for work he had been playing a particular song. “I remember him playing a certain song that had this really heavy guitar sound with this really cool CHUG rhythm in the intro that caught my attention. He had left the CD in the stereo an I took it upon myself to keep playing back the 1st track on the album. After that awesome guitar intro the song got really heavy with these cool swells, and DJ scratch’s, that turned into (after listening back a million times) “ARE YOU READY FOR 311?” I was instantly hooked. The song was so catchy I could not help myself but keep listening over an over again dancing around my room pretending like I already knew the lyrics.”

John took the CD out and discovered it was Soundsystem and that the song was “Freeze Time.” It was at that moment he became an excitable! He then dove deeper and deeper into their catalog of music, inevitably falling more in love. “That piccolo snare on Chad’s kit was so legit. You can pin point which song comes from what album by the sound of his snare, it’s seriously incredible. I started noticing that the most when I came across a lot their B-SIDE tracks. Another aspect is that you can take apart one of their songs an strictly listen to one band member. They all stand out on their own, they all have a voice. In the song “Running”, I always find myself humming along to P-NUT’S bass line in that track, I can’t help it, it’s so good.” John also said one of the beautiful things about their music is that there is always a lyric of theirs that will fit any situation at any point in your life.

An exact number John does not have in regards to amount of shows he’s seen. He was around 18 when he started to save the concert ticket stubs. He does know that he’s never missed a tour since 1999, plus he’s been to three 311 Day events, a cruise, and Pow Wow. So his total he says is a lot of shows! Favorite so far has been Pow Wow, with an honorable mention going to the cruise. “The Pow Wow experience for me was beyond incredible, so much so that driving back home I could not help but cry. 311 played TRANSISTOR in it’s ENTIRETY. I mean seriously, too good. What was really cool to me was camping out in the woods an meeting/forming a family of excitables. We all helped each other out the entire weekend. If someone needed anything there was always somebody in our group to help, an not even in our group, there was just someone at the festival that would reach out an help, the 311 nation was alive an kicking. All the people I met at Pow Wow I still talk to this day. We are friends for life, that’s what 311 does, they connect you to other’s. Before 311 went into their Transistor Set on the last night, before taking a short break they had closed their first set with the song, “And A Ways To Go”. It was at the ending of the song with it’s trippy bass solo S.A sing’s the lyric, “Come on yeah it will be alright, an we’re gonna take a ride I don’t know if will come back” I bursted into tears. I was so overjoyed with happiness, with my girl wrapped in my arms, the two of us singing along, I realized where I was. I was in Heaven!”

There are a lot of songs that mean a great deal to John but the one that really hits home is “Jupiter.”  “Stay Positive & Love Your Life”, I have a half sleeve tattoo on my arm with that lyric on it. Whenever I lose myself in the chaos that is life, I stop and look at my arm an take a deep breathe, an I know that everything will be alright. But it’s not just that, it reminds me of someone very special an dear to my heart. It reminds me of my Ex girlfriend. I have been, still am, an will always be in love with this woman. She changed my life, she challenged me, she opened me up to so many things an motivated me to become a better man. Unfortunately at this point in our lives we are not together, god I wish we were. Maybe it’s just not the right time an we need to focus on ourselves right now. “If it falls apart will you still be my friend”, yes it did fall apart, an yes we are still friends.” So we know one lyric that means the world to John, but he has a few others as well including, “The soul you have is Electricity,” “Take on the love and the good karma,” and “Try not to think too far ahead, the pendulum swings soon enough.”

Born and raised in Edison, New Jersey, John is also currently still living there. He’d like to live somewhere else but right now he’s saving money and working his butt off so he can’t complain. When he was just 3 years old his parents enrolled him at Metuchen Dance Centre where he began to learn all styles of dance including tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, musical theatre, modern and ballroom. When he was 16 he became a certified dance teacher and it was dance that got him into all different types of music. After high school he found a cool school in NYC called S.A.E. where young professionals could be trained in the art of audio engineering. He went through an intense 9 months of training and then picked up DJing as a night job. He’s been booking gigs in Manhattan and really trying to get his name out there the past few years. Once he graduated the program he got a day job as an audio technician and he gets to be in a lot of different places and meet many new people. John said it’s a bit of a struggle because he can be shy and stand offish but that 311 helps with that. “I do a lot of my work on my own so I put on some 311 throughout my whole work day an let it motivate me an help me get through my day an finish my work an relax as much as possible. I’ve realized from doing that no matter where I am, as long as I can listen to 311 at any point I am going to be just fine.”

