311 Fan Spotlight – 12/11/17 – Amanda Cusanelli!

Welcome back awesome people of 311 nation! Another week, another fan spotlight! This week let’s meet a personal friend of mine, Amanda Cusanelli!

Like many in the 311 fan nation, hearing the song “Down” on the radio is how Amanda first heard of 311. She instantly loved it. “They had a sound I wasn’t familiar with and it drew me to them. I loved rap but this was different…and I liked it more.”

While she doesn’t keep count of the exact number of shows seen, she knows it’s somewhere in the 40 range. First show for her was in 2006 at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia. Favorite event so far though? The second cruise, followed by Pow Wow. “Everything about the second cruise was amazing.  Great artists, great friends; good times all around.  I also really enjoyed PowWow.  The line up was perfection even if the sweat and dirt was less than desirable.  I did not partake in camping… I had my own princess hotel.  This was also the first event where I began to meet people and form lasting 311 relationships.”

Song that means the most? It’s hard to choose. But the first two that came to mind for Amanda were “Visit” and “Unity.” Music is still her favorite album. Favorite lyric? “Welcome to this groove’ describes who I am and the life I lead. I’m always singing and dancing wherever I go.”

Maryland is where Amanda was raised, which gave her lots of opportunities to hear live music as she grew up, being so close to both Baltimore and D.C. She also traveled to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York quite often for it as well. Music was an important part of her life from an early age. “My earliest memories of music were always with my father.  He had a state of the art stereo and was always listening to it.  He would let us kids each pick a CD and he’d shuffle them in his CD changer.  He would quiz me on artists, song names and albums on trips in the car.  He also took me to every concert I wanted until I was able to drive myself.  This is where my love of music comes from.” In 2014 Amanda moved to Saint Louis, Missouri, where she continues to see as many shows as possible.

Amanda has a very cool story to tell, and I’ll let her tell it in her own words. “In 2011 I met a teenage boy who had recently survived a horrific life changing accident while trying to fix up his house. I couldn’t believe the maturity and positivity he exuded after all that had happened. After learning more about this amazing spirit I realized he lived in a very dire situation with several members of his family. I asked for the assistance of a local production company and together we pitched his story to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  We succeeded and were able to gift the family with a brand new home.  The show even painted all the houses in the neighborhood and installed a community garden.  Still the proudest moment of my media career.”

Unique attribute? “I can sing/recite any song after hearing it a couple of times but I cannot remember song names if my life depended on it.” Guilty pleasure for Amanda – Boy bands…all of them. “They are a part of me; deal with it.” Second favorite band for Amanda is Candlebox. Other than that she loves KoRn, Billy Talent and Three Legged Fox. “I have a very eclectic taste in music and it’s extremely difficult to pick favorites. I’ve been to shows as obvious as 311 and as unexpected as Engelbert Humperdinck.  I will also go to any live performance. That includes theatre.”

Amanda’s message to 311 – “Thank you for taking me on this wild ride as we visit the world.”

Her message to all the other 311 fans:

“To all my friends: I’m glad you know me. To all my future friends: You’re welcome.”

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That everyone is Amanda’s story! I’m proud to call her my friend, she is a ton of fun and full of positive vibes. Keep an eye out for her at shows…look for the tattoo on her wrist and you’ll find her! Until we meet again.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 12/4/17 – Jessica Pursley!

Welcome back Excitable 311 nation! This week we feature the other half of a dynamic duo in the fandom of this band. Let’s meet Jessica Pursley!

Jessica was only 11 years old when she first heard the magical sounds of 311. She was at her friend Tony’s house and it was him who really got her into music of all kinds. He had an awesome sound system in his room and had just gotten a copy of Grassroots. Jessica went over to check it out. “I remember Homebrew started playing and within the first few seconds I had to know who the heck these guys were. We listened to the entire album and I can say that is the first time music really “hit” me. Even though I was really young, I was in awe. Then Tony mentioned he also had another album ‘Music’. We listened to that too, and I knew I was hooked. For good. Their style was just so unique. It was like nothing I had ever heard before.”

How many shows has Jessica been to? “Since Sean said his count is 15, that would make mine at 14. Haha, I don’t really keep track of that.” While she may not keep count, she does remember the very first time she saw them – Halloween night 2001 at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles with Alien Ant Farm as the opening band. “I had to beg my parents to let me go, I was just about to be 17. Me and Sean had known each other about 8 months. It was my first concert ever. We were at the very top, only one row behind us…allllll the way in the back, and we still left that place soaked in sweat from rockin’ out the entire time. It was everything I had imagined, and so much more! That was the beginning of my love of live music.”

