311 Fan Spotlight – 1/16/17 – Justin Hughes!

Welcome back again my excitable friends, it’s time for the latest spotlight on another amazing 311 fan! So let us not delay and learn all about Justin Hughes!

The year was 1996 when Justin saw the video for “Down” and he said something just clicked in him but he had no idea what he was in for.  He ran out an bought the blue album and it was around this time that his friend would play 311 in his car here and there (usually Music or Grassroots). “He had seen them with Cypress Hill and told me they were a good live band. I thought those albums sounded so different than what I had heard on the Blue album that it only made me more interested in the band.  A few months later they were headlining a radio show in Phoenix and we went.  September 28th, 1996 at the Compton Terrace. That was the point at which it completely changed for me. Seeing them live and the incredible energy they possessed onstage completely drew me in and I was hooked.”

Since that first show in ’96, Justin has seen them 35 times Favorite of those he narrowed down to two, the cruise in 2012 and then 311 Day 2016. “The Cruise was one of the most amazing things to be a part of.  The idea of 2,000 positive, like minded 311 fans all having the time of their lives floating around in the Caribbean with so many other bands to enjoy and soak up was absolutely surreal to me. The beach show was so unique and one of my favorites but the final show in the Palladium Lounge is probably my favorite show ever.  All the shows are special and give me that high but there was something in the air during that show and I know that I wasn’t the only one because by the end of it a girl right nearby us was crying (a good cry) and that was something I hadn’t seen before at a show so I just had to give her a huge hug.”

When it comes to the song that means the most to him, Justin said that many come to mind. Some of his favorites include “Lose,” “Running,” “Stealing Happy Hours,” “Sever,” “Crack the Code,” “Visit,” and “Sweet.”  Favorite lyrics came a little easier and include, “The jaded ones will whither while the optimistic grow,” “What could I say vacancy sounds like,” and “ With this life not ours not for long. And for the taking take it, the birth light breaking it.”

Justin was born in Burbank, California and at the age of two his mom and dad moved to Tucson, Arizona which is where he was raised. He is an only child. He graduated from the University of Arizona back in 2003. Justin played the drums for many years and then started playing guitar around the age of 16, the same time he started getting into 311. “I am self-taught and I learned every 311 song that I could. I learned a lot about playing via Nick and miT.”

Justin has been married to the love of his life Lowry for 11 years and they have two kids together, Cayden, 9, and Hayley, 6. He and Lowry have known each other since they were 14. They met in high school and became great friends, then reconnected at the end of college and started dating. They’ve lived in Phoenix, Arizona for six years and they just returned from Fiji in August where they celebrated their 10th anniversary (it’s also where they went on their honeymoon.) 

Last year Justin finally made it to New Orleans for 311 Day and he had never been there so it was a fun time for him. “I’ve been lucky enough to share most of my 311 experiences with my best friend Samy who’s just as big a fan as me. We’ve been friends since we were pretty young. She took me on the cruise in 2012 as my birthday present so she’s been instrumental in funding my 311 habit. She also got us the 311 Day 2016 tickets (another bday present). We both have spouses that “married into” our 311 fandom. They really enjoy going to shows with us and they’ve actually become fans of the band themselves so we’re really lucky! My wife has been to about 15 shows with me as well.”

Something you might not know about Justin is that he is a cancer survivor. “In 2014 I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I spent most of 2015 fighting it and I’m cancer free today! I went through six  months of chemotherapy following my surgery, and that was on top of the chemo and radiation treatments leading up to it. I was able to get through it because of my family and a really solid support network of friends. I truly believe because of the people in my life and going into something so terrifying and unknown as cancer while keeping a positive mindset, that it held a big part in me beating it. It’s something that 311 has taught me for over 20 years. I have nothing but gratitude for them forever for that.” About 2 days after Justin was diagnosed with cancer he went to a 311 show in Tucson (where he met last weeks fan spotlight Carolyn Huerta for the first time). That show was huge for him and he came out of it with total focus and a no fear attitude to help him take his battle with cancer. “Plus having 311 in my ears going into a chemo treatment was the ultimate ammo to help me kick the shit out of cancer.”

Justin is pretty good at imitations – he can imitate people he knows, celebrities, whoever. “My wife thinks I should get an agent and do voiceover work of some kind.” Guilty pleasure for Justin is the band Third Eye Blind. “They are one of my all time favorites and I think they’re one of the great true rock bands of my generation.” Other bands he loves are Deftones, Chevelle, Blink 182, Smashing Pumpkins, Passafire, Ballyhoo!, Unwritten Law, Intronaut, Meshuggah, Silversun Pickups, Bad Religion, Pennywise, Lana Del Ray, Ernest Ranglin, Pepper, and Slightly Stoopid.

To 311, Justin would like to say “Thank you for creating something through your music that has become something much bigger for so many people.”

To all the fellow excitables:

“I’ve met so many people through this band that I wouldn’t have ever crossed paths with otherwise. All because we connect on a massive level to the same 5 dudes who make music. Attitude, religion, whatever you want to call it, it’s something we can’t really quantify but we are a part of something special. I’m better because of it.”

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That’s Justin Hughes story my friends! And an enjoyable story it was. Thank you all for reading his amazing 311 journey. You are all such wonderful beings, it’s no wonder this is the best fan base in the world! Until next time, be strong and always be positive.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 1/9/17 – Carolyn Huerta!

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Welcome back my excitable friends to the next edition of the fan spotlight! It’s time to meet the lovely Carolyn Huerta! 

The year was 1993 when a friend of Carolyn’s introduced her to the awesomeness that is 311. They were at his house and he put on the Music CD, from that moment on she was hooked. “Immediately I was connected to this music in a way I had never felt before. There was this funk to them that I was drawn to and it was feel good music. That album had so many great songs on it and I remember loving NixHex and My Stoney Baby and soon I found myself listening to this album on repeat. I was in 6th grade at the time.” Carolyn said this genre of music was new to her at the time. She had just started to get into Pearl Jam and Nirvana, but 311 took precedence over them.  “The reggae and funk sounds that they put out was something that made them stand out to me. It was s sound unlike any I had heard before.”

