Runt Rant

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

311 Fan Spotlight – 7/25/16 – Christy Krasowski!

July 25th, 2016

image1

Good day 311 excitable nation! Here we meet again for the next fan spotlight. Are you ready for it? Let’s meet Christy Krasowski!

“Down” and “All Mixed Up” were the first songs that Christy heard from 311. They were played on her local alternative station in the summer of 1996, when she was working at her first summer job. “I was instantly drawn to their blend of reggae and rock, their harmonies, and I especially liked the way Chad’s drums sounded on those songs.” The following year in school choir, she met her best friend Laura, who also happened to be a huge 311 fan. “She would always have 311 tapes playing when she would drive me to different choir events.  This was when I first heard “Music,” and the entire “Blue” album.”

image5

Christy has kept a running list of shows she attended and this summers Unity Tour show in Chicago was her 28th. She’s attended three 311 Day events. As far as favorite of the 28, she narrowed it down to four of the most memorable ones. The first is from 2001 at the Mean Fiddler in London. “This was the smallest venue that I’ve ever seen 311 perform in.  It was their first headlining tour in Europe, and I was able to sneak all the way up to the rail for the first time!  I caught one of miT’s guitar picks and snagged the setlist after the show.  It was also the first time I ever met any of the band members–I still have that autographed set list in my bin of special keepsakes.” Second show is 311 Day in Memphis 2006, because it was her first 311 Day. She and her two best friends hit the road together for it. “It was so awesome coming together in one place with SO MANY other 311 fans.”

Third show was July 12, 2015 in Milwaukee where the audience was gifted with hearing Grassroots in its entirety. Finally number four was this years 311 Day in Nola. “ My two best girlfriends and I reprised our first 311 Day, ten years later, this time in New Orleans!  Besides the fact that New Orleans is an amazing party town, and being surrounded by 311 familia everywhere we went, the two shows were so memorable.  I loved the fan montage and gospel choir the first night (another weeping moment), and Chad’s drum solo into, “Hey Jude” the second night was stellar!”

image2

The song “Beyond the Grey Sky” is one that has spoken to her the most as she’s grown. While not her favorite song, that would either be “Stealing Happy Hours” or “My Stoney Baby,” the lyrics in BTGS have carried her through some dark times. “When 311 performed that song at 311 Day in Memphis, I was moved to tears.  Listening to it that day opened my soul, as cheesy as that might sound.” Favorite lyric comes from “My Stoney Baby” – “The fish that keeps on swimming, is the first to chill upstream.”

Born in Spain, Christy lived there until she was 5. Then she moved to and grew up in Dundee, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She’s pretty much lived in Dundee all of her life, with the exception of attending college in Bloomington/Normal, a semester spent in Canterbury, England, and four years spent in Chicago. She and her husband of 9 years Matt bought her grandparents home five years ago and their kids are the fifth generation of family to grow up in that house! Christy has a degree in photography from Illinois State. “Aside from taking really nice photos of my kids, I never put that degree to much use.” Instead she spent six years as a Human Resources professional and is now a stay at home mom to her two kids, Will who is 7 and Tilly who is 2.  She also is a bartender at a local private club a few nights a week to fund her 311 habit. When not spending time with her family or bar tending, she loves seeing live music, cooking, traveling and “drinking copious amounts of craft beer.”

 

Some other bands Christy loves are classic rock acts like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, and The Dead. However she also is really into folky music like the Old Crow Medicine Show, The Head and the Heart, and the Lumineers. Then there is her emo streak, which includes bands such as Jimmy Eat World, The Promise Ring, and a hometown favorite called The Smoking Popes. She also lately has been getting into jazz with artists like Trombone Shorty, Charlie Parker and Stan Getz.

Something unique about Christy – she grew up speaking three languages: English, Spanish, and Danish. “Sadly the only language I’m still fluent in is English.” Hidden talent of hers is that she brews beer and that she also took belly dancing classes for a few years. “I was pretty good at that.” Guilty pleasure is watching the movie “Austin Powers.” “I can’t even imagine how many times I’ve watched that movie. I’m obsessed with the 1960’s Brit pop culture and fashion, so when the movie came out, I was an instant fan!”

To 311 Christy’s message is this: “Thank you for providing the soundtrack to my life.”

