311 Fan Spotlight – 10/23/2017 – Matt Brill!

Hello again to all out there in 311 nation! How’s everybody feeling? Hopefully good and ready to take on a new week. Let’s start it off and meet the next 311 fan spotlight, Mr. Matt Brill!

The love for 311 began for Matt when he was around the age of 13 or 14. He can remember the precise moment like it was yesterday. “I was hanging out with my best friend back then, John Mock. We’re in his basement. He turns on his stereo to ridiculously loud proportions. It was the song “Down” rattling his entire house. From that very moment I fell in love with 311.” Matt ran out and bought the blue album, then shortly after he found Grassroots. “I can’t really determine what drew me to them back in those days but it happened effortlessly. I instantly fell in love. 311, along with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, are the two groups that brought me into music and became the styles I love to this day.”

Show count is uncertain for Matt. He stopped counting when he reached the 40’s and that was four years ago. His estimate is somewhere in the 60’s now. “My first show was back in 1999 in Madison, Wisconsin at the Exhibition Hall. Madison being Nick Hexum’s city of birth!” Favorite event so far was the second cruise. “I got front row for the first night show, the Lido deck show. I remember running full speed up many levels of stairways with my buddy Jermaine to get that position. Spending multiple days, on a boat, with some of my best friends was surreal. And it was just us 311 fans. No cars, no traffic, no news, no TV, no cellphones. It was beautiful! That was an amazing overall experience. And the island show. Wow! To see 311 play on a Caribbean island!”

There isn’t just one song that means the most to Matt out of 311’s catalog. “There’s so many, collectively, that have different meanings for me depending on my current life situations.” One lyric that Matt loves though is, “The fish who keeps on swimming is the first to chill upstream.” He said it reminds him of his entire life’s journey. “Never giving up no matter what. And with much sacrifice now, comes much better things in the future.”

Janesville, Wisconsin, is where Matt was born and he lived there for his first 32 years on this planet. He and his sister were raised by their single mother and his grandfather was his father figure who taught him how to be a man. In 2015 Matt moved to Detroit, Michigan, to be near his mother, stepdad, and two little brothers, and also for a job working at Ford Motor Company. “My 311 habit is funded by my job at Ford and investments. Back in Wisconsin it was very much funded by “WGTH” sales.”

Interesting fact that Matt says most don’t know about him? “In my younger days I did jail time for stealing a Glock 40, bulletproof vest, and hundreds of hollow point rounds off of a S.W.A.T. team officer. Oops!” Something that makes him special is his frugality. “I know how to get rich by living like I’m poor. I have an exceptional ability to find the best deals and values in every aspect of my life. Sacrifice!” Guilty pleasure for Matt is The Walking Dead. “I love that show! I attend the conventions, meet the actors, know all of their real names, etc.”

Mentioned earlier, another musical talent that Matt loves is Bones Thugs-N-Harmony. He also loves Pink Floyd to name another one. “I fell in love with BTNH right about the same time as I got into 311. From what I remember, the videos for “Tha Crossroads” and “Down” were on MTV at the same time.  I fell in love with Pink Floyd my senior year of high school. My friends and I used to drive around the countrysides of Wisconsin, smoking herb, and Pink Floyd always was the perfect background music to those adventures.”

Matt’s message to 311 is simple yet powerful: “THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY LIFE.”

His message to all his fellow 311 fans is just as simple and powerful:

“Be different.”

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Thank you Matt Brill for sharing your story of your love for 311! It was a pleasure to learn more about Matt and I hope everyone reading enjoyed his tale. Thank you of course for reading each week, and being part of this amazing group of fans. Until we meet again, stay positive and love your life!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 10/16/17 – Brett Kondrat!

Will Byington Photography © 2017

Welcome again to all those out there in 311 nation! The time is here to introduce the next fan spotlight. Meet Brett Kondrat!

Love for 311 began in the mid 90’s for Brett, back when he was a skater kid. He gives credit to B Love, Brian Smith, and Arlo Eisenberg for his introduction to the band. It was 1995 and they had made a rollerblading video called The Hoax 2. “These guys were my hero’s and they were skating to 311’s music in a few sections of this epic skate video. Arlo owned a skate brand called Senate, it was like the Nike of rollerblading at the time. Nick used to wear Senate tank tops on stage and they became known as a cool band to us skater kids. In 1997 other kids were buying Jordan’s shoes and Deon Sander’s jerseys. B Love had his own signature pro wheels and the artwork on the packaging was styled after the album cover for Music. B Love was standing there pointing right at you. I was like 12, but I saved my money and bought 2 sets of those wheels, I honestly cherished them. I only skated them on wood ramps at the skate park so they wouldn’t get worn out on the street! And I still have them.”

Show count is at 72 for Brett, including six 311 Day events and all 5 cruises. First show was in 2001 at the Warped Tour in Dallas, Texas. The ever hard question to answer was what Brett’s favorite show was. “I would have to say watching Transistor in its entirety at The Pow Wow was the best night of music I have ever seen. Honorable mention to the Unity Orchestra at 311 Day and watching them while floating in paradise at Half Moon Cay.”

Song that Brett loves is “Reggae Got Soul” and he hopes that the band plays it live one day. He couldn’t pick just one song that really means the most to him though. “It’s impossible to pick one. The Continuous Life or Welcome live with the intro are favorites. The song that means the most to me is the one that’s making me feel awesome while I’m listening to it.” A few lyrics that stand out to him as favorites are, “Don’t let the fear get you,” “It’s not ambiguous, it be continuous, it’s all about us, it’s for real my man. The continuous life there is no end, moving through life, moving through death,” and “Damn, you’re a shame, no thank you ma’am, Bitch!”

A small town in Western Massachusetts is where Brett grew up, but he moved to Dallas, Texas when he was 11 years old. He just moved to Denver, Colorado a month ago and so far he loves it. How he funds his 311 habit is by his creation of a lighter called The Wick Light. He sells them online and at retail stores.