Carolyn said that at this point she has 100% lost count of shows she’s attended. However she knows the only time she missed a show in her home state was when she was 5 months pregnant with her son in 2006. She knows the show count is a high number, she just can’t keep track anymore! October 28, 1997 was her very first show at the Desert Sky Pavilion. “ A bunch of us piled into my car and headed to Phoenix to catch our first show. My car was rocking a 311 and Sublime decal by this point! The show was electrifying. Everything I could have wanted to hear and more. This was also my first time crowd surfing! What a rush that was!” 

Favorite show so far that has resonated the most with her was the sail away show on her first cruise. “I was with my best friend Casey and this was her second cruise and my first. I had no idea what to expect. We were drinking beers with thousands of 311 fans on deck and looking out at Miami when all of a sudden we start moving and 311 takes the stage and sends electricity through every single person on the boat. I had chills. A high that was natural and unexperienced before this moment. The energy was insane. That was when I knew that all of the crazy traveling I do for this band was never going to stop! I have made some of the most genuine friendships with fellow 311 familia and that has brought so much more love into my life.”

Like many fans, picking a favorite song is difficult for Carolyn. Some of the ones that stand out to her are “Crack the Code,” “Random,” “Large in the Margin,” “Sever,” “Visit,” and “Stealing Happy Hours.” She also loves “1,2,3” because of S.A.  “I love them all. I guess that during each ebb and flow of my life different songs stick out more to me but I love them all. Those are just a few that really stand out all the time.” Quote that resonates with her the most is “Stay positive and love your life.” “ I practice mindfulness every day and making sure I live in the moment so that I can get the most out of life and this quote reminds me that even though we experience hard times, staying positive and believing that life is still beautiful is incredibly empowering for the soul. It makes the bumps easier and the beautiful times even more vibrant. It is tattooed on my back.”

Carolyn was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, and has lived there all her life. During her younger years she was a gymnast for 12 years and she loved to roller skate in her free time. She is currently an Administrative Assistant for the operating room at a hospital, as well as a freelance makeup artist for NARS cosmetics. She is married to her best friend Rob and has a 10 year old son. Eventually she plans to move to Los Angeles to work for NARS full time. 

Something very cool about Carolyn is that she and her business partner Jessica are the makeup artists for the Miss Arizona Organization. “It is an incredibly honor to be a part of that and we have met so many wonderful people. I’m exceptionally proud of this because we get to work with amazingly talented and very bright women.  Makeup has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl and I’m so happy that it gets to be a part of my professional life. It doesn’t feel like a job at all!” 

Carolyn said unique attribute is that she thinks she is funny, she can make others laugh and that has always brought her happiness. “I would love for people to meet me and remember me in a way that left them with a smile on their face. I think laughing is the best medicine. It is a positive release for your soul and laughing until I’m crying is my favorite thing to do.” Guilty pleasure of Carolyn is that she is a huge fan of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Atlanta, New Jersey and Orange County. She said she is also the “BIGGEST original 90210 fan there ever was!!” 

When not listening to 311, Carolyn can be found rocking out to many different kinds of music including Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Incubus, Sublime, Sam Cooke, Mariah Carey (old school), Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Elton John, Queen, Britney Spears, Audioslave, Garth Brooks, and Bob Marley. This is just the start of the list for her, she said it can go on and on. “I love all genres of music from the 50’s and on.”

Carolyn’s words to 311 are this: “Thank you for rocking my soul for the last 24 years. I will continue to support and follow this band.” She was lucky enough to have the opportunity to tell the guys this when she brought her son to his second show in Tucson. “He got to meet the whole ban and get their autographs and take pictures with them. He cherishes that day, as he is a mini excitable. Aiden has taken on a love for this band as much as I have. He knows every song and I’m confident he could win the Name thatTune competition with Nick Hexum, which makes me a very proud mom. So the band knows how much me and my family love and appreciate all they do.”

Her message to all the other fabulous fans out in 311 nation:

“I want to take this time to say THANK YOU to every single member of the 311 nation who came together in March of 2016 to help raise funds for my dear friend Evan. I started that GOFundME for him with the hopes of being able to help my dear friend and I was blown away by the love and support that this community showed. I had no idea what to expect going into that. What would the community think? Would there be backlash? But instead, there were So many people who reached out and shared the post, donated and prayed and when all was said and done. I was speechless. I love every single one of you and I thank you for the big hearts and the kindness you all showed. That awful experience turned into a positive and loving outcome for all involved. From that day forward, you all had my heart and I will always be here for anyone in this amazing 311 nation. Now let’s meet up at a 311 concert and rock the fuck out together!! XOXO.”

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Now you know the story of the lovely Carolyn Huerta! Thank you Carolyn for being part of the fan spotlight and this amazing community of fans. Is there a better fan base out there? Not in my opinion! Until we meet again my friends, go be positive and spread the love. 

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 1/2/2017 – William Robinson!

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Happy 2017 my excitable friends! Kicking it off right with a brand new fan spotlight. It’s time to meet William Robinson! 

A school trip to NYC is where William’s story begins. He was listening to an alternative radio station on his Walkman when “Do You Right” came on. “I remember being mesmerized by the guitars and then the vocals. I hadn’t heard anything like it before. This was before you could easily find out who played this song. The station didn’t mention the artist so I was stuck.” It wasn’t until a year or so later that he heard “Down” and found out who 311 was. “I instantly had the same feeling. The guitars, the back and forth vocals, the drums. I was hooked. I went out bought Music, Grassroots and the blue album and listened to them over and over while reading the lyrics and reading the liner notes. The meshing of musical styles and the positive message of the lyrics resonated with me instantly.” William was in broadcasting arts in high school and had an hour long  radio show once a week, during which he would play 311 as much as possible. “It was really exciting to just learn as much about them. Sure, the rap/rock was obvious but listening deeper and discovering the moments of jazz, funk and reggae was really cool at the time.”

Show count for William is at 27. He was in the Air Force for 13 years which allowed him to see 311 in places like Germany in 2002 when the guys opened for Incubus. He’s seen 311 in about 9-10 different states and was lucky enough to see them in 2010 in Guam! “They were on their way to do shows in Indonesia and decided to stop to do a show on this tiny island. My wife got word of when they were arriving so she met them at the airport. I unfortunately wasn’t able to get out of work but the guys were really nice to my wife, they signed a poster for me and Nick was nice enough to use my wife’s cell phone to call me. It was unbelievable. The conversation is a blur to me now but it was great that he did that.” 