To the other fantastic 311 fans:

“I spent many years as a 311 fan before becoming familiar with the 311 Familia.  What a generous, unique and truly awesome group of people you all are.  I love that I can go to 311 concerts and feel safe and well taken care of–there’s always such a positive feeling radiating before and after 311 shows–a sense of belonging and unity.  I just can’t get enough!”

—–

There you have the story of Christy Krasowski! Thanks as always for reading and being the amazing fan community that you are. Now go…be awesome…spread the love & unity!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 7/18/16 – Katie Lay!

July 18th, 2016

KatieLay311

Hello again my excitable friends! Welcome to a new week and a new fan spotlight. Let’s read all about the fabulous Katie Lay!

It was Katie’s older brother who introduced her to the magic of 311. He listened to them and gradually Katie started listening to them on her own. “I loved the sound, the lyrics, the attitude.”

Katie didn’t start keeping count of the shows she went to until 2006. Since that year she’s been to 42 shows, the latest 4 being the two SLC shows and then Red, White, and Boom, Las Vegas 2016. “I might have 1 or 2 more Unity Tour pre-2006 but I’m not sure.”  Favorite show is a tie between the secret show at the Hive after the 25th anniversary show last year, and then the beach show on cruise two.

Picking a song that means the most to her was impossible and she said she couldn’t choose. “I find myself reaching for different songs all the time. Currently I’m particularly digging on Sever.” Some of Katie’s favorite lyrics are: “Don’t you know that The Devil, he’s in me, and God, she is too,” and “I wanna do what’s right, be kind to every single body, open up to light, just let it flow through my body.”

Katie grew up and still lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. She also lived in Austin, Texas for about 6 months after college. She is currently the Director of a youth music program which she said is her passion. She also works for a tutoring center/online high school as a Content Manager and Curriculum Coordinator. “I LOVE music – I also work part-time for a concert series in Park City, Utah.” Some other bands Katie listens to are Orgone, Bob Schneider, The Mother Hips, Less Than Jake, Pepper, Ballyhoo!, Dirty Heads, RDGLDGRN, Bill Laurence, Los Stellarians, Beats Antique, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, and Pendulum.

Aside from music, Katie also loves to travel! She’s been to 46 of the United States and 19 countries, including Cuba twice! “My current 311 goal is to try to see them in a new state every year. I’ve been on all 4 cruises, and will go on #5.”

Did I mention Katie loves music? Not just listening to it, but performing it as well. “I sing and play the saxophone!” She mentioned that most people don’t know that and it’s something that makes her unique. She’s also really proud of the music program that she runs. “It’s a premiere youth handbell (yes, handbell) choir that tours the States every year. It sounds super nerdy but is actually really impressive. It’s way more awesome than that episode of the New Girl, if that’s your basis of reference. This summer we played 13 concerts in 11 states in 16 days and traveled more than 6,000 miles.”

Katie had a great answer for what her guilty pleasure is: “I dislike the concept of guilty pleasures. If you like it, you like it! Who gives a damn what anyone else thinks.”

Her message to 311 is a simple one: “THANK YOU!!”

Now to all the other fabulous fans:

“Be kind to each other. We’re so lucky to have this built in network of friends who love the same thing we do. Take advantage of it!”

——-

That’s the story of Katie my friends! Thank you Katie for being a part of this and thank you to all that keep reading! Its truly an honor to share all your stories. Until next week – keep being awesome!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 7/11/16 – Sydney Novik!

July 11th, 2016

IMG_3222

Hello again excitable 311 nation! The 2016 Unity Tour is in full swing and I hope you are all enjoying it so far or anticipating your upcoming show. Let’s take the time to read about the new fan spotlight, Sydney Novik!

2010 was the year and Sydney was in college at the time. She decided to go see 311 in Atlanta with a group of friends. “I was 19 and had only heard of the band at that time – kinda late but it didn’t take long to become a serious fan.” Since then she’s been to every Atlanta show and also traveled around to see them. What she really loves is the bond between the fans and it’s online presence. “I’m somewhat introverted but it feels great to be a part of it.”

Since 2010 Sydney has attended 14 shows, with shows 15 & 16 coming up this summer in Atlanta. “Add the cruise in 2017 and that’ll potentially be another three sets!” So far her favorite event was the cruise in 2015, but the 2014 Tabernacle Thursday night concert is one of her all time favorite shows. “I had just temporarily relocated to Kentucky and drove six hours back to Atlanta just to see them, blasting the discography from oldest to newest all the way down. (By the way, it takes from Music to mid-Evolver from Lexington to Atlanta y’all). I went on my own and met so many new friends in line and was lucky enough to get a rail spot. The band was also airing their performance live on Yahoo, and I managed to get on camera. I remember getting a text from my best friend in New Jersey saying “Omg I saw you!”. It was pure bliss to be that close to a band that’s been killing it for the past twenty-five years.”