One thing Brett believes about 311’s music is that Evolver doesn’t really get the credit it deserves. “That record has Creatures, Beyond the Grey Sky, and Jacks rule the realm and it’s only 11 songs… just sayin’.” When 311 isn’t bumping at Brett’s home, his ears are entertained by musicians like Full Service, Killswitch Engage, Pepper, All That Remains, Times of Grace, Mastodon, and lately a lot of Tom Petty.

At the age of 33, Brett still hits up the skate parks. “I don’t want to grow up.” Guilty pleasure for Brett is the T.V. show The Sopranos. “I have an unhealthy obsession with it. I lost count of how many times I’ve watched it.”

To 311, Brett’s message is: “Thank you for creating beautiful art that brings us together, encourages us to live well and think deeply about ourselves, others, and the universe.”

To all the other awesome fans:

“Thank you all for being the greatest group of positive humans that has ever been assembled. I love you all, see you at 311 Day!”

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Thank you Brett for sharing your story with the best fans in the world! Thank you to all that continue reading. Time to go out there and be awesome, spread that love and unity to all!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 10/2/2017 – Rob Montano!

Will Byington Photography © 2017

Welcome back my excitable friends out in 311 nation! Are we all ready to start the new week off right? Let’s do it by reading the next fan spotlight. Meet Rob Montano!

The radio stations DC101 and 99.1 WHFS were local radio stations that Rob listened to and it was there that he first heard the magical sounds of 311. “I bought the blue album when it first came out and didn’t look back. My older sister was a fan too.”

First show for Rob was back in 2002 at the Nissan Pavilion for the Sprite Liquid Mix tour. Since then he has attended 71 shows total. Favorite of those 71 shows goes to the first show on the last cruise this year and it is for a very awesome reason. “I proposed to my longtime girlfriend Caitlin during the sail away show! Then we popped the biggest bottle of champagne to celebrate!”

Song that means the most to Rob is “All Mixed Up” and it has a special meaning to he and his fiancé. “I had always be mine engraved on my fiancés ring.” Favorite lyric comes from the song “Plain” – “Life’s a bowl of punch, go ahead and spike it.”

Rob was born and raised in Maryland, still residing there to this day. He lives in Montgomery County with his fiancé Caitlin. Currently he is attending school at University of Maryland University College. He is working towards a degree in Cybersecurity and also working full time so he can keep funding his 311 habit! He is very excited to get into the IT field of work. He also has his hands full taking care of their 2 year old puggle P-Nut. “He keeps us on our toes. He enjoys when we have friends come visit, especially our 311 friends.”

Cool piece of information about Rob, his brother lives in Milan, Italy, and his sister lives in London, England. “We just traveled to Scotland for my sisters wedding. I now have a British brother in law. I’m also about to be an Uncle in March.” Something else Rob says some might not know is that he played hockey in high school.

It was in high school where Rob met Caitlin, so he really proposed to his high school sweetheart, not something that happens very often! “We bonded over 311 in computer class and the rest is history.” Some things Rob loves (besides Caitlin) are playing golf, traveling (not just for 311), and going to Bethany Beach, Delaware. When not listening to 311 he can be found rocking out to Tipper, Pretty Lights, Ballyhoo!, Sound Tribe, Ganja White Night, Ott, Jade Cicada, Bogtrotter, Shpongle, Bassnectar, SOJA, and Stick Figure.

To 311, Rob’s message is: “Thank you for everything you have done over the last 27 years and also helping me meet a ton of great people….like Chrissy!”

Now his simple and sweet message to all the other fans!

“Life is short so live it up!”

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There you have the story of Rob Montano! Thanks to Rob for sharing his story of his love for 311 and thank you readers, as always, for keeping this blog alive! We are all part of an amazing community and I love helping tell your stories. Now go take this week on with power, positivity and love!

Much Love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 9/18/17 – Alisha Eckman!

Welcome again Excitable 311 nation! It’s time for the new 311 fan spotlight. This week we feature the lovely Alisha Eckman!

Fourteen years old was the age when 311 first came into Alisha’s life. It was 1995 and she was in junior high. She has a very distinct memory of her friend Megan saying she liked this song “Down” by this band, “three, one, one, or however you say it.” Alisha went out and bought the blue album and as she said, it was love at first listen. “Instant connection to the music and lyrics, which I studied and quickly memorized. This then brought me to BullMoose Music in Brunswick, Maine because I had to hear more! So bought Music, Grassroots and eventually Omaha Sessions – which would quickly become my favorite albums of all-time.”

Alisha never really kept track of shows she went to until recently, so she is unsure of her number, but believes it’s somewhere in the mid 20’s. Her favorite event so far was 311 Day 2016 in New Orleans. “I’d never been to 311 Day before that – it always seemed too tough to make it while I was raising my little ones. It wasn’t until www.thepier.org had an email contest How I discovered 311 that I actually won, that actually made this dream a reality for me! The experience was the most amazing ever and I’m forever grateful! I’d never even gotten the rail before, so to be able to see 2 nights of 311’s live music and get the pit for a photo pass, I’d struck gold. This totally rekindled my love for 311. Not that I ever lost that love, but I guess I lost my enthusiasm for most things in my life for a while, due to some pretty tough years. In 2006,​ ​my dad died unexpectedly in an accident and an ex cheated on me while I grieved… all simultaneously. My heart was completely broken and so was my sense of self. It took me many years to go to any shows again. I met my awesome husband Eric and we started going to shows together and that part of me was reborn. When I finally gathered up the courage to read his death certificate, I saw his time of passing was actually 3:11 p.m. Turns out that 311 is the bridge to my dad in spirit. 🙂 I see the clock at 3:11, sometimes out of a deep sleep and I just know it’s my dad telling me he loves me and is with me. 311 is so much deeper to me than ‘just a band.’ They have so much spiritual meaning to me. Following this band is a lifestyle and it’s brought me to meet so many beautiful souls. http://www.thepier.org/311-day-contest-how-i-discovered-311/

It was tough for Alisha to think of a song that means the most to her because she said there is literally not a song that she doesn’t like. Two songs that did come to mind that stands out as favorites are “Hydroponic” and “Omaha Stylee.” Song lyric that keeps her motivated is, “The fish who keeps on swimming, is the first to swim upstream.” She also loves the lyric, “I’m truly grateful, I’m going back to the Earth, I’m not gonna waste life being hateful.”