Of the 27 shows, William’s favorite has been the 25th anniversary show in Omaha. William and his friend (and fellow fan spotlight) Chad Evans drove 11 hours just to see the show. “When we arrived at our hotel, DJ Trichrome was outside so right then we knew it was going to be a great couple of days. We started out at The Hive that night and I was finally able to meet some other fans I had only known from social media. The show ended up being more than I could’ve hoped for. I stood next to SA’s parents which was cool and going back to The Hive for the secret show was at the time just the icing on the cake. Little did I know that myself and the band were staying in the same hotel and I was able to meet the guys as they were coming in from the secret show. They looked wore out but they were gracious as always.”

Over the years many songs have come and gone as William’s favorite 311 tune. “Listening to a particular song at a certain point in your life makes it resonate a little bit more then maybe if you listen to it at another time. Even after all these years I’ll listen to a song that I’ve heard 1000 times and something will strike me differently or I’ll noticed something that I never really noticed before. Whether it’s the guitar during the chorus of Livin’ & Rockin’ or SA’s long stream of lyrics in Salsa, it seems that it’s always something new no matter how much I’ve heard it.” With that said, there are a few songs that still stand out to William more than others including “Starshines,” “Still Dreaming,” “Freeze Time,” “Brodels,” “Visit,” “And A Ways to Go,” and “I Told Myself.” Favorite lyrics have changed over time for William too, because he said being a fan for over 20 years, your tastes change from when you are a teen to when you are an adult. “In my 20s when everything was carefree you tend to just enjoy the music overall, then you have children and life changes because you know it’s about more than just you.” From the start he said “Stay positive and love your life” was always one of his favorites and his motto, then some others are “Like the warrior souls we are, we never give in,” “venture on, the sketch is not completely drawn,” and “Desperate the cling I make to positivity.”

Hamilton, Ohio is where William grew up, about 30 minutes north of Cincinnati. He was a young 19 when he left for the Air Force and was stationed in many places like Mississippi, Germany, Spain, Nebraska, South Korea, Guam and Arizona. “I loved living in Europe for those few years. I was able to travel to almost a dozen countries and I met some great people. I skied the Swiss Alps and went to Oktoberfest for my 22nd birthday. Hanging out in some of those places you meet some interesting characters. My favorite places I visited while I was over there was Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam and Rome.”

William also said one of the coolest things about living overseas was seeing concerts there. “Europe loves their festivals, and the biggest band come over there every summer.” William met his wife when stationed in Omaha and have now been married for almost 10 years. They have a son Myles, 4, and a daughter Nova, 2. He left the Air Forces in 2012 and moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where he started school and then in December 2016 received his bachelors degree in Information Technology. 

In early 2011 William was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Dermatomyositis. He was medically retired from the Air Force due to it and he said it basically turned his life upside down. Thanks to his family and 311, they’ve helped him get through each day of his weakening muscles and fatigue. “Keeping a positive attitude is key to getting by. When you are struggling with something their music hits you a little different than when things are good. I see the song Showdown as “me vs this disease” and I’m going to do everything I can to win. When this illness has me down I’ll listen to songs like The Call to remind myself not to give up, it’s never too late for a beginning.”

Fun unique fact about William is that when he was in the Air Force, he was a weather forecaster! “Weather is a huge part of what the Air Force does so it was challenging. When I say I was a weather forecaster most people think that I was like someone on the news. But it wasn’t like that at all. We had to be more specific and more detailed. Billions of dollars of assets are at stake when you have heavy snow or heavy thunderstorms. It was pretty stressful at times but I enjoyed it. But never ask me if it’s going to rain tomorrow. I’ve been asked a million times.” 

Besides 311, William’s other favorite bands are Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Band of Horses and Guns N’ Roses. He also loves Reggae which started in his early teens. “I never grew up listening to it or was exposed to it as a kid but when I heard Bob Marley in Jr. High, that led me to discover other artists and sub genres like roots and dub.” Guilty pleasure in musical form? “I’ll occasionally listen to Limp Bizkit. They used to be staple on my workout playlist. Another would be some old 80’s/90’s country songs. My parents had it on the radio a lot as a kid, so it brings back memories.” He also said he’s a political junkie but will rarely talk politics to anyone. “Most of the time it’s just a drag, but I can’t help it. It fascinates me. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way.”

William’s words to 311: “I can’t say thank you enough. Every album, every show I’ve attended has shaped me somehow. I wouldn’t be who I am today without you.”

Now his words to all the other 311 fans:

“We are some dedicated people. I’m so glad you all are out there. I love you all. Special shout-out to Chad Evans who’s been my travel buddy for a little while now. Thanks for being awesome.”

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Now you all have met William Robinson! Another great fan sharing their story. Thank you to all who keep reading. What a great community to be a part of! Until next time, keep being awesome. 

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 12/26/2016 – Cory Gilbert!

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Happy last week of 2016 my excitable friends! As we leave behind this year and look forward to our 2017 adventures, let’s stop to read the last fan spotlight of 2016. It’s time to meet Cory Gilbert! 

Fifth grade is where the story begins. He and a couple of friends he hung out with would listen to 311 and they all loved the aliens. “We would buy the alien stickers from vending machines and cut alien workshop skate decks out of CCS and tape them to our name tags on our desks at school.” 

Cory lost count of how many times he has seen 311 live but believes it is somewhere between 40-50. His first show was in the summer of 2003 and he’s been to every 311 Day since 2010, plus all the cruises. Favorite event so far was 311 Day 2012 since that is where he met his wife for the first time! As far as from a purely concert standpoint though, favorite show was the sail away show on the first cruise. 

“Two Drops in the Ocean” is a song Cory and his wife danced to at their wedding, plus the words are engraved in his wedding band, so that song is near and dear to his heart. Other favorite songs are “Sweet” and “Jackolantern’s Weather.” Favorite lyrics, besides “Stay positive and love your life,” are “only thing that matters, if it’s funky to you.”