Song that means the most to Sydney is “Unity.” She had the whole discography from 311 but had never listened to it all the way through until a long road trip. “Unity came on shuffle. I rocked out the four hour trip to Music on repeat after that. It’s probably one of my favorite albums now. It was the song that made me fall in love with their music.” Another favorite is “Off Beat Bare Ass” because she said it’s fun to rap to. “I’m pretty sure I know the lyrics top to bottom.”

Born in Staten Island, Sydney lived in New Jersey until she was 9 and relocated with her family to Atlanta. She’s pretty much lived there ever since. It took playing every sport under the sun for her to find her talent in swimming. She also found a talent in playing the drums. She used to work in the fitness industry selling gym memberships but later transitioned into the construction industry. “I’m also an avid weightlifter and an aspiring fitness competitor!”

Her musical likes change (besides 311 obviously), so she is currently listening to a lot of Rage Against the Machine, Primus, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Incubus. While she talks all the time about playing drums, she actually grew up playing clarinet! “And was kinda good at it, lol. I did pretty well in high school, sat first chair for a few semesters in a competitive wind symphony. I tried to continue in college but had way more fun playing drums, so I gave it up completely.”

Unique attribute for Sydney? “I can burp like a dude and on command. Always do it for fun or to be obnoxious. My teacher even commented about my etiquette in my yearbook once. Haven’t changed! Haha.” She also said that thanks to her career she has an abundance of knowledge about cell towers. “How to build them, decommission, test and read results, identify structure, carrier, radio-frequency, etc. It’s almost frustrating that it’s hard to talk about what I do for work around my friends.” Guilty pleasure? “I’ve been watching episodes of House back to bak for the past month. Dude is hilarious.”

To 311, Sydney would like to say:

“Thank you for creating this musical community and giving me something to be a part of. Your message of positivity is so appreciated, especially during this time.”

To all the fans out there her message is short and sweet:

“See you on the boat! :)”

——

Now you’ve all met Sydney! Thank you all for taking the time to read the fan spotlights. It’s amazing how wonderful you all are and I love sharing your stories! Until next time, go out and be awesome!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 7/4/16 – Jason Beaudoin!

July 4th, 2016

13453721_10207788515725695_816684303_n

Happy Independence Day Excitable nation! Some of you are in Vegas…some are not…but no matter where you are let’s take the time to meet yet another awesome 311 fan. Here’s the story of Jason Beaudoin!

Let’s travel back to when Jason was in the Navy. A friend of his had Grassroots on cassette. “LOL I know I’m old.” From the intro of “Homebrew” Jason was hooked on their rap, rock, funk sound. “I listened to the whole thing over and over, that was in 1994.  1995 when they released the blue album and I saw them at a small club, the energy was incredible, and the rest is history.”

As for how many shows Jason has seen since that small club show, he is at exactly 40 currently. Favorite of the 40 is the first 311 Day he attended back in 2010 in Vegas. “I always wanted the ultimate fan experience and i got it.” There was also last years Cincinnati when he had broken his hands. Chad’s mom Linda got word of this and hooked Jason up with VIP and backstage passes so he wouldn’t have to be in the crowd!

When asked what song means the most, Jason said it’s like picking your favorite child. However he did narrow it down to “Livin’ and Rockin’.” His reason? “Cause ‘Cant nobody do it like 311’!” Some of his favorite lyrics are: “Stay positive and love your life” and “We make a sick tight connection when we see our true people on tour.”

Jason grew up in Hamilton, Ohio, just 20 miles north of Cincinnati. He was in the Navy for 4 years in Norfolk, Virginia which enabled him to see a lot of the world. He now funds his 311 habit working a factory job and trying to get as much overtime as he can. He also runs a DJ service on the side. So far he’s attended three 311 Day events but no cruises. “That’s a bucket list item for me so I have to do one.”

First love in the musical world for Jason was KISS. “I loved the make up and the music.”  First concert for him was Run D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys, which made him fall in love with hip hop, but he still also loved big hair metal. Lately he’s really digging the band 21 Pilots.

