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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now to all the other amazing fans out there:

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

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

Much love – The Runt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To all the other fans:

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

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

Much Love – The Runt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now to all the other 311 fans:

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

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

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

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 7/31/17 – Nicholas Hufnagel!

Welcome again my excitable friends! 311 summer tour in full swing and the fan spotlights just keep coming like the energy of 311 each night. This week we meet fan Nicholas Hufnagel!

Junior year in 2003  is where we start Nicholas’ journey into the awesomeness of 311. He was getting off the bus and a friend recommended some songs for him to download.   He chose “Homebrew” and for him, the attraction to the music came because of Chad’s drumming. “Being a drummer, the rhythms are what stood out for me first in not just the drums, but the guitars, bass, and vocals​.  That tune ​had me ​completely sold from ​my first listen.  Later, learning the lyrics and the positive messages sold me again.​  Even more now, it’s the relationships and community that keeps drawing me in.  The events are like reunions anymore.  It’s such a unique experience to suddenly be best friends with thousands of strangers.  If you haven’t been to a 311 day or a 311 cruise, get your butt there ASAP!”

32 is the current show count for Nicholas, this includes every 311 cruise, Pow Wow, and every 311 Day since 2010. His first show was in Pittsburgh in 2004. “I wish I could relive it so bad because there were a bunch of ​more ​rare songs coming out of 311 Day, Evolver, and the Greatest Hits singles, that they rarely play anymore and I wasn’t as familiar with.  It was probably one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, to be honest, and I was a greatest hits kid for it.” Up until the most recent cruise, his favorite show by far was the ones on the first 311 cruise back in 2011. “It still has its place for the sheer shock value and freshness, but I just had such an awesome time on this one that it bumped the first cruise out of that top spot.”

“Jupiter” takes the top spot for songs because of its message. “The fact that things could always be worse and even if they are there’s still good to focus on is such an important ideal to grasp.” However it’s “Homebrew” that really sent his life down a new path. “Being the first 311 song I ever heard and the way it grabbed me like the strongest magnet in existence is unmatched. “…and I will never be the same.”  Obviously that last line is one of his favorite lyrics. He also loves, “Stay positive and love your life,” as well as “The river cuts it’s way through stone, Not through sheer force but persistence, At the end of the day the relentless always win”​and When you realize one thing, We’re just a speck of dirt on this golf ball called earth so get stupid and sing.”

​Pittsburgh is the place Nicholas calls home, he has always lived in and around the area. The youngest of four siblings, he grew up with wonderful, supportive parents and it was his dad who got him in to drumming at a young age. “ I was always involved with band in school whether it was concert band, jazz band, percussion ensemble, drumline… While in high school I was in a ska band called A-1-Star.  There’s a five song EP floating around from those days somewhere out there that we recorded at my brother’s studio.” In 2005 Nicholas graduated high school and went to perform in The University of Pittsburgh Drumline. They even performed an arrangement of the 2004 311 Day drum solo from “Applied Science.”  “While I was in the Pitt Drumline, I was in a 311 tribute band called No Control.  We had a couple of our own 311 Day performances.  The first was in 2011 right after that first cruise.  Thirteen states were represented at that show. We we’re stoked!  Nowadays, I’m instructing my high school Drumline for the eleventh season and getting ready to leave for band camp for the twenty fourth time.  Now, that’s a lot of “This one time at band camp” stories!”

Nicholas is now in a band called Big Atlantic with his friend and bass player Jeff from No Control. “We released a full length album of thirteen songs in March called “Tempered”.  It can be heard on Spotify, iTunes, Google, Amazon…wherever you prefer.  To support both my 311 fandom as well as my endeavors with Big Atlantic, I work in retail sales for T-Mobile where I’ve been for five years now. Being in a band is like it’s own full time job, though.  Please check out Big Atlantic, give us a like, a share, and stop out to see us when we play near you!”

