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311 Fan Spotlight – Jeremy Freed – 8/24/15

August 24th, 2015

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Welcome back my friends in 311 nation! A new week is upon us and so is a new fan spotlight. Time to meet Mr. Jeremy Freed!

Spring 1996 is where Jeremy’s love for 311 begins. A friend from his neighborhood went to a private school and had a separate group of friends aside from Jeremy. They were all surfers and into bands like Phish while Jeremy was more into the punk scene. One day while at this friends house he put on a CD he’d gotten from his other friends, a little album known as Grassroots. “It was like nothing I’d ever heard before, and I was instantly hooked. We spent the end of our senior year of high school cruising up and down Jones Beach blasting Grassroots, and we then discovered the blue album just before “Down” blew up, while scouring the local record stores in search of Music (which we acquired and played out as well). My friend and I grew apart in college and he has since moved to Florida (I’m in New York). We don’t keep in touch very much anymore, but I always think of him when listening to Grassroots, and I melt every time 311 plays “Nutsymptom” at the Jones Beach Amphitheater.”

The first live show Jeremy recalls seeing was in summer of 1997 at Jones Beach when 311 played with De La Soul. Show total since then is around 34 based on his ticket stub collection, but he says there may be a few missing. While it’s a tough question to answer, Jeremy chose 311 Day 2004 as his favorite so far. “A dozen of us flew down from New York for the show, not knowing what to expect. My friends are mostly fans of general admission venues, so we waited on line at the UNO Arena from about noon on, to get our GA bracelets. Several hours later, we were already in full party mode, having consumed many beers during the wait. I was banking on a great show, but five friggin’ hours?! Unreal. That show also resonates with me because it gave me the opportunity to fall in love with New Orleans.” Jeremy fell in love with Nola so much that he booked a trip for the following March, just on the off chance 311 might play again. They obviously didn’t, but he had something epic happen that trip regardless. Jeremy got engaged to his girlfriend (now wife) in Jackson Square. His wedding ring is even inspired by 311!

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While Jeremy says he doesn’t really use 311’s lyrics as inspiration or a crutch during the tough times like others may, he says that if he had to pick a song that really resonates with him it’d be “Rub A Dub.” “It takes me back to a really fun time in my life, the end of college before things got a little more serious. Much like Grassroots, “Rub a Dub” also reminds me of an old friend, so I appreciate that.”  One of his favorite lyrics comes from “Feels So Good” – “Just take a moment to have a fit once in a while, I do it daily and like it, but that’s my style.” The reason for this? “I’m known for being a bit of a grump, and while lots of people see 311 for their positivity, I can absolutely relate to this line in “Feels So Good.” I know I could be a bit calmer and level-headed, but hey, that’s my style.

Jeremy was born and raised in Wantagh, New York, also known as the “Gateway to Jones Beach.”  He also said it’s the most commonly misspelled location on every bands tour t-shirt! While he was a smart student, he says he was also lazy and didn’t really have interest in academics. “Art school was in the cards for me, following in my moms footsteps. My classmates even voted me “Most Artistic” in our yearbook superlatives, so it was pretty inevitable.”  Jeremy attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and he has a BFA in Advertising Design. As soon as he graduated he obtained a job where he interned, a company called Deutsch, Inc. “I actually met my wife there so it’s funny how my first job will always be my most rewarding job.” He is now a graphic artist at Coach and has been there for eight years. “I’ve come to terms with being stuck in the hustle and bustle of New York City. I still live on Long Island, about 15 minutes north of the beach, so  I always have a quieter place to retreat to.”

Jeremy has a four year old son named Lucas, after George Lucas and Luke Skywalker. He says his sons musical interests seem to lean towards Rancid, The Ramones, and a little bit of ska, but he’s slowly working on getting him into 311. When he isn’t chasing his son around or working, he’s “hopelessly rooting for the Mets,” going to shows and maintaining his growing collection of Star Wars and baseball memorabilia.

How many people can say they’ve secretly sabotaged a team on a reality show? Jeremy can! He was on the reality show The Apprentice and worked with a team to create a promotional campaign. “They were a real pain in the ass to work with. After an aggravating day (a Saturday, no less), they had to head back to the studio while I finished their work and it was going to be sent over. The team leader gave me cash for a messenger service, as well as a bit of nudge-nudge wink-wink bribe money to make sure I get it done quickly and well. The show producer came over later and asked for all of the money back, including my bribe. I had had it at that point so we’ll just say I didn’t do what was asked of me, and the team was rather surprised at their presentation.”

Something else you may not know – he was a huge fan of the show Beverly Hills 90210 and cried during the series finale! “Granted, I was tripping balls at the time, but still, I loved that show!”  He also has a talent for the game Tetris. “I’ve been jokingly referred to as a communist due to my Tetris skills. I’ve crushed every version of the game I’ve encountered. I even managed to effectively play two games simultaneously, holding two controllers at once. The longest game I ever played lasted for well over an hour; my eyes were so locked in, I think I traveled to another dimension and saw the future–so I forced myself to end it on purpose and went to bed.” While he doesn’t consider his guilty pleasure all that guilty because it won a ton of awards, he loves the movie Titanic. “ I think it’s generally seen as a chick-flick and I surely take heat for how much I love this movie, and that’s OK because it truly is one of Hollywood’s great epics.”