Maine is where Alisha grew up and has been there the majority of her life. She lived in Kansas for a little over a year, as well as Maryland, and even spent a couple of years in England. “I just moved to a little country town in New Hampshire with my family and have seen 311 in every state I’ve ever lived in but no other countries.” Funny tidbit about Alisha is that she has NEVER been able to watch scary movies! “I would literally still have nightmares… I avoid them and anything super violent. I couldn’t do Game of Thrones. I stick to lighter / feel-good stuff.”

Something cool that Alisha does is that she using her artistic ability to create pointillism art and mehndi (henna). You can find some samples of her work on her Instagram: stylemyday311. Some other bands that Alisha loves are Iration, Rebelution, and Stick Figure. “I’ve really gotten into reggae more in the past couple years. This music makes me feel so good!” Guilty pleasure? “Chocolate pie… I can eat the entire pie in one sitting. Done it… haha!!”

To 311 Alisha’s message is this: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank YOU, from the bottom of my heart. You all mean so much more to me than ‘just a band’ that I’ve loved for nearly 23 years. You’ve helped me through the most difficult times of my life and I feel so grateful to have this connection with you.”

Now to all the other amazing fans:

“It’s just been such a blast and such a blessing to meet so many other awesome and passionate people who share a common love! I love seeing you all again each summer and look forward to many more years ahead of getting together and rocking out together. ;)​”

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Now you know the story of Alisha Eckman! I can say I’ve met her in person and she’s awesome! I hope you all get to meet her in person one day. Thanks for reading again this week! Now go kick some butt and spread that positivity!

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 9/11/17 – Morgan Surkin!

Hello again Excitable nation! Are you ready to read about the next amazing 311 fan? Then let’s get to it. Meet Morgan Surkin!

The story of Morgan begins with her seeing the music video for “Down” on MTV and was there that she just fell in love with the music. “The mix of rock music and positive lyrics had me hooked from the get-go.”

Morgan hasn’t really kept track of show count over the years but believes it’s somewhere in the 20’s range. The shows she has attended include 311 Day 2010, Pow Wow, and two of the cruises. “My first show was when I was 16; August 21, 1997 with De La Soul and Rustic Overtones in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. I remember it was pouring rain and nothing but mud. Ever since then I have seen them as much as I could because there is nothing like a 311 live show!”

Picking her favorite show was difficult. Pow Wow was her first taste of just how big the 311 community is and the power that 311’s music has bringing people together. “We brought our son and road-tripped down from Maine with another couple and a sitter. While the heat was ridiculous, my son played on the bouncy slide with Nick’s daughter and it was a chill, family-friendly and reasonably priced event for a vacation.” Then there was 311 Day 2010 where she and her husband splurged on VIP to get to meet and play Blackjack with the band. “The dealer even called me out for being star struck and having a huge dumb smile on my face the whole time. Ha! The Cruises are next level though – everyone stuck in a small area, there for the same fun loving reason, no internet, running into your favorite bands and comedians while walking around the boat (or beach) is pretty surreal. Any time the 311 community gets together for a big event, it is a fabulous experience.”

“Speak Easy” is one of the songs that mean the most to her, she says it makes her cry almost every time she hears it live. “I even have it woven into the grassroots tattooed on my wrist. When I heard it on the cruise with that beautiful backdrop, surrounded by so much love and positivity, it was like a dream.” Favorite lyrics are “Stay positive and love your life.” “Another lyric I have tattooed on my forearm. It is a motto I strive to live by daily.”

Falmouth, Maine, is where Morgan grew up and she currently lives in the same state in the city of Portland. She lives there with her husband, son, and their dog. By day she is a paralegal/legal assistant and by night she teaches Pilates and runs a sport and social club with her husband that they founded back in 2008. “We started PortSports with the ideal of promoting unity and positivity even within recreational adult sports. A big part of our mission is to give back to charities and over the years we’ve donated over $30,000 to local and national nonprofit organizations.”

Uniqueness comes from Morgan’s 311 tattoo sleeve. “All I knew when I started this project was that I wanted a sleeve, I wanted it all 311-related, with the overarching theme of ‘head in the clouds, feet on the ground’ from shoulder to wrist. From there I went through the lyric books I had created (because I’m a nerd), pulled my favorite quotes and imagery from their music and started my list to bring to my artist. We worked on the design for over four months to take the ideas and make them a cohesive piece of art that I will have for a lifetime. It took about 24 hours total ink time from start to finish. Inspiration: SPLYL, Jupiter, Hive, Pow Wow Fest/dreamcatcher, BTGS/Sun Comes Through, Transistor, Speak Easy, Grassroots, Ballyhoo!’s Earl to name a few].”

Something you may not know about Morgan is that in her sophomore year of college she went to Egypt to study the “Coral Reed Preservation in the Red Sea.” “We spent one week in Cairo and two weeks scuba diving in Sharm el Sheikh. And yes, I got to ride a camel!” Guilty pleasure for Morgan is the reality show “Big Brother.” When not listening to 311 she jams out to Dirty Heads, Ballyhoo!, RDGLDGRN and Major Lazer.

Morgan has this message to 311: “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for spreading your message of unity and positivity since the beginning and staying true to yourselves throughout the years. Keep on being the 311est!”

Her message to all the other awesome 311 fans:

“Enjoy the ride and keep an open heart. Even after 20+ years of being a fan, I still love rediscovering their music and finding a new appreciation each and every show.”