Meditation is something Jason is really in to and he said he isn’t your typical 40 something year old. “I still love rap music and dancing. I have been taking my 19 year old son to shows since he was 11.” Jason and his son both love 311 and it’s a special bond that they share. Guilty pleasure for him is golf!

To 311, Jason would like to say:

“Thank you for the positive message you send to us fans and I hope you guys continue for 26 more years with the same 5 guys!”

Now to all the awesome 311 fans:

“Through following this band for over 20 years, I can go to a show anywhere and feel at home. I have made bonds with people all over the world that can never be broken! I hope we can continue this livin’ and rockin’ forever.”

—-

That’s Jason’s story friends! Thank you all for taking time to read about how he developed his love for 311. Now go get your red, white & boom on! Happy 4th!

Much love! – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/27/16 – Aaron Kirby!

June 27th, 2016

Unknown

Hey there excitable nation! How is everyone feeling on this lovely day? I hope awesome and guess what? It’s time for our next 311 fan spotlight! Let’s read the story of Aaron Kirby!

At the age of 14 in 1995, Aaron was really into rollerblading. He and his friend watched a skate video that had the song “Omaha Stylee” in it (See link here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2tep15 ). They both loved the song so they went to Target where Aaron purchased Grassroots and his friend purchased Music. “After a few days we switched.  I was hooked.  A few months later I was watching MTV and Carson Daily premiered Down.  I still remember getting goosebumps!” What drew him in was how original their music was. “Nothing else sounded like 311. Their seamless blend of so many styles of music was captivating.”

Aaron started seeing 311 live in 2000 at the Murat Theater in Indianapolis with Zebrahead as the opener. He’s been to 35 shows so far which include cruises two and four, as well as 311 Day 06, 14, and 16. “After Cruise 2 was when I really started hitting a lot of shows. I had less than 10 shows under my belt prior.”  Favorite? Aaron said it’s hard to beat the beach show from cruise two. “ It is my favorite overall experience for a show.” Although he said best show for music itself was 311 Day 2016, night two, and favorite regular tour show was the Chicago one 2015 where they surprised the audience with the Blue album in its entirety. “Did I mention Omaha 2014?  That road trip was very special because it was my first time really getting to know other fans through the Familia.  Stephen and Sandy Gwaltney, Tim Zinkan, Tessa Chambers and Shannon Crummy joined me for an epic journey to the homeland for Grassroots in its entirety.  My only tattoo is of the poster from that show.”

Unknown-1

Favorite song goes to “8:16AM” since it was his first love. Favorite lyrics come from “My Stoney Baby” – “”The fish who keeps on swimming is the first to chill upstream.”  He said it’s usable for so many situations in life.

A little about Aaron’s upbringing comes in quote form: “I grew up tall and I grew up right, with them Indiana boys on them Indiana nights. Lol.” He still lives in the same area he was born which is Lafayette, Indiana. He and his wife have been in real estate brokerage together for a decade, as well as having some real estate investments.

Something unique about Aaron is that he has two different colored eyes, one brown and one that ranges from green to blue depending on the day. “They used to both be green.   My dad now says that I’m half full of shit.”  Another unique attribute? He’s 6’ 7” so you can always spot him at the shows! “My friends have no problem finding their way back after a beer / bathroom trip.  I have a great view no matter where I’m at.  The downside is having someone at EVERY show ask me to move or duck because they can’t see.  Yeah, I was here first, you can move.  Short people need to learn some manners! Haha!”  Guilty pleasure? “I love cooking on my Big Green Egg.  I’ll  make you some killer food.  Better than the Pecan Lodge ever tried to be. :)”

Other bands he loves include Dirty Heads, Rebelution, Iration, DMB, Jack Johnson, 21 Pilots, Sublime with or without Rome,  RDGLDGRN, Rage Against the Machine, and Bad Religion. “I’m all over the board.”

Aaron’s message to 311:

“Thank you for the lifetime of music, fun and constant positivity that has played such a huge roll in my life.”

His message to all the other fans:

“I can’t wait to see so many of you and make some new friends this summer and on the cruise next year!”

—–

Now you’ve all met Aaron Kirby! Such a great story. Thank you Aaron for sharing and thank you all for reading! You guys seriously rock and are all the reason that this community is amazing. Now go start your week and bring the positive to every day!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/20/16 – Mike Kleczka!