Other musical interests are a little all over the place. Most of what he listens to is punk and hardcore such as Hatebreed, NOFX and Pennywise. However he also likes ska, oldies, Motown, and he’s amassed a huge collection of the best rock from the fifties and sixties. The most unexpected genre he enjoys? Movie soundtracks. “By that I mean orchestral scores. Behind 311 and The Beatles, I think I have more John Williams music than any other artist in my collection.” If he had to name his top five favorite artists, it would be 311, Rancid, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sick of it All, and The Beatles.

To the band that ranks as his number one favorite artist, he has this message:

“Thank you for composing the soundtrack to my life.”

To the awesome fans out there sharing his love for 311:

“I used to view 311 as a band I love and one I would see every chance I got. It wasn’t until a few years ago when a member of the Familia added myself and my friends to the group that I saw what an obsessed, rabid, hardcore fan base this band had. It’s both impressive and a little scary, but I admire the dedication so many people have to a band many consider to be a flash-in-the-pan novelty act from the 90s (clearly those people are wrong). The effect of that dedication is obvious, as we see 311 return all that love to the fans. 311 has enabled me to remember old times, get reacquainted with old friends, as well as meet new ones. This fan base is one of a kind and I look forward to meeting more and more and more of you and sharing the love that is 311–in New Orleans, perhaps? ;)”

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There you have the tale of Jeremy Freed ladies & gents! I hope you enjoyed reading about another fellow fan and thank you for doing so! Keep on rocking and being the best person you can be. Until next time!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Stephanie Davis – 8/17/15

August 17th, 2015

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Hi again my friends in 311 nation! Good day to you all. Are you ready to read about another fellow fan? Well, then it’s time to meet Stephanie Davis!

Stephanie says it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how she became a huge fan of 311. Over 20 years ago was when she first heard them, and she believes one of the reasons she loved them so much is that they are from Nebraska. “I have been raised as a diehard Nebraska Cornhusker fan, my family lives between Omaha and Lincoln, so I think one of the reasons that I was drawn to 311 was basically they were from Nebraska and I feel I have a close home tie to them. I mean, what good music comes from Nebraska?” Another reason she was drawn to them was a good friend of hers living in Oklahoma City who was obsessed with them. “When we would be at his house we either would be listening to Music, Grassroots, or the Blue album on his stereo, with the lights off and the black lights on. Or we popped in ETSD 1 and watched that VCR TAPE over and over again until we wore it out.” What really drew Stephanie in was their music and the feel of it, with the positivity and party element to it. “I really love how they paved the way for the rock/rap genre that you still see to this day. Even though those bands are terrible and are not original, 311 has continued to remain strong and haven’t been afraid to try something new.”

Her love affair with seeing the band live started in Lawrence, Kansas in 1995 at the Jayhawk Music Festival. She had just turned 15 and snuck out to see them! Unfortunately she got caught and ended up grounded, but it was worth it. “Damn, thinking about that concert makes me laugh. I so wish I had that ticket stub.” Since then she has seen them at least 30 times, if not a little more. While there are many great memories from all the shows, she has a few that stand out against the rest. One was when she took her baby brother to see them for the first time. It allowed them to form an even stronger bond and they never miss seeing a show together now.  Then there was 311 Day 2006 when she, her brother & mom took a road trip from Kansas City to Memphis. “Thinking back to that trip makes me laugh. We did the normal “touristy” things in Memphis and while we were at the Civil Rights Museum my mother asked Scott and myself if we were having a good time. We both replied “Yay! Civil Rights is so uplifting!” Finally there were the shows in 2001 and 2014 where she met the band. You can’t NOT love those shows!

Two songs that mean a great deal to Stephanie are “It’s Alright” and “Showdown.”  She said that the first one literally helped save her life and get through some rocky times. As for “Showdown,” she said that the Stereolithic CD hasn’t left her car since 311 Day 2014! “I just love the song (and all the songs) and the lyrics and the feeling of both Nick and SA’s voice.” As for some favorite quotes from any of the songs in the catalog, she loves “Some people live for the rules, I live for exceptions” and “Now I’m ready to turn the page on yesterdays and forgive them, now I’m ready to disengage to seize the day and move on.” Then theres the one she says she often uses at work – “Fuck the bullshit it’s time to throw down!”

Stephanie was born and raised in Kansas and she still lives there currently in Overland Park. She’s a single mom to a wonderful 8 year old boy (see above photo). Although she is completely a Kansas girl she has lived a few other places over her life. The most challenging she says was Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. “I accepted a job as a Department of Defense contractor (I worked as a Project Manager in the construction industry but now moved to the engineering industry) and relocated to Gitmo 2011. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am glad I had the experience to live someplace where most Americans will never get a chance to see. I saw some amazing things, worked in the prisons, replaced air conditioning units in the Military Tribunal before one of the terrorists was to be tried,  and for shits and giggles  I cleaned up brush around the “jail” where one of the 9/11 conspirators is housed. After six months I had to leave because I missed my family terribly, driving under 25 miles an hour and as silly as it sounds, highways! Plus it is hot all year round, the bugs are horrible and not having any friends.  And as much as I bitch and complain about Kansas winters, I actually missed seasons changing.”

Matthew is the name of her son and she says he is her miracle baby. He was born early at just 32 weeks and was only the size of a 29 week baby. “I was living in Huntsville, Alabama and my mom came down for my baby shower and to come with me to a 3D ultrasound appointment. When we went to get the ultrasound done, the technician saw that my placenta had ruptured and Matthew was basically starving to death. So after an emergency C-Section, I gave birth to a 2 LB baby who almost passed away a few times. But today you would never know he was a preemie. I’m not religious by any means but God was definitely looking out for us, so I named him Matthew – a gift from God.”