While she said every show is special to her in one way or another, her favorite event so far was 311 Day 2016 which was her first. “This one was incredible for SO many reasons. First, we had just learned about the Familia and the amazing community of fans and when we got to Nola it was mind blowing. The energy. The unity. The LOVE. I felt at HOME. That trip was life changing for me in so many different ways. I will never forget the streets of New Orleans just exploding with 311. There was the music, every place you went was a 311 song playing. Every where you turned was a smiling face so ready to give you a hug or a high five. Singing at Bandstand until I had no voice left at all. But the absolute, 100% best part about it all was the family we now have. The people we have met, the relationships that have been formed, the memories that have been made and have yet to be made. This is the stuff life is all about!”

The hardest question that Jessica had to answer for this was what song means the most to her. “Their music, as a whole, has grown and evolved with me over the years. It is continually changing and is relevant at different times. Their lyrics have helped me through so much! Lyrically there are a couple that come to mind though.’Sun ComeThrough’, ‘Don’t Dwell’, and ‘Use of Time’. Songs I love to just lose it and rock out to are ‘Existential Hero’, ‘Brodels’, ‘Livin & Rockin’ & ‘Get Down’. Before 311 Day 2016 I started a Twitter campaign to get C.U.T.M. played. No luck. That is the song I want to hear most live. 311 is the soundtrack to my life, and has been for over 20 years, each of their songs mean something to me.” As far as lyrics, she said she is still a person who studies the lyric books when a new album comes out. A few favorites over the years are “There’s much power in anger, but loves the bigger banger,” “Do as you will, do as you wish, follow your bliss,” and “Be positive with love, just see the good in everybody.”

Palmdale, California – about 60 miles north of Los Angeles in the desert – that’s where Jessica grew up. She said her family means everything to her and that they have the best time when they are all together. “One of my favorite memories from my childhood is how we would have “Rock out Sundays” my Dad was only off work on Sundays and he would wake up, put one of his vinyl records on (which was probably Tesla, or Queensryche, maybe the Scorpions or Stevie Ray Vaughn..) I guess you could say my Dad is the reason I love my music loud! Lol We would have family rock out sessions often. Even cleaning the house with my mom on Saturdays, we would put on some Fleetwood Mac or Supertramp and our cleaning turned into singing at the top of our lungs into whisk microphones while playing our broom guitars.”

Jessica never really had plans of leaving Cali, but then she met Sean and they began dating. When he decided to move to Colorado, Jessica took a giant leap of faith and went with him. “I was only 18 and the first couple of years were a rough transition for sure, but I knew I belonged with Sean. Now here we are, 15 years later, married with two awesome kiddos! I have recently decided to follow my lifelong dream of being a teacher, and am a full time student at Colorado Mountain College. Both Sean and I feel that Rifle, CO is most definitely NOT our forever home, but more of a place we have landed for a bit to further our careers. Once I get my degree and Sean has his electrician license we will be ready to move on to bigger and better places!”

Something people may not know about Jessica is that she LOVES to dance. “As a kid I danced from the time I was 3 until I was about 14. My family came into financial issues and I couldn’t go anymore…but it was my happy place for many years. I still love to dance. Another fun fact…my younger sister took me to my first rave two years ago on New Years Eve in California (Countdown to NYE) and it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. So. Much. Fun.”

Jessica’s passion to help people is what she said is a unique attribute for her. “I don’t have a lot to give monetarily…but I have found I am getting really good at setting up efforts, whether it be a raffle to raise funds or creating a lyric calendar or fun sunglasses to get donations coming in. Just in the past few years, we as a community, have been able to assist fellow fan members who have had house fires and lost everything, to getting a Christmas tree for someone in need, to helping someone get out of a potentially dangerous situation, to collecting school supplies for less fortunate kids, and going to help feed the homeless and share some smiles. I have found my heart is literally exploding with love and I have to share it, in any way I can!”

Guilty pleasure for Jessica is the T.V. series Teen Mom. “I have literally watched it from the VERY beginning. I am obsessed lol. Another guilty pleasure, and Sean can vouch for this, is 3 a.m. cheeseburgers and / or chili fries!  Theres just something about some hearty junk food after some drinks and rocking the F out! Its become an after show thing now…it all started at Krystal’s in Nola. Alison and Kris…you know what I’m talkin’ bout! Hahahaha.” As far as musical loves, Jessica has a pretty wide range of interests which include mostly everything except Country. “Some artists I love are: Fortunate Youth, Stick Figure, Passafire, Nahko, Soja, Rebelution, The Green, Tatanka, Iya Terra, old school No Doubt, The Expendables, Josh Heinrichs, RDGLDGRN, Sublime, The Beastie Boys, There are even some EDM DJ’s on my list, and of course the old school hip hop and rap…. My list could literally go on and on. Music is life to me, if the lyrics speak to me or theres a good beat to get down to…I dig it.”