Salina, Kansas is where Cory grew up. “It’s a town of about 45000 people in the very middle of the state (which is the center of the country).” He started listening to 311 at an early age so it helped mold him into the person that he is today; one that genuinely cares for the people in his life. Through the years he’s played baseball and been generally athletic. Back to meeting his wife, he met her prior to 311 Day 2012 but didn’t meet her in person until the event. That very same year in August he packed up and moved to California to pursue a life with her. “We were married in Kona, HI on 11-3-14 and had a daughter, Lily on 1-19-16. I also just started my own garage door company.”

Fun fact about Cory, he’s had quite a few close encounters with the one and only P-Nut! “I interviewed him on the radio twice and have won two of the 311 cruise basketball tournaments.” Unique quality is that Cory is a jack of all trades. “I pick up new things quickly and excel at most things I put my mind to.”

Guilty pleasure comes in the form of the band The Weeknd. “I jam out his music haha.” Other bands Cory loves include Tool, System of a Down, Rebelution, Dirty Heads, Incubus, Frank Sinatra, and a lot of classic rock. 

Cory’s message to 311: “Thank you for shaping my spirit, bringing me to my wife, and rocking my eardrums.”

Now his message to all the other fans:

“Without us, 311 wouldn’t exist. The fans are one of the big things that make this band great. I’ve met so many wonderful souls on my 311 adventure and its amazing a band can do all that. Keep rocking and I’ll see you out there!”

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Now you know all about Cory Gilbert! Thanks Cory for being a part of this awesome fan community. You are all amazing beings! Happy New Year my friends…see you all in 2017!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 12/19/16 – Stephanie Marie!

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Welcome again my friends in 311 nation! As we rapidly approach the holidays and a new year, let’s take a moment to recognize another fan. This week we meet the lovely Stephanie Marie! 

When Stephanie was younger, she would raid her brothers old cassette tapes by rummaging through his closet. One day she stumbled upon 311’s Music and played it, she’s been hooked ever since. “How can you NOT be hooked after hearing that? Once I heard it, it was on constant repeat. I had even overheard some seniors talking about 311 in the hallways one day and just giggled that I knew EXACTLY what they were talking about.” She also said that she used to hear them played on KROQ since they were a local band. “I remember trying to call in and win tickets whenever they were playing at Irvine or Anaheim so I could go see them.” 

Live show count is unknown for Stephanie. She said had she known how much her love for 311 was going to grow over the years she might have kept better track. “Sometimes just knowing you’ve been to too many to count is a good enough estimate. I’ve been seeing them since the late 90’s, so I can honestly just say a lot.” She said the cruises so far have hand down been her favorite experiences because it’s always like a giant family reunion. “You get to see all the friends you’ve made over all the years at all the local shows, 311 day and connect with new people you meet on social media. Getting to be in one spot with all the people that you love is just an amazing feeling. It’s almost overwhelming at how full your heart can be by being in this 311 bubble with all the beautiful people you miss over the years.”

When asked what song means the most to Stephanie, she said it’s the most impossible question to answer. “I have always been an Eons kind of girl. But, then I think of so many people when I hear so many other songs. I think of the people who sat next to me at a show and when I hear a particular song, I get transported back in space and time and then THAT song means so much to me.” She said she was just in a Lyft recently and the driver started blasting “8:16AM.” “John & I were on our way to see our friends and we started singing at the top of our lungs. I think of all the friends that “concert called” me and left me voicemails from a show because I simply popped into their minds. I think of Bonni-Sue Ambering me at a show we were at together but sitting separately. It’s almost like every song has a memory or a person attached to it, so a lot of the songs mean something to me on a deeper level because when I hear them, I feel the unity.”

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One of her favorite lyrics is, “Music! You’re my constant companion” because she said it’s really the truth. “I couldn’t imagine my life without the people that music has brought in it. I also couldn’t have gotten through the most difficult parts of my life without music by my side and the people music has blessed me with having in my life.” Another lyric she loves is “If there’s a shadow in your life then there’s sunshine” because it reminds her to see the good in people. “See the good in people, in situations and in life to get you through until the sunshine is on full blast both in and out of your soul!”

New York born, Stephanie moved to Southern California when she was 10 years old. She lived there until 2015 when she made the move to Denver and she’s still there. She’s traveled a ton and says she couldn’t picture it any other way. “As a lover of 311, you ALWAYS have a place to stay and a hot meal waiting for you, among many other indulgences our kind have to offer. I have been fortunate enough to be able to establish these beautiful connections with the Excitable Ones over all the years and have amazing trips to continuously look forward to. From 311 days to cruises to summer tours… we are surrounded by our love for music and friendship that just continues to enhance our lives.” Stephanie works in a psychiatric facility with eating disorder patients, and while she says it doesn’t really fund her 311 habit, it does give her a reason to buckle down and have something to look forward to on a regular basis. “I always have the next show on my mind, or, I’m looking forward to that next city I get to see with all of my friends from around the country and the globe. I am currently FREAKING OUT that the cruise is right around the corner. Cozumel…get ready!”

Stephanie also dabbles in the artistic world making custom pieces for some artists and bands that she loves, and also friends and family. “I have been doing oil on canvas work since I was a teenager and love to create and inspire others. In Las Vegas for the Red, White and Boom shows, I got to give SA and Ryan 2 Los Stellarians custom drumheads that I made for them. SA was taken back by it and I will never forget the gratitude he showed me over that piece. I love combining art and music.” She even makes art out things when bad things happen to them. “damaged and crushed somehow. A month or two after the original was crushed, it made its way to me and I decided to make it into something new and create something beautiful from it. It was by far one of my personal favorite pieces of art I’ve made.”

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Stephanie believes her unique gift is being a positive vibe merchant and she tries to “keep shit real and see the best outcomes possible.” She loves to write and has been writing through her own experiences for the past five years. “I have seen a lot in my days and have a lot of perspective to shed, so I write. Every time we connect with another person, we are helping them in ways that we will never know. We are walking this path essentially together, so I find that communicating our experiences helps us understand things on a different level. We might feel less alone, or we might feel more capable based off of just one person’s insight, so, why not share life with your fellow beings? I love being able to identify with others and see that we are all perfectly imperfect and all of that is leading us to who we are constantly evolving into. We are not bound to circumstances and I love that I have the ability to connect to others with what’s inside my soul.” 