Stephanie says she’s an open book but something people may not know is that she’s never cooked a full meal from scratch! “I hate cooking, I really do.” Stephanie has a secret talent though – busting out rap lyrics like no one else! “I drove to New Orleans by myself and I had Tupac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” memorized front to back. I listened to that song two hours straight to make sure I got every verse.” She also is super smart when it comes to trivia and she takes pride in it. “I dare someone to challenge me!” Something else about her she loves is that her friends, coworkers and acquaintances all associate her with 311. If she takes vacation people automatically assume it’s 311 related. Then when she surprised her friend by coming back from Cuba for her wedding, her friend changed her cake cutting song to “Feels So Good” in honor of her!

Musical tastes outside of 311 are all over the map she says, from Michael Jackson to Classic Rock to even one of her guilty pleasures, The Backstreet Boys! “Come on now, they are so catchy!” She loves the boy bands from the nineties and 2000s. Another guilty pleasure that she said FINE to confessing is that she saw Nickelback in concert and does like a few of their songs. “Cue the angry flash mobs and burning me at the stake!”

To the band that has had such a big affect her life she would like to relay this message: “Thank you. You have been the soundtrack to my life and no matter where my life takes me, you are always a play away and will never know how much you saved me.”

To all the people in this awesome fandom:

“It’s amazing how the Internet has provided us with a platform to follow 311, create a “family” on Facebook, watch the concerts that someone has recorded on YouTube, bitch and complain about damn posters and just meeting new friends at concerts. Back in the day, I would hear that 311 was playing from word of mouth or in an advertisement in the back of the Pitch Weekly. So to all the old school and new school fans – “Hi, I’m Stephanie. It’s nice to meet all of you and let’s continue to love and enjoy the sounds of the greatest fucking band out there! Who’s gonna buy me a beer now?”

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The story of Stephanie Davis my slinkies & brodels! Hope you all had a blast reading about her and thank you as always for doing so! Keep on being the positive and loving humans that you are. Until we meet again!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – Donnie Greenwood – 8/3/2015

August 3rd, 2015

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Welcome back my excitable friends! Another week is upon us which means it’s time to feature another awesome 311 fan. This week the spotlight takes aim at Donnie Greenwood!

The blue album came out and many of us found 311 because of it. Donnie is no exception. “Like many people “Down” got my interest and “All Mixed Up” got my attention.” It was the latter that really drew him in and made him want to get into music. “That song is ultimately why I picked up an instrument.”

Every fan spotlight is asked how many shows they’ve been to, but Donnie probably had the best answer yet.  “Not enough.” So while we don’t know his number,  he does have a favorite show that he’s been to. “Memphis on May 2, 2014. I finally got a chance to take my dear mom along and show her what it’s all about.”

The song that means the most to him was hard to answer because he, like many of us fans, have too many that hold a special place in our hearts. Inevitably he chose his as “Dreamland.” “Each time I hear it, ‘Dreamland’ stops my day at that moment and I smile. That’s it. No matter what, it makes me smile.” One of his favorite lyrics comes from “Rub A Dub” – “Only thing that matters if it’s funky to you.”

A little town in Mississippi is where Donnie was born and raised. “I quite literally had soybeans and cows for neighbors when I was a kid.” While his peers had interest in hobbies such as hunting, Donnie was different, which is why he says he ended up with his deep love for music and 311. “I was the right kind of young where I was beginning to find my own entertainment when the Blue album came out. It was perfect timing.”

His love of music paid off when he received a scholarship for three years of college paid because he played bass in a school sponsored country band. “That’s Mississippi for ya!”  While he’s a self-described “6’ 2”, bearded, tattooed, 4 wheel drive owning, ex-rugby player MANLY man” he knows how to use a sewing machine! “I’m not too bad at it either.”

Donnie’s love of music means he has eclectic taste in artists. As he typed up his answers he was live streaming a Slipknot show. “I hate the ‘I love everything’ answer as much as the next reader but it’s true. I’m absolutely a fan of music.” An example of his variety of tastes shows in what was in his rotation this week: Muddy Waters, Alkaline Trio, and the new Wilco album. His guilty pleasure comes in the form of a musician as well. “Katy Perry. And I mean her music, not her. Fight me!”

To the fellas in 311, Donnie would simply like to say thank you. “But it’d probably come out as drool and a grunt because they’re probably the only five dudes who could make me star struck.”

His message to all the other fans out there is simple as well:

“Take care of yourself and someone else today.”

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That’s the tale of Donnie my friends! I love his message to all of you and it really is true, you should do what he says each day you live.

So with that, I bid you adieu. Until we meet again my excitable friends!! Keep on spreading the love & positivity!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Beth Haskin – 7/27/15

July 27th, 2015

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Hello again excitable friends! Welcome back to another fan spotlight and happy Monday! Time to kick it into high gear and meet Mrs. Beth Haskin!

Beth’s discovery of 311 came like many of us with the release of the blue album and the radio airplay of “Down.”  She liked the different sound and style they had. “I had never heard anything like them before and honestly, I don’t think there’s anyone like them today.” While she liked the music, she never really dug deeper into it or saw them in concert until she met her husband Chuck. “He was a huge fan and I could relate to his obsession because I had my own with The Dave Matthews Band. His passion for them made me want to explore their music more.” After he burned her copies of all their CD’s she discovered just how much more there was to the band than she knew. Then on July 19, 2013 Chuck took her to her first show. “He made sure I was on the rail front and center. My mind was blown! I was hooked and the rest is history!”