As far as what Jessica would say to 311, she has pondered this many, many times. She has yet to have the opportunity to meet them, so she thinks about what she would say to them often. She said she would simply tell them, “Thank you for the music, the lyrics, the positivity and love, and all the amazing memories, but most of all….thank you for unifying this family of fans to which we all belong ♥.”

To all the other lovely fans, her message is this:

“To all my friends, its not the end…the earth hasn’t swallowed me yet!” To those of you I have the pleasure of meeting, or sharing in a hug or smile, or just plain rockin’ out together…I LOVE YOU!!! To those I still have yet to meet…I can’t wait!! Thank YOU all for your part in my journey.  Keep Livin’ & Rockin’ my friends!! XOXOX”

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That concludes the story of Jessica Pursely! Thanks Jessica for being a part of this fun and for all those that read her story. You all are the reason I keep going week after week. Thanks for being amazing!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 11/27/17 – Sean Pursley!

Hello again my friends out there in 311 nation! Are we ready for a new fan spotlight? I think so! Let’s not delay and meet Sean Pursley!

The year was 1995. Age for Sean was 15. He was just starting to get really into music. While Sublime was his favorite band at that time, 311 was a close second. “I remember waking up Christmas morning to a brand new CD player with a copy of the blue album and No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom from there I was hooked to their unique sound.  Although I had no idea what they were saying in the lyrics and I wasn’t one to sit down with the lyrics.”

Show count for Sean is at 15, which includes 311 Day 2016 and Red, White, & Boom 2016. Currently he has tickets for the San Diego warm up shows and 311 Day 2018. “My first show was at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater 7-1-2000 with Incubus and KMK.  It was a blast my friend and I sat in the grass and smoked schwag weed all night, while others danced around a burning barrel.  This show began my love for live music.”

As far as favorite show or event, I’ll let Sean tell it in his own words. “Prior to 311 Day 2016 the most memorable event was Halloween 2001 at Universal Amphitheater, the boys were dresses as American hero’s, and Alien Ant Farm opened dressed as Oompa Loompahs.  This was Jessica’s first concert and we were all the way at the top, but we came out of that place drenched in sweat.  311 Day 2016, however sparked a new love for the band. We have met so many amazing people that we now consider family.  Since NOLA, we have been able to travel for some amazing shows, and look forward to seeing new people and places in the future.”

Song that Sean loves rocking out to is “What Was I Thinking.” “It definitely gets my blood pumping. On the beach in Vegas last summer, I went crazy for this song live. I’ll never forget it.” Some of Sean’s favorite lyrics come from the song “Brodels” – The goals to be a poet, and a carpenter, to be one who loves, to be one who works. The Nazz is not something that can be given, the Brodel lives inside you it comes from within.”

Southern California, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles, is where Sean grew up. As a kid he was really into sports, specifically baseball, soccer and roller hockey. During Sean’s senior year of high school, his parents moved him to Colorado, and he absolutely hated it. Upon graduation from high school he spent a brief time in Topeka, Kansas, then  moved it back on out to Cali. This is when he met his best friend and soul mate, Jessica. “After about a year of dating I decided to move back to Colorado to work with my dad building homes.  Jessica decided to come with, but the first few years were very difficult to adjust to a new place. I found that concerts were always a way to be excited for something, at the time we were big into KMK and the sub-noize scene, but live music has always been an important part of our relationship.  We have been living in Rifle, Colorado since 2007.  We have been married 11 years and have 2 beautiful children Skylar 8 and Jaykob almost 4.  We both feel that this place is a stepping stone for us and are both currently working on our careers with hopes of moving closer to a city.” Sean is currently working on his electrical apprenticeship and is just about to begin classes for it.

Sean mentioned that they have a love for music, and he said he is big into the white boy reggae scene. He enjoys the sounds of Sublime, Rebelution, Passafire, Through the Roots, Soja, Stick Figure, and Fortunate Youth. He also loves Blue October.

Favorite movie for Sean is The Wizard of Oz and it has been since he was just the young age of 4. Something that Sean said makes him unique is that he really tries to remain grateful for everything. “I take each day as an opportunity to be a better, father, husband, son, friend, employee… I take the ups and downs that life gives me and use them as stepping stones to be the best me I can be.” Guilty pleasure? Well you’ll have to just guess this one. “I’ll give you a hint, it’s green, legal in Colorado, and in abundance at 311 events.”

His message to 311 is simple yet powerful: “Thank you for the soundtrack.”

To all the other awesome fans:

“Thank you for being you and allowing me to be me, I have never felt the way I do amongst my excitable family.  I am honored to be part of such a united group of people, and am truly grateful for the many friendships that have come from this group.  Can’t wait to rock with all of you.”