So I’d like to say it’s obvious that one of Nicholas’ talents is playing the drums. It has been a passion of his since he was young and he hasn’t stopped loving it. “ Being able to continue to help improve the drumline at the high school I went to while being able to share the message of positivity and unity fostered by 311 with my students is such an honor and truly brings me joy.  It’s incredibly heartwarming to be at a 311 or Ballyhoo! show and see current and former students of mine rocking out in the crowd.”

Interesting fact about Nicholas…he hates cheese! (Cue gasps as people read this). “It’s not even a lactose thing, I just don’t like it.  More for you!  I’ll eat it on pizza though, as weird as that is.” Guilty pleasure for him is James Bond. “ I’m a pretty big movie nerd in general, but James Bond for sure. You can bet that when Bond 25 comes out I’ll be there opening night, which was just announced for a November, 8th, 2019 release.  I already can’t wait!”

Other musical favorites of Nicholas are Ballyhoo!, The Movement, and Iration. They have a special place in his heart because he’s been able to share the stage with all of them. For the most part though his musical tastes range from stuff he listened to growing up like The Beatles, to Green Day and Blink 182. Plus theres always Cap’n Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters! “If you’re familiar with that one we need to be friends!” Rush is another fave, being that he is a musician and drummer. Plus Dave Matthews, “I could watch Carter play drums all day.” Other musicians he loves are Reel Big Fish, Zeppelin, The Who, Foo Fighters, and Sublime. Plus he’s been meeting and getting into a lot of bands while playing out with his band like Nicnos, Midnight Mob, J and the 9’s, Winter’s Descent, NeverWake, Audio Impulse, City of the Weak.

To the band, Nicholas’ message is simple, “Thank you. I still have yet to actually meet Chad aside from group photo ops and quick handshakes.  I’d love to get the chance to tell him how much he’s influenced my drumming.  One day.”

To all the other 311 fans:

“Just as much as thanking the band, I think their fan base deserves a thank you as well.  Without all of the fan support 311 has had and continues to have, this journey would never have happened – both for them and for us!  Keep rockin on!”

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That’s the story of Nicholas! Thanks for reading and thank you Nicholas for sharing your story! Now let’s all just go and be creatures for awhile….

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 7/24/17 – Craig Sabol!

We are back at it excitable nation! A new fan spotlight has arrived. Kick the week off properly by learning all about Craig Sabol!

At the age of 10, Craig’s mom took he and his brother to Best Buy to pick out a CD. On the shelf was 311’s blue album and No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom. “My brother said pick one and he would get the other. I ended up picking No Doubt and he grabbed the blue album. About a week later my dad as working down in North Carolina so we took a road trip down to see him and I remember sitting in the back of my mom’s car with my disc man listening to the blue album cover to cover on repeat for the 6 hours it took us to get there. From there I was hooked, I just couldn’t stop listening to it, it was like no other band I had heard before.” Shortly after this Craig’s brother took a trip to Florida and when he returned he brought back Grassroots as a present. “I just remember being so excited when he gave that to me. I guess that’s what big brothers are for, to steer you in the right path on your musical journey. So I would have to thank him for getting me into 311.”

Craig hasn’t really kept track of the number of times he’s seen 311 live, but he would have to guess it’s somewhere between 50-60. He was a mere 14 the first time he saw them live, it was back in 1999 at the HFStival. “I remember begging my mom to let me go see 311 and she of course let me go see them under the carful watch of my brother.” Craig said picking a favorite out of all the times he’s seen 311 is hard because they all have something that remind him of each ones uniqueness. “Whether it’s a song I heard live for the first time or a person I met. Me and my brother have been too all these shows together except two that he couldn’t make, so it has always been something we shared and enjoyed. Since I met my wife Lynn 11 years ago she has been with us also and it is something we all look forward to and enjoy doing together.”

Favorite song is also tough to narrow down for Craig, since each one has a little something that means a lot to him or helps him relate to something, or reminds him of a good time he had. However “I’ll Be Here Awhile” has a great significance to him since it’s the song he and Lynn were married to.