In the past two years Beth has seen them 8 times, including 311 Day 2014 and the recent cruise to Jamaica. Her favorite so far is without a doubt the cruise. “It was the most incredible trip I have ever been on!  Charles proposed to me shortly after boarding the ship, and we spent the next four days enjoying the band we love, visiting Jamaica and celebrating with amazing people who feel like one big family.  It doesn’t get much better than that!”

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Song that means the most to Beth is a hard question to answer because like many of the fans, there are just so many that she loves. “I’ve always had a thing for “Beautiful Disaster” and I really dig “Freeze Time”.  I also can’t seem to get enough of “Five Of Everything”.  I love the way it sounds and I think a lot of us can relate to it.  Like many other 311 songs, it reminds you to live in the moment and appreciate what you have instead of always being in search of something more.” Favorite quote comes from “Sunset in July” – “Here I was happy.” She says it reminds her that being happy is a choice and we should live in the moment and appreciate it.

Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Beth didn’t always have a great life. She grew up in a poor family where her dad was never around and her mother was an abusive alcoholic. She learned to take care of herself and her brother at a very young age. Due to her situation, she wasn’t raised to have confidence or self-esteem and she fell for the first person that she believed cared for her. At age 18 that relationship moved her to Maryland (where she still currently lives) and she was then married at 20. At age 27 she gave birth to her beautiful daughter Lyric.

While she stayed in a toxic relationship longer than she should have, and while she may have endured some very dark times in her life, she overcame them and doesn’t regret the past. “I had a lot of issues early on in my life due to abuse that I had to work through and overcome.  Music was always there for me and helped me get through.  Despite the fact that I have endured many dark days in my life, one thing is for certain…I always stayed positive!  I always felt that there was something better for me on the horizon and that I would make it through.  I learned to take control of my life, and that I am in charge of my own happiness.  Now I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.  I am happily married to a man who respects me and treats me like gold.  I have a beautiful, smart, healthy daughter and life is one big adventure.  I don’t regret the things that have happened in my life because I think they have made me the person I am today, and I think that those experiences make me appreciate all the good in my life that much more.”

While 311 has become a major part of her life, her main musical obsession is The Dave Matthews Band. “I’ve been listening to them for 25 years and they have gotten me through the hardest times in my life. Like 311, their music also promotes positivity and reminds you that life is short and you should live each day like it’s your last.  I love music that speaks me and has meaning.  DMB also has a huge “family” like 311.  It’s amazing to connect with people through music and experiences, and know that you’re not alone.”

If anyone reading is a fan of the band KISS, then you’ll like that Beth was named after their song! “One of the few things that I  appreciated about my mother was that she had eclectic taste in music.  She listened to everything and exposed me to all types of music growing up.  Music was very important in our household, and it became very important in my life as well.  I am grateful for that.”

Beth is extremely good with children and she studied Early Childhood Education. She has been a child care provider for 21 years, nannied, taught preschool, worked with children with special needs, worked in various child care centers and even ran her own licensed in-home center at one point. “My friends call me the baby whisperer because I can calm any baby, and children are drawn to me every where I go!”

When not calming babies and children, Beth sometimes likes to indulge in some guilty pleasures. “I love reality TV!  Shows like Teen Mom, Kate Plus 8, The Little Couple, etc.  It fascinates me to see how other people live their lives, and at the end of the day it feels good to just relax and watch something that I don’t have to think too much about.”

Beth’s message to 311 is one of gratitude:

“I would thank them for making music that unites people and promotes positivity.  Life can be hard, but it helps to know that are others who have felt the same way, and that there is music out there that can help you get through.  I would also thank them for everything they do for their fans.  Not a lot of bands tour as much as they do, do special days and trips for their fans and take time out to take pictures with their fans.  You can tell that they appreciate their fans very much.”

To all the fans that appreciate everything this band does:

“Nick says it best…”Stay positive and love your life”!  Truer words have never been spoken.  Whatever you’re going through, you will get through it.  Life goes on and this too shall pass.  Happiness is a choice, and you must choose to be happy everyday and live life to the fullest.  Never let anyone but you control your happiness!!!”

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And there you have the story of Beth Haskin my friends! I’m glad you all got to learn more about her and thank you as usual for reading! My love goes out to all of you for being the amazing humans that make up this 311 family. Until we meet again, keep on rockin’ and passing on the good vibes to others!

Much love – The Runt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

311 Fan Spotlight – Mike Morel – 7/20/15

July 20th, 2015

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Welcome back my fellow 311 fans!! Happy Monday to all. I hope your weekend was excellent! Let’s start this awesome week by introducing you to another fan. Time to meet Mike Morel!

1993 was the year. Mike’s cousin asked a favor of him – to hit up the mall and buy him Music on cassette tape. Later on they listened to it together and Mike heard “Visit” and “Do You Right.” “I had never heard a band like that before. Two singers, perfect harmonies and such a unique sound.”

For live shows, Mike is somewhere in the mid 40’s range. His first show was at the State Palace Music Theater in New Orleans on October 30, 1994 when the band played with The Cramps. “That was the day I became a fan for life. Such high energy and sounded just like their albums.” Of the forty-something shows that Mike has been to, he said it’s the last cruise that takes the prize for the best. “The 3rd cruise was my first and it changed my 311 experience forever because of all of the amazing people / friends I met. I now have friends all over the country and friends for life because of it, and I’ll never be at a 311 show alone again thanks to the Familia.”