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That my friends, is the story of Sean Pursley! Thanks Sean for being a part of this fan community and being your awesome self! I hope you all enjoyed reading about him and thank you for keeping this project alive. Until we meet again my friends, keep being awesome.

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 11/13/17 – Joe Parisi!

Hello again to all of 311 nation! Fan spotlight time has arrived again. This week we feature Joe Parisi!

A best friend from high school is how Joe was introduced to 311. She told him he had to go see them with her. “I remember seeing Down on TRL back in the day and enjoyed it, but never became a big 311 fan. I started listening to them to get ready for the show and to be honest I still wasn’t hooked. But after seeing them live for the first time it changed everything and i knew this was a band i wanted to see again as soon as possible. I’ve only missed three shows in New England in the past 12 years.”

Since that first show, Joe has seen 311 live 39 times. Magic number 40 will be at 311 Day 2018. His first show was November 23, 2005, in Lowell, Massachusetts. “2017 set a personal record of 10 shows in one year.” Favorite one so far was the most recent cruise. “I cannot miss another one under any circumstances. There’s nothing like the vibe created by the amazing fans on that ship. It’s not easy to get over 2000 people together trapped on a ship and have every last one of them treat you like their best friend.”

Song that means the most to Joe goes to “How Do You Feel.” His favorite lyric also comes from that song: “You know the time that you feel, when nothing else really matters, you’re on the spot in the world that you belong. How do you feel cause I couldn’t ask for a single thing more, how do you feel the moment you know just what you are for.” Here are some words from Joe on why he loves this song so much: “This song is everything about being a 311 fan to me. Whether its the cruise or 311 day or any regular tour date, theres nowhere else I would rather be. That’s the place I belong right now. This is also a unicorn song for me, I’ve never seen it live. And I’m REALLY hoping that at 311 day in Vegas I’ll finally get to hear it. I’ve always been a little sad that its such a rare song when the lyrics are 100% what being a 311 fan is all about.”

Gloucester, Massachusetts is where Joe grew up. He now lives in Leominster, Massachusetts, a little more central to the state and away from the coast. “Never thought I would ever leave the ocean but my family is still there so I get back all the time.” Estimating and sales of commercial doors and hardware for Jackson Lumber is how Joe makes a living and helps support his 311 habit. He was also a Boston Bruins season ticket holder for years, but the cost got too expensive so he now saves all of that money for 311 fun!

While hockey is the sport that completely engulfs Joe, he knows more about baseball than anything else. “When I was a kid I would read the MLB rule book and study stats to the point where I could tell you off the top of my head the date John Valentin had an unassisted triple play (July 8, 1994). I think I would make a great baseball coach, way better than I would be at hockey.” Random talent Joe has is that he can easily tell what type of wood something is made out of. Guilty pleasure for him is beer! “I am so lucky to live in the Northeast with some of the best breweries on the planet. I used to be pretty good at eating healthy but the past couple of years thats all gone down the drain thanks to my weekly (or more) visits to one of our fine local breweries.”

Joe briefly hosted a radio show in college where he played 90’s music, so the sounds from that decade will always hold a special place in his heart. “I’ve probably seen Third Eye Blind the most times after 311. Live music is the best and I’ve seen a wide array of bands- Metallica, Matchbox 20, John Mayer, Rebelution, Roger Waters, Green Day, Blink 182, DMB to name a few. Since seeing RDGLDGRN on the cruise I’ve been REALLY into them.”

To 311, Joe would like to say this: “Thanks for keeping to the message of positivity and unity. In a world full of ex girlfriend/boyfriend revenge songs, it’s quite an achievement to have a catalog of music as large as yours without focusing about the negative.”

Joe’s message to all the other 311 fans:

“I’ve met some of the most genuine people at 311 events and it’s a pleasure every time. Cant wait to rock VEGAS with you!”

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That is the story of Joe Parisi! Thanks for being a part of the spotlights Joe, and thanks to all the wonderful fans that make up this community for reading. Go now, be awesome, spread the positivity to everyone you meet!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 11/6/2017 – Beth Perazzo!

Hey there excitable 311 nation! We are back at it with another fan spotlight. This week we meet the lovely Beth Perazzo!

It was just a short while ago, back in 2012, that Beth became a fan of 311 when she went on the cruise that year. “I had gone on a few Sixthman cruises and after I went on Rock Boat in March 2012 I wanted to go on another cruise and I saw the 311 cruise was going in May.  I didn’t have anyone to go with so I booked a room as an independent traveler.  It was the best decision!  I had a blast and I loved how amazing 311 is live.  I also met a lot of really awesome new friends!”