John’s brother and sister had a big influence on his musical upbringing. Tommy worked in the music industry for 15 years so not only did he get him into 311, but also other bands like Korn, Powerman 5000, Motley Crue and System of a Down. His sister Amanda influenced him in the dance genre and he grew up listening to New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, Nsync and Salt N Pepa because of her. “I have no shame in it at all. Listening to all of these artist’s has shaped me into the man I am today. My musicality is all over the place an I love that!”

Most people don’t know that John is a professional dancer and that he has been doing it for 25 years. “People meet me or look at me and being a dancer is the absolute last thing they would think of. Which is why I love going out on the dance floor and busting a move.” John is also a self taught drummer. “Being a dancer I just had the natural rhythm in me. I was 14 an my brother’s friends band left their equipment in our basement. So I took it upon myself to get on the drums an start making some noise.” Guilty pleasure for John is WWE. He’s been a huge fan since he was a kid. “I cannot help myself. I love it, It’s basically a soap opera for men. I even had my own wrestling league with my friends when we were kids. We called it the IWF (Intense Wrestling Federation) go ahead laugh it up. I loved pretending to be the wrestlers walking down to the ring with entrance music, I thought that was so cool. I was even The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michael’s & Y2J Chris Jericho for halloween. That’s my guilty pleasure.”

John is lucky enough to have met the band and said many things to them. He even got the opportunity to sing on stage with them! (See the video here https://youtu.be/GhA_f4mFQnI). If he was face to face with the guys right now though, his message would be this: “Thank you, for everything! Please never stop making music because I am in it for the long haul!”

To all the amazing fans that make up excitable nation:

“To all the other excitable’s out there. Wether we have met yet, or not. We are already friends for life! :)”

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There you have it folks, the tale of John Katchisin! What a great story and I’m glad he shared it. Thank you all for reading each week and learning more about the awesome people that make up this amazing group of fans! Keep on being you and the fantastic humans that you are.

Until we meet again! Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Carmen Taydus – 1/18/16

January 18th, 2016

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Welcome back 311 nation! Another week has arrived so that can only mean it’s time for the next fan spotlight. This week let’s meet the awesome Carmen Taydus!

Summer was the season and the year was 1996. Carmen was just shy of her sixteenth birthday and she had gone to visit her sister at college. She didn’t have cable at home so while at her sisters, she was glued to MTV. “When I saw (and heard) “Down” for the first time, I was hooked. I remember thinking, “WTF is going on in this video?” and “What does 3-1-1 even mean?” I watched MTV all day just to see that video over and over and over again.” Upon returning home she discovered that her friend already had the blue album and she made a copy to cassette for Carmen. They wore that album out and then discovered Music and Grassroots, then Transistor came out. “I loved that they didn’t sound like anything else at the time – they rocked, they rapped, they made weird instrumental noises, and they had such good energy at their show. I think it was the merging of rock and rap that initially made me fall in love.”

First time Carmen saw the band live was 1997. She lost track of her exact show tally but believes she is somewhere in the 20-30 range. Favorite show so far she said is a tie between the first time she saw them and the last time. “Ask me again after my next show and I’ll probably say the same. It’s always a good time at a 311 show!”

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The song “It’s Alright” means a lot to Carmen and has helped her through some tough times. “Whenever I’m doubting anything, down on life, or just questioning why, “It’s Alright’ makes me feel better (I tell you it’s alright, that’s where you’re supposed to be now). I recently lost my job and was brought to tears when this song played on shuffle. It’s kind of like the saying “everything happens for a reason” mixed with the essence of a higher being and the positivity of knowing that everything is going according to plan and it’s going to get better.” Some of her favorite quotes come from various songs and include, “I always say what I feel and that is a promise, nothing in life is above being honest,” “When I look at you it’s like praying with my eyes,” and “You’re all up in my mix like fuckin’ Betty Crocker.”