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Favorite song is a tie between “Jackolantern’s Weather” or “Golden Sunlight” since they are both so rare to hear live and the harmonies are amazing. “Although ‘Great Divide’ is moving up quick in the rankings.” Mike’s favorite lyric though comes from “Paradise” – “Musics what I need to keep my sanity.” He says music is something he can’t live without and he needs it in his daily life.

Slidell, Louisiana is where Mike lived until the age of 24 when he moved to South Mississippi for a job. He’s been there ever since. “I work at FedEx and that has helped me attend all of the shows and events I have been to.” One of those events was Pow Wow back in 2011. “One of my goals when I went to the Pow Wow by myself was to meet the Puffy Hand guys. So during the Transistor set I met Josh Hurley and Matty K and they gave me my first official Puffy Hand. Now I am one of the guys in the Puffy Hand Crew and I represent them any time 311 comes to the South East. This July I’ll be in Charlotte, Jacksonville, Orlando and Birmingham with my Puffy Hands.”

Mike has two daughters, ages 13 and 8, that are his pride and joy. “My oldest is just like me. I love spending time with them and of course they are 311 fans.” Earlier I said Mike can’t live without music in his life and he is a self-proclaimed music geek. “I can pretty much tell you the artist or a song title just from hearing the first few notes of a song from 1954 to now.” Another love is football. He’s a huge fan of both professional and college. “I have season tickets for both the New Orleans Saints and LSU Tigers. Football season is my favorite time of the year.”

Some other bands that Mike is into are Incubus, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, Faith No More, Dirty Heads, The Urge, Our Lady Peace, Blue October and RDGLDGRN.

To the guys that make up the awesomeness that is 311, Mike has this message:

“I would just like to thank them for changing my life by bringing some awesome people into it. And always being able to keep me positive and happy whenever I listen to their music and see them live. I hope they never quit making music.”

Now to all the amazing fans that come together to make up this phenomenal community:

“I just want to thank all of the awesome, friendly, positive fans out there for being part of the Excitable Crew and Familia. There are too many people to list, but I love seeing all of your faces and rocking out with you at their shows. I can’t wait to see y’all for our next 311 experience together.”

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That is Mike Morel slinkies & brodels! I hope you had a blast reading his tale. I love relaying all the awesome stories of fans to you all! Thank you as always for reading. Now go conquer the week and spread that love & positivity as always!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Chris Barry – 7/13/15

July 13th, 2015

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Excitable friends, welcome back!!! Monday has arrived and so has our latest fan spotlight. Time to meet Chris Barry!

Growing up Chris listened to KROQ in California and heard “Down,” “All Mixed Up,” and “Don’t Stay Home” on the station. Then in 5th grade a friend brought him a taped copy of Soundsystem and he got a little more into the band. However, it wasn’t until he heard “Creatures” in 2003 that his fandom really clicked on. “About two weeks after I got Evolver I went out and bought every other record the had released to date. The rest was history. For me, the first thing that drew me to 311 was the drums…Chad Sexton is the reason I started playing!”

Now at 40 live shows and counting, Chris doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. He’s attended four 311 Day shows and two of the cruises. Narrowing down his favorite out of all the shows is tough though. He said it’s hard to compare club shows vs. arena shows vs. the cruise. “I’d have to say this past cruise tops them all though. I had my two best friends in the world with me (Kelsey and Darryl) and it was their first cruise. There is no feeling like that sail-away show.”

“Existential Hero” has become a favorite song of his. “That song is the epitome of 311 bringing the swagger. The song feels like you are being taken on a journey through space and time, and the song has some of the best drums in 311’s catalog.” One of his all time favorite lyrics comes from “Omaha Stylee” – “Got more funky styles than a laserjet got fonts.” He said that line always cracked him up.

Orange County, California is where Chris was born and raised. He now currently resides in Laguna Hills where he works in administration for a private high school. We know he loves 311 and drumming, but one of his other passions is aviation. “I got my pilots license in 2012. One day I would like to fly with Eric Stone and Gus Chavez, some fellow 311 aviators!”

Chris mentioned before that he started playing the drums thanks to Chad’s sound and style, and it’s something he considers unique about himself. “I started playing because of Chad and he became my biggest influence growing up. His style is so unique that I think it helped me learn some styles are prevalent in 311’s music.”  Chris is in California’s only 311 tribute band named The Brodels. “I get to play with a great group of talented guys down here. We are jamming for some shows coming up later this summer and early fall, so come see us if you can!”

Any music with good drumming catches Chris’ ear. Some other bands he loves are Tool, Dirty Heads, Pretty Lights, John Brown’s Body, and Slightly Stoopid. Guilty pleasure of his is anything Star Wars! “Counting down the days until Episode VII on 12/18!”

To 311, Chris would like to say this message:

“Thank you for the amazing experiences, life (and music) lessons, and creating an amazing community. And if you guys ever get a private jet, I know a pilot…”

To the amazing 311 community:

“See you all at 311 Day! Over the years I have had some incredible memories and met some amazing friends. If you ever see me, come say hi! Much love to all.”

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That’s the story of Chris Barry my friends! Thank you all for reading each week and I hope you like meeting another fellow fan! Until next time, keep rocking out at those summer shows and hopefully I’ll meet some of you at them!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Kevin McNeill – 7/6/15

July 6th, 2015

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Monday is here my excitable friends! Welcome back and I hope all of you had an amazing Fourth of July. It’s time to meet the latest fan spotlight. Give a big warm, 311est  welcome to Kevin McNeill!