Show count is unknown for Beth, but it has been quite a few since she started just five years ago. She has seen them in many locations including Red Rocks and Las Vegas. The best show she has seen so far was the beach show on the 2012 cruise. “It was so awesome to watch them from the beach and in the water and the energy from the people and the band was amazing.  Everyone there was having the time of their life!”

Song that means the most to Beth is “Time Bomb.” “Since my first show was 2012 Universal Pulse was the new album and at the time the one I listened to the most.  I like this song because it has the lyrics “Let me introduce you, to the excitable crew”. That always makes me think they were talking to me on the 2012 cruise and they were telling me about all the amazing people I was about to me and what brings them all together is their love for 311, music and each other.”

Parma, Ohio is where Beth grew up, it’s just outside of Cleveland. In high school, Beth made the decision to join the military and she left for the Naval Academy right after she graduated. Four years later she became a United States Marine Corps officer. Her career has flourished since then and she has lived in Georgia, Missouri, California, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and now Florida.

After the cruise in 2012, Beth became friends with Chuck Haskin and then on the 2013 cruise he introduced her to Tony Perazzo. “We saw each other a couple times a year for shows and skiing but were only friends until last year when I finally realized how great Tony is and how great he could be for me.  Things moved quickly and we were in Las Vegas last year to see 311 in July so we decided it was the perfect time to get married.  We did it in his jeep in a drive through, which was perfect because it was unique and memorable, and still very special.  Our love of music is a big part of why we are great and love going to shows together.  I can definitely say that 311 played a part in us getting together and has changed my life in so many positive ways.”

Beth has been deployed to Kuwait and Iraq during her Marine career. “Deploying is part of military life and I’m glad I had the experience.  It challenged me and taught me many good life lessons.” She has also done really well in her career which is not easy as a female, so she is very proud of her accomplishments. “ And I’m very fortunate now to have Tony, who is so supportive of me.”

Guilty pleasure for Beth is the show Greys Anatomy. “I’ll be sad when it finally goes off the air.” One of her other favorite musical talents is Dispatch. She also loves Pearl Jam, Shinedown, Ballyhoo!, and Dirty Heads. “I also love acoustic and harmonies like with Mumford and Sons and a lot of my rock boat bands are like this.  I also like some country and I think Zac Brown Band is one of the best.”

To 311 Beth would love to say: “Thank you for continuing to make music and touring, because of you I’ve met so many amazing friends and my husband, and I love that we all continue to share our love of what you do.”

Her message to all the other fans out there:

“Keep being a family and being friendly to new people and making them feel welcome and part of something special!”

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Thanks Beth Perazzo for sharing your story! I’m proud to call Beth a personal friend and was so happy to be able to share her story. Thanks all for reading each week. Keep on being amazing and go spread the positivity!

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 10/30/2017 – Melissa Lovejoy!

Hello again to all out there in 311 nation! New fan spotlight time has arrived and this week we get to learn all about Melissa Lovejoy!

It was the era of the blue album and Transistor when Melissa found the magical sounds of 311. However it was when Soundsystem was released that she really got into them more. “Soundsystem really drew me into their unique sound and inspiring philosophies.”

Since discovering 311 Melissa has seen them live 15 times, the first one being 15 years ago at The University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire. Favorite shows so far were the ones she just attended this year on the cruise, which was her first cruise.

Song that means the most to Melissa is “Large in the Margin.” As far as favorite lyrics, she has a few that stand out to her: “Every time you will ignore your heart it will come back twice more, never deny your own instinct, reconsider everything,” “I’ve got a mind full of weapons in the battle of me versus myself, and everything that I’ve kept in, I’m finding the courage to tell,” “The jaded one’s will wither while the optimistic grow,” and

“Do what you feel the more absurd the better.”

Melissa was born and raised a “Masshole.” (Massachusetts born just in case people don’t know that term!) Currently she lives in Tampa, Florida. Processing mortgage loans is how she funds her 311 habit, but she is really a massage therapist at heart. “I practiced for 10 years up north.”

Music is a huge part of Melissa’s life and naming favorite musicians could take her days. Right now she is really into reggae rock and hip hop when not listening to 311.

Interesting fact about Melissa? “I had never seen the Star Wars films until a few months ago.” Something that makes her unique are her eyes. “I was born with bilateral Coloboma of the iris, which is why my pupils are shaped like keyholes. It’s not super unique, but the odds are less than 1 in every 10,000 births.”

Guilty pleasure for Melissa is the movie Titanic. “It makes me cry like a little bitch every time I watch it.”

On the cruise when Melissa went to take her photo with the band, she managed to tell them “Thank you for everything.” She said if she had the time, she would dive more into thanking them for how positively they have influenced her life.