A small town in northwestern Pennsylvania is where Carmen was born, then she moved to Cary, North Carolina in Kindergarten. Then in third grade she moved to a home built from scratch in Pittsboro, N.C. “Literally everything from stacking blocks and pouring concrete for the basement foundation to putting up drywall to running electricity and plumbing to the shingles on the roof. My dad says to this day I’m the best concrete mixer ever – haha. It was actually a fun learning experience and I get crazy nostalgic whenever I go to Home Depot.”

Carmen attended UNC Asheville after high school for just three semesters before leaving to go to film school at Full Sail in Winter Park, Florida. She got her degree then moved to Kennesaw, Georgia with some friends where she tried to break into the film and video business. Unfortunately she was unsuccessful, but said she made this awesome rap video about their cats with an old camera lens (you can see the video here: https://youtu.be/ZMJpTpQg2wM ). Carmen ended up moving back to North Carolina, first with her parents, then to Wilmington. It was there that she finally quit trying to get into the film business. She is now living in Asheville where she has been for the last 10 years. She was just laid off from her Social Media Manager job in December and is now looking for her next adventure and possibly a new town. “I’m single with no kids, so nothing is tying my down! As long as I can bring my dog and cat with me, I’m good. :) I’ve never been to a 311 Day or on a 311 cruise – I’ve never been able to afford it….so I’m hoping my next job pays me very well and I’m able to afford all the 311 events I want to attend and all the 311 Christmas sweaters I want to wear!”

Some interesting facts you may not know about Carmen – her family is super Republican and thinks she is too, but she hates politics and if she told them she was a democrat it would be a HUGE conversation she doesn’t want to have! She also keeps buying albums on vinyl…but doesn’t own a record player. She also used to write and has a couple of notebooks chock full of weird stuff! Her secret talent is that she can do a mean Mickey Mouse impersonation! “I only do it for close friends and family and they tell me it’s pretty terrible. But I do it anyway because it makes people laugh.”

A few other artists she’s in to are Twenty One Pilots (one of her faves since seeing them live a few years ago), Atmosphere, Grouplove, Capital Cities, Sublime, RATM, RHCP, The Beatles, The Sheepdogs, Dirty Heads, RDGLDGRN, Wiz Khalifa, Justin Bieber (She said, “Yes, I’m a middle-aged woman, I know”), MisterWives, Modest Mouse, Lil Wayne, Trombone Shorty, Weezer, Tegan & Sara, Cam Meekins, Coldplay, N.E.R.D., Nirvana, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Brett Dennan, 2 Skinnee J’s. Guilty pleasure is that she loves watching American Idol. “It makes me cry, like happy tears, when people from random backgrounds have amazing talent and their families get so excited for them.”

Carmen’s message to 311 is: “I’m so happy you all found each other and thank you for staying positive and humble over all these years!”

Finally, her words to all the other fans out there:

“The world is a crazy place – let’s remember to stay positive and spread the love – it’s contagious! Hope to see y’all at a show in the near future!”

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That’s Carmen’s story my friends! I loved sharing her tale and hope you enjoyed it as well. Thank you, as usual, for reading about a fellow fan! Now go spread that love like Carmen said. Until we meet again…

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Colin Rome – 1/11/2016

January 11th, 2016

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Happy 2016 excitable friends! Welcome to the new year’s first 311 fan spotlight. Fans come in all shapes, sizes, & age, so let’s meet a young excitable to kick this year off. Here is the story of Colin Rome!

Dad (Scott) is the reason that Colin loves 311. He listens to the band with him, most often when they are driving around. The car is the first place Colin was introduced to them. He’s already been to five shows and he’s only 9!

Of the five shows, two of them  he went to in Salt Lake City and he said they were lots of fun because some of his friends went as well. His favorite though was the Las Vegas shows this past summer. “It was 2 nights and I got to be in VIP Cabana and hang out on the beach.”

Favorite song so far is “Five of Everything” off Stereolithic. Naturally, his favorite lyrics come from that song as well – “Five of everything but I just need one.”