When the blue album was getting popular, that’s about the time Kevin was really starting to get into music. His friends had the album and used “Down” as the entrance music when they wrestled. Kevin enjoyed the music and as more came out, he downloaded a few songs here and there. “I downloaded Come Original on Napster when it was still free/illegal. I remember taping You Wouldn’t Believe and Amber off the radio too.” While he was listening to 311, he wasn’t fully hooked until college thanks to his friend Liam. He would walk into Kevin’s dorm and say, “K-Mick we’re going to smoke a joint…you’re driving…and we’re listening to 311.”  It was Transistor that made Kevin fall hardcore for the band. “Use of Time” hooked Kevin, he was floored when he heard it. It’s even the song he narrowed down as his favorite. “If only because it was the song that most connected to me when I first heard it.  Tim’s solos in it are incredible, and I remember being with Liam on one of our drives, and hearing the guitar and imagining hearing them live, and the chords ringing in my ears, and it gave me goosebumps.  On top of that, the line “Every time I turn the volume down, all I hear is the deafening sound, of your heart’s pound” really touched me at the time, and it an example of the kind of beauty that their music creates and incites.”

After Transistor, Kevin stumbled onto Evolver and became even more hooked. “I couldn’t really understand what I loved about them so much; everything else I listened to was screamo or metal, and then there was 311.  I think it was my subconscious trying to tell me that not everything had to be so glum; there was “positivity” in the world, to steal a common 311-esque phrasing.  Liam invited me to see my first 311 show in August 2003 in Gilford, NH, and it was the definition of face-melting.  I was speechless, then sweaty and exhausted, and finally hooked for life.  My next paycheck was spent on purchasing the remaining albums that I did not yet own.  Been a lunatic fan ever since.”

Kevin has attended 14 shows since his start in Gilford and he believes there is no greater joy that he can obtain than attending a 311 show (Granted, he said he hasn’t gotten married yet or had a child). While he said 14 may not seem like a lot, it is considering he didn’t see them live from June 2010 to July 2014. His location isn’t ideal for seeing live concerts. He’s seen them in a variety of locations though. “I’ve seen them in Gilford, NH; Mansfield, MA; Boston, MA; Lowell, MA; Portland, ME; and most recently in St. Louis, MO.  And I’ll see you fuckers at 311-Day 2016!” Favorite show that he’s discussed many times with various 311 fans such as Dan, RJ and other tweeps is Gilford, NH 2007. “That show was incredible.  They played “Gap”, “Borders”, “Let The Cards Fall”, “Life’s Not A Race” and “Creature Feature” for the first time ever.  Pretty incredible show, and to know that I shared it with some friends that I’ve since met on Twitter is pretty cool too.”

Kevin grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts, in a town called Peabody, right next to Salem (as in the Scarlet Letter and Salem witch trials). He lived there most of his life, then spent 4 years in Lowell attending school at University of Massachusetts Lowell. He graduated from there with a degree in Criminal Justice, but didn’t really want to head into that field professionally. After working in retail for a while, Kevin moved to Carbondale, Illinois in 2011 (way…..WAY down in southern Illinois he said, about 2 hours southeast of St. Louis). His girlfriend of 7 years is working on her PhD there and Kevin decided to go back to school while there too. He now has a Masters of Art’s in Teaching with a concentration in English. He currently is an English teacher at the local high school and he absolutely loves it! “It’s 1000x better than working retail.  I love messing with the students, and I even have a 311 Quote of the Day, and write a different clever or inspiring 311 lyric on the board every day.  All my students know I’m a crazy fan and pick on me for it.  But they also say stuff like “Mr. McNeill!  I heard 311 on the radio this weekend and I thought of you!” and that’s worth it!”

Cooking is a hobby of Kevin’s and something he says he does excellently. “I don’t like to do it every day, which is why I don’t try to work in a restaurant, but I love messing with spices and flavor profiles, and I’m surprisingly good at it.” He is also a bit of a neat freak and likes to keep everything organized and tidy. “So, the interesting fact is that I’m perfect husband material because I cook and clean.”

A unique talent Kevin has is that he can pull out a Simpson’s reference pretty much for any occasion. “It’s actually pretty pathetic.  But when I do it, and someone else gets it and starts laughing, it’s worth the previous 2483 times that only I laughed.  Every Wednesday, me and a group of my friends go to trivia at a local bar, and every week we name our team some obscure Simpsons reference.  Last week, we were You Don’t Win Friends With Salad.” As far as his guilty pleasure, it’ all about the craft beer. “I’m a craft beer aficionado, and I’ve become quite obsessive about it.  I used to be able to dabble in a few crafty things: Harpoon IPA, Yuengling, a few different Sam Adams.  Now I’m maniacal.” Kevin has an entire cabinet full of craft beer that he says he is purposely aging. He also has a case underneath his guest room bed and 8-10 bottles that are too tall for the cabinet. “Everywhere I go, there needs to be some craft there, and I always want to try something new.  I used to be a status quo kind of guy, and now I need to be on to the newest, tastiest brew I can find!  So thank you craft breweries, for making my drinking problem seem like a neat hobby!”