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Morgan, thanks for being awesome and sharing your story with everyone! It was my pleasure being able to write about an amazing person. Thanks to all who stopped by to read this and keep on reading each week. You are all wonderful! Now go out and spread that positivity.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 9/4/17 – Steve Young!

Hello again excitable friends! Can you guess the time? It’s new fan spotlight time! This week we meet Steve Young!

The year was 1994 and it was a close friend at school that introduced Steve to 311. His friend had the Music album on tape and they would listen to it in between classes. “I remember saying wow these guys are freaking awesome. I went to Tower Records after class and bought it, I wore that tape out, till it broke, and then bought it again.”

Show count for Steve is at 54. He’s been on three cruises and thinks they are absolutely amazing. “I even got to play basketball against p-nut on two of them.. he won one and I won one, so  I need a grudge match! every show since then Pnut always pretends to shoot a basketball at me when he see’s me on his side at the shows..so cool!!!” Steve’s first show was at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City back in 1995. “They played with Korn that night and I danced and moshed my ass off all night, instantly hooked on the energy of their live shows!” His favorite show so far though was the beach show from the second cruise. “Nothing can compare to watching 311 do their thing on a pirate ship stage while swimming in the ocean. I remember it so well I had a blue floating matt with 2 buckets of beer my close friends and a ear full of awesome…that memory will never leave me.”

There are many songs that Steve holds near and dear. “With each release of a new album there would be a song or three, that felt like it was just for me in the now, something I was going thru or experiencing that just was in sync with my life, a song like all mixed up saying trust your instincts and let go of regret, at the time its just what I needed or song like speak easy when it came out I was living in the Bahamas I was away from the city, away from the ears that bug us and judge us, indeed it was liberating to be free…. all along their path and mine they would have song come out that touched me, encouraged me or lifted my spirit up. I can’t name just one, its a collective of lyrics, songs and moments in time that stir my soul.” There are also many lyrics that have touched his heart, but right now he said his favorite comes from “Wake Your Mind Up” – The streets that we walk on are dark and jaded, a wandering soul that’s filled with hatred. In it is poison the youth is tainted, social engineering keeps us separated. Media control is highly overrated, ignorance is bliss to those uneducated. Listen to the message cuz it’s time we faced it.”

Northern New Jersey is the area that Steve was raised but his journey through life has taken him quite a few places including Southern Florida, a small island in the Bahamas, New York, and Pennsylvania. His career path has been kind of crazy he said. “I just followed the road in front of me and surfed the wave, after college I was a bartender for many years, one summer I was hired to do a flair gig in the Hamptons, it was a party for a really wealthy family, that party I worked changed everything, I got to know the owner of the estate and he asked me to come back for other parties  I did, after one party he asked if I wanted to work for him, I said jokingly yeah sure you need a personal bartender full time? he laughed and said no I need a sharp guy like you to help me set up a new house I bought in the Bahamas,  I said yes and two weeks later I was on a private jet moving to harbor island in the Bahamas, I lived on a billionaires private estate and looked over his house, I managed that property, and also oversaw construction of a 4 unit guest apartment.  It was crazy I didn’t know anyone there but I was in paradise, I loved island life those 3 years I can remember dancing to golden sunlight on the beach at night and I could see the stars under my feet from the calm waters rolling up on the sand, the sky was so clear and the stars so bright it looked like a disco under my toes.  That was in 2008 I stayed working for that family for 6 years working my way up his private staff to finally becoming the head of estates. I was brushing elbows with so many cool people from Presidents of the United States to famous actors and singers, the stories I could tell, would fill up this entire blog.  But while working for that family we did a number of construction projects and I got to know a architect very well, he got me to leave that job and work for him, so now I work for a Architecture firm in nyc as a Owners Rep and I help families build their dream homes. It’s been I wild ride I wouldn’t change a minute.  If you meet me in person ask me to tell you a dirty joke Bill Clinton told me and Chevy Chase over cocktails one night at a fundraiser.”

Interesting fact about Steve is that he loves to dance! He was his older sisters dance partner growing up and he still loves it. “All forms, from lindy hop, to swing, to ballroom styles, electro and dance hall. I Love slinging my little lady around the dance floor. The ways different music moves you is always something I’ve enjoyed. Pants off dance off…yes please!” Unique attribute for Steve is his laugh! “Friends of mine always comment on my laugh, that it’s infectious, and I do love to be silly. I also really like to make others laugh, I don’t try to be a funny guy, but it’s more of something I always have done infused humor into everything, lighten the mood, try to get people to laugh, which in turns gets me laughing. They say it adds years to your life. Don’t be so serious it’s just a ride.”

Guilty pleasure for Steve is that he loves his Sunday Fun day! “Golf with the guys and Game of Thrones in the eve…Sunday fun days are the best!” Other bands Steve listens to, it changes from time to time, but for the most part its Bob Marley, Beastie Boys, The Dirty Heads, The Movement, Stick Figure, and CC Roots, a great local band in New Jersey/NYC.

To 311, Steve’s message is this: “I would first like to thank them for all the uplifting moments on my journey, my positive outlook on life that fuels me, they have been a major part in my life.. Then I would like to encourage them to say more in between songs!! I know that down is for the “old school fans’ lol Say something uplifting, or about the song, it makes the connection even better, and it feels personal for that crowd in that moment in time! I feel so blessed to have them in my life for 23 years!”

To all the other awesome 311 fans:

“I would really like to stress to all the fans and friends the power of unity. There is a reason chad has the symbol of the flower of life on his drum sticks and I have it tattooed on me as well,. The flower of life is the sacred geometry of creation that shapes all living things and is the visual expression of the connections of life that run through all sentient beings. Basically we are all connected, we are all one!  When realizing this, everyone becomes your brother or sister, everyone is part of you, this promotes peace and love and unity, as why would anyone want to do harm to a loved one or themselves. You can hear “one” in the lyrics of many 311 songs, and yes I do believe we are in fact all one, all coming from one source spirit.    Just try to take that out into the world with you. BE kinder to one another, be patient, be love, Try to affect your little universe in a positive way. We can all shape this world into a better place,. We need this now! You can easily see that the powers that be and the media push and try to divide us, by race, color, political views and religion. It’s all around us every day, fear and hate on every news channel. WE all need to be beacons of light and fill this world with the one thing we all know is a huge part of being a 311 fan Peace Love and Unity! ……Respect!!”

