Runt Rant

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

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

September 1st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To all of you, my excitable friends:

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

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

Much love! -The Runt

 

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

August 25th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love – The Runt

 

 

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

August 18th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love! -The Runt

 

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

August 11th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“See y’all in Jamaica ;-)”

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

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

Much love! – The Runt

 

 

 

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

August 4th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love! – The Runt

 

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

July 28th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all! – The Runt

 

Meet our latest 311 fan spotlight – Roland Dewitt!

July 21st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love my friends! – The Runt

 

Yay the new 311 fan spotlight! Meet Mr. Colin Presley Stacy!

July 14th, 2014

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Welcome back my excitable friends! Happy week of 311 shows for all you northeast peeps (myself included!). Before we kick off our week of 311 fun, let us partake in the new 311 fan spotlight! Say hello to Mr. Colin Presley Stacy!

While Colin began listening to 311 in middle school and junior high, it wasn’t until his sister took him to his first show in 2003 that his addiction kicked in. He first experienced them in Cleveland, Ohio and was awed by what miT was “sonically” doing with his guitar. “The tones and effects just blew me away. Also the energy the band had on stage sold me as a fan for life. It’s not hard to get into them after you see them play live!”

Since that fateful day in 2003, Colin has seen the band a total of 24 times and attended five 311 Days. Of those shows, this years 311 Day wins as his favorite, with 2012’s two day event coming in a close second. “This most recent 311 Day just had it all – 311 back in New Orleans, us excitable ones taking over the streets, the set list, sound quality, overall production, and not to mention a new album dropped the same day. It was an incredible experience to be a part of!”

Colin comes from the state of Ohio and grew up in Mentor, a suburb about 25 miles east of Cleveland. While he has traveled many places, he has always lived in this area. “I love the four seasons we get here and there’s a lot more to do than most people think when they hear Cleveland!”  Being from Cleveland, he is an avid local sports fan and said, “Here we go brownies!”  He is also a passionate fan of music and is a mostly self-taught musician. He started playing the bagpipes (pretty cool right?) at the young age of 8 and then taught himself guitar, bass, drums and keys throughout high school. He was even in a band called The Thrifters and they were lucky enough to open for 311 and Matisyahu in Cleveland one year! If you feel like checking out the band, you can find their old catalog of music on Spotify!

Not only is he an avid fan of Cleveland sports and music, but he is also a craft beer enthusiast.  Working at a local craft beer store for three years will probably do that to you! He fell in love with the industry. He has an Instagram account and it is solely dedicated to him photos of the craft beers he drinks. If you feel like looking him up, go follow @colinpresley!

Anyone ever been named after two musicians? Colin is! His first name is after Colin Hay (from the band Men at Work) and his middle is after Elvis Presley. He is also a self-proclaimed professional corn hole player. If you are unfamiliar with the game, it is a bean bag tossing game where you try to toss the bags either on to a board about 30 feet away, or if you’re lucky, into the small hole in the center of that board. Colin said he has been playing for about 10 years and will accept anyones challenge!

I asked Colin to tell me an interesting fact that others may not know about him, and his is the first answer that made me laugh out loud. “I had a perm when I was in the third grade…no regrets.”  He also said he doesn’t really have any pleasures he considers guilty ones, but he is obsessed with the TV show Supernatural. “I’ve watched the series three times and I’m currently on my fourth run through on Netflix. I’m a purist so I need to watch the whole series before a new season comes out. Luckily my girlfriend was the one who turned me on to the show so she doesn’t mind at all!”

The song “Running” off Transistor is the song that means the most to Colin and he says it gives him goose bumps every time he listens to it! “I remember vividly hearing it live for the first time and it was just overwhelming. I got a natural high just from the music and that is an incredible experience!”

Some of his favorite quotes come from other songs and he loves them enough to have them tattooed on his body. He has “This Too Shall Pass” because he says, “You gotta take the good times with the bad because everything will inevitably move on. Enjoy the positives when you have them and don’t fret the negatives because with time everything will pass.” Colin also “Stay positive and love your life” because he tries to truly live by this statement every day and he urges everyone to try and do this. “You’re alive. Just that fact alone is reason enough to love it and even if there is negativity in some fashion, the power of positive thinking can do amazing things!”

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Colin met the guys in Cleveland before the show back in 2012 and he got to say everything he’d been waiting to say to them for years. “The main thing was just a huge thank you for the music and positive messages they convey through it. Changed my life for the better and allowed me countless hours of happiness through their music and the shows attended with friends and family.”