Colin currently lives in Salt Lake City, which he says is his favorite place. However he was born in New Orleans and has also lived in Los Angeles. Currently in the fourth grade, Colin has just started both piano and ski lessons. Since he’s only 9, he has mom and dad to help pay for him to see 311 but as he says, “Only when I do well in school and they play close by.”

As I mentioned, Colin is only 9 but he already has learned to appreciate music and is now learning to play some as well. Other bands he likes besides 311 are Black Eyed Peas and Dirty Heads. When he isn’t listening or playing music, he likes to play on hi iPad or watch Cartoon Network. “I can’t take my eyes off them when they are on.”

Something that makes Colin unique is his love of video games. Not just playing them on his X-Box one or his iPad, he also has started to design his own game. “My mom has been teaching me some coding to make a game.” Very cool!

To the awesome guys that make up 311, Colin would like to say this one sentence: “Thank you for being so nice to the fans, especially the kids.”

Now to all the amazing people in the 311 fan community:

“Thank you all for being so nice to me at the shows. I started to stand in the pit 2 years ago and the fans are so nice. They give me plenty of room and are always so nice to me. Thank you!”

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There you have it folks, the awesome tale of Colin Rome! I love learning about a new generation of excitable fans, don’t you? I hope you enjoyed it as always and thank you for your continuing support of this project! Happy New Year to all…until we meet again!

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Mandee Flores – 12/28/2015

December 28th, 2015

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Welcome back friends to the latest edition of the 311 fan spotlight! I hope Christmas treated you well. Are you ready to meet the next fan? Here’s the story of Mandee Flores!

Middle school days were the time Mandee first heard 311. “I kept hearing 311 on the radio (Down and Beautiful Disaster) and I was drawn to their sound.” After hearing them she did some research and downloaded their music. She bought From Chaos first and listened to it nonstop before buying the rest of the albums. “Every album I heard after that, I fell in love with.  I think I was drawn to the mix of rap, rock and reggae in their sound, and later, I discovered how amazing the lyrics and meaning behind the songs are. After that, I was drawn further in by the amazing fan base and awesome concert experiences. Now, everyone I know, knows about my obsession with the band.”

First concert experience with them was at the Vans Warped Tour back in 2001. Since then she’s seen them any time they come to Denver, plus she’s been to 311 Day 2010 and 2012, plus Pow Wow. While she doesn’t have an exact number, she’s somewhere in the thirties. Her favorite event so far has been Pow Wow. “It was a few days where everyone was just hanging out for the sole reason of seeing 311. It was an experience I’ll never forget. I met so many cool people there too. However, like picking a favorite song or lyric, it is very difficult to choose one experience because they’ve all been unforgettable and amazing.”

Favorite song couldn’t be narrowed down because she said they all mean so much to her in so many different ways. While she loves all the lyrics (as most of us do) she picked “Stay positive & love your life” as the most meaningful since she has is tattooed on her back. She also is really itching to get another 311 tattoo!

Born and raised in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, Mandee had what she calls a pretty typical childhood. Her parents were divorced but she said she and her sister managed to survive. She did well in school (straight A’s) and attended the University of Colorado where she majored in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Mandee was also lucky enough to travel abroad to Australia during her time in college. “That was one of the best times in my life.”

After graduation in 2010 she went down a dark path making bad decisions and began abusing drugs. She said it only lasted a few years before she got into trouble with the law and was sent to an inpatient recovery program for 13 months. She just left the program a little over a year ago. “I learned a lot while I was there and it was one of the hardest things I’ve been through in my life. Even though I am now a felon, I am still striving to continue to get my life back on track. So now I am living back at home with my dad and working to save money. I now have over two years sober from heroin. I am working at Whole Foods Market and was very grateful they hired me with a felony. I hope to continue there and try to utilize my degree in some way working there.”

We all know that 311 means the world to us but Mandee says that they and their music were really a support system for her during her difficult times. “Whenever I’ve had rough times in life, 311 has helped me get through my troubles. 311 is like an extra support system I’ve had the past 15 years and always makes me feel better. Throughout the last 15 years of being a hardcore 311 fan, I’ve met so many cool people. It’s so awesome to be able to connect  with like-minded people and make lasting friendships over 311. Even when I was spending all my money on drugs, I always found a way to see 311.”