June 20th, 2016

13479515_10154340104989575_273774367_n

Welcome again excitable people near and far! It’s that time again, to meet our next fan spotlight! This week, let’s learn all about Mike Kleczka.

Freshman year of college, back in 1993, was the year Mike found 311 totally by accident. In high school he found new music simply by going to as many shows as possible. Then in college he progressed to joining the college radio station as a DJ. “The school station was operated like a commercial station so, the music director could get on the guest list to almost any show in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.” The preferred venue was Lupo’s in Providence and one day the music director told Mike that if he like Rage Against the Machine, he’d like this band called “three eleven” that they were going to see that night. Mike said he thinks the director meant he’d like them because they incorporated hip-hop into their sound. “Not knowing any of the material, I just took it in. Turns out, I really liked it! So, when I prepped for my shows, I added  the “Freak Out” single to my playlist. Eventually, I dug out the full length “Music” album from the music library and played more songs.”

Fifty-three shows is where Mike is at for seeing them live (Fifty-four if you count the secret Hive show). He’s seen them at least once a year since 1993, with the exception of 98, 99, and 2007.  People not into 311 like he is ask him all the time what his favorite show has been, and he says it’s a tough question to answer.  “I think that my favorite shows are the ones over the past three years and “the next one”. I say that because I’ve met some really awesome people the past few years and getting to experience shows with them is what I love. I’ve seen them play most of their songs live at one point or another. At this point, WHO i’m going to the show with is just as important that WHAT songs we’re going to hear. We know that the band will put on a great show, regardless. I just want to enjoy it with my friends. And I love the notion that I can possibly make new friends at any show I go to. (I usually do, too!)” To date Mike has seen 311 in 13 different states.

Favorite song is another difficult question to answer. At 40 years old and having been a fan since 93, he’s been listening to 311 for more than half his life. “The band keeps doing something a little different with each album they release. If they kept releasing Music and Grassroots, I don’t think a lot of us would still be here today. People get on them for albums like DTOM and Uplifter. Long for the Flowers? It’s Getting OK now? great songs. 2009 was one of the best summers. Uplifter was the soundtrack. Never Ending Summer? I Like the Way? Sun Come Through? I think it was great because it was different than what they’d been doing on previous albums.”

Some lyrics though that Mike loves are as follows: “You make me feel uncalm and I think I like it.” and “I love it when the only sound I hear is your infectious laughter. I will hear you again in 800 years if I’m still lucky.” These lyrics make Mike think of his amazing wife Tina. “She is not “all in” as some of us are but, Tina is a fan and travels with me to the event shows. She’s met some amazing friends, too. “The 311 wives club’ as she’s come to call it.” One more lyric he loves is, “Time of our lives, here I was happy.” He said this is one because, well, he is!

Mike was born and raised on the east coast in New York and New Jersey. He is the oldest of four boys, all of whom love 311 as well. They still try to see at least one show a year together. He said you also might here him call the band three to eleven sometimes, which is a nod to him mom. “She asked me, one time, when my younger brother wanted to go see 311. She said, “Tell me about this band he wants to see, Three to Eleven. What’s their deal? is that a secret code or something? What time does that represent? It’s not another pot code is it?”  Once i stopped laughing, I filled her in. Since then, Mom understands.”

Mike attended college in Massachusetts and Pittsburgh, and graduated from Robert Morris University with a degree in Communications. “Pittsburgh is an awesome town with a crazy local dialect. “Yinz going don ton to see the Stillers?” Love that place!”  Mike moved to Michigan to start a family and career. He said as he was answering the questions he can finally say career and family have finally aligned. He is about the begin working for Fathead (the company that does the wall graphics of athletes, superheroes, etc.).

Mike said his wife Tina is extremely supportive of him (and tolerant he added). They have five amazing children together that keep them on their toes. His oldest son has already been to 13 shows and his daughter and second son both went to their first show last summer. Mike works hard to fund his 311 habit and they go to as many shows as the budget allows. “I’ve met many friends at shows and through poster collecting. I like to see them as much as I can and going to shows is how it gets done.”