The lyric “You got a wishing well within” from “Eons” is one that always resonated with Craig. “It just always makes me look at myself and remember to really strive hard for what I want in life and to realize what I really need to get it done is within myself, and that’s what it really takes for wishes to come true.” A few other standout lyrics for Craig are “Life’s a bowl of punch, go ahead and spike it,” and “Rebellion done for its own sake, does not a true free thinker make. To go against for it’s own sake, you’re still controlled by the course that the other man takes.”

Craig has lived his entire life in Maryland, growing up in Brooklyn Park which is just outside of Baltimore. He works as a control room operator at a power plant, kind of like Homer Simpson he said, but without the nuclear element! Prior to that he was a mechanic for the same company and he worked on outages on turbines and generators that produce electricity.

Something that makes Craig unique? “I have a freckle on my eyeball, you don’t see that too often!” Guilty pleasure comes in the form of Keanu Reeves movies. “He is actually an awesome actor so I don’t know how guilty that is.” Some other musicians that Craig can be found listening to include Ballyhoo!, Pepper, Elton John, and the Deftones. He also loves a mix of 70’s rock.

Craig’s message to 311 – “Thank you for making music for so long that has touched and spoken to many more people than you will ever know. Keep it up and Fuck the Naysayers.”

To all the other 311 fans:

“It has been amazing meeting some of the best/kindest people in the world through 311. It has been an honor to meet you, and hope to meet many more of you through the years to come.”

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Thanks Craig for sharing your story and being a part of this amazing fan community. Thank you to everyone who reads these every week! Can’t imagine a better group of people in the world to write about!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 7/17/17 – Julie Reid!

Welcome excitable nation! It’s that time again, the spotlight takes aim at another awesome fan. Let’s meet Julie Reid!

A co-worker introduced Julie to 311 back in 1995. It was the combination of rap, reggae and rock that made her instantly fall in love with their music. “It was a combination of everything I loved growing up.”

First show for Julie was back in 1996 and she has been to quite a few shows since then…254 to be exact! “I keep everything from all my shows.  I have tickets stubs, passes, pictures, videos from free shows, posters, t-shirts.  I started counting when management asked me how many shows I was at.”

Her favorite show out of the 254 is hard to narrow down, so instead she gave us her top ones out of them. First off is Omaha’s 250th Anniversary show. “It was such a great show, Grasshopper Takeover and Zack Hexum opened.  It was so much fun and my first time in Omaha. I will never forget watching the sea of lights during Beyond the Grey Sky.  We recorded the show.  It was amazing!” Then there was the first cruise. “It was so awesome to watch my favorite band with so many other fans that were their for the same reason, to enjoy their show.  It was magical Miami in the back ground as we sailed away and 311 rocking out!” Third up is Pow Wow. She said it was so hot and she hopes they don’t do that again in the summer, but it was amazing to see her favorite album in it’s entirety. Then there are the shows she was able to attend when they played Game Works in Vegas. “$25 for unlimited games, food and 311 playing on small stage amongst video games.” She also said that she was able to attend the Weenie Roast when Shaq came in on a helicopter and played “Psycho” with them. “Their faces were priceless!  They were all so happy!  And watching Shaq crowd surf was really entertaining. Alaska…I was also their when they played their 50th state!  I’ve also been to Japan to see them and all 5 cruises. 21 years since my first show…too many memorable shows.” Song favorites are a little easier to choose, Julie loves “8:16AM” and “Do You Right.” Her favorite complete album is Transistor.

Julie was born and raised in Orange County, California, in the town of Placentia to be exact. She has one sister and had a brother until he unfortunately passed away from Leukaemia when Julie was 17. She was his bone marrow donor twice and said she would do it again if someone needed it to help save their life. She doesn’t drink or do drugs and never has. Now married, she lives in Laguna Hills with her husband and step daughter. “I been to so many states and love so much about a lot of them but can’t see myself living anywhere else but Southern California…it’s home.”

Fun fact about Julie is that Zack Hexum has played a few of her birthday parties! “I love his music and wish he would still play.  There’s actually a YouTube video of one of my birthday parties at the beach.  So much fun, he’s an awesome person and amazing musician!” Other musicians she loves are Remy Zero (even though they broke up), LIVE, The Offspring, Pennywise, Cage the Elephant, Mary J. Blige, Unwritten Law, and Foo Fighters.

