Runt Rant

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

311 Fan Spotlight – 5/23/16 – Vanessa Velasquez!

May 23rd, 2016

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Another week is upon us and that means another fan spotlight has arrived! This week we meet the fabulous Vanessa Velasquez!

Vanessa’s 311 journey begins in the 7th grade. She and her brother were on the bus home from school and she had forgotten her earphones in her locker and her brother was kind enough to share his with her. “At the time, he had just gotten a burned CD called the “Stoner Mix” that a girl he liked gave to him for Valentines day. Omaha Stylee and Beautiful Disaster were the two songs that caught my attention and made me want to listen and learn more.”

First live show fell on July 20, 2008 which was the summer right after Vanessa graduated high school.  “I used some of my graduation money to buy my best friend and I a ticket.” Since then she’s seen 43 shows which include four 311 Day’s from 2010 to 2016, and four cruises. Of those shows, Vanessa said there are four events that hold a special place in her heart. “Pow Wow because they played Transistor (one of my favorite albums) and because I got to kiss my crush for the first time after briefly meeting him on the 1st cruise and keeping in touch after that. Cruise #2 because I got to see 311 play on the beach. OUR VERSION OF PARADISE, 311 Day 2014 and 311 Day 2016 because it was in NOLA and I love that city, even though it’s dirty.”

Favorite song is a little difficult for Vanessa because she said there’s just too many too list and there are many that make her tear up when she see’s the played live. “One song I do always listen to when I’m feeling down is Strong All Along. Never fails to put a smile on my face. Also Use of Time- with the Unity Orchestra version. Nick sounds like a god and I just love it.” Favorite quote from a song is, “Stay positive with love, just see the good in everybody.”

Vanessa was born in Garden City, Kansas and grew up on a farm with her grandparents in a strict Catholic home. Her mother was just a mere 16 when she had her, and both her parents were always working to support the family. It was mostly weekends that she got to spend time with them but that changed later once they got themselves on their feet financially. “I was the kinda kid that would wake up early and help out with the animals, one of my favorite things was milking the cows and helping my grandma make cheese!” In 2004 her family moved to Northern Virginia, where she said she discovered what a mall was! Now she lives in Georgia and waits tables at Mellow Mushroom to fund her 311 habit.

Vanessa credits her brother solely for getting her into 311. It was her twin brother who unfortunately passed away who had her listen to them for the first time and he always wanted to see them live. “My brother passed away in 2003 in a car accident with my uncle. He introduced me to 311 and his dream was to see 311 live one day. Now I’m living that dream for him.”

Vanessa’s talent she says really isn’t a talent. “I would like to consider myself somewhat of an old fashioned Suzy homemaker. I think my grandma and mother for teaching me everything I know, from making tortillas by hand to cooking or just being good at cleaning and keeping my home organized. No shame in being a little domesticated, right?”

Nessa said that her music taste is weird when not listening to 311. “Besides 311 I like dancing music we call CUMBIA in Spanish. I also enjoy jam band, reggae music, and R&B pop from the 2000’s. Seriously it’s all over the place.”

Guilty pleasure comes via the T.V. show “Desperate Housewives.” “I love Eva Longoria and Marcia Cross in that show.” Another one is the second and third album from the band Good Charlotte. “I love the Madden brothers!” Vanessa also mentioned that she loves camping, kayaking, learning about craft beer, and CATS!! :)

To the band her message is this:

“Thank you for all the smiles and happy tears you guys have put on my face, life would be boring without 311.”

To all the other fans of the band:

“To all the brodels and Slinkies I have met in my journey as a 311 excitable and to those I have yet to cross paths with. THANK YOU for making these life experiences much more fun by being a part of it. “If you don’t have someone to do it with, it’s not worth doin’”  You guys are much more than just people I see at a show/ event. you are family. Peace, love, UNITY! and respect <3”

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And there you have Vanessa’s story! I hope you loved it and that you all get to meet this amazing soul in person one day. Until next time, go be awesome, amazing, and keep spreading the positivity!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 5/16/16 – Marino Radke!

May 16th, 2016

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Hello again excitable friends! Now is the time…the time for our next 311 fan spotlight! This week we learn the story of Marino Radke!

Fresh out of the Navy is where Marino’s story begins. He returned from overseas and moved into his first apartment. After finally getting cable hooked up, he turned on MTV and there was the video for 311’s “Down.” “I turned it up all the way and was literally glued to the TV.  Never heard anything quite like it and I was ready for some new music in my life. Went the next day and bought the Blue CD, fell in love and when that happened I needed more, went out over that summer and found the rest of their CD’s.”