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Some guilty pleasures for Stephanie are old “B” horror movies and she’s seen most of the most amazingly terrible ones you could think of. “My favorites are Return of the Living Dead and Evil Dead 2.” She’s also a huge Star Wars nerd. “I can’t get enough of it. My Star Wars vans are a favorite material possession of mine.” She also loves getting tattoos and is currently working on a piece with her artist Danielle Freund and hopes to finish in 2017. She also has a Neverending Story piece on her back that she adores! 

Other music Stephanie listens to includes Passafire, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Seedless, Rx Bandits, Rebelution, Fiona Apple, and Paramore. She also is a huge 80’s fan and grew up listening to tons of classic rock like Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Steve Miller Band, and The Who. “I wish I was born just a little bit earlier to see even more of my favorites growing up like Janis!” She also constantly has Los Stellarians in her mix. “I have an overall appreciation for SA and his cosmic presence and have had many chances to chat with him over the years about so many things so I value him as an artist as well as a daddy, a cosmic star and an overall badass human being.” Finally she is hands down in love with Stick Figure. “Almost all of my musical dreams came true when I heard that they were added to the lineup. I have so much love and respect for the path they are on! I also love how they treat kids at their shows. I had Nick (my son who’s 11) go to a show with me. I was on the rail waiting for Stick Figure to come on and when they did, some folks didn’t realize that they blocked Nick’s view. So, security sees this and pulls Nick up on the side stage to hang out with Cocoa and jam out for the rest of the show. I love when a band goes out of their way to allow the kids to REALLY experience the music like that. There’s nothing cooler as a momma.”

Stephanie has been lucky to meet 311 over the years and has told them how much they and their music means to her. “I have been blessed enough to have crossed paths with all of them as well as their amazing families many times and cannot convey enough in words how much they mean to the universe and what they’ve contributed to our lives. I will always express the utmost respect and adoration for those guys and support them in and outside of what they are doing with 311.”

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Stephanie’s message to all the other excitables out there:

“If you’re new to this commUNITY, we welcome you! Get ready for the most amazing musical and friendshipical, hypnotical journey of your life!  If we’ve met, hugged, crossed paths or rocked out and danced together at a show…I ADORE you all and thank you from the depths of my soul for being MY uplifter! You keep me from foreverrrrrrr driftin! I cannot wait until we are all reunited in Tampa and headed for the most amazing Cruise to Cozumel. See you soon Excitables… until then, stay positive and love your life!”

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That my friends is the story of the darling Stephanie Marie! Thank you Stephanie for sharing your story. If you see her at a show make sure to say hi! She is a wonderful human being to meet. Thanks as always for reading about your fellow fans! I hope you all have an amazing holiday! 

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 12/5/16 – Eddie Bratke!

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Welcome again, all of you amazing fans of 311! Fan spotlight time has arrived and this week we take aim at Mr. Eddie Bratke! 

Eddie’s best friend growing up had some family in Omaha and when he was about 10 years old, he remembers his friend and his friends family bumping the blue album. Eddie fell in love with it instantly! “Me and my friend listened to that CD forever. What drew me in was the unique style, I had just never heard anything like it.” Then in 2005 when he finally saw 311 live in Salt Lake City, his obsession began. 

49 shows is the number Eddie is at today which include four 311 Day events and one cruise. The show at the House of Blues in Orlando next February will be the big 5-0. While he said that the SLC two night show was epic, nothing beats the cruise for him. “I literally get sick thinking that I missed out on so many of them, but no more will be skipped!

Song that means the most to Eddie has changed a few times of the past few years. “I have seen some good people in my life pass away, so right now its Tranquility.  I find it to be almost therapeutic to listen to now.” Favorite lyrics are, “Gotta be a better reason to colonize a star, Gotta be a better reason man has come so far.” Eddie said that lyric has always given him goosebumps. “It just sums up how much better we can make the world than it currently is, and there is more to life than pay bills and die.”

Born in San Diego, Eddie grew up just north of Salt Lake City in Farmington. He went to school in Colorado for two years and loved it, but his home will always be in Utah. He currently works for a company called Salt City Sales where they sell private label work gloves. “If you need to buy gloves, hit me up (it will help my 311 habit).” Current age is 28 and he is still on his search to find his special slinky girl! 

Something people may not know is that Eddie became branch manager for Wells Fargo at the age of 22 and the impact made him realize that he never wanted to work in a corporate environment again. Unique quality for Eddie is his hair! “I have a lot of hair.” Guilty pleasure comes in the form daily fantasy cash games (NFL, NBA, and Golf). He also loves to golf! 

When not listening to 311, Eddie can be found jamming out to Dirty Heads, Blink 182, Rage Against the Machine, RDGLDGRN, and lately Tropadelic. 

To 311, Eddie would like to say, “Thank you for changing my life and giving me the best memories, and making me visit the world to see ya’ll!”

For the other fans of this amazing band:

“To the coolest people in the world, much love! If you see me at a show or on the cruise say hi, I love meeting excitables!”

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There you have the tale of how Eddie Bratke fell in love with 311! Thanks for being a part of this Eddie, and of course thank you to all the fans who read each story week after week. 

Much love to you all!

The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 11/28/2016 – Joshua Shelton!

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Welcome back 311 nation!! I hope you all had an excellent Thanksgiving (if you’re livin’ and rockin’ in the U.S.A. of course). Now it’s time to kick off the holiday season and what better way to do it than with the new fan spotlight! It’s time to meet Joshua Shelton! 

Summer of 1997 is when Josh’s love for 311 begins. While watching MTV, on came a video with a spinning, future-like minimalistic T.V. He said something just connected to him at that moment. “Metal guitars, vocal effects, chill beats, then back again with a heavy finish… the song was Transistor and that was the first time I know of that I actually heard 311.” A few days later while riding in the car with his father, he asked what that song he had heard on MTV was…something “supersister.” It was that same day that the universe aligned and Josh happened to stumble across the Transistor cassette tape at Best Buy. “I put that tape in my old-school stereo and it was immediately confirmed *this* was a vibe I wanted more of. Then Galaxy>Beautiful Disaster played and I was forever sold. Since I was just 11 years old at the time, I don’t think I was really prepared to digest what I was hearing content-wise: lyrically and musically. Yet I was hooked, and a few months later I got the Blue album. I listened to both of these damn near nonstop for around two years (Beastie Boy’s Hello Nasty and The Offspring’s Americana was in that rotation too), until Soundsystem came out. It’s like 311’s been in my blood ever since that first time in ’97.”