Colin’s message to all of the excitable family out in the 311 universe is:

“Thanks for being such an awesome community!  Haven’t met a 311 fan I don’t like, and have made many friends and strengthened friendships solely to the time spent listening and watching 311.  Keep being the most kick ass fan community and of course, stay positive and love your life!”

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As always my community of 311 fans, I thank you for taking the time to read this blog of mine and learning more about your sisters & brothers ! Keep on rocking and hopefully I’ll be seeing some of you in CT, MA & NY this week!

Much Love – The Runt

 

Happy July! Time to read all about Alexa Lopez!

July 7th, 2014

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Goooooooood July morning to you all! Welcome back to another edition of the 311 fan spotlight! Remember last week’s spotlight Shayne? He mentioned his awesome girlfriend Alexa and how they met because of 311. Well this week we follow his write up with no one other than that gorgeous lady! It’s time to learn all about Alexa!

Alexa was in high school when she unearthed the awesomeness of 311. She and her good friend, fellow Slinky Emilee Dore, started listening to the band then.  “We grew up in northern New Hampshire, so we spent a lot of time hanging out and just listening to songs like ‘Down,’ ‘Beautiful Disaster,’ and ‘All Mixed Up’.”  Alexa said it was the versatility of 311’s music that really drew her in. “I can listen to certain songs that help me feel better and others that will get me pumped up.”

Alexa attended 311 Day this year and that marked her 10th show. She said it was so great to set that mini milestone and with an epic show to boot. While she has loved the shows she has seen on the Unity tour and this years 311 Day, her favorite shows by far are the ones from the third cruise back in 2013. “I met some amazing people and had the time of my life. Who else can say that they get to go on a boat for 4 days with thousands of other excitables AND be around their favorite bands?”

Growing up in a small town in New Hampshire with her parents and older sister, Alexa spent a lot of time in the great outdoors camping and playing sports. She played field hockey, softball, track & field, and also downhill ski racing. Alexa said she “absolutely LOVES” down hill skiing! “I love the rush of going down the slope, carving into fresh snow and being able to listen to various music that becomes the soundtrack to my day. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the mountain with friends, but there’s also something really serene about being able to just pop my headphones in, hit shuffle, and let the music set my day.”

When Alexa graduated high school she moved to Boston for college because she thought she would want to be in a big city after spending so much time in a small town. However, she ended up only spending a year there and then transferred to The University of New England in southern Maine. There she lived with her sister for a few years to save money. “It was nice to live with my sister outside of the home we grew up in and we ended up growing closer and becoming best friends.”  After Alexa graduated she moved on to Burlington, Vermont to pursue her masters degree at the University of Vermont, where she studied experimental psychology. She said Burlington was a great place to live because she got a city feel with the country just a mere five minute drive away. Alexa just recently moved with her boyfriend Shayne down to Richmond, Virginia to start her postdoctoral fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Ask Alexa what is an interesting fact that most people don’t know about and she claims she is a big nerd! “Most people could figure it out but I’m kind of a big nerd even if I try to hide it by being really girly. I love watching Jeopardy, playing old school Nintendo games, and watching movies such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Indiana Jones.”  I guess I’m a nerd too then Alexa because I love all of those things!

Ok so we know 311 is Alexa’s favorite band, but what else does she listen to? Some bands she loves as well are Ballyhoo!, Dave Matthews Band, Avett Brothers, Pearl Jam (and she says, “Eddie Vedder forever!”), Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, A Perfect Circle, Queen, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen. She also says that 90’s pop and hip hop Pandora stations  are her guilty pleasure! “If we are hanging out and having a few drinks, chances are I’ll end up turning one or both of these on and will be able to sing almost every lyric.”

“Sun Come Through” is a song that Alexa says has to be easily one of her favorites, if not her number one. “I just love the structure of the music and lyrics, and it holds some great memories for me. I still can’t believe it was a B-side!”  Her favorite quote from a song comes from “All Mixed Up” though – “You’ve got to bet on yourself not star, cause that’s your best bet.”

Alexa would like to say to Chad, Nick, Pnut, SA and Tim – “Thank you so much for helping me to discover to love the life I live and to try to be a positive influence on others.”