Twenty-seven is where Marino stands for live shows. He’s seen them 3 times this year already and has two more planned (Atlanta shows). “I was a late bloomer to seeing them live, making up for it now!”  Of all the amazing shows and experiences he has seen, his favorite comes in as a tie between Pow Wow and his first ever show back in 2000. “That first show I really didn’t know what to expect and it was an amazing set list with Jimmies Chicken Shack opening and the venue was so small (Music Farm). But I’m still hoping the best is yet to come!”

“Come Original” is the song that speaks the most to Marino. Then there is “Beyond the Grey Sky” that brings back memories of his dad. “Visit” is another favorite, because visiting the world is his other hobby. The one that really means a lot to him though is “Two Drops in the Ocean.” “I was lucky enough to get married on the beach in Cancun with my wife walking down the aisle to this song. Forever our song!”

Some of his favorite lyrics come from “My Stoney Baby” – “The fish who keeps on swimming, is the first to chill upstream.” Marino has a koi tattoo with 311 bars on his calf to remind him to never give up and keep giving his all. Another favorite lyric comes from “Eons” – “Nobody knows just what you’re battling inside, you can hide.”  Marino believes we all have a story and we are all going through something. “Another reason I love the band, the inclusion and the positivity.”

Marino grew up in Seal Beach and Garden Grove, California. “Loved surfing, most everyday if I could as a kid. The beach was my favorite place to be.” He was raised around some great uncles who were really into music and got him into bands like The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Hendrix. After high school Marino joined the Navy and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. He got to travel all over the Mediterranean including France, Italy, Greece, Israel and Spain. He also went to almost every island in the Caribbean. After he left the Navy he chose to stay on the east coast and after moving around a bit, he finally settled in Fort Mills, S.C. He lives there with his lovely wife (who he says understands his 311 habit), his teenage son Zack and daughter Caswell. He’s even brought his kids to three shows already!

Currently Marino supervises an order fulfillment center for Time Warner Business Class. He’s also a huge fan of most music and has attended over 2500 show and festivals. Some other bands he loves are RHCP, Pearl Jam, Social Distortion, Rancid, The Movement, Sublime, The Offspring (who he went to high school with), WAR, Bob Dylan and the Stones. When not seeing shows, he enjoys relaxing with friends to some good music and great beer, and most weekends it’s at the pool. “At this point in my life I believe life is about living and experiences with the ones you love.  I will sleep when I’m dead.”

Something that makes Marino unique? “Useless information. I have the ability to remember tons of it!” He said that over the years he read a lot about music, movies and travel. They always had Rolling Stone magazine in the house as he grew up and that’s where he got a lot of the info. “I am often asked by friends to answer questions. I would attend trivia with friends and our team would kill.  It’s really amazing since I can’t remember everything from work.  But when it comes to music especially, I can remember everything from set lists from the 90’s, bands I’ve seen and where they are now, just random information. Origins of bands, Band names, members gone from band, what band they used to be in.” Guilty pleasure he says is that he’s a huge Rolling Stones fan, but I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed about! “I have been to 6 shows over the years, all but 1 with my parents and uncle. I have a deep catalog of their music. I was raised on all the early stuff at family parties or when I would come home late in high school my Mom would make me stay up a lil longer listening to the Stones on vinyl.  The music is so raw and rocking, what rock music should be!”

Cool fact about Marino – for a few years growing up he and his mom lived in the same apartment complex with members of the band WAR. “I was probably 3 or 4, they would jam in the garage and me & my mom would hang out with them.  Mom said I would dance and just loved it…I took her word, still love WAR to this day! Music is timeless and I thank my mom all the time for instilling in me the love of music and sharing her appreciation for all music.”

To the guys in 311, Marino’s message is, “The band is more than just music, it’s a community they have brought together.  Sincerely, Thank You, we as fans appreciate you and we can tell you appreciate us!”

To the community of fans:

“It’s so Simple….Stay Positive & Love your Life.  I say this all the time to friends now and they think I’m a weirdo, but when they think about it, it’s all you really need!”

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And that is the story of Marino Radke my friends! Thank you all for reading each week and learning more about the amazing community of 311 fans. Until we meet again, go be awesome and spread the positive vibe!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 5/9/16 – Chad Neustifter!

May 9th, 2016

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Happy new fan spotlight day 311 excitable nation! Sorry for the one week hiatus but we are back at it today. Let’s not delay the fun…meet Chad Neustifter!