Collecting posters, prints, and merch is a hobby of Mike’s and he’s an admin for the Facebook 311 Trading Post. “Along with four friends, we have a group that enables 311 fans to buy, sell and trade 311 merch and posters with other 311 fans. There’s a whole sub group within the 311 community and it’s awesome to be a part of it. You’ve probably seen us camping out at shows so we can be sure to get a poster before they sell out. Some folks can’t imagine why people would line up to get posters or t-shirts or hats or whatever the hot item is. Honestly, it’s just like tailgating. There’s beer and snacks and everyone there has something in common to talk about. It’s actually a fun place to be before a show. Well, maybe not that 311 Day 2014 line. :)”

When not “311-ing”, Mike can be found playing hockey, strumming a guitar, or running to kids activities (naturally a lot since of those since he has five). Something that makes Mike unique is his Lego tattoo. “I have a min-ifigure fishing on my arm.” He said other than that he can juggle. “I’m not a professional by any means but people seem to be surprised when I do it and I don’t know many people that can.”  Guilty pleasure is that he still plays video games, mostly sports games and Call of Duty. “After a long day, when the kids are all in bed and the wife has retired for the evening, I like sitting by myself, in peace, and scoring a virtual hat trick or fake blowing shit up.”

Of course, having been a DJ, Mike is into a lot of bands. “I feel that I come from the rock/punk/hip hop side as opposed to the reggae side.” Some bands he currently listens to are Fugazi, Tiger Army, Beastie Boys, Alkaline Trio, The Urge, Frank Turner, Gaslight Anthem, Bouncing Souls, The Loved One, Public Enemy, Atmosphere, DOOMTREE, RDGLDGRN, and Sage Francis.  Mike said he’s also started to cultivate over to the reggae side the past several years. Dirty Heads and Passafire are a couple of new bands he’s starting to enjoy. “I guess it really doesn’t matter the genre. If it clicks in my mind, if it is well received by my aural receptors, I’ll listen to it.”

Mike’s message to the band is:

“Please don’t stop! Keep pushing the boundaries of your music. We will still be here. The next album could be Chad farting on a snare drum and I’d still buy it.”

And to all the other fans:

“To the 311 community, this is a great thing we have going here. There’s not many artists that are able to have a career as long as 311 and to keep a core community together like this is amazing. We should appreciate it, and each other, for as long as it lasts. I love being a part of it and look forward to meeting more folks at the next show. Til then, you know the drill… Stay Positive and Love Your Live! I know I do!”

13487416_10154340103279575_1642278746_n

—–

There you have it folks, Mike’s story of his love for 311. Thank you for reading as always! You are all amazing people and I love doing this! Until we meet again…keep spreading the unity, positivity, and love!

Much love – The Runt

 

 

 

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/13/16 – Nick Greenwall

June 13th, 2016

image1

Welcome back friends to the next edition of the 311 fan spotlight! Let’s kick this thing off and meet Nick Greenwall!

1995 was the year and Nick was in high school when first introduced to 311, via the blue album of course and the radio airplay of “Down.” It was the combination of styles that attracted Nick and he said it was a refreshing change from everything else out there. “They had a special energy that drew me to them.” Nick said it’s great to discover a band that already has a few albums because then you can go back and listen to their previous work. After listening to Grassroots and Music he was completely hooked. As Nick put it, “311 has been positively influencing my life since 1995.”

This August, at Red Rocks in Colorado, will mark Nick’s 19th show, and his 8th at Red Rocks. “If you have never experienced the power that is Red Rocks, then you are missing out!  It will change your life!” His first show was in 1995 at the KTCL Big Adventure Festival at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater. “It was a special experience as my two older brother’s band at the time was playing the 2nd or 3rd stage so I got to be their roadie.”

While Nick has had many memorable experiences over the last 21 years, there are a few that stand out over the rest. One lucky thing he got to do was Skype with P-Nut for an hour a couple of years ago. He got to actually have an intellectual conversation, get introduced to his family and P-Nut was introduced to Nick’s. “  He is a down to earth human and a genuine family man.  We had a lot in common.” The cruise is another great memory for Nick, and he said if you can afford it to find your way there. “It’s the ultimate 311 experience!” Then there’s the time he stood outside, almost freezing to death, to get into the Fox Theatre in Boulder to see 311 on a frigid day in October 1999. “311 put on an incredible and intimate show for a small crowd and Nick did his signature stage dive.” Finally there was the first time he met the band as a whole back at Red Rocks in 2011. “I was blown away by how appreciative and sincere the guys were towards their fans.  That experienced reinforced everything my heart had told me about these guys all those years…that they were the real deal.”