Mandee said that half of her friends call her by that name, the other half call her Amanda so she sometimes has an identity crisis! She is also an atheist, something she says many people may not know about her. Mandee also loves driving and considers herself an “expert driver.” “I’ve driven a 15 passenger van, I’ve driven on the other side of the road through the whole country of New Zealand, and I’ve become an expert in driving in the Colorado mountains. I do not play sports, but if I had to choose a sport, it would be driving/racing.”

Music is important to Mandee and she listens to a wide variety of genres. Some other bands that she enjoys are Incubus, Beck, Sublime, Red Hot Chili Peppers, RDGLDGRN, Vampire Weekend, Deftones, Five Finger Death Punch, Slipknot, Arcade Fire, and Eminem. One of her guilty pleasure is also a musician- Britney Spears! Other guilty pleasures include watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians and she claims herself as a borderline hoarder. “I still have many of my childhood toys, including about 10 boxes of barbie stuff.”

311 has obviously had a very strong role in Mandee’s life, and her words to them are this: “Thank you for saving my life and never break up!”

To all the other fans in 311 nation:

“Thank you all for being awesome and never change!”

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That’s the story of Mandee Flores everyone! Thank you for reading and thank you Mandee for sharing your personal story with all of us. Until we meet again my excitable friends…keep on spreading that positivity!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Crystal Tarone – 12/21/15

December 21st, 2015

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Welcome back Excitable peeps! Happy Christmas week to all. Shall we meet another amazing fan? We shall! Here’s the story of Crystal Tarone!

Watching MTV before school was a routine for Crystal. That’s how she saw the video for “Down” and discovered the band. “I had one of those Yak recorders that I would with me to school and play the 5 or 6 second clip from the chorus.” (See the photo below if you don’t remember the Yak recorders!) Crystal then got more into Sublime and Green Day, but was reintroduced to 311 through her first serious girlfriend Jen. “Her sister Jess LOVED 311.” Then in 2006 she really fell in love with the beats and lyrics. She was working a job that required a lot of traveling and she had just bought all of their albums that had been released to date. “I worked along the east coast and spent lots of time in western North Carolina. Driving around mountains, getting lifted, and grooving in the drivers seat to 311 kinda changed my life. It slowed me down and helped me appreciate each moment in my life.”

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Around 30 is the number of shows Crystal has attended. Her first was in Raleigh, North Carolina back in 2008 (setlist included below). Going to this show was a very last minute, spontaneous decision for her. “I was alone, haven’t herd of the 311 Familia yet, and had no herb on me. As soon as Snoop Dog started,  I met so many positive, sharing, and happy folks. The entire thing was pure bliss.”  While it’s hard to narrow down a favorite, since each one is so unique and holds a special place in her heart, she chose Pow Wow to take the top spot!

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Asked what song means the most to her, Crystal answered, “For each album? Lol. Very hard question.”  Her list of songs includes Offbeat Bare Ass, Feels So Good, Loco, Outside, The Continuous Life, Wake Your Mind Up, Seems Uncertain, Evolution, First Straw, Don’t Tread On Me (really the whole album), I Like the Way, Time Bomb, and she said all of Stereolithic.  One of her favorite lyrics comes from “It’s Getting OK Now” – “What if there is no ending, turn from where we’ve been, to a place where all we can see is light pouring in.”

Hazleton, Pennsylvania is where Crystal Charlotte Tarone was born and raised. She and her brother Charles grew up with her grandparents. During elementary school her friends band played “Feels So Good” at a talent show. “They fawking rocked it!”

Crystal’s uncle LA was her father figure growing up and introduced her to a wide variety of music. He worked at a radio station and had an oldies show in the evening. “Sometimes I would go with him and hang out in the little studio. He showed me the basics of the sound board, and dubbing from reel to reel. I made strange mix tapes of some of my favorites songs.” Her variable taste in music is evident in her list of other artists she like, which include A Tribe Called Quest, Full Service, Paul Van Dyk, The Sisters of Mercy, Angels and Airwaves, LL Cool J, Aaliyah, Lords of Acid, Blink 182, Enya, Marc Anthony, Nine Inch Nails, Dead Kennedys, Type O Negative, NOFX, Garbage, Deftones, Orgy, Ani DiFranco, RDGLDGRN and Green Day.