The year was 1996 and the setting was a car where Chad first heard 311. He and some friends were just driving around, nowhere in particular, when one of his friends had him pop the blue album into the disc-man that was connected to the car with a tape adapter. “Ended up listening to it straight through and it was glorious!”

Last tally of shows Chad was at is around 32 depending on how you count the multiple show events. Favorite of those shows is his first 311 Day back in 2006 in Memphis. “It just seems unbeatable. I met some of the most amazing people that year and created some really great friendships that I think/hope will last forever. Can’t believe that was already a decade ago!”

There isn’t one song that Chad can pick as his favorite or most meaningful because in a way 311 has really just soundtracked the last 20 years of his life. “So many songs take me right back to different times of my life and remind me of what was happening at that time. Too many fuzzy/wonderful treasures to recollect.”

Chad is a born and raised “Wisconsonite.” He was born in Oshkosh and lived there most of his life. He also lived in Milwaukee for a few years in his early twenties when he went to college. While he didn’t get into this as a career, Chad was a literature major with an emphasis on medieval literature. He currently works as a restaurant general manager between 311 adventures.

Unique quality that Chad has is a different one. “I can shotgun beer faster that anyone in the Familia! I will take on ALL challengers!”  Guilty pleasure for him is the T.V. show Nashville. “I can’t stop watching it. I don’t even like country music. I can’t explain it.”

Other music that Chad is in to comes in a variety of genres. “I’m an incredibly huge fan of music and am listening to some form of ti for at least 8 hours a day…my taste is all over the board.” Chad listens to everything from hip hop to golden oldies. His current playlist is at about 250 GB. “Not a huge fan of country and whatever it is the kids are listening to these days.”

Chad’s message to 311 is this: “Thanks for making all of the wonderful music and all the amazing friendships it has blessed me with!”

To all the wonderful other fans:

“I love each and every one of you so very much. I’ll see you this summer in Chicago and Milwaukee. Antonio R., watch out, I’m coming to win that tie breaker beer shotgun race!”

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There you have the story of Chad Neustifter excitable friends! Thanks for reading it and I hope you loved it. Now go be awesome and spread the light, love & positive vibes!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 4/25/2016 – Joe Kirk!

April 25th, 2016

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Hello excitable friends! The time is here…it’s new 311 fan spotlight day. Time to kick this week off and meet Mr. Joe Kirk!

1995 is the year and Joe, like so many, saw the video for “Down” on MTV. Unlike others though he didn’t like the song at first. Then his childhood friend Steve had purchased the album from the local music store and put the CD on while they were hanging out one day. By the end of the day, Joe had traded his friend 5 other CD’s so he could have the blue album. Then around Christmas that same year Joe first heard Grassroots and he realized just how special 311 is. “What drew me to their music was the combination of excellent instrumentals, unusual unique lyrics, great energy, and an overall positive message.”

76 shows total is where Joe stands currently. His favorite so far was 311 Day 2004. “It was my first 311 Day!” Next in line is the beach show from the second cruise, then the 25th Anniversary show with the set at The Hive. He also loved the double set in Atlantic City, New Jersey back on 12/2/11…and then of course Pow Wow and Halloween 2010 in Atlanta.

It’s hard to pick just one song that means the most to 311 fans, so Joe picked a few that mean the most to him, including “Welcome,” “Lose,” “1,2,3,” “Inner Light Spectrum,” Stealing Happy Hours,” and finally “Coda.”  A couple of his favorite lyrics are as follows: “Music’s what I need to keep my sanity,” “Challenge comes and goes and there will be another, I say bring it on,” and “Let’s think of all the good times, instead of wish we could times.”

Joe is currently 32 years of age, born and raised in New York. For the last twelve years he’s been working as a mental health therapy aide for NYS. “I provide care for the mentally ill, currently work in a Community Residence overseeing 16 patients.  It’s a challenge everyday and I enjoy it thoroughly.” Joe met his amazing fiancé Angela (Gonzalez, another fan spotlight!) through 311 and thanks to the Facebook Familia page. They are planning to get married on October 1st in California.

Cooking is something Joe loves, as well as Mexican food. He also loves to hike with his dog Riley. He has an ethnicity tattoo on his right calve which is an Italian leprechaun holding a pot of spaghetti. Secret talent? “I do an amazing vocal rendition of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.” Guilty pleasure is on the T.V., the show “New Girl.” In his free time Joe likes to play video games, mostly on Xbox one. He also builds and repairs computers on the side.