Finally, Melissa has this message for all her fellow fans:

“Familia, I love geeking out over 311 with you! Don’t be a stranger ;)”

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That’s Melissa Lovejoy’s story! Thanks for sharing Melissa and thanks to everyone for reading. Time to go out there and spread that peace, love, unity and respect. Keep being awesome!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 10/23/2017 – Matt Brill!

Hello again to all out there in 311 nation! How’s everybody feeling? Hopefully good and ready to take on a new week. Let’s start it off and meet the next 311 fan spotlight, Mr. Matt Brill!

The love for 311 began for Matt when he was around the age of 13 or 14. He can remember the precise moment like it was yesterday. “I was hanging out with my best friend back then, John Mock. We’re in his basement. He turns on his stereo to ridiculously loud proportions. It was the song “Down” rattling his entire house. From that very moment I fell in love with 311.” Matt ran out and bought the blue album, then shortly after he found Grassroots. “I can’t really determine what drew me to them back in those days but it happened effortlessly. I instantly fell in love. 311, along with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, are the two groups that brought me into music and became the styles I love to this day.”

Show count is uncertain for Matt. He stopped counting when he reached the 40’s and that was four years ago. His estimate is somewhere in the 60’s now. “My first show was back in 1999 in Madison, Wisconsin at the Exhibition Hall. Madison being Nick Hexum’s city of birth!” Favorite event so far was the second cruise. “I got front row for the first night show, the Lido deck show. I remember running full speed up many levels of stairways with my buddy Jermaine to get that position. Spending multiple days, on a boat, with some of my best friends was surreal. And it was just us 311 fans. No cars, no traffic, no news, no TV, no cellphones. It was beautiful! That was an amazing overall experience. And the island show. Wow! To see 311 play on a Caribbean island!”

There isn’t just one song that means the most to Matt out of 311’s catalog. “There’s so many, collectively, that have different meanings for me depending on my current life situations.” One lyric that Matt loves though is, “The fish who keeps on swimming is the first to chill upstream.” He said it reminds him of his entire life’s journey. “Never giving up no matter what. And with much sacrifice now, comes much better things in the future.”

Janesville, Wisconsin, is where Matt was born and he lived there for his first 32 years on this planet. He and his sister were raised by their single mother and his grandfather was his father figure who taught him how to be a man. In 2015 Matt moved to Detroit, Michigan, to be near his mother, stepdad, and two little brothers, and also for a job working at Ford Motor Company. “My 311 habit is funded by my job at Ford and investments. Back in Wisconsin it was very much funded by “WGTH” sales.”

Interesting fact that Matt says most don’t know about him? “In my younger days I did jail time for stealing a Glock 40, bulletproof vest, and hundreds of hollow point rounds off of a S.W.A.T. team officer. Oops!” Something that makes him special is his frugality. “I know how to get rich by living like I’m poor. I have an exceptional ability to find the best deals and values in every aspect of my life. Sacrifice!” Guilty pleasure for Matt is The Walking Dead. “I love that show! I attend the conventions, meet the actors, know all of their real names, etc.”

Mentioned earlier, another musical talent that Matt loves is Bones Thugs-N-Harmony. He also loves Pink Floyd to name another one. “I fell in love with BTNH right about the same time as I got into 311. From what I remember, the videos for “Tha Crossroads” and “Down” were on MTV at the same time.  I fell in love with Pink Floyd my senior year of high school. My friends and I used to drive around the countrysides of Wisconsin, smoking herb, and Pink Floyd always was the perfect background music to those adventures.”

Matt’s message to 311 is simple yet powerful: “THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY LIFE.”

His message to all his fellow 311 fans is just as simple and powerful:

“Be different.”

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Thank you Matt Brill for sharing your story of your love for 311! It was a pleasure to learn more about Matt and I hope everyone reading enjoyed his tale. Thank you of course for reading each week, and being part of this amazing group of fans. Until we meet again, stay positive and love your life!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 10/16/17 – Brett Kondrat!

Will Byington Photography © 2017

Welcome again to all those out there in 311 nation! The time is here to introduce the next fan spotlight. Meet Brett Kondrat!

Love for 311 began in the mid 90’s for Brett, back when he was a skater kid. He gives credit to B Love, Brian Smith, and Arlo Eisenberg for his introduction to the band. It was 1995 and they had made a rollerblading video called The Hoax 2. “These guys were my hero’s and they were skating to 311’s music in a few sections of this epic skate video. Arlo owned a skate brand called Senate, it was like the Nike of rollerblading at the time. Nick used to wear Senate tank tops on stage and they became known as a cool band to us skater kids. In 1997 other kids were buying Jordan’s shoes and Deon Sander’s jerseys. B Love had his own signature pro wheels and the artwork on the packaging was styled after the album cover for Music. B Love was standing there pointing right at you. I was like 12, but I saved my money and bought 2 sets of those wheels, I honestly cherished them. I only skated them on wood ramps at the skate park so they wouldn’t get worn out on the street! And I still have them.”