After Crystal moved out on her own, she had this pull to travel and visit the world. “I would just pick up  and leave. 311 has brought me to  Raleigh NC in ’08, Live Oak FL in ’11, Miami FL and Half Moon Cay in  ’12,  Denver CO (Red Rocks) in ’13, 311 Day in New Orleans ’14, along with the motherland Omaha NE and Council Bluffs IA in ’14 for the Grassroots Festival, Myrtle Beach SC in ’14, and Las Vegas ’15. I’ve been to Vegas twice this year, once for an Excitable wedding, and then Red, White, and Boom in Mandalay Bay.”

A fact many people may not know is that Crystal is a vegetarian, which she believes is pretty interesting! She also has the unique talent of the ability to fix things. “I can be handy sometimes. I enjoy doing my own oil changes too.”  Guilty pleasure comes in musical artist form between the Spice Girls and Ricky Martin!

Crystal’s message to the band is, “I never knew the world had so many wonderful and positive folks in it before 311!”

To all those wonderful and positive folks:

“Challenge your Positivity daily !!! And I’ll see y’all in NOLA!”

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And now you have met Crystal! Another great story, thanks for sharing it Crystal. Thank you all for reading as always. May your holidays be bright, warm, and full of positivity and love.

Much love! – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Phil Garis – 12/14/15

December 14th, 2015

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Welcome back my friends in 311 nation! Are you ready to meet the next fan spotlight?? Of course you are! Time to read about Phil Garis!

Let’s travel back to 1994, the year that Phil first heard the magical notes of 311’s music. He was at a friends house and his older brother was playing it. “Instantly fell in love with it. I begged him to dub me a tape of it. Shortly after “Down” blew up on MTV and the rest is history.”

Somewhere between twenty and thirty is where Phil’s show count is. It’s hard for him to see them a lot since they don’t come to his area that much. Of those shows his favorite is a tie between three events – 311 Day 2008, Halloween in ATL 2010, and Pow Wow.

When asked what song means the most to him, he chose “Taiyed.” “Reminds me how tiny we are in the grand scheme of things.” Favorite lyrics come from the song as well:

“See through us see a soul we have not yet

Learned to harness see the next world inside it

We are the people of skin who left water

Inside the dark womb inside of our mother

Prone to the beat and vibe of our tribe

We catch the drift and ride moving tides

Out from a love that will keep on burning

Now see yourself to the next world returning

This life an old place we face to live again

What is it to understand the hereafter.”

Phil hails from the rural suburbs of Buffalo, New York (between Buffalo and Rochester) near Lake Ontario. He grew up in a tiny town where his graduating class only existed of 92 kids. He married his high school sweetheart and they have one son together named Liam (he’s 3). Phil and his wife have been together since March 1999. He currently works in the Customer Care division at Yahoo! to fund his life and 311 habit.

311 isn’t the only band that Phil loves – he listed quite a few as his favorites and said the list could really go on and on. Some others are Deftones, Bassnectar, Highly Suspect, Jack Johnson, Beastie Boys, Charles Bradley, Red Pill, Oddisee, The Beatles, Run The Jewels, The Black Angels, Bob Marley, Eminem, the Foo Fighters, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Method Man, Redman, WuTang Clan, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Sublime (the original), Rancid, and Snapcase. His guilty pleasure is also in the musical realm. “I love “oldies” music. 50′s, 60′s, 70′s Pop/Soul/Motown/R&B etc.”

To 311, Phil would simply like to say: “Thank you for everything. It’s been an amazing 21 year journey!”

And to all the other awesome fans:

“To quote 311 – You can’t be let down if you don’t expect the world.”

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And that is Phil’s story friends! Thanks, as always, for reading this and learning more about a fellow fan. As well as making my dream of writing come true, even if it’s just for fun! Love you all and remember to keep on spreading the word of 311. We need more peace & love in the world!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Torre Smith – 12/7/15

December 7th, 2015

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Hello again my excitable friends! My apologies for the two week lapse in spotlights – times are busy but have no fear, the spotlight shines again! Let’s meet Torre Smith a.k.a. DJ Clickone!