Four states and ten shows is where Josh is at for seeing 311 live. “The thing about being a 311 fan is that whether it’s your 2nd show or your 100th show, we’re all one in the same- we the 311 Nation all share the unity, appreciation, and dedication. Can’t wait for show #11 though!” Josh said that each experience is special in it’s own way. 311 Day 2012 in Vegas and then 2016 in New Orleans are high up the list. However he said Grassroots Fest 2014 was like a family reunion…literally, since he was in the VIP section with many of the bands family members. “The last time they were in Minneapolis I was front and center on the rail. Times like that, and anytime you get to meet one of the guys, whether backstage or outside the venue, always makes for a real memorable experience.”

When it comes to favorite songs, Josh says he has a list of his “Top 11” songs that he is constantly re-evaluating. One that he keeps coming back to and that has personal significance is “Strong All Along.” “As an impressionable young teenager at the time it was released, that song gave me the freedom to explore who I was, who I was going to be, and just the confidence to grow into that. More recently would be Simplify– before my daughter was born I included that song on a mix I made for her, as an encouragement to life as she would soon be starting hers.” As far as favorite lyrics, he said the possibilities are endless but in the end it all comes down to “Stay positive and love your life.”

Twin Cities, Minnesota is where Josh grew up. Then he attended college in downtown Chicago and after that moved out to the great city of Seattle, Washington for a few years with his wife. They are currently back in MN. When in Seattle, Josh was a barista and would use his tips to fund his 311 adventures, but now he says it’s all about careful planning and making sure his amazing wife is okay with everything! 

One thing Josh loves is being a daddy to his almost one year old daughter. “When she was born preemie, she literally weighed 3 lbs 11oz. (the band signed her birth announcement which is now obviously proudly displayed).” Josh has been happily married to his wife for almost seven years and they enjoy family walks around the lake, making their daughter laugh and dreaming big dreams together. 

Some things Josh personally enjoys is creative writing, as well as reading, art, design, shooting on his GoPro, mentoring students, snowboarding, wake boarding, fitness and working out. He also loves to travel, stargaze, listen to live music, watching the Seattle Seahawks, and all things X-Files (as well as Twin Peaks and Grey’s Anatomy). When not listening to 311, Josh can be found listening to other favorites like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band, U2, MuteMath, Project 86, Mae, Tristan Prettyman, Bob Marley, and Jason Mraz. 

Things that make Josh unique are as follows: He used to play rugby in high school and after college; the sustained a spinal injury from a wake boarding accident; While working at the flagship Gap in Chicago, he sold President Barack Obama (then senator) a pair of jeans; And finally he can rap just about anything while driving alone. Guilty pleasure comes in food form – he loves a good doughnut (like Top Pot in Seattle, Glam Doll in Minneapolis or Voodoo in Portland). He said it also compliments his black coffee addiction. He also said he goes to Target about “9 days a week” and spends a small fortune on Starbucks coffee every month. 

Josh’s message to 311 is a simple and meaningful one: “Much gratitude for forever following your passion(s)- your impact on me personally has been truly life-changing!”

Now to all the other awesome fans out there:

“Something recently that’s been on my mind is the idea of only giving energy to the things which matter most… I encourage you to consider what this might look like in your life. The other thing I would say, and I say often, is “Stay Fresh” :)”

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That is the story of Mr. Joshua Shelton my friends! I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you all for being the wonderful, positive human beings that you are. Until we meet again…simply “Stay Fresh” as Josh would say! 🙂

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 11/21/16 – Megan Lynne Crucet!

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Happy Thanksgiving week excitable fans! Shall we kick it off right by giving thanks for a new 311 fan spotlight? Let’s meet this weeks amazing fan – Megan Lynne Crucet! 

Back in 1995, when Megan was around the age of 10, is where her 311 tale begins. She and her friend Alec went to after school care together at their elementary school. Alec’s dad picked them up and Megan would hang out at his house until her mom got out of work. “I  have fond memories of the two of us playing Sega and listening to the blue album. I believe it was his older brother who introduced the band to him and then share it with me. Once I saw the music video for “Down” on MTV, my love for the band, especially Nick, was solidified.”

Show count is unknown for Megan but she does remember that her first show was on 3/13/2002 in Sunrise, Florida. She has been on all of the cruises and will be on the one in 2017 (with Alec and his wife). She’s also attended 311 Day in Nola in 2008 and 2014, been to Pow Wow, and was at the Halloween show in West Palm Beach back in 2003 with Alien Ant Farm. “I never ended up getting a shirt from that show which I regret to this day!” Favorite show is tied between 311 Day 2008 and the beach show from the second cruise. “311 day was the first major event I had attended and first I had to leave the state for. I remember getting chills and feeling emotional when they closed with Paradise.”

Favorite song is a three way tie between “Eons,” “Jackolantern’s Weather,” and “Electricity.” Megan loves the beat change up at the beginning of “Eons”” baffles her mind and she even had a conversation with Pnut about it. “He tried to explain to me that it actually isn’t that difficult, but I still couldn’t catch on, and I was also busy staring lol. He mentioned that Offbeat BareAss has a similar change up, but that one doesn’t confuse my brain as much.” Then there is “Jackolantern’s Weather” which is the inspiration for her tattoo (see photo further down). “My birthday is in October and Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.” Then the song “Electricity” and the line “The soul you have is electricity” hold a special place in her heart.  “When my grandfather passed away several years ago, we had people over the house after the funeral, which I suppose is tradition. It was a perfectly sunny Florida afternoon and about 30 minutes into it the lights started flickering. This went on for the next few minutes and even lead to a couple people leaving. I truly believe that was his soul letting us know he was there and saying goodbye one last time…tear :(“

Megan was born and raised in South Florida and has never lived anywhere else. She has traveled though, she and her sister used to spend their summers with their grandparents in various places such as Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland. Flying is something that Megan has never been particularly good with and she said 311 has become somewhat of a security blanket for her. “As long as I had my CD player and some 311 CDs I was okay. I still remember sitting there and holding the rewind button to get to the Transistor Intro. That was the coolest thing for some reason lol.” Funding her 311 habit is relatively easy – she just doesn’t go on other vacations besides 311 related ones or family related trips. 