Kevin is into many different varieties and genres of music. He said besides 311 his other favorite band is Funeral for a Friend. He also said that most of his other favorites fit the “posthardcore/screamo/alternative genre.”  Nineties alternative also is a selection he loves like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots. Being from New England, he still has some local groups he likes such as Too Late the Hero, The Receiving End of Sirens, Therefore I Am, and Me As Time. “All great bands…check them out!

To the band that has meant so much to him over the years he’d like to send this message:

What you guys should do, is hold a worldwide 311 Tribute Band contest, judged by the fans, and whichever 311 Tribute band wins, gets to go on tour and open for you every year, so we get to see twice as many songs at each show!  You could call it the ‘Who Can Be the 311-est? Contest’.”

Now to all the amazing fans in the land of excitable nation:

“It’s been a pleasure to meet and get to know all of you over the past few years on social media.  I can’t wait to run into all of you at a show someday!  Keep living the dream!  Somebody has to do it, might as well be us.

And thanks to Christina for doing this stuff all the time!  You rock!”

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Aww thanks Kevin! And thank you to all the supporters of my Runt Rant. I appreciate the time you all take to read more about your fellow fans. This is truly a passion of mine, writing about all of your amazing people week after week!! I hope you enjoyed Kevin’s story. Keep on rocking and being the amazing humans you are! You make the world a better place!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Greg Gardner – 6/22/15

June 22nd, 2015

Greg is in the center of this photo :)

Greg is in the center of this photo :)

Hi there my excitable friends in 311 nation! Happy Monday! It’s everyones favorite time of the week when we meet a new 311 fan. Let’s read the story of Greg Gardner!

8 years old was the age that Greg first was exposed to 311 through the song “Down,” which was getting a lot of radio airplay at the time. “That was the coolest song I had ever heard in my life. 311’s sound is so unique, there is not another band like them.”  As Greg got older, the lyrics started really resonating with him and he fell in love with the band even more. “In my opinion, they created their own genre and they are the only band in it. I love that all of their music is so positive and uplifting. Even when they are referring to life’s struggles, there is always a positive that they try to convey and it has definitely helped me through all aspects of my life.”

14 is the number of live shows that Greg has reached so far. He went to one show a year when 311 would come to the D.C. area and then he finally got to fulfill a lifelong dream of attending 311 Day back in 2014. “It was at this event where I met a ton of amazing people whom I now consider to be some of my best friends.  Now that I have friends all over the U.S. with a similar passion for 311, I will traveling to 5 shows this year at venue’s I’ve never been to.”  While this event had a huge impact on Greg’s life by introducing him to his second family, he now says that his favorite event is the cruise to Jamaica. “It was like reuniting with family I hadn’t seen in a year.  I can’t put into words how much I loved the Cruise, it was not only my favorite 311 event, but maybe the single greatest time of my life.  I am ALL IN for the next one.”

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Greg was born and raised in Northern Virginia and growing up constantly surrounded by music. His parents are the reason he loves so many great bands because they were big into 70’s and 80’s classic rock, which shaped his musical taste. Some of his other favorite bands include Pink Floyd, The Doors, and Led Zeppelin. Another love is sports and he says he rarely watches anything else on T.V. “I played baseball, football, and basketball growing up but baseball was always my true love. I am a diehard Washington Nationals fan and I try to go to as many games as I can. I’m also a big Green Bay Packers, Washington Capitals and Lebron James fan.”  Greg is also an alumni of West Virginia University so he is a HUGE fan of WVU football and basketball. Apart from music and sports, Greg simply loves hanging out with friends and his awesome girlfriend Sam Cabrera, who he has molded into becoming a die hard 311 fan as well. “She always enjoyed the shows but 311 Day and the cruise have got her hooked!”

The song “Made in the Shade” really had a big impact on Greg’s life. It’s because of lyrics in that song that he woke up and realized he was tired of his job and feeling like he wasn’t getting anywhere. “An opportunity presented itself that was way outside the box from what I was doing before but I took a chance and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” Greg now works for a construction company as a Customer Service Manager and the company is growing rapidly. “I am extremely busy but it is exciting being a part of a company that is having so much success.  It is very rewarding to get feedback from customers and knowing not only that I could help brighten their day but really better their everyday life.” His company was even recently on The Today Show! Greg said it was the lyrics, “Bout time to give up on, the same old stuff I’m stuck on” and “I’ll be looking out the same old window, years later on a Monday thinking something would come from doing the same things” that really made him make the bold move to his new career.

You already know that Greg is really into sports, but what you don’t know is that his little league team won the Virginia state championship and advanced to the South East regional of the little league world series. “I pitched a game where we upset Florida, who was a favorite to win it all, but we lost to Alabama in the regional championship.” He’s also really good at impersonations. “My favorites are Butters and Mr. Mackey from South Park. I also do a good Harry Carey.” As with most of us, Greg isn’t immune to having a guilty pleasure. “I am a big fan of The Voice. It is really the only thing I watch on T.V. other than sports. I think it is really cool seeing people go after their dreams, and being a big fan of music, it is just awesome to watch people grow throughout the show. I also like that unlike other singing competition shows, they don’t show all the BS and only give air time to the people that deserve it.”

With the impact that 311 has had on Greg’s life, he’d like to plainly send this message:

“ Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration for me.”

To the fans, the community of awesome people:

“Thanks everyone for just kicking ass as a fan base.  There is no other band in the world with a fan base that is as loving, friendly, and passionate as we are.  To my Plurbie crew, you all already know how I feel about you.  I love you guys to death and can’t wait to party with some of y’all at the shows this summer!”