Show count is at 72 for Brett, including six 311 Day events and all 5 cruises. First show was in 2001 at the Warped Tour in Dallas, Texas. The ever hard question to answer was what Brett’s favorite show was. “I would have to say watching Transistor in its entirety at The Pow Wow was the best night of music I have ever seen. Honorable mention to the Unity Orchestra at 311 Day and watching them while floating in paradise at Half Moon Cay.”

Song that Brett loves is “Reggae Got Soul” and he hopes that the band plays it live one day. He couldn’t pick just one song that really means the most to him though. “It’s impossible to pick one. The Continuous Life or Welcome live with the intro are favorites. The song that means the most to me is the one that’s making me feel awesome while I’m listening to it.” A few lyrics that stand out to him as favorites are, “Don’t let the fear get you,” “It’s not ambiguous, it be continuous, it’s all about us, it’s for real my man. The continuous life there is no end, moving through life, moving through death,” and “Damn, you’re a shame, no thank you ma’am, Bitch!”

A small town in Western Massachusetts is where Brett grew up, but he moved to Dallas, Texas when he was 11 years old. He just moved to Denver, Colorado a month ago and so far he loves it. How he funds his 311 habit is by his creation of a lighter called The Wick Light. He sells them online and at retail stores.

One thing Brett believes about 311’s music is that Evolver doesn’t really get the credit it deserves. “That record has Creatures, Beyond the Grey Sky, and Jacks rule the realm and it’s only 11 songs… just sayin’.” When 311 isn’t bumping at Brett’s home, his ears are entertained by musicians like Full Service, Killswitch Engage, Pepper, All That Remains, Times of Grace, Mastodon, and lately a lot of Tom Petty.

At the age of 33, Brett still hits up the skate parks. “I don’t want to grow up.” Guilty pleasure for Brett is the T.V. show The Sopranos. “I have an unhealthy obsession with it. I lost count of how many times I’ve watched it.”

To 311, Brett’s message is: “Thank you for creating beautiful art that brings us together, encourages us to live well and think deeply about ourselves, others, and the universe.”

To all the other awesome fans:

“Thank you all for being the greatest group of positive humans that has ever been assembled. I love you all, see you at 311 Day!”

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Thank you Brett for sharing your story with the best fans in the world! Thank you to all that continue reading. Time to go out there and be awesome, spread that love and unity to all!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 10/2/2017 – Rob Montano!

Will Byington Photography © 2017

Welcome back my excitable friends out in 311 nation! Are we all ready to start the new week off right? Let’s do it by reading the next fan spotlight. Meet Rob Montano!

The radio stations DC101 and 99.1 WHFS were local radio stations that Rob listened to and it was there that he first heard the magical sounds of 311. “I bought the blue album when it first came out and didn’t look back. My older sister was a fan too.”

First show for Rob was back in 2002 at the Nissan Pavilion for the Sprite Liquid Mix tour. Since then he has attended 71 shows total. Favorite of those 71 shows goes to the first show on the last cruise this year and it is for a very awesome reason. “I proposed to my longtime girlfriend Caitlin during the sail away show! Then we popped the biggest bottle of champagne to celebrate!”

Song that means the most to Rob is “All Mixed Up” and it has a special meaning to he and his fiancé. “I had always be mine engraved on my fiancés ring.” Favorite lyric comes from the song “Plain” – “Life’s a bowl of punch, go ahead and spike it.”

Rob was born and raised in Maryland, still residing there to this day. He lives in Montgomery County with his fiancé Caitlin. Currently he is attending school at University of Maryland University College. He is working towards a degree in Cybersecurity and also working full time so he can keep funding his 311 habit! He is very excited to get into the IT field of work. He also has his hands full taking care of their 2 year old puggle P-Nut. “He keeps us on our toes. He enjoys when we have friends come visit, especially our 311 friends.”

Cool piece of information about Rob, his brother lives in Milan, Italy, and his sister lives in London, England. “We just traveled to Scotland for my sisters wedding. I now have a British brother in law. I’m also about to be an Uncle in March.” Something else Rob says some might not know is that he played hockey in high school.

It was in high school where Rob met Caitlin, so he really proposed to his high school sweetheart, not something that happens very often! “We bonded over 311 in computer class and the rest is history.” Some things Rob loves (besides Caitlin) are playing golf, traveling (not just for 311), and going to Bethany Beach, Delaware. When not listening to 311 he can be found rocking out to Tipper, Pretty Lights, Ballyhoo!, Sound Tribe, Ganja White Night, Ott, Jade Cicada, Bogtrotter, Shpongle, Bassnectar, SOJA, and Stick Figure.