Joe loves music and aside from 311 his top five bands are Passafire, Bad Rabbits, Coheed and Cambria, The Roots, and Stick Figure. (There are many more too, but it was a long list haha.) He also runs the Passafire Army fan  page on Facebook and says you should check them out. Not only does he enjoy listening to music, he likes to play it as well. “I’m mostly interested in playing bass guitar; playing for about 7 or 8 years and know quite a few 311 songs. I own 2 bass guitars, 1 electric and 1 acoustic guitar, and a drum kit. I recently acquired an accordion, so I’m slowly focusing on that.  Be on the look out for my 311 accordion tribute album (lol jk).”

To the band, Joe’s words are simple but spot on: “Thank you.”

To all the other awesome fans out in 311 nation: “Stay true and go after what makes you passionate in life!”

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Thank you Joe for your story! I know I enjoyed writing it and hope everyone enjoyed learning about him. Thank you all for reading and being a part of this amazing organism we make up, the one and only 311 nation! Until we meet again, keep on spreading that positive vibe.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 4/18/16 – Gregory Rock!

April 18th, 2016

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What’s up excitable nation? Happy new fan spotlight day! Let’s get kicking and introduce Mr. Gregory Rock!

Back in 1995 Greg bought the blue album because he learned that 311 was going to be playing a show with Korn. By the time the show rolled around, Greg was more excited to see 311 than he was Korn! “What drew me in at the time was their unique combination of rapping and heavy guitars. Also, that first live show sold me!”

We now know Greg’s first show and since then he has seen them 63 more times. Only one show has he seen without his wife and that was his first one. He’s been to every 311 Day since 2006, the cruises in 2013 and 2015, and Pow Wow, which he says is his favorite event by far. “It was like a little piece of heaven, survival and glory.  We were glad we [Didn't Stay Home].” Greg also mentioned that he loves seeing them play at Mandalay Bay in Vegas and was at the show last summer when they performed the blue album live.

Favorite song was a tough question for him to answer. “All Mixed Up” and “T&P Combo” were the first two songs he really liked. “Beyond the Gray Sky” strikes a chord because he almost lost a dear friend and band member to depression. Then there’s “My Stoney Baby” because of his wife. The first thing he said to his wife was, “I like your boots,” and there is a reference to a girl looking fresh in her boots in the song. Favorite lyrics come from “Right Now:”

“I’m not one of those fools, With an ecclesiastical whitewash to set my ethical standards, You’ll never catch me lookin’ to Ann Landers, Or Moses or the Law or even Buddha. If there’s one thing I know, It’s always be true to myself.”

Salem, Ohio is the town that Greg grew up in and still lives in today. He lives in this small town with his wife Emily and they own a small business together. The company is Logue Monument Company and it’s pretty much where he says he grew up. “My father bought the business in 1973, and we bought it from him in 2011.  We sell and make cemetery monuments.  With a name like Rock, I guess you work with stone, right?” Greg also spent some time living in Columbus, OH in the 90’s where he attended “THEE Ohio State University.”

Greg also plays drums (which he said is in case that was the intention with his last name). He and his wife were in a local band called OhM for around twelve years and they got to open for many cool bands such as Phunk Junkeez, Slightly Stoopid, The Expendables, Tech N9ne, Jimmy’s Chicken Shack, Downset, Nonpoint, and more. The band even toured back in 2009 with stops in Brooklyn, NYC, Burlington and Winooski, Vermont, Geneva-On-the Lake and Salem, OH.

Greg and his wife Emily were married on 3-11-2005 and have been living together since 1996. “We moved in together in 1996 because her Mom wouldn’t let her go to a 311 show in Dayton Ohio on P Nut’s Birthday!” Then at their 50th show they were blessed to be gifted a signed poster, back in Detroit in 2013.

Something that makes Greg unique is his ability to read people and offer insight. “I usually can see both sides of an argument or discussion, and try to keep the peace!” He’s also really talented creating personalized memorials and sculpting flowers in granite with sandblast.

When not listening to 311, Greg can be found jamming music from Rush, Black Sabbath, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Pink Floyd, and Bob Marley. Guilty pleasure for Greg currently is Far Cry 4 for PS4. He also likes watching YouTube conspiracy theories for some entertainment.

To the band Greg has these words: “Thank you for your dedication, creativity, and positive philosophy.”

Now to all his fellow fans:

“Live your life as best as you can, and enjoy yourself.  Look out for one another.  Also, Go Browns, and one more thing……  LeBron!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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The story of Gregory Rock my friends! Hope you enjoyed reading another edition of the spotlight, I know I enjoy writing them. Now go be the positive, awesome people you are. Have an amazing week! Until next time.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 4/11/16 – Craig Schweitzer!