Creativity is one of Julie’s unique attributes, she loves to get crafty and plan events. “Guess you have to be to be able to take so much time off work to attend as many shows as I have.  Lol.” Guilty pleasure for Julie is shopping! “I have sooo many shoes and purses.  I’ve given a lot of shoes away in the past few years but at one point I had over 300 pairs of shoes and over 150 purses. My husband had to build me a closet to store everything I just can’t live without 😉 I have the best husband!”

Julie’s message to 311 is, “Thank you for continuing to play and create amazing music for us!  My life would not be the same without you and all the wonderful people I’ve met because of you and your music! Keep ROCKIN’ and we’ll keep coming!!!!”

Now to all the fans:

“You are all awesome! The stories I read on Facebook how people come together and are supportive of each other!!! It’s a beautiful thing.  Hope it never changes!”

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Thanks for sharing your story Julie! It was a great one. Thanks to all for reading and the continued support of this fun project! You are all amazing people.

Much love – The Runt

Remembering Renee O’Neal – 7/3/17

Hey there 311 nation. We are all human. We are not exempt from tragedy. From time to time, we lose a great link in our excitable chain. This unfortunately happened recently when we lost the beautiful Renee O’Neal from our community. With the help of some of her friends made through the music of 311, I’ve pieced together a small tribute to her. I had so many people reach out to me after Renee’s passing, asking if I had done a fan spotlight on her because they wanted to read it. I’m so sad I didn’t get to write something for her while her beautiful soul was still on this plane of life, but I’m honored now to try and make her proud by telling you a little bit about what a wonderful person she was, and just how much she is missed in our 311 family.

First and foremost, and I’m sure anyone that knew her can tell you personally, is that the light of Renee’s life were her twin boys. Being their mother was the center of her universe. She was 100% involved in every element of their lives, and even when parenting can get frustrating, she let it roll of her shoulders like it was nothing. Proud is an understatement when it came to the twins accomplishments, and as Jen Black said, she beamed about them all of the time.

Not only was Renee caring towards her kids, she was like that in general and had a very sweet nature about her. If she was your friend, she was there for you, no questions asked. As Jen said, “She was one of those people that could instantly connect with everyone.” Jen also said she was a very protective person. In 2014 in New Orleans, Renee would stay and make sure Jen got back to the hotel safely, it was just in her nature to look out for people.

Renee knew how to have fun but also knew when she needed to be serious. Jen said, “She was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders and you would never have known it just by looking at her or being around her.”  Her friend Marla Hern said that one of her best attributes was her intolerance for B.S. and that she would say what her true feelings were about a situation. Renee was strong in her beliefs and she stood by them. Ella Maya said that the last time she saw Renee it was while Renee was in Phoenix for work. She was there for less than 24 hours and they went to lunch. “We had some interesting conversations about politics. We were on opposite ends of the spectrum. She was a debater. And damn good at it. Even while eating a PB & J burger. That was the last time I saw her and even though I wasn’t feeling well and on the verge of canceling…I’m so glad I didn’t.”

One of her favorite things in the world were the 311 cruises. After speaking with friends of hers, we are pretty sure that it was the first cruise where she was finally able to see 311 live for the first time. Jessica said that the cruises meant everything to her and she was so upset that she couldn’t attend the last two. She was dedicated to seeing 311 when she could though. In 2014 for 311 Day, she was only there for a little over 24 hours, strictly because she didn’t want to miss it.

Jessica Marie had a funny story to share about Renee that happened right before 311 Day 2014. They went shopping in Sacramento at a mall and all of the parking garages looked the same, so can you guess what happened? Jessica said, “I don’t remember how long we searched for her damn car but omg was it funny. Rain and all!! lol Us just walking around the wrong parking garage!”