Jason Gladys, a friend of Torre’s, is responsible for his introduction to 311. “He popped in a 311 tape (Music). After hearing it I was hooked!” Since then Torre has been to over a hundred shows. Out of those, his favorite is the show they played at the Roxy in Atlanta. “They played every album leading up to the Blue album.”

Song that means the most to Torre is off Music and that song is “Plain.” Favorite lyrics come from the song “Hive” – “I don’t need friends to act like foes.”

New York is where Torre grew up, although he’s now in Georgia and has been there for some time. He was raised in a very musical environment from when he was just a small child. Torre said pretty much everyone in his family has something to do with music in one way or another. Growing up he was always around DJ’s which is why he ended up becoming one himself. “I cannot go a day without music. It is a huge part of my life and makes me who I am.”

An interesting fact Torre wants you all to know is that he is an over-thinker. “My mind races a mile a minute.” Obviously he loves music and that love has given him a unique skill as well. “I hear music differently than other people. I can formulate beats in my head just from listening to the sounds outside like birds chirping, leaves brushing by, or a car going by. I can put it all together to form one beat in my head. I feel music in my soul.”  When not creating beats, and needing a guilty pleasure break, you’ll find him at the T.V. watching the show “How I Met Your Mother.”

Music is in his soul, so 311 isn’t the only bands he loves. Others include Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine, NO/FX, and Pennywise.

Torre’s message to 311 is simple and full of gratitude:

“Thank you for being such a big part of my music life.”

Now to all the awesome fans in 311 nation:

“Spread love and music because music is a universal language.”

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There you have Torre’s story my friends! I”m happy to have introduced him to you and thank you as always for reading! Until we meet again, keep on spreading positivity and peace.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Tonya Frye – 11/16/15

November 16th, 2015

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Hey there and welcome back my excitable friends in 311 nation! The time is here to meet another awesome fellow 311 lover – Tonya Frye!

A bar that Tonya frequented quite a bit in the early 90’s is the setting for where her love for the band starts. The bar would play “Do You Right” and “Homebrew.” “I couldn’t help but get my groove on when I would hear them.”

Exact count on how many shows Tonya has attended is hazy, but she guesses she’s somewhere in the fifties. “If I had known at the time that this would become such a huge thing in my life, I would have kept better track.”  Favorite event however is an easier question to answer and she chose 311 Day 2008. “It was my first 311 Day, my first time in New Orleans, and it was the first time that I really traveled a long distance to see them. Everything about that trip was amazing.” A close second for her would be her very first show ever which was at Strawberry Banks in Hampton, Virginia, May 27, 1996. “It was such a random venue. Like, someone literally put up a stage on the middle of the field. They opened the show with ‘Homebrew’ and I have been hooked ever since.”

Tonya has a great answer for the question of what’s her favorite song: “Picking which song means the most to me is like asking me which one of my children I love the most lol.” She says there is always a song to match where she currently is in her life. Some of the top songs on her list though are “Hostile Apostle,” “Starshines,” “Hive,” and “Reconsider Everything.”

One of Tonya’s favorite lyrics comes from “Never Ending Summer:”  “Hanging out with my friends, we’re traveling. Out and about, good times that we’re having it’s, harmonic bliss when we are all synchronized, something got to see with your own eyes.” She loves these words because they remind her of Kim James, her 311 partner in crime, as well as all the other amazing friends she has made and road tripped with to a show.

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An “older than the average 311 fan” is how Tonya describes herself. “I am 43, which puts me at around the same age as the band members.”  Richmond, Virginia is where she grew up and it was a huge hub for punk music throughout the 80’s. “I was a little, angry punk rock girl for a long time. Hell, I still have a little bit of that angst ridden teenager inside of me.”  Then at the age of 20, in 1992, Tonya moved to Virginia Beach where she still is to this day.