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Steve thanks for sharing your story and being a part of this 311 fan community! Such a pleasure to write this up and I love sharing all your tales of how you fell in love with 311. Like I always say, I’ll keep writing as long you keep reading!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 8/28/17 – Mike Benoit!

 

Hello again my friends in 311 nation! New week and a new fan spotlight, so let’s get this party started! Time to meet Mike Benoit!

Mike’s story begins when he heard “Down” on the local radio station in Vermont, he was immediately hooked. He was a big Rage Against the Machine and The Offspring fan, so 311 was a good mix of them. “I believe my exact words when I heard Down was: “who the hell are THESE guys???” It wasn’t until my freshman year of college (2002) where I really started to dig in to 311. I had a roommate who had a ton of their albums. Music and Grassroots pretty much changed everything for me.”

Show count is at 10 for Mike. “Living in Vermont forces you to drive everywhere to see them with the exception of the 1 or 2 times they’ve been here. My first show was 11/13/2003 in Providence, RI at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Still one of the best 311 shows I’ve experienced (Jackolantern’s Weather, Gap, Freak Out, Don’t Dwell?!?!?!)” Favorite show so far was the Hampton Beach, New Hampshire back on 7/19/2016. “First time I heard Stealing Happy Hours and Jackpot live, both were amazing! I’ve yet to experience a 311 Day or a cruise…. hoping to change that when the next cruise is announced.”

Song that means the most to Mike was hard to choose because they have gotten him through many good and bad times in his life. “It’s really about what’s going on at the moment. If I had to pick ONE song that means the most, it would have to be Unity. I love the songs by 311 that feel like an adventure. Ones that are unexpected and don’t follow the same typical structure. Wildfire is a good example of that as well. Unity has great lyrics and it crushes live – “My bros are down for the Unity, 311 is down for the Unity, Unanimity, of the Unity.” Aside from those lyrics, Mike also likes what has become the 311 motto, “Stay positive and love your life.” His favorite SA lyric is “You’re a power spot rotating, ever-changing, Transmitting like a radio wave frequently feeling, What’s goin’ on times are weird all this static, Things erratic seems like we lost the magic, See hear how clear is inner quality, A yin and yang type of thang sacred geometry, Ascending mad energy crazy bad, You’re something NASA fuckin’ wish they had,” Favorite Nick quote is, “How can you say that you’re blue, A rich rock star you are, Yet you still complain, that’s insane, Imagine if you had a child of two, You’re a single mom, son named Tom, You work a long hard day just to bill pay, With no time to play then what would you say.”

Mike grew up in Essex, Vermont, a suburb of Burlington. He was very active growing up, playing baseball, hockey, and running cross-country. The first two were his favorites though. He is a die hard Boston fan except when it comes to football, he roots for The Raiders because his dad is from Los Angeles. Mike lived in Vermont until he graduated high school and went to college for 2 years in Smithfield, Rhode Island, which is where he really got into 311. He found that city life wasn’t for him though and moved back to Vermont because he “preferred mountain views and easy living.” “Once I got my shit together and met what would turn out to be my wife, we moved to Fairfax, VT and then St. Albans, VT. I’ve visited Paris, France, Arizona, Ohio, all of New England, Canada, and most of Florida. My wife April and I traveled 15 hours to go see 311 and the rest of the Carolina Rebellion Tour in 2014. What a crazy ass show that was!!! 50,000 people. Never seen that many people actually get along. Despite being a heavy rock festival where I thought 311 was the odd ball out band, people really got in to them! Great to see!”

Mike was in a band for about 4 years, a cover band called the EMT’s which stood for Ed, Mike, and Tim, the members of the band. “I played bass guitar and put myself in debt trying to think I had some sort of future. Being in a band is a TOUGH job.” Mentioned above is Mike’s love for hockey, and he still plays even now that he’s in his 30’s. He has two daughters, age 2 and 5, and he considers being a dad to two girls a talent! He also brews his own beer. “You name the style and I’ll brew it! I’m a Beer Wench for a few ladies from the New England area who supply them with awesome Vermont beers!”

Guilty pleasure for Mike is the T.V. show America’s Got Talent. He is also obsessed with Batman. “May as well throw Batdad in to that mix as well.” Some other musicians that he loves are Sublime, Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, Breaking Benjamin, Volbeat, Twelve Foot Ninja, Save Ferris, Reel Big Fish, Killswitch Engage, Slipknot, Anthrax, Slayer, to classic rock – AC/DC, Eric Clapton, Rush, and Metallica.

Mike has never had the opportunity to meet the band, so his message to them is this:

“To P-Nut, thank you for inspiring me to pick up a bass guitar. Him and Victor Wooten are the reasons I started playing. To the rest of the guys, thanks for helping get through all the good times and bad over the last 17 years or so. You truly have a gift when a band with all original members can continue to make amazing music and evolve all while keeping your OG sound at the same time. Because of 311, I’ve met some amazing people who I can call good friends now from all over the place. I don’t know any other band I listen to where that has happened. You show up at a 311 show, you leave with friends or “I got a clique, but it’s more like a family.”

Now to all the other awesome 311 fans:

“To 311 Nation – Stay Positive, Love Your Life. We need that more than anything right now, be kind to each other. For the rest of this, I just want to give a shout out to my Hampton Beach crew (you all know who you are) and everyone else I’ve had the pleasure to meet over the years. Thank you for making me feel welcome and contributing to some amazing 311 shows. The band may put the music out, but the fans in the crowd help seal the deal when it comes to the overall experience! Cheers!”