As mentioned above, Megan has a 311 tattoo relating to “Jackolantern’s Weather.” What most people don’t know is just how big the tattoo is. “Started with just the 311 star with the space theme below it. The center is my Jackolantern’s weather scene with the quote from electricity below it.” While no band besides 311 has ever come close to being as important to Megan as 311 is, she does love Sublime, Incubus and Nirvana. Plus she said her parents had a role in shaping her musical tastes as well. Guilty pleasure for Megan is “Spongebob.” Even as an adult she still stops and watches it. She’s also still obsessed with the show “Friends” and says she probably can’t make it through a day without quoting it. 

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The question about what makes Megan unique was difficult for her, but it was a friend who reminded her of an amazing skill she has – pumpkin carving skills. “Don’t get me wrong, I just use those stencil packs that they sell everywhere, but I guess since I pick the hard ones and am pretty accurate he thought it was worth mentioning. This friend also happens to be the first 311 friend I made via the internet before the days of Facebook and the Familia. I think it was around 2002 or 2003 in an AOL chat room. We ended up meeting in person after chatting almost daily for a few months when he lent me his ETSD VHS(I know, right) and a 311 shirt since I decided I wanted to wear a 311 shirt to school everyday that week and I only had 4. We are still friends to this day even though he moved to Alaska, and he is also coming with me on the next cruise as a first timer! So everyone be sure to say hi and give all the high fives you can!”

To 311, Megan’s message is: “And when the day is done, what you receive is the sum, of what you took out from what you put in.” I hope you guys are getting as much out of this as us fans are. I don’t think any of us would want it any other way, but please don’t ever stop!”

To all the other fans:

“I’m only outgoing and somewhat crazy around people I know, but until then I’m pretty shy and not likely to initiate conversation. So if you happen to see me at a show or on the next cruise, come say hi! High fives and hugs are also welcome. Thanks for creating a community I am proud to be a part of! PLUR.”

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Nice to meet you Megan Lynne Crucet! Thank you for being a part of the 311 fan spotlight project. Thank you to all of the other fans who keep reading. Thank you to 311 for being amazing and bringing all these positive people together. Without you, our lives would all be drastically different I believe. Now go, give thanks for the love in your life, be positive, spread the PLUR. 

Much love my friends – Happy Thanksgiving! 

The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 11/14/16 – Virgie Mestas!

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Welcome back excitable friends! Our next fan spotlight has arrived. Time to meet Virgie Mestas! 

The age of 19 was when Virgie (short for Virginia) was introduced to 311. A boyfriend told her about them and they would occasionally make an appearance on her playlist off and on. It wasn’t until age 21, while going through a rough patch in life, that she rediscovered them and “the amazing positive energy that they pump through their lyrics and music.”

Show tally so far is at 30, including 311 Day events from 2008 to 2014, and the 2015 cruise. So many of those 30 shows stand out in Virgie’s mind and it’s hard to narrow it down to one favorite. Her first show was in 2005 at the Santa Barbara Bowl. “311 and the electricity blew me away!”  Other notable shows were 2006 Avila Beach because it’s her home, 2008 311 Day since it was her first, and of course the cruise to Jamaica. But the show that will always mean the most to her is the private concert she attended in 2009 in San Pedro, California. “My buddy Steve Siebold was lucky enough to win a free concert and I was blessed enough to be among the few he took along! EPIC is the best word to describe it. I mean come on, a private concert of your all-time favorite band with 20 of your close buddies , NEVER dreamed that would happen. Every moment felt surreal. They were only 10 ft away from where I was standing and put on an awesome show ! And then afterwards getting to meet them and chat and get pictures was just the cherry on top. Thank You Steve! Thank You!!”

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The song “Strong All Along” will always be one that she holds dear to her heart as she said the lyrics remind her to just be herself and love who she is. “This song replayed and played at a time in my life when I was going through a huge personal life change and at that same time one of my dearest friends passed away suddenly.  So many lines in this song spoke life to me again!She even decided to get the song title tattooed on her arm as a reminder that it’s who she is. 

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Obviously some of her favorite lyrics come from her favorite song such as “Reevaluate what makes you laugh, stand apart, makes you feel good what’s in your heart” and “You could make a mean hand out of what you been dealt.” Other favorite lyrics are the mantra “Stay positive and love your life” and “You might as well forgive yourself, that means more than someone else.” She said hearing the song “Don’t Dwell” also came at a crucial time in her life when she needed to hear those words the most. 

Virgie states that her family is a bit different than others. She and her sister were adopted (for which she said she is blessed) and they grew up in a Christian home with parents involved in ministry. This led them to South Dakota for 5 years during her childhood. “It was quite a change from the Sunny California weather but we adjusted well and loved it.  Some great childhood memories were made freezing in the snow lol.” Then in junior high they returned to the central coast of California. She still currently resides there, now with her boyfriend, and she is a student and works part time as an UBER driver, amongst other things. She hopes to be done with school in the next few years with a degree in recreational therapy. “Over the last few years I have been working with children and adults with limited mobility and learning and behavioral disorders. I really want to have a non-profit one day that brings the local community and its Disabled tourist together. There are so many beautiful things to experience in this life and the great outdoors and if I can be a part of helping others achieve that and live full happy lives , that would just be amazing.”

Music was important in Virgie’s home growing up and she said her father is an amazingly gifted and talented Spanish and Classical guitarist. She would go to coffee shops and watch him play and listen to him at home for hours at a time. This influenced her love for a variety of artists including Santana, The Gypsy Kings, Paul Simon, Ottmar Liebert, James Taylor, Enya, Mariah Carey, and Sheryl Crow. She was never a guitar player but she did have a passion for singing and spent over 8 years in the school choir. She said this was heavily influenced by her love for musicals. “You would have found me dancing and singing away most of my childhood.” Top of her list for current bands is Passafire. “Talk about an amazing Band, extremely talented. Seriously cant get enough of them.” Other all time favorite band is Incubus. “I’m a sucker for words. And Brandon Boyd is a lyrical genius! Not to mention an amazing singer.”