There are too many to choose from for Nick to narrow down his favorite song. However he said there are certain albums as a whole that can always bring him back to a certain place or memory in his life, which brings him great joy. “Make it Rough” from Stereolithic stands out to him and he said makes him realize that you can’t get too caught up in the future that you forget to live for today. As far as lyrics, on of his favorites is from “1,2,3” – “It’s alright to feel good.  It’s alright for nothing to be wrong.  The deepest dream that we have could….be tomorrow’s song.”

Nick was born in Minnesota but grew up in a small farming community about thirty minutes north of Denver, Colorado. He bleeds purple as he is a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan. He is a husband and dad, and really enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter exploring their beautiful state. His daughter’s favorite 311 song is “Never Ending Summer.” “She always does the, ‘3! 11! 3! 3! 11!’ chant at the beginning with a huge smile on her face.”  Nick works at a local credit union in Denver for “many moons” and he loves having the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them to learn and grow financially.

A little fact about Nick most don’t know is that he loves learning about anything to do with World War II. “What an amazing time in history.  Ever since Band of Brothers came out that gave me an entirely new perspective on some of the battles fought in Europe and what the soldiers had to fight through and endure.  If you know one, thank a veteran!  If you are a veteran, thank you for your service!”  When asked what makes him unique, he said there are many things! “Get to know me. If you see me at a show, say hello!”

An eclectic taste in music is what Nick says he has. Some of his staples aside from 311 include Deftones, Rebelution, Shiny Toy Guns, The Bravery, The Cure, Bob Marley, Dave Matthews Band, Grateful Dead, Tool, Hall & Oates, The Doors, Duran Duran, Elvis, Fleetwood Mac, Sublime, Pink Floyd, Erykah Badu, MNDR, Metallica, and Type O Negative. He also has really enjoyed the 311 side projects NHQ, Los Stellarians and Ghostwolf.

Main hobby right now is collecting and trading 311 posters and merch. He says the most enjoyable part of it is the negotiations and conversations that happen during the process. “It’s not actually getting the poster in the end. I’ve met a lot of great people from simply sparking up conversations over potential trades.”

Nick’s message to 311 is this:

“Thank you for continually striving to progress both musically and as people and for giving back so much to the fans who are truly inspired by you.”

Now his message to all the awesome fellow fans:

“I have met some exceptionally remarkable people within our group.  People who inspire me to be a better person and live life to the fullest.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many of you up to this point and look forward to meeting more of you in the future.  Our experiences in life and the people we meet shape us into who we are today or who we will become.  My advice to all would be to get out there and live life, experience new things, make new memories, continually broaden your perspective, and most importantly…have fun in the process.  Life is grand!”

——

That’s the story of Nick Greenwall my friends! I hope you enjoyed reading it and learning more about him. Thank you as always for reading and being the amazing community of fans that you are. Until we meet again…keep on loving and spreading the positivity!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/6/16 – Lauren Piekarz!

June 6th, 2016

13285748_10154252227180844_2118407465_n

Happy June excitable nation! Time to kick off the new month with our next fan spotlight. Let’s meet the lovely Lauren Piekarz!

Lauren considers herself a relatively new 311 fan. While she knew most of their hits during high school and college, it wasn’t until she met her boyfriend Ian that she became the huge fan she is now. “He introduced me to not only a band but a way of life. Hell we totally plan our vacations around this amazing band.” Like all of us, the music is what fully drew her in. “I listened to each album, starting with Music, all the way through. It was an interesting journey for a few months.”

Total number of shows is somewhere between 15-20, depending on how you count the cruise shows. As far as her favorite, she couldn’t pick just one. “I truly think each even I have gone to has given me a different feeling and experience. I wouldn’t trade one for another.”

As far as song that means the most to her it’s “Go/Ebb and Flow.” “Go” was one of the first b-sides she got into and it was the first time she really got to see a song by 311 evolve. “Watching it evolve into what is now Ebb and Flow on Stereolithic still blows my mind.” Favorite lyric comes from “Speakeasy” – “If there’s a shadow in your life then there’s sunshine.” She loves this lyric because she tries to always remind herself that on days when things are tough you have to just “keep on keepin’ on.”

Lauren is from the Chicago suburbs and still currently resides there. She is working two jobs while finishing up her master’s degree in counseling. As if that isn’t enough, she is also a part of the Wheeler’s Weekend Jams team. “I couldn’t be happier to be where I am in life right now. I feel like things have just begun!”