To 311, Rob’s message is: “Thank you for everything you have done over the last 27 years and also helping me meet a ton of great people….like Chrissy!”

Now his simple and sweet message to all the other fans!

“Life is short so live it up!”

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There you have the story of Rob Montano! Thanks to Rob for sharing his story of his love for 311 and thank you readers, as always, for keeping this blog alive! We are all part of an amazing community and I love helping tell your stories. Now go take this week on with power, positivity and love!

Much Love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 9/18/17 – Alisha Eckman!

Welcome again Excitable 311 nation! It’s time for the new 311 fan spotlight. This week we feature the lovely Alisha Eckman!

Fourteen years old was the age when 311 first came into Alisha’s life. It was 1995 and she was in junior high. She has a very distinct memory of her friend Megan saying she liked this song “Down” by this band, “three, one, one, or however you say it.” Alisha went out and bought the blue album and as she said, it was love at first listen. “Instant connection to the music and lyrics, which I studied and quickly memorized. This then brought me to BullMoose Music in Brunswick, Maine because I had to hear more! So bought Music, Grassroots and eventually Omaha Sessions – which would quickly become my favorite albums of all-time.”

Alisha never really kept track of shows she went to until recently, so she is unsure of her number, but believes it’s somewhere in the mid 20’s. Her favorite event so far was 311 Day 2016 in New Orleans. “I’d never been to 311 Day before that – it always seemed too tough to make it while I was raising my little ones. It wasn’t until www.thepier.org had an email contest How I discovered 311 that I actually won, that actually made this dream a reality for me! The experience was the most amazing ever and I’m forever grateful! I’d never even gotten the rail before, so to be able to see 2 nights of 311’s live music and get the pit for a photo pass, I’d struck gold. This totally rekindled my love for 311. Not that I ever lost that love, but I guess I lost my enthusiasm for most things in my life for a while, due to some pretty tough years. In 2006,​ ​my dad died unexpectedly in an accident and an ex cheated on me while I grieved… all simultaneously. My heart was completely broken and so was my sense of self. It took me many years to go to any shows again. I met my awesome husband Eric and we started going to shows together and that part of me was reborn. When I finally gathered up the courage to read his death certificate, I saw his time of passing was actually 3:11 p.m. Turns out that 311 is the bridge to my dad in spirit. 🙂 I see the clock at 3:11, sometimes out of a deep sleep and I just know it’s my dad telling me he loves me and is with me. 311 is so much deeper to me than ‘just a band.’ They have so much spiritual meaning to me. Following this band is a lifestyle and it’s brought me to meet so many beautiful souls. http://www.thepier.org/311-day-contest-how-i-discovered-311/

It was tough for Alisha to think of a song that means the most to her because she said there is literally not a song that she doesn’t like. Two songs that did come to mind that stands out as favorites are “Hydroponic” and “Omaha Stylee.” Song lyric that keeps her motivated is, “The fish who keeps on swimming, is the first to swim upstream.” She also loves the lyric, “I’m truly grateful, I’m going back to the Earth, I’m not gonna waste life being hateful.”

Maine is where Alisha grew up and has been there the majority of her life. She lived in Kansas for a little over a year, as well as Maryland, and even spent a couple of years in England. “I just moved to a little country town in New Hampshire with my family and have seen 311 in every state I’ve ever lived in but no other countries.” Funny tidbit about Alisha is that she has NEVER been able to watch scary movies! “I would literally still have nightmares… I avoid them and anything super violent. I couldn’t do Game of Thrones. I stick to lighter / feel-good stuff.”

Something cool that Alisha does is that she using her artistic ability to create pointillism art and mehndi (henna). You can find some samples of her work on her Instagram: stylemyday311. Some other bands that Alisha loves are Iration, Rebelution, and Stick Figure. “I’ve really gotten into reggae more in the past couple years. This music makes me feel so good!” Guilty pleasure? “Chocolate pie… I can eat the entire pie in one sitting. Done it… haha!!”

To 311 Alisha’s message is this: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank YOU, from the bottom of my heart. You all mean so much more to me than ‘just a band’ that I’ve loved for nearly 23 years. You’ve helped me through the most difficult times of my life and I feel so grateful to have this connection with you.”

Now to all the other amazing fans:

“It’s just been such a blast and such a blessing to meet so many other awesome and passionate people who share a common love! I love seeing you all again each summer and look forward to many more years ahead of getting together and rocking out together. ;)​”

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Now you know the story of Alisha Eckman! I can say I’ve met her in person and she’s awesome! I hope you all get to meet her in person one day. Thanks for reading again this week! Now go kick some butt and spread that positivity!

Much Love – The Runt