Renee loved the song “It’s Alright,” and she was disappointed that they didn’t play it very often. Another one of her favorites was “Speak Easy.”  Jessica made her a necklace and she picked the lyrics and colors for it because of the song. As Jessica recalled, “Of course because they reminded her of the sunset while out on the ocean.” The lyrics on her necklace were, “There’s no one around, no one to hear a sound, It’s just us out here, Out on the ocean, Speaking free.”

Singing and swimming were two of Renee’s favorite things to do. She adored the colors orange and teal. She also really enjoyed music from Ballyhoo!, Full Service, Miranda Lambert, and a local Sacramento band called The Island of Black and White.

To say that Renee was a wonderful and caring person is an understatement. Her family and friends can attest that she was a protector and an amazing force to be reckoned with. Strong in her beliefs, dedicated in her love to others, and a ray of smiling energy in so many peoples lives. There is a void on this great planet without her here, but her spirit and memory will forever live on in those whose lives she touched. “Journey in peace now, you don’t have to be afraid.”

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Much love my friends – stay strong and hold each other tight when ever you have the chance. A very special thank you to Jen Black, Jessica Marie, Cor McG, Ella Maya, Kat Seeker-Williams, and Marla Hern for your contributions and sharing your stories of Renee with us. (Please feel free to scroll through the photos below and remember Renee how she would want to be remembered, smiling and full of love!)

-The Runt


311 Fan Spotlight – 6/26/17 – Annie & David Butler!

Welcome again to the 311 fan spotlight! This week I get the honor of sharing the story of an amazing couple from down under – time for the story of Annie & David Butler!

Introduction to 311 came during Annie & David’s sons teenage years, in the late 90’s, when they would hear 311 on a daily basis, along with all the other music from that time. “It takes us back to a special time in our lives. We have three sons and they are all musicians and they play a wide variety of music. Even our grandson is learning drums now.” While Annie & David don’t play instruments themselves, music is a very big part of their lives.

Thirteen is the number of shows that Annie & David are at currently. It’s a bit difficult for them to see 311 since they live in Australia. 311 has only played there once during the Vans Warped Tour back in 1998. They unfortunately didn’t attend that show, but they did drive a car full of teenagers down to Sydney to see it, which is about 80 miles from home for them. So their first show ever wasn’t until they made it on the cruise back in 2012, and it was eventful since the sail away show was cut short by lightning!

While they love every show they have been to, their all time favorite is the beach show at Half Moon Cay. “Lying on a blow up tube sipping Miami Vices and listening to 311 and being surrounded by everyone having the time of their lives. (Hence photo!) Life doesn’t get much better than that!” Annie said it took an enormous leap of faith to go on that cruise and they didn’t know a soul. “ We had always celebrated 311 Day here  and when they began streaming it live we would pay to watch it and take the day off work to celebrate and party at home. When we saw that they’d had a cruise we were like Wow how fantastic! Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would go on one. I kept looking online and kept threatening David I was going to book and we would both laugh but just one night I went through the whole process of booking and got to where I had to press the payment button. It was now or never! I pressed Send! I ran out screaming to David “I’ve done it I’ve booked the cruise!” I don’t think he believed me at first. We were exhilarated and terrified at the same time. What if it was all a terrible mistake. But from the moment we stepped on that boat we knew we belonged there, we had come home to the true believers ,our fellow excitables. We now cannot imagine a life without 311 and without the beautiful people we have met. They have enriched our lives. Everyone is so loving, warm and welcoming and we want to hug them all forever.”

Some of Annie & David’s favorite songs include “Use of Time,” “The Continuous Life,” “Life’s Not a Race,” “Taiyed,” “Inner Light Spectrum,” “Prisoner,” (which is where her Facebook name comes from) and “Don’t Stay Home,” which has become their mantra for coming to the U.S and  traveling to see 311. Annie said when she say “Use of Time” played live with the Unity Orchestra in Nola, she seriously cried. “I had never seen it played live and willed it to be played that night.” Favorite lyrics? “David always jokes that his favorite lyrics are Eat smoked fish, that is my favorite dish!” All joking aside, the do love “I love it when the only sound I hear is your infectious laughter” and “The continuous life there is no end, moving through life, moving through death.” Annie also said she can’t bake a cake without singing the lyric regarding Betty Crocker!