To the best fans in the world: “Live life to the fullest- if you have the opportunity to take a trip, hang out with long lost friends, or just simply try out a new restaurant, go for it. Live a full and exciting life and don’t let others affect you if they have a hard time understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing. You never know when you’ll have that moment again, so enjoy it. Stay positive and love your life :)”

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Thank you Alexa for sharing your story! I hope everyone enjoyed our latest fan spotlight and that you are all either relishing in your high from just seeing 311 or getting giddy about an upcoming show. No matter what, enjoy your life and seize every opportunity you get! Oh yeah, and hopefully I’ll see you all on the next 311 Cruise in 2015!!

Much love to you all! – The Runt

Drum roll please…the next 311 fan spotlight is…Shayne McDonald!

June 30th, 2014

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Greetings and salutations my excitable friends! Welcome to the latest edition of the 311 fan spotlight! This week we feature a person that comes from my neck of the woods – good old New England! Without further ado I give you Mr. Shayne McDonald!

The year was 1995. It was fifth grade year for Shayne and his class had a read-a-thon. They were able to listen to music while they read their chapters and a friend gave him the blue album to listen to. The first song he listened to was “Don’t Stay Home” and he fell in love. “The drumming in that song sounded amazing and did something to my ears. The rawness of the music felt powerful.”

Since then Shayne has been hooked, listening and loving the music, messages, and live shows of 311. He has attended 22 shows so far and of those this years 311 Day in New Orleans took the top prize as his favorite. “I had so many of my friends that went with me and so many friends that I’ve been talking to for years that I got to meet for the first time there. I made so many more friends that I never knew before as well. The experience itself was out of this world and it was much better than Vegas! Haha.”

311 has given many things to Shayne, including his wonderful love Alexa. You can tell she means the world to him and he described her as “amazing, beautiful and smart!” (I’ve met her – she is!)  It was thanks to 311 and the 311 Familia that they met and fell in love. Their love for the band drew them together and their spark grew from there. Shayne said that all this happened despite their differences regarding hockey teams. Alexa loves the Canadiens and Shayne loves the Boston Bruins. “It just goes to show that no matter what kind of rivalry you have, you can always find unity in something!”

Shayne grew up in a small, woody town in Maine with his mom, dad, brother and sister. He said his parents showed him a lot of love, but also made sure it was tough love that taught him valuable life lessons. “They taught me how to be an honest person and make an honest living, how to be a kind person and how to treat other people the way they deserve to be treated.”  While he didn’t always agree with their reasoning he can see now where they were coming from and knows they had the best intentions for him, making him who he is today. Since they raised him to be such an honest person, it’s only fitting that some of his favorite 311 lyrics are, “There’s nothing in life above being honest.”

Shayne has also lived in Hope Mills, North Carolina while his brother was stationed at Fort Bragg. He also lived in Valdosta, Georgia for half a year where he says he made some of the best friends he has ever had. Shayne works hard for his money and is always picking up extra shifts when he can. He is in the restaurant business so whenever a 311 event rolls around he prays for the time off so he can go!

If you know Shayne, you may think he is the furthest thing from shy. Yet he says that something most don’t know is he can be very shy around people he doesn’t really know well. “Don’t let my outgoing personality fool you!”  Then when I asked him what makes him unique he replied, “I’m Shayne McDonald!” All joking aside though, he said he is an excellent whistler! He also loves goofing off in the car and having fun by singing songs out loud that he doesn’t necessarily like, such as “Call Me Maybe.”  “It makes me feel great to be a goof and have fun in the car.”

The song “There’s Always an Excuse” has a special meaning to Shayne since it helped him through a difficult time. Shayne unfortunately lost his brother and went through a dark time, and as he says, he was more or less killing himself with the things he was doing. “The lyrics in the song helped wake me up from a really hard time in my life and helped me to realize that there is always an excuse when you need one and you’re not the only one going through it.” Shayne said that really helped save his life, so to the band he would simply like to say, “Thank you for keeping me alive.”

To the fans of 311 Shayne leaves you with this personal message:

“At the end of the day, all pettiness and selfishness aside, we’re all here for the same reason and that is to try to live a happy and fulfilled life.  So try to keep that in mind and show others the respect you think that you deserve because they deserve it as well.”

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Love Shayne’s final message! In the words of 311, “Respect the space of your sister and your brother.”

Thank you all for reading and please leave some love for Shayne in the comments if you feel inclined! It’ll be a nice change to see some real comments instead of spam – Haha!

Much love to you all! – The Runt

 

 

 

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