311 has become part of her family she says. She took all of her younger siblings to see them when they were in high school. Now she has four kids of her own and they all have seen 311 as their first concerts. Even her husband got sucked in! “He was a casual fan, you could say, until I started dragging him to shows. Now he is a huge fan and has turned into one of those crazy poster people lol.”

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Tonya is a Pre-K teacher, which she says doesn’t pay that much. However she created an after school science enrichment program to make extra money and help support her 311 habit. “Last year I watched one of my students after school to make money for the cruise. 311 Day and the like have become my husband and my Christmas/Birthday present to each other.”   While Tonya says she’s an open book so there’s nothing people really don’t know about her, she can tell you something unique. “Don’t ever challenge me to a trivia contest. I know an insane amount of useless trivia.” She says she even owns every edition of Trivia Pursuit and her family won’t play with her anymore because she takes it a little too seriously!

Her musical tastes are eclectic, and when not rocking out to 311 she can be found listening to anything from The Smiths to Passafire, from The Descendents to Incubus. And even a little Kelly Clarkson, her guilty pleasure. “There I said it. Go ahead and judge, but that girl can sing her ass off.”

311 has a huge impact on Tonya and her families life, so to them she’d like to say:

“I am sure everyone says this, but I would simply say “Thank You”. Thank you for your music and thank for this amazing community that I love. Also ,I would say, ”for the love of all things holy, would you please, please play Hostile Apostle.”

To all the other awesome fans out there:

“Live your most genuine life every day. Like the song says, ‘This moment is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”

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Now you’ve met Tonya Frye! I love reading about older fans (simply because I myself am one lol). I hope you all get to meet her in person one day…I know I do! Thanks Tonya for being a part of this and thank you to all that read the spotlights! You all ROCK!

Until next time, stay awesome.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Zachery Smith – 11/9/15

November 9th, 2015

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Good day my friends in 311 nation! It’s that time…not freeze time, but the new fan spotlight time! This week we introduce Zachery Smith!

High school was the era that brought 311 into Zachery’s life. He was watching TRL on MTV and they showed the video for “Down.” Right after that he bought the blue album, then shortly thereafter Transistor was released. “I knew I’d be listening to them for the rest of my life.”

Twelve is the number of times Zachery has seen them live and he says his favorite by far was his first show. The band played at a small venue in St. Louis called Mississippi Nights back in 1999. “They were supposed to come on at 8, but they made us wait until almost 9.  Crowd was rowdy before they came out.  They opened with Omaha Stylee and melted my 17 year old brain.”

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Choosing a favorite song was impossible for Zachery, as he said he has different songs for different moods. Same goes for lyrics, since he says so many of them are so memorable. Some of his favorite though come from the songs that his daughters love to sing such as “Come Original,” “Sunset in July,” “Weightless,” “Time Bomb,” and pretty much all of the Stereolithic album. “They sing their hearts out to those.”

Marion, Illinois is where Zachery was born and raised. Then after high school ended he enlisted in the Army and spent the next 10 years there. This included four tours in Iraq. “I was in Iraq when Evolver came out and a friend sent it to me. Needless to say, everyone there with me heard it 1000 times.” In 2012 he left the Army and moved back home where he now runs a restaurant.

While Zachery doesn’t miss the Army, he does miss Iraq, which he described as beautiful. When asked what talent he has, he said he has the amazing ability to be bad at answering questions about himself! “I’m not really good at talking about myself.”  Guilty pleasure comes in song form with the song “Chandelier” by Sia. “Ugh, gets stuck in my head.”

When not listening to 311 he can be found jamming out to artists like Thrice, Dredg, Deftones, The Urge, Toadies, Brand New, Circa Survive, Finch, Glassjaw, Jimmies Chicken Shack, Manchester Orchestra, and Sun Kill Moon. “So much great and unique music out there.”

To the band that impacts our lives so much, Zachery would just like to say a simple, “Thank you.”

To all of the amazing fans his message is this:

“I want to meet as many of you as I can.  I’ve met a few of you through Facebook and at shows, and you all seem cool as hell.”

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And that my friends is Zachery’s story! Thank you for taking the time to read it and learn about another fellow fan this week. You are all truly amazing humans!

Until we meet again…stay awesome!

Much love – The Runt

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