Annie and David were both born in Sydney, Australia. In the late 80’s they moved up the coast, so Annie said as you can tell they are a little older than most 311 fans. “Most of our friends and family know nothing about 311 and think we are a little crazy to keep following a band around in the USA. We are  sure some of them think we are in a cult,in fact some of my relatives thought we were going on “swingers” cruises because there’s so much talk of love and hugging and positive vibes and how much we miss each other.” To fund their 311 habit, David works as a psychiatrist and Annie studied and worked as an Occupational Therapist. David has his own practice now and Annie works as the manager for it.

Want to know how Annie and David met? It was at a psychiatric hospital! “We actually lived in a hospital house on the grounds when we were first married. Sometimes patients would walk past and hear the music we were playing  and come in to tell us they loved it :)”

Annie and David have been around music for a long time and they said there are many, many artists that they love. “We have adored Tool since the 90’s and we see them whenever they come our way. The Cure,David saw them in a very small venue  in Sydney in 1980 and we saw them do an almost four hour gig last year and they could’ve just kept playing they have so many songs.” Neil Young has always been an inspiration to them, plus they have some favorite Australian bands including Church and Midnight Oil. They also love to support local bands and they go to their sons gigs whenever they can. Some other favorites include Bjork, Talking Heads, Mars Volta, Rage Against the Machine, Sigur Ros, Primus, and King Crimson (especially for David).

Message to 311 for Annie and David is, “Thank you for your wonderful music and your positivity and including us in the 311 Nation. We were so honored to have our little videos we sent in played at two 311 days in a row and we were lucky enough to see it in NOLA on the big screen in 2014.”

Their message to all the other fans out there, across every country:

“We would just like to reinforce the positive message that the band promotes and just love the life you have been granted. Hari Om Tat Sat

We would like to especially thank the beautiful 311 people who were so wonderful to us on our two visits to Omaha. Especially on 311 Day this year.People looked after us all day every day we were there.They know who they are.We love you.And a special mention to Laurie Martinez ,SA’s sister for arranging for us to meet their parents,Helen and Ernie.It was such a humbling experience, we love the Martinez family, their hearts are gold.”

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There you have it my excitable friends, the story of the lovely couple Annie & David! I’m so honored to have met them in person and want to thank them for sharing their tale! I love the diversity and love of this fan community. You are all amazing!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/12/17 – Aaron Mohr!

Hello excitable nation! We are back at it with a new 311 fan spotlight after a brief hiatus. It’s time to meet fellow excitable Aaron Mohr!

Fandom for Aaron started when the blue album was released, but it really became solid for him upon seeing them live at Edgefest in Dallas, Texas, back in 2000. The festival lineup consisted of 311, Everclear, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Nixons, Splender, Oleander, Dynamite Hack, Bowling For Soup, Stir and Dollybraid. “After seeing 311 headline and being front and center on the lawn (covered indoor/outdoor amphitheater) I knew I’d just seen something special that I’d never forget. I’ve always loved the original sound of 311 and nothing really compares.”

Show count for Aaron is at 8 and he’ll be heading into double digits this summer when he sees 311 in Salt Lake and Boise. Favorite event so far was the 2017 cruise. “It was the best time of my 35 years of existence.” He said the Vegas show where they played the blue album in its entirety comes in as a close second.

Song that means the most to Aaron at this point in his life is “Sand Dollars.” “It’s not so much the words with me, but where I was at and the experience that happened when they played this on the boat. They had to stop playing for just a little bit because of the weather and it was the one song I wanted to hear. They played the very first half second note of the song and then took a break due to weather and I was the only one freakin out cause I knew it was going to be that song up next. No one around me really recognized it. When they came back on stage, I said they’d more than likely play a song and then go into Sand Dollars next. Sure as shit they did and everyone around me started yelling and being all stoked as hell for that song to play. Honestly, it’s shit like that which has made the 311 journey so much more amazing for me. Mike Crosby was the first one to pick me up and start screaming “YEAAHH!!!” It’s amazing moments like that, I remember and keep close to my 311 heart strings. Can’t say enough about my Boise crew and Jessica Sullivan tagging me every time someone said they had a spot open.”