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That’s how Greg fell for 311 and now you all know more about him!! I hope you all enjoyed his tale and thank you as always for reading. You are all awesome people and I can’t wait to interview each and every one of you! Until we meet again, I leave you with one of Greg’s favorite 311 lyrics: “Life’s a bowl of punch, go ahead and spike it.”

Much love! – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Dwayne LeBlanc – 6-15-15

June 15th, 2015

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Hello again and another happy Monday to all of you in the excitable 311 nation! Tis the time to read about another amazing fellow fan. This week’s spotlight takes aim at Dwayne LeBlanc!

Dwayne credits his best friend at the time for hooking him on 311. He told him about 311 Day 2002 and they decided to go. That’s where his love for them began. Since then he’s been to almost 40 shows. “I’ve got about 35 ticket stubs but I know I’m missing a few.” His favorite event so far though has hands down been the most recent cruise to Jamaica.

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The song “Daisy Cutter” holds a special place in his heart, not only because it’s he and his lovely ladies song, but also because they named their daughter after it! Another favorite of his is “Tribute.”  Some of his favorite lines though come from “Hydroponic” – Everything I eat is from the Earth, right? I am what I eat, straight up Earth, right? Nothing but a walking sack of Earth, nice to meet you, how do ya do? Guess what? Ya you’re one too.”

Born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana, Dwayne grew up right outside New Orleans. He’s a southern boy who works hard doing plumbing work for his family’s company, which he’s been doing since the age of 17. He loves his job and that it funds his 311 addiction. “I just simply save up everything I can months before a big show, or I just jump on something and spend all my money and hear it from the wife later lol.”

Dwayne said his number one love really is his family which includes his beautiful wife and three awesome children. Outside of that his other love is music. “I love to play my bass when I get the time.” He said that playing music is one of his talents and he has a great ear for it. He also said his life really revolves around music! Some of his other favorite artists are RDGLDGRN, Soja, Tribal Seeds, Rebelution, and anything from the Marley family. He’s big into Reggae but also enjoys other genres ranging from Grateful Dead to Van Halen. Incubus, Deftones, Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and the whole Taylor Gang, plus Lupe Fiasco are just some others he’s into to name a few.

Guilty pleasure for Dwayne comes in the form of comic books. “I’m still a comic book nerd and I also still watch more cartoons than my kids hahaha. I’m just a big kid so they say!”

His message to 311 is simple and sums up his gratitude for them well: “Thank you for everything y’all do for us crazy excitables!”

To all the fans that make up this amazing community of positivity:

“I just wanna thank all the excitables I’ve gotten to meet over the years. I’m so happy and blessed to be a part of this movement. Y’all are truly the greatest people on this Earth. Keep doing y’alls thang, I love every single one of y’all!”

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Thanks for reading the story of Dwayne LeBlanc! I hope you all enjoyed meeting another fellow fan. As you all know by now, you keep reading, and I will keep writing! Now go enjoy your day and pass on that positive vibe to those you see today.

Much love! – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/8/15 – Jordan Ouzounian

June 8th, 2015

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Happy Monday excitable nation!! Another week is here and it’s time to meet another awesome fellow fan! Let’s not delay – here is the story of Jordan Ouzounian!

Ninth grade year was the time and it was friend Britton Williams who introduced Jordan to the wonderfulness of 311. “The first album I listened to was Grassroots and that got me going.” Then in 2007 he went to his first show in Salt Lake City on 8/6. He’s been hooked since!

The Salt Lake City show on May 8th this year was number 11 for Jordan. Of the shows he’s seen he said that his favorite has been 311 Day 2014, which he attended with Britton and his cousin Artin. “That was a trip to never forget. From the get go that shit was the most random yet fucking awesome 36 hours of my life!”

While every song of theirs is unique and means something in one way or another to Jordan, he said it’s the songs that drew his family in that mean the most. “For example, June 30, 2008 the band played “Champagne” in SLC, which is my moms favorite jam. I earlier had gone on the BB and requested that song. Come to find out SLC was the only time they played it during the summer tour! That was a pretty cool coincidence or not.” Jordan also said one major reason he convinced his cousin Artin to go to 311 Day was because he would hear his favorite song, Beyond the Gray Sky”, live. Jordan’s favorite quote comes from “Brodels” – “I cannot think of a better way that we could celebrate freedom than to think of a set of goals and cold beat ‘em!”

Jordan is the youngest of five siblings and has called Salt Lake City, Utah his home all his life. “One thing I love about where I live is the access to the Wasatch and Uinta mountains. I fly fish and hunt so this is really a perfect place for me to be located.” To fund his 311 addiction he waits tables at a large scale restaurant. He also resells items on eBay as well.

An interesting fact about Jordan is that he is legally blind in his left eye! But he says that doesn’t stop him from being talented in the kitchen. And his guilty pleasure? “Nothing can clear my head quite like a day on the river. Although I don’t feel guilty about it :).”

Other music Jordan is into is metal and bands like Pantera or Lamb of God. Although he  said, “Honestly who am I kidding, 311 is 95% of my music intake!”

His message to the guys is a simple one: “Thank you for all you do!”

To all the awesome fans out there his message is this:

“To all of you I have met and have yet to meet, I wouldn’t change a minute! Shout out to the 801 Familia and Cody and Cori Robinson for being all that you are!”

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That friends is Jordan! One more amazing person in this sea of positive vibe merchants. Thank you as always for reading and for being the awesome people you are. Until next time keep on spreading the love!

Much love – The Runt

 

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