April 11th, 2016

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Welcome again slinkies and brodels! It’s my favorite time of the week (and hopefully one of yours), time for our next fan spotlight. This week we read the story of Craig Schweitzer!

It’s 95 (and we go for the hive) is where our story begins for Craig. 311 was in heavy rotation on radio stations this year and Craig was fortunate enough to live in an area with one dedicated solely to alternative-rock music. This is where he first heard 311. “What really drew me to their music is the unique combination that really can’t be described.  They incorporate so many genres and blur all lines.  What has kept me is the positivity and genuine happiness and respect that they preach.”

Statistics on live shows for Craig stands at this: 29 shows, 38 sets, 138 unique songs, and 770 total songs live. “Yeah I know my stats, I’m a math nerd.” Of those shows, Pow Wow in 2011 had the biggest impact on him. “Pow Wow was so significantly higher than any other show by them or anyone else.”

There are many songs that strike a chord with Craig and it’s hard for him to choose one that stands out the most. “Although overplayed, ‘Down’ was the first song I ever heard so I’ll say that, but it isn’t my favorite song.” For his favorite lyrics, he’s got an inside joke with friends so he said they are, “Golden buttered jam, golden buttered jam for you slam!”

Chicago is where Craig was originally from but he was raised in Jacksonville, Florida. He now currently resides in Orlando. Work comes in the form of a Senior Analyst which he says he does solely so he can go to concerts. “Every vacation day I have taken in the last 5 years has been for a concert/festival trip. I have been to over 250 concerts and 25 festivals in the last 5 years.  Suwannee (location of Pow Wow) is my favorite place in the world.  I hated camping until I realized you could make it about music which sparked my love for it.”

Craig has a wide range of interest for music. Some of his favorites include SOJA, Pearl Jam, Tool, Primus, Josh Heinrichs, Nahko and Medicine for the People, and Passafire. He said there are many others, some no longer together. Music clearly has a major impact on Craig and he said he’s met 90% of his friends through music in one way or another. His guilty pleasure comes in musical form – the band Presidents of the United States. “Love them and just saw them live for the first time in New York in 2012.” Something you may not know about Craig, he has a 311 Familia tattoo on his back!

What Craig has to say to 311, he’s actually said to all of them already, but wants to say it one more time – “Bring back Pow Wow, please! It may not have been the money maker you wanted, but it revitalized lost fans.”

Now to all the other 311 fans in the world:

“Live with positivity and love in your life and it will overcome the negative.  Be the person you want the world to be.  And lastly, you’ll always have a family if you look for it.”

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Thanks for sharing your tale Craig! I hope everyone enjoyed reading it! Thank you to all of the fans for being the positive, amazing people you are. Until next time…keep up the unity and spread the love!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – Parker Buehler – 4/4/15

April 4th, 2016

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Well hey there excitable friends! Welcome back to another edition of the fan spotlight. Let’s get this party started – it’s time to meet Parker Buehler!

Twelve years old and riding around in the car with her older brothers, that is where Parker’s love of 311 begins. The two songs that drew her in were “Hydroponic” and “Do You Right.” She said those were the two songs that really jumped out at her during those car rides. Flash forward to when the music video for “Down” was released on MTV. “I was instantly hooked. I couldn’t wait to show it to my brothers. When I did, they reminded me that 311 was the same band who created the two songs I begged for every time in their car. It was curtains after that. Ride or die for life…LOL!”

Every time someone asks Parker how many times she has seen 311 live she always has to go count her ticket stubs, usually because she’s added some since the last time! “This past 311 Day were shows 49 and 50 for me. My first show ever was at the HoLLYwooD Palladium in April of 2000. I was 16 years old rolling with my dad and his girlfriend. My mind was blown.” When asked what show of the 50 is her favorite, she said, “You can’t ask me that…LOL. Oh there are so many! One of the most epic moments for me was sitting on my tube floating in the ocean while 311 rocked the F out on the beach of Half Moon Cay on cruise 2. Such a magical moment.”

When asked what song or lyrics mean the most to her, Parker also said these were tough questions! “So many have gotten me through all the good times and bad. I can’t even begin to claim a favorite. 311 has been there for every moment.” While there are a lot to choose from and she doesn’t have a favorite, she did pick three that stand out to her. “I’m a big fan of Electricity. Golden Sunlight and Eons tug at my heartstrings more than usual.” Some lyrics that she loves are: “Life’s a bowl of punch, go ahead and spike it,” “We’re all from the same Lucy despite the differences you see,” and “I got a mind full of weapons in the battle of me versus myself and everything that I kept in, I’m finding the courage to tell.  The sweetest repose comes in the strangest of places,  I never supposed clarity would find me.”