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There you have the story of Mike Benoit (pronounced Ben-Wah just so you all know)! Thanks for being a part of this creation Mike, and thanks to all the fans who keep on reading. Such an amazing group to be a part of! Until next time.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 8/21/17 – Lauren Lowney!

Welcome back 311 nation! New week means new fan spotlight! Let’s get this party started and meet the lovely Lauren Lowney!

The year was 1996 and it was Lauren’s sister who introduced her to 311. Her sister used to drop her off at middle school on her way to high school. “A coworker of hers had let her borrow the Blue Album.  I was drawn to how different they sounded from anything else I had ever heard – I think it was the first time I actually “felt” music (I know that’s the corniest thing in the world, but it’s true).” Shortly thereafter 311 became a lifestyle for Lauren. “They are not only who I turn to during the saddest/most difficult times in my life, but also who I celebrate with during the best times in my life.  I was/still am drawn to their message of positivity and unity – about the everyday struggle to see the light instead of the dark.”

Show count for Lauren is at 38. First show happened on December 8, 1997 where she saw 311, Sugar Ray, and Incubus. Favorite event so far though was her first 311 Day in 2016. “I literally had been trying to get to a 311 Day since High School, so it was a true privilege for me to be there. I didn’t really sleep or sit down for about 2 days, but it was worth every second. I met some forever friends and got spoiled by hearing so many songs I had never heard live – including brand new ones! I hope I never miss another one.” She also said that the Transistor Anniversary show that recently happened in Houston was amazing. “I really am just so excited and happy to be a part of this groove in any way possible.”

Song she loves goes to “Unity.” She just recently realized that she goes pretty hard on that song when it’s played live. She literally knows and sings every word! She also loves the song “Gap” and some of the stuff from the archives like “Lemming” and “Earth People.” Favorite lyric comes from “Made in the Shade” – “You gotta keep on climbing the hill, cause if you think you’ll make it you will. Go swimming quick like a fish and every wish will be fulfilled. Strike up and start the blade, and when they fire that warning shot, you’ll have a spot made in the shade.”

Lauren was born in Nashville, Tennessee but really grew up in North Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For the past 5 years she’s worked in sales at a disaster restoration company, which helped fund some of her 311 habit. She moved to San Antonio, Texas, and now works at a performing arts center called The Tobin Center. “I have always wanted to work at a live venue like this, so I am very excited about the opportunity. I love knowing who’s coming to town and what’s going on around the city.”

Something cool that Lauren has done is serving an entire volleyball match for her high school team! “That’s 15 consecutive overhand serves in a row.  I was always kind of the underdog in sports because my parents didn’t kiss ass on the boosters.  The games I did get in on, I did cool stuff like this.  I loved/still love being on a team and that’s why I think I love being on the “311 team” so much.  We’re a total crew and I think it’s the best.”

Booking and artist development is something that interests Lauren and it’s because of that she was able to help book shows like Andrew WK and Def Jam Poets back in college. She is still interested in this to this day. Guilty pleasure for her is the show “Dance Moms.” “I can’t even with Abby Lee Miller – but I really can, she’s something else.  I also love watching funny cat videos on YouTube.”

When not jamming out to 311 Lauren can be found listening to Motown, The Beatles, The Clash, Incubus, Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cursive, Deftones, Jimi, OutKast, A Tribe Called Quest, Death Grips, Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, Tame Impala, Los Stellarians, Rebelution, Tupac, Nas, Weezer, and WuTang.

To the band her message is this: “Thank you for always pushing me forward – for keeping my feet on the ground and my head in clouds.”

Now to all the other amazing fans out there:

“High fives and hugs to all my fellow Excitables!”

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Thanks Lauren for being a part of the spotlight and sharing your story! Thanks as always to all those that keep reading. Such a great community of fans, I don’t think this will ever stop! Go out there and spread the positivity and love. We need it for sure right now!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 8/14/17 – David Elrod!

Welcome back again excitable nation! Let’s get this party started and read the story of David Elrod!

The year was 1996 and David moved from San Francisco to Alaska. He played baseball and got to ride to an indoor practice one day with a senior player. In the car the guy was playing the Grassroots album, the song “Silver” to be exact. “I asked “Is this the Chili Peppers?” (was a huge fan).  He said “naa man, 311.” David said he didn’t think much about them again until it was 4th of July later that same year. “I befriended these amazing sisters who’s dad had a fishing boat.  He took a few friends out for the fireworks display in Juneau.  One of the sisters boyfriends put Grassroots in the entirety.  I went out and purchased that album and “Blue” (which had just been released) and never looked back.”

Show count for David is around 15, with his first show being back in 1999 is Seattle. “It was a private show that only Hive fan club members and radio winners were allowed in.  400 cap club.  Stage was 2ft off the ground.  What a night.” David wasn’t able to see 311 from 2003 until 2013. It was at the 2013 Warfield show in San Francisco that he knew he could never miss them again.  Favorite event for him so far though was 311 Day 2016. “I’ve been on the edges of becoming a true super-fan.  311 day set if off.  I made so many lifelong friends and gave fully into the “Excitable Lifestyle.”  Special thank you to Leo Saucedo, Ryan Ellison and Jessica Pursley especially making me feel at home.”

“Transistor” is the song that musically means the most to David. Chad Sexton did an interview in Modern Drummer and he had transcribed that song. “I spent every waking hour for months learning to play it.” Lyrically his favorite songs are either “Eons” or “Reconsider Everything.” One of his favorite quotes is this: “What if the truth is there is no truth? The only thing I can tell is there is no proof.”

San Francisco, California, is where David was born and raised. His parents were both professional musicians and also bike messengers. “My father’s band did pretty well in the 80’s.  They were considered “SF’s answer to REM” label before label and personal issues did the band in.  That meant I grew up in the full on Bay Area Punk scene in the 80’s-90’s.” It was after the house they lived in was sold and they were evicted that they ended up moving to Alaska. David has lived in many places including Juneau, Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and currently Berkeley, California.