Favorite lyric for Aaron he said is easy, it comes from “Jackolanterns Weather.” “I always say what I feel and that is a promise. Nothing in life is above being honest.” “My friends that know me definitely know I have an “I do what the fuck I want” attitude with a good positive “let’s go get a drink or 12 and have a fuckin blast” at every moment of my life.”

Irving, Texas (right next to Dallas) is where Aaron grew up. He entered into the Air Force and was stationed in Clovis, New Mexico. After he left the Air Force he traveled on to Oregon and lived in Gold Beach for a month. This was also the first time he had ever seen the ocean in person, at the age of 23. “Surfed on the south jetty every single day and then moved to Eugene, OR for a year and after driving 2 1/2 hours every weekend to Bend to go snowboarding at Bachelor, it was the obvious choice to move there. Lived in Bend for a solid 7 years and love going back to hang with my friends when I can.” He then said “Screw it,” and moved to Boise where he has now been for 4 1/2 years now. “Still enjoy it…especially now that 311 is coming in August!”

Interesting fact about Aaron? “When I get bored I grab my replica samurai sword from the show Heroes and run around the house like a ninja. Yeah, fact. Don’t even get me started with the $900 Spider-Man costume I bought last Halloween.” Unique element comes in the form of snowboarding. “I snowboard and haven’t for years but I don’t think any of my friends really know that I can go out and throw a front side 720 in the park, 270 on to some rails, and straight kill it ha. It’s all about those nose scooters and tail slappy’s. Can jam on the guitar as well and been playin since high school.”

Guilty pleasure for Aaron is in T.V. form. “I’m a sucker for all the CW shows. Yeah I watched every episode of Smallville and would get popcorn ready and shut my phone off like each episode was a movie. Spider-Man is the greatest super hero ever and I often introduce myself as Peter Parker.” Some other bands Aaron listens to when not jamming 311 are Rage Against the Machine, Pennywise, Incubus, Bad Religion, Green Day and Blink 182.

Aaron’s message to 311 is, “If you guys stop playin’ music, Chuck Norris and myself will find you.”

To all the amazing fellow fans:

“Thanks so much for being who you are and don’t ever change. Because of you amazing people I’ve had a band that’s not just a band, but a way of life. Cheers and I love you all!”

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There you have it friends, the story of Aaron Mohr! Thanks all for reading as always and thanks to Aaron for sharing his story. Keep being the amazing family tight fan base that we are…we all need to stay strong, be united, and spread that love to the world every day.

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 5/15/2017 – Megan McTigue!

Hello excitable family! It’s that time again, here we go with a brand new fan spotlight. This week I introduce you to the amazing and wonderful Megan McTigue!

High school era, in the mid 90’s, was when Megan received her introduction to 311. “I vividly remember going on a yearly mandatory family summer vacation & playing my Blue album nonstop (which was on cassette!!). Their sound was so refreshing, I just couldn’t get enough. A few years later, I met one of my best friends at work and he was a huge fan. He formally introduced & educated me on the world that is 311… and I’ve never looked back.”

Over the years it’s been hard for Megan to keep track of her exact show count, but she believes it’s somewhere between 50-60. Her very first show was at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC on October 7, 2001 and she is very excited that 311 is returning there this summer! “It’s gonna be very nostalgic for me :-).”  This is also the show she said is hands down her favorite so far. “That night completely changed my life; I was a different person leaving that venue than the one that had entered it. Their sound was like nothing I had ever heard before… mixing those intense guitar riffs with an awesome melody, a beat that could make anybody move & a unified positive message… it’s just everything. The energy between everyone in the crowd was palpable, the sound the band was blessing us with was SO dynamic, and I honestly have viewed life in a different way since then. To say I had an epiphany is an understatement. We should all be at one with each other with positive hearts, and I think 311 fans are more aware of that than others. Life is filled with so much beauty & wonder, with endless possibilities, and I consciously started recognizing that notion after that night. I’m so incredibly thankful for that night & everyone I was with.”