Parker was born in Los Angeles, California, and spent the first half of her life there. After that she moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and then on to Indianapolis, Indiana. Mom is a stylist and dad is an actor, who she says you may or may not recognize depending on your age. She’s still in Indy and has two sons, ages 6 and 12, who also love 311. Parker is also recently engaged! It happened while in New Orleans for 311 Day! Congrats Parker!

Parker is a stay at home mom but plans escapes to 311 events. Other than that she likes being at home doing crafty things. “I like to create things, fix things, learn things.  I’m a big nerd.  I am the person who made all the bottle cap magnets back in 2013.  I made over 1000 to pass out to fellow fans. I’ve had a lot of requests to make more so I may have some to pass out this summer.  I’m also the person who does the 311 Day rockets.  It started out as my celebration on the odd years of March 11th.  I live in Indiana so there’s not much to do.  I build model rockets and decorate them 311 stylee.  Then we launch them on March 11th, weather permitting. Then it turned into every year.  4 out of 5 years have been successful launches.  Yay for nerds!”

While Parker is mostly left handed, she sometimes is ambidextrous depending on the task she’s performing. She also has the ability to read people very well and thought about going into psychology because of it. “I would love to help people, especially with mental illness.” Back to her craftiness, she can make pretty much any craft and loves her hot glue gun. Talent also comes virtually via video games. “My high score on Ms. Pac-Man is 527,340 and I will kick your ass with Kitana in Mortal Kombat 2.” A little bit of  trivia you may not know – Parker collects Barbies! “I have over 150 of them.  Most of them are in storage.  I have like 4 out in my bedroom, but just wait til I get a bigger house…LOL! One day this crazy lady will have a Barbie room.”

Another band that had Parker’s heart prior to 311 was The Smashing Pumpkins. “I still love them so and am catching them in Louisville here in just a few short weeks.  So excited!” Other bands she loves are Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dirty Heads, Sublime, and No Doubt. Lately she’s really been getting into Queens of the Stoneage. “I’ve seen them a few times now and they are amazing.  They may take my #3 spot away from the others.”

Parker’s message to 311 is simply this: “Thank You for existing in my lifetime.”

Now to all of you amazing fans:

“You guys are the absolute best!  Strangers coming together during the good times and the bad makes my heart sing beyond words.   I’m so blessed to be a part of this.”

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Thank you Parker for sharing your story! I hope everyone loved it as much as I did. I love sharing all of your stories so you can learn more about your awesome fellow fans! Thank you all for reading and until we meet again…keep being awesome!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Ian Wheeler – 3/28/2016

March 28th, 2016

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Hello again Excitable friends! Guess what day it is?? Hooray it’s new fan spotlight day! Are…you…ready? Let me introduce you to Mr. Ian Wheeler!

Twenty years ago in the year 1996 Ian used to spend a lot of time at his grandparents house when his parents would go out. He always loved going there because they had cable and he was able to watch MTV. “I remember when it was the top 10 videos and 311′s “Down” was always back to back with Bone Thugs N Harmony’s “Crossroads”. The first time I watched the video for “Down” I was addicted. The funky flows SA brought out and the way they jammed in that video was just mesmerizing. The flying buddha as well. Just all and all I loved that song so much.”

Having just returned home from 311 Day, Ian is now at a show total of 91. Number 92 will come in July when he attends the Chicago show. Picking his favorite of them was a tough one. He said overall that 311 Day is really the greatest event, although the cruise is a close second. “I was actually just discussing this with my girlfriend the other day. I mean all and all the 311 Days are the best without a doubt because they play all the rare songs we never get to see live. The 311 Cruise on the other hand is one hell of an experience. I mean you are on a boat with your favorite band. This band spoils us at every event.”

The song that means the most to him at the moment is “Tranquility.” Ian unfortunately lost a good friend back in September of 2015 and it reminds him of his friend. “My best friend Daniel Gast. It was a shot to the heart. This song reminds me of him constantly. When 311 played it live with the church choir during 311 Day 2016 I lost it. Lots of tears.” Ian said really most of Stereolithic means a lot to him. “Right before this album came out a few years ago, I got to do a live filmed interview with Nick Hexum which was a dream come true.”  Favorite lyrics come from “Hydroponic” and then “Made in the Shade:” “I’m not going to waste life being hateful” and “You gotta keep on climbing the hill cuz if you think you’ll make it you will.”