David has worked in the music industry since the age of 19, first at a drum shop in Seattle and then a drum manufacturer. He was also able to take live and studio production gigs during those years. “I was able to connect with some amazing artists and eventually worked as a drum tech for people like Vinny Appice, Simon Wright, and many more.  I’ve also tour managed many bands.  I’ve played in several bands as well and still work on friends drums.”

Currently David works as the Sales Manager for Bandago, a specialty van/bus rental company. Their primary clients are in the music business and he’s worked with many artists including Snoop Dogg, Steven Tyler, and many of the bands that have opened for 311. David has also played in several bands including venerable punk rock act Agent 86, post rock group The Union Trade and Pop-Rock band Mammoth Life.

Interesting fact about David is that he is an avid cyclist. “I bike almost 20 miles a day to work and back.  Even more on weekends depending on scheduling.” David was also a two time all-state percussionist in high school. “I can play any classical or modern percussion instrument with varying amounts of success.” Guilty pleasure for David? “I love 70’s “Adult Oriented Rock” (Yaught rock) Steely Dan, Kenny Loggins, Styx etc..  Love that stuff.” Other artists he loves are Helmet, Suicidal Tendencies, Candiria, and Soundgarden. “Anthrax when I was young.  Now days it’s lot’s of Steely Dan.  Always listening to the Bay Area greats like Faith No More, Camper Van Beethoven, Exodus, etc…”

To 311, David’s message is this: “My life has not had a lot of constant.  311 has been one of them.  Now I feel like The Familia is going to be one as well.  I cherish that I’ve had a band that has meant so much to me be so consistent and so fun.  I remember as a teenager having anxiety about the future of 311.  Worrying about them some day breaking up.  It’s amazing that I can look back and not only say those fears were unfounded, but 311 has been killing it all that time.  So thank you gentleman for being a constant source of positivism in my life.”

To all the other fans:

“Y’all have helped me make myself feel more comfortable just having fun.  Thank you to my new family who accepted me as I have accepted you.  As equals, best friends and the family some of us really needed.”

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That was the story of David Elrod friends! I hope you all enjoyed reading it as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for being part of this awesome community my friends! Until we meet again…

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 8/7/17 – Terri Sapp Page!

“The first time Terri met Tim, she was too overcome to take the pic, so Tim took it, “Thelma and Louise” style!”

Hello again Excitable nation! Another week is upon us and that means new fan spotlight time. This week we learn all about Terri Sapp Page!

Fall of 1992, Terri was just starting college at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. She instantly made friends with the theatre, art, and music crowd, and it was a friend from within that group that randomly gave Terri a cassette one day and said, “Terri, I think you will like this…particularly the ‘Latino rapper’ (his words, and she did).”  The cassette was Music and it was Terri’s first exposure to 311. She was immediately blown away and as each song played she became more hooked. “ Growing up, I had (and still do) Bob Marley and the Wailers, Joni Mitchell, Jamaican music, beach music, rock, industrial, and particularly rap music in heavy rotation, so I was drawn to the genre f@&k that 311 brought.  When living, working, and partying in Macon, I was regularly (and to this day with my friends) known as the 311 fanatic.  People actually associated me with 311!!!  I worked at a restaurant during the Mercer days called Music City Grill that was decorated with Capricorn Records memorabilia, with regular visits from members of associated bands and the Walden family.  Alan Walden in particular took note, due to my excitable nature, and would sometimes just give me trinkets here and there related to 311 (thanks, still!).  During this time, I did the majority of my US travel to see the band.  After I moved to Atlanta, I had to scale down the amount of travel, leaving most of my 311 shows in Atlanta (until revisiting the bucket list in the last 5 years).  Anyone who knows can imagine that there are no complaints here, because The City of Atlanta is and always has been on fire in the concert world! I am really thankful to have been in the middle/north GA area when discovering 311!”

As far as show count, when things first started, it was hard for Terri to keep track. “Most of my cross country and multiple tours up and down the East Coast were from 1994 to 1998.  From 1999 (around the time I met my “311 buddy”  Damon Eleuterius-though we found out later that I was at his first show, which was SA’s 1995 birthday in Tallahassee at the Moon where they premiered “Gap” and The Urge opened…small world) through 2013 when I started on the bucket list items, most of my shows have been in GA.  After the 2017 Tabernacle shows (which I made it to despite a short term ban from the venue for a recording incident at a Dave Chappelle show in June), I have experienced approximately 75 shows with 311 over the last 23 years.  Some of my college friends invited me to go to the Sonic Sunday festival in Atlanta in 1994 at the Masquerade Music Park, which sadly has recently been demolished in order to build condos or some crap. This festival is the first time I saw 311 and The Urge live!!!  HOOKED!”

It was hard to pin down an exact event as Terri’s favorite, because there have been so many awesome experiences. So she narrowed it down to all of the events that one of her alter egos, Rasta Raggedy Ann (born in 1995), has attended: “Halloween, 1995, Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA; Halloween, 1997, Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA; Halloween, 1999, Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA; Halloween, 2000, Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA; Halloween, 2010, Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA; and 2015 Soundsystem Jamaica Cruise.”

The song that means a lot to Terri is off of her favorite record Transistor. From the first time she heard it, it has always been “Running.” It, along with the rest of Transistor, just struck a chord with her as something different. “Then, I realized that my main man, Tim Mahoney, wrote the music!  Ever since then, I have begged for plays at shows.  “Running” is even subconsciously my song. I know this, because after returning home from the motion sickness induced-dehydrated-couldn’t keep anything down-ICU coma I ended up in between the last two shows of the 2017 Cozumel Cruise, it was the only song I recorded video the entire cruise.  I didn’t even remember them playing it until I saw it on my phone!” As far as favorite lyrics, she has two tattooed on her legs: “I have no fear of death and no fear of life” and “The continuous life, there is no end.”