Fun fact about Virgie that ties in with her singing talent is that in the 10th grade she auditioned to sing with the all women’s California ACDA Choir. “It was an awesome experience that I will cherish forever. I competed against many other young ladies on the central coast and was chosen with 3 other ladies from school. We then learned 7 different songs from Italian Arias to acapella Spanish songs. It was sooo cool!! We then met up with the other ladies from the area that made it, had a few days of practice together and then put on a concert in a Mission in Santa Clara, CA.”

Virgie has earned the nickname “311” from her local beach buddies because she has 311 ink and she’s always bumping their music on the beach. She has two 311 tattoos, strong all along on her left arm and the blue album design on her back. Guilty pleasure for Virgie is spending as much time at the beach as possible. “Spending as much time at the beach as possible in the sun and surfing are part of who I am. I love the water, the sand , the sun, the salty air, I love it all. I find such peace and balance at the beach.” She also said that ice cream and watching “Gilmore Girls” or old musicals is right up there on the list of guilty pleasures as well. 

Something most people know is that she is adopted, however most don’t know that she met her biological parents when she was 17. “It was a moment that I will never forget and is hard to put in words. I always knew I was adopted but meeting your birth parents, well its an outer body experience. I have been lucky enough to meet a few of my biological siblings and still hope to find the others someday.”

Her message to 311 is this: “I never expected Your Music to bring such joy, love, unity, friendship and adventures into my life.Some of the most dearest people and most exciting adventures were brought into my life because I found your amazing music. Thank you so much for reminding us all how beautiful it is to grow, learn, loose, forgive, travel  and embrace the many differences amongst each other!!!”

To all the fellow fans:

Hello My fellow slinkys and brodels!! I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the wonderful friendships we have made over the years. Tho the music brought us together it is each and every one of you that I have been lucky enough to embrace in hugs and share in the amazing electricity that keeps me coming! Ive made such amazing memories with you, and have made many beautiful bonds that unite us from all over the country. Your friendship, and positive attitudes and lifestyles are so contagious and encouraging and have made going to shows that much more amazing. I look forward to our reunions at all our events and talk endlessly to anyone who listens about the amazing individuals who influence me to live positive. You are all my family!!”

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That is miss Virgie and her story! So glad we all got to learn more about this awesome girl. Thank you all for reading each week. Go out and be awesome today, like you always do! 

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 11/7/16 – Megan Colby!

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Hey hey hey excitable brodels and slinkies! Welcome again to the 311 fan spotlight. This week we meet the lovely Megan Colby!

Just like many other fans, the blue album is where Megan’s love for 311 began. “Hearing Down on the radio – how completely different it sounded from other music that was out there at the time – I was enthralled and eventually hooked!” It was winter 1995 and Megan received the CD as a Christmas gift from the family she babysat for. “I listened through it a zillion times, read through all the liner notes, stared at the photos in the CD booklet, and it quickly became a favorite.”

Amount of shows she’s been to, well she hasn’t really kept count, but her guesstimate is somewhere between 25 to 35. First show was back in 2000 when the band toured with Incubus. She saw them at the Pine Knob Amphitheater in Clarkston, Michigan. Like many, she had trouble narrowing down a favorite show and said there are many faves for a variety of reasons. “311 Day 2010 because it’s the day Chris and I got married and the entire day was pretty magical. The very first show on the first cruise was exciting and fun because it was so special – I mean, who else gets to see their favorite band on a freaking cruise ship surrounded by a bunch of other Excitables?!  Pow Wow was amazing because we met soooooo many new friends on that adventure. However, I’ve never rocked out harder than at the Atlanta Halloween show in 2010 – that was hands-down the best last-minute spontaneous trip of all time.”

The song “Electricity” means a great deal to Megan. Every time she hears it she gets goosebumps! “That song truly expresses how I feel about the human race. We are all one. We are all the same. We should treat others with respect and be open to others’ experiences.” Some of her favorite lyrics are this – “Life’s not a race.” “It’s a great reminder to take time to dream, to meditate, to take things slow, and to stay grounded.”

Southern California is the location of Megan’s birth, then right before her 2nd grade year, her family moved to Michigan. “Our house was on the outskirts of the bustling metropolis of Mt. Pleasant, which is smack dab in the middle of the mitten and at least 2 hours drive to anywhere you’d want to see a good band back then.” Megan attended college at Central Michigan University, where she met her now husband, Chris Colby, through mutual friends that are also 311 fans. “I still remember the day my friend Ron Hegenauer told me that 311 was going to be playing at CMU – that was CRAZY!!” Megan graduated and moved to Florida with Chris and their dog Bella. In 2010 they were married and they now have a 4 year old named Nicholas, whom she says is the most exciting part of their daily lives. For work, Megan is at a audio/video marketing business based in Tampa Bay. “I’m proud to be a part of a company that’s grown so much over the 11 years I’ve worked there.”

A fact most people don’t know, Megan used to be a cheerleader! She’s also pretty crafty and can sew. “I’ve made lots of jewelry, purses, clothing, costumes, curtains, and other crafts throughout the years. This year my big project was a blanket out of dozens of 311 shirts that Chris and I have collected over the years.”  Guilty pleasure for her comes in two forms – she loves Michael Jackson and wandering the aisles of Target by herself!

When not listening to 311, Megan can be found jamming out to artists like Rebelution, Beastie Boys, Beats Antique, Rage Against the Machine, Daft Punk, Fatboy Slim, CAKE, The Prodigy, Dirty Heads, DJ Shadow, Black Keys, Tool, Radiohead, Pretty Lights, Incubus, Beck, Jurassic 5, Gorillaz, Jack White (in any form), Silversun Pickups, Stick Figure, Weezer, lots of different 80-90s punk.

Megan’s message to 311? “The couple of times I’ve had an opportunity to talk to them, I’ve always said, “Thank you.” So I’ll say it again – thanks for doing what you love and including all of the fans on your adventures – it truly means the world!”

Megan’s message to all the other 311 fans:

“I never thought I would be so close with people I see only once or twice a year. I’m so glad to have made friends as amazing as all of you, and I can’t wait for our next adventure together!”

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That was the story of Megan Colby! Very much thanks to Megan and the readers. You are all amazing and give me something to look forward to every week! Until next time…

Much Love – The Runt