Ian was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, but grew up just outside Chicago, Illinois in the suburbs.  Pretty much before any 311 event Ian can be found working as much as possible to save up for it. “I think all the fans know to just have a 311 credit card going on tap. I pretty much paid for the bands kids college tuitions already (laughs).” Ian is a local radio DJ with his own show called Wheelers Weekend Jams. He works press at a lot of concerts, events and more. “I’m throwing my first official concert coming this August in Chicago with my good buddy J. Randy who has been on all the 311 cruises. Very excited for this one.”

Honesty is a trait that flows strong in Ian. “Whatever comes to mind I will let you know. Open-minded, loving, caring and will help out anyone who needs it. I’m lucky to have amazing friends and a great family. Give me a hug and I’ll hug you right back.”  Drumming also flows strong and Ian has been playing since he was 8 years old. “Not only does drumming let you get out some aggression time to time but it has a meditation to it. I get to harness my chi. Drumming is good for the soul and drives a way the negatives. It puts life on a whole different beat. Ya feel me? (Go check out my band Coyote Man on our Facebook).”

Unique trait for Ian is that he LOVES drinking egg nog. “I think it’s the most underrated drink of all time. Why doesn’t it sell around yearly and not just Christmas and Easter?” Ian also is a huge movie fan, especially the horror genre, but he has a soft spot for romance as well. “I don’t know if it’s a guilty pleasure but some romantic stuff is not bad. Check out Sleepless in Seattle, The Notebook or The Princess Bride. Classics in my book. Deep down I’m a hopeless romantic.”

Being a DJ, there are many other artists besides 311 that Ian loves and he listens to many different types of music. Some of them include Led Zeppelin, Deftones, RX Bandits, Radiohead, Nirvana, Every time I Die, As tall as Lions, Passafire, The Beatles, Mars Volta, Die Antwoord, System of a Down, Enya, Miles Davis, Rage Against the Machine, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Beastie Boys, Ben Harper, Xavier Rudd, The Green, Van Halen, and Full Service.

Ian has a well worded message for 311: “Thank you for always being by my side with your lyrical genius swagger and (musical) sounds that bring out the best in my life.”

To all the other spectacular fans out there:

“It’s been a pleasure for all of these years seeing 311 live and meeting new faces every time. It’s been a wild ride but I wouldn’t change a minute. More than half of my good friends are 311 fans and it’s a beautiful thing. Other people who don’t understand will always ask me “Why do you go see 311 live so many times”? It’s simple. Not only does 311 put on an amazing performance every time but it’s meeting new people who are into what you are into. Thats something special. It’s like going to church every Sunday. 311 is my church. This is such a special click to be a part of and in the future there will be documentaries about 311 and this fan base. How it’s almost revolutionary in many ways. It’s funny when fans argue with each other on how many shows they have been to or how cool they are because they got a photo pass to shoot at the show. Thats cool and everything but all in all we are in this together. We are united as one. See you at shows! Everyone gather, the more the better. Peace, Love and Unity.”

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Great message Ian!!! Thank you for sharing your story. I hope all you excitables enjoyed his tale of his love for 311. I’m so grateful to all who participate and those who read this spotlight each week! You are all amazing, positive people and continue to brighten my life each and every day. Until we meet again my friends…stay positive, keep smiling, and shine on!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Julia Hockley – 3/21/16

March 21st, 2016

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Hello 311 excitable nation!! I hope you all had an amazing 311 Day!! Are we ready for the new fan spotlight? I think we are…so let’s meet Julia Hockley!

A record store in Atlanta is the setting for Julia’s intro to 311. It was when they were signed to Capricorn Records and the rep in her area was relentless about promoting them. “Though I very regrettably missed the first show he put me on the guest list for, he did finally get me to listen! After that first spin, I was hooked!”

The number of shows Julia has seen live? “No idea at all!” Not the normal answer but I love it. Most of the shows she’s seen were in Atlanta, but she’s also traveled to a few as well, including the most recent 311 Day in New Orleans. Her favorite show so far she said is most likely the Halloween show in Atlanta on 2010.

Favorite song is “Beautiful Disaster.”  Favorite lyric comes from “Freak Out” – “The Earth has not swallowed me yet!”

Julia was born in Atlanta, Georgia but moved around quite a bit as a kid to places including California, Texas, and Florida. However she then landed back in Georgia. She currently works as a registered Veterinary Technician at a feline only clinic. She also runs her own business caring for pets while their families are out of town.