As for favorite song, Megan narrowed it down to three because it’s like choosing a favorite child. Number one is “Tribute” which has always been a huge favorite. “Something about that rough guitar progression & the rhyming makes it so hard not to get totally into it every single time you hear it.” Second for her would be “Unity.” “I wholeheartedly believe in the message of the song (I have it tattooed on my shoulder lol), and it brings people together at a live show like I have never seen  – and I go to a lot of shows.” Final choice is “Eons.” “During that very first show, something mentally changed for me; specifically during this song. A switch flipped and I just got completely overwhelmed with emotion. Listening to SA’s harmony, which was so unexpectedly beautiful, and just feeling so at one with everyone there, I don’t know how to really explain it but I will never forget that feeling.”

Favorite lyrics, well she says, “There are so many prophetic statements in their lyrics that are relevant to not only my life but humanity in general, so I often spit out a lyric in general conversation with people – only the “sick tight” individuals know the significance.” So she really can’t just nail down a favorite per se because it all depends on the situation. However, the signature in her email says, “Be positive with life, just see the good in everybody.”

Born and raised in Northern New Jersey, Megan grew up about 20 minutes north of New York City and is the eldest of three children. It was the young age of 9 months that she was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy while her mother was pregnant with her sister. “She noticed I was speaking much more than I should be for my age, and I wasn’t really moving, so that’s how we knew. My mind was over developing intellectually because it wasn’t developing physically. My parents divorced shortly after my sisters birth & my mom remarried my stepfather 3 years later and had my brother. While my life is different from others, I lead a very full & normal (whatever the hell that is lol) life. In my family, no excuses or exemptions were ever made for me; if something was expected of me, I had to figure out a way of making it happen and I think growing up that way has made me the extremely strong individual I am today. I am most likely the most independent, physically dependent person you will ever meet. I was the 1st person in the state of New Jersey who was differently-abled to be fully mainstreamed in regular classes, including Phys Ed.”

Megan’s brother is also a huge 311 fan and they go to many shows together. She also lived in Miami for a short bit, but she said it just wasn’t for her. “It’s hard to take the Jersey out of a Jersey girl.” She works two part time jobs to support her 311 addiction!

“A few days a week I work at a privately owned food store & 5-6 days a week in the afternoons/evenings I tutor. I’m a very Type-A personality, I like to be busy all the time, but definitely know how to chill when need be. In college, I majored in Music Business, absolutely loved every minute of it, and graduated with a 3.7 GPA. Life the beautiful thing and I love every moment of it. It’s super unconventional, often crazy… but overwhelmingly beautiful, and I try to keep that in the forefront of my mind at all times & allow my positive spirit to do good for others.”

A tidbit of information that most don’t know about Megan – she is a published author! It’s under a different name, but she dedicated an entire chapter to 311! Something that makes her unique is that she can wiggle her ears, independently, at the same time! Guilty pleasure? “I love reality TV, don’t hate. These people are crazy & it’s so damn entertaining.”

When not jamming out to 311 or working to support the habit, she can be found listening to other artists like Metallica (her first concert ever back in 1994), Deftones, Radiohead, Snoop Dogg, Thursday, The Cure, Against Me!, Explosions in the Sky, Dr. Dre, Coldplay, The Police, Depeche Mode, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, Journey, and Jimmy Cliff. She also often purchases soundtracks “because it’s a great mix of usually great tunes.”

Megan’s message to 311 is this: “Your art has changed my life and the words “thank you” will never be enough.”

Her message to all the other fans is simple and perfect:

“See you at the shows!”

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And that is Miss Megan’s amazing story of her love for 311 and life! Thank you Megan for being a part of this, you rock! To all those reading, you rock as well. How lucky are we to be a part of this amazing community of fans with such a positive influence like 311 in our lives? Go be awesome my friends, see you next time!

Much love – The Runt