Georgia has always been home for Terri. She was born on the southeast coast in the Golden Isles of Glynn County, which includes the islands of Jekyll (her favorite), St. Simons, Blythe, and Sea Island. During her younger years she trained for 11 of them in many forms of dance, she was a majorette in middle school and even a drum major leading the marching band in parades for a short time. She was also on the cheerleading squad in high school and was co-captain for JV during her sophomore year, then varsity for senior year. It should come as no surprise that Terri was voted Most Spirited in the senior superlatives at the end of her time in high school. “I have always owned my quirkiness, and had the perfect family for cultivating it.  We enjoyed family time watching In Living Color, Twin Peaks, and other fun shows, then I would sneak off to listen to Dr. Demento on the radio, and 120 Minutes on MTV.”

Terri and her family also enjoyed music together. Her Mama leaned more toward music like ABBA, The Beatles, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Earth, Wind & Fire, while dad was more of the good old timey country type, mixing in all of the many Motown artists, Prince, and Gladys Knight, who I’m told he wanted to marry until the day he died. Living on the southeast coast of Georgia allowed Terri to see many concerts in Orlando and Jacksonville, like the early Lollapalooza tours, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Reverend Horton Heat, Primus, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, and many others. The festivals also introduced her to new, great bands that became regular concerts for her over the years, like Rage, Tool, and Fishbone to name a few.

High school wasn’t the only place Terri participated in extracurricular activities. She was very busy in college and said she is still busy to this day! “I was a graphics editor for our High School literary magazine-The Rising Surf-which was fun because computers were very new, so I got to spend many days in the dark room bumping the tunes of Primus, Tori Amos, Ministry, RHCP, The Cure, and all of my favorites of that time. It was also a treat to print on an actual printing press.  I also spent a great amount of time in the library researching many countries to represent in the Model UN.  My favorite thing to participate in was our Production Company and Theatre Department, because we were always working on developing live performances.  We worked on many shows that pushed boundaries for a high school group.  Skating all the while!  My all-star flute playing auditions, cheerleading camp one year, and a theatre competition all either took place at Mercer, or were judged by the Theatre Director from Mercer University.  This is how I ended up targeting Mercer as my next step in life.”

At Mercer, Terri was able to take a variety of courses that took her “off guard in a wonderful way.”  She spent much of her time studying communications, great books, the nature and manifestations of prejudice, women’s studies, art history, and theatre, with a focus on directing, costuming, assisting in set construction, and also acting. She had a brief stint away from Mercer at Valdosta State University. There she was a DJ at the college radio station. She returned to Mercer and graduated in 1997. During her summers back home she would work as a lifeguard on Jekyll Island. “Some of my most beloved times while at home during summers was following around and stalking “the turtle girls!”  They were (are) a group on Jekyll that tracked and marked the laying eggs and hatching of the Sea Turtles.  What a beautiful reason to get in trouble for staying out all night when your parents don’t know what you are doing!!!”

After college graduation, Terri followed her Mama to Atlanta. It was then that she started seeing a ton of shows and realized that Atlanta is a favorite stop for many bands and musicians. “Since music is my life and my medicine for the soul, there are so many more concerts that the crew goes to.” The job that funds the concert and 311 habits – she started as an office/billing manager and Paralegal when she moved to Atlanta but now has her own business as a Contract Paralegal, for extra income and to help local attorneys who can’t hire a full time one. She also followed in her mother’s footsteps and started working at Georgia Power 7 years ago. “I started as a 9001:2008 ISO Lead Internal Auditor for the State of Georgia and Support Representative for the Geographic Solutions and Services Department.  Currently, I am one of two Support Representatives for the Georgia Power Transmission Control Center who operates the infrastructure of electricity for the State of Georgia.  The most rewarding part of working with Georgia Power is the Volunteer opportunities with the Citizens of Georgia Power.  We support many local charities.  Since I started with the Company, I have been on The Board of Directors, and have also served as an Officer every year in one way or another leading as President for both chapters that I have been involved in.  Giving back to the community (and an extensive iTunes library) makes the mostly awful traffic somewhat tolerable.”

An interesting fact about Terri is that she taught herself how to read music and play the flute as a child, and then ended up as an all-star concert player! She has also been skating since the 70’s and has a bit of an obsession with it. She has been a skate ref since 2012, under the name of Bunni Wailer, for the Marietta/Peach State (home league) and Macon (for fun) roller derby leagues. Unique attribute is that she can twirl fire batons and is also an animal whisperer who prefers animals to people most of the time! As far as guilty pleasures, well she says she owns the ones she has because she is, “pretty much obsessed with the art of live performance-good or bad, music, well made TV, movies, books, and my insane oddball doll collection.  I guess in the true sense of the word, my guilty pleasure would have to be tattoos, since I am a Mama’s girl, and she never wanted me to get any.  I still do.”

One thing Terri wants to say to, and about 311 is this: “I LOVE TIM MAHONEY, I love Tim Mahoney hugs, and I love Tim Mahoney’s world class guitar dance moves! Also, for fun, check out the 2012 Page “Do You Right” wedding video here: https://youtu.be/w1IC0tBGPz0

Now to all the other 311 fans:

“Since the time I was awakened to the “ginormous” crowds of Excitables, my 311 experience has been heightened and even further elevated into the cosmic trip that is and has always been my 311 life.  To quote one of my favorite director’s choices, (Twin Peaks, S2, E1) “Oooooohhhh, Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey. A kiddley divey, too, wooden shoe! If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey, sing ‘Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy’!”  Until next time, Deers!!!”

“Terri and Nick outside of the Ed Sullivan Theatre in NYC before seeing 311 play “Down” at their first late night TV appearance which was on the Late Night with David Letterman.”

There you have the interesting and entertaining story of Terri Sapp Page! Thanks Terri for being a part of the spotlight and thanks to all who are reading! Now go be awesome, I know you will!

Much love – The Runt