Some other things Julia is a fan of are screen prints. “I am a huge fan of Houston based artist Jermaine Rogers.” She also loves turtles!! And while people who know her may not believe it, she’s actually a hardcore introvert with horrible social anxiety. (I’ve met her in person and can see why people don’t believe her! She’s a fabulous person!)

Julia has also seen The Grateful Dead (with Garcia) more times than she cares to admit. Another fun fact, she adores raccoons! Guilty pleasures include rap music and the movie Xanadu. Other artists she’s into are Queens of the Stoneage, Jack White, Primus, and Foo Fighters, as well as a bunch of old school and lesser known bands.

To 311, Julia’s message is: “There’s so much to say! Thank you for being a beautiful part of my life!”

Now to all the fans out there, she has the same message:

“Ditto to the prior answer. Thank you for being a beautiful part of my life!”

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That is the story of Julia my friends! Thank you as usual for reading and learning more about this awesome chica. Hope you all get to meet her in person one day!! Until we meet again, keep on being awesome and spreading that positive vibe.

Much love! – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – Katie Sluhan – 3/7/16

March 7th, 2016

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Hello excitable nation!! Happy 311 Day week!! What better way to start it than by reading about a fellow fan. Let’s meet this weeks spotlight – Katie Sluhan!

A self-proclaimed “newbie,” Katie didn’t become a super fan until 2013. She had always liked the band and the music she heard on the radio, but she really got into them when she met her now husband a few weeks before he went on one of the cruises. “While he was gone, I did some research and downloaded their albums to see what they were about (and to impress him with my 311 knowledge). Turned our the songs that were not on the radio were their best songs and haven’t stopped listening since!”

Show tally so far is at four which includes 311 Day 2014. Favorite so far was Red Rocks in 2013. “It was my first show and I was hooked! Met so many great people and is hands down the best concert I have ever been to.”

The song “Two Drops in the Ocean” is Katie’s favorite song and rightly so – it was her and her husbands first dance song at their wedding! “I think the lyrics suit our relationship and the melody is something different (which I like about it). I think everyone would have been more surprised if we did not dance to a 311 song.” Two of her favorite lyrics are, “Stay positive and love your life” and “Fuck the naysayers.”

St. Louis, Missouri is where Katie was born, raised, and still lives. She is one of six kids, an aunt to four and great aunt to two. “I spoil them all like their my own. Love coming from a big family!” Katie currently works on the Washington University campus where she “keeps all the students fed and caffeinated” by overseeing a café, Starbucks, and Einstein Bagels. To fund all the trips she likes to take, she does a lot of research studies within the university. “Currently I am doing a study on high fructose corn syrup and the effects on the liver, getting paid $1200 for it.”

On December 12, 2015 she married the love of her life in a fairy tale wedding.  While they opted out of 311 Day this year due to this, they are going to Alaska in December to see the Northern lights! “Traveling is my passion and plan on going to as many places a as possible before kids come in the picture. I turn 30 in August and still feel like there is a lot I need to do in life!” Even with Katie’s mom passing away in October, and missing her every day, she has managed to keep her positivity. “One thing she gave me was my positive outlook on life and focus on the dash (the dash between your birth year and death). Life is too short to stay at home and be negative.”

Something many don’t know – Katie is studying to become a coffee master. “It is described as the sommelier of coffee. It also has made me a coffee snob. Have to French press everything now!” So we know that she makes a really good cup of coffee but another talent she says she has is that she’s really good at flip cup! (Everyone keep that in mind if she goes on a cruise and there’s a flip cup tournament). Guilty pleasure comes in the shape of clothing – work out clothes to be exact. “I swear I have enough black yoga pants and motivational shirts to not do laundry for a month!”

One of Katie’s other favorite bands is The Urge and she is lucky enough to live really close to Steve Ewing’s (the lead singer) hot dog shop! “I even got some wedding pictures there with him! It was a surprise to the whole wedding party, including my husband.”

Katie says she turns into a huge blob when she meets celebrities, so to avoid that, she’d like to send this message to 311 here: “Thank you for keeping it real and promoting positivity.”

Thankfully she won’t turn into a blob sending this message to all the other amazing 311 fans out there:

“This has always been my favorite quote and a motto I live by “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

—Mark Twain

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That my friends was the story of Katie Sluhan! And what a great story it was. Thank you Katie for sharing it and being the fan spotlight this week! Now everyone, go out, be positive and make someone smile. And of course, have the best 311 Day you possibly can!!! Love you all!

-The Runt

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