An interesting fact you may not know about Lauren – she has worked for a piano moving company for four years and she has two pianos in her office. However she can’t play a piano to save her life!

If you know Lauren at all, you know that she is really crafty and loves making jewelry, and has made some amazing 311 inspired pieces! She also said she would change her job if she could…and become a panda babysitter! “I would never miss a day of work.” Guilty pleasure she said is trashy reality T.V. “The more melted my brain feels, and the dumber I feel, the better.”

Other bands that Lauren loves are the Deftones, Ben Harper, The Movement, Queens of the Stone Age, Every Time I Die, Dirty Heads, The Lumineers, and Snoop Dogg. “I could go on, I have a wide, strange range of musical taste.”

To 311 she’d like to say, “Thank you. Thank you for changing my life and bringing new, amazing people into it. Just thank you.”

Finally to all the other fans:

“I love ya all! I can’t wait to see some of you this summer. Hugs for all!!!”

———

Now you have met Lauren Piekarz! Make sure you give her a big hello and a hug when you meet her in person. Thank you Lauren for being a part of this and thank you to all who consistently read the blog! It’s truly an honor to learn and write about each and every one of you. Until we meet again, keep being positive and spreading the love!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 5/30/16 – Sean Tovson!

May 30th, 2016

image1

Happy Memorial Day excitable nation! Before you celebrate, take a few moments and meet our new fan spotlight. Here is the story of Sean Tovson!

It was Sean’s friend Michael (O’Donnell – here is his Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/michael.odonnell.98892) that was the biggest musical influence on him in middle and high school. “We played on the same soccer team, ran in the same crowd, and he introduced me to a lot of music I would not have heard otherwise while I was being properly sheltered in the suburbs of Lafayette, IN.” It was in 93 or 94 when Mike handed Sean a copy of Sublime’s 40oz to Freedom and also 311’s Grassroots. Sean said it was his single most influential moment musically speaking. “Both became lifetime favorites.  I was unconsciously more drawn to 311′s sound than Sublime’s work.  I didn’t see my first show until 1999, 3 years after Bradley’s death, so that had a lot to do with sparking my 311 fandom even further.”

Sean credits 311 for getting him through a bitter move back to Texas in 1998, and it connected him to friends that he wouldn’t have met otherwise. “The kind of friends willing to road trip to shows or even have their dad fly a small group up to Omaha in a 4 passenger plane just to see 311. I guess I can thank 311 for molding and helping rebuild my core friend group wherever I lived.” Sean isn’t really sure how he fully became a huge fan of 311 or really anything, he said it just happened. He feels like he only truly hit true fan status for 311 and Full Service. “For others, it’s going to take more time and more albums (hint hint Manny the Martyr and Audic Empire…)  It’s a feeling, not a choice.”

How many shows has Sean seen? “The Answer from Hitchhiker’s Guide… 42.” His answer for favorite of those 42 can change he said with perspective or the day. “I’d have to say my favorite regular show would be either of the last 2 Oklahoma shows (OKC, Tulsa).  Multi-day land shows is easily the Transistor set from the Powwow in 2011.  Boat show is Cruise 3, set 2, which I spent blissfully in a hot tub with friends at the show.”

For song that means the most to him it was a tough question to answer. His three top songs are “Running,” “Lucky,” and “T&P Combo.”  However of the three, he said “Running” is probably his favorite. “I feel like I can’t shut off my brain most of the time, and this song always brings me to a calm, serene place.  Several other songs also do that for me, like 8:16am.” A lyric that really stands out to him is “Smooth like Reggie Miller in an airborne freeze frame, Funky like the kungfu that can put you to shame.” Sean said, “Growing up in Indiana, I loved the reference to my favorite player on my favorite team, and the lyrics remind me of every member of 311.”

Sean was born in Dallas, Texas but raised from the age of 3-17 in Battle Ground, Indiana. He played every sport he could until high school where he decided to only continue with soccer. Sean was a third of the way through his Junior year when he had to move to Coppell, Texas, where he completed high school. His parents made him apply to college even though he wasn’t into it, and he ended up with a scholarship to The University of Texas at Dallas. “But I had a great time there.  As a freshman in college, a roommate let me play his bass guitar, and soon I had my own.  I was 100% inspired by Aaron Wills.  I played in a band for a bit in college called New Fiction, which blew up with about an album’s worth of material I didn’t take with me. “

Sean started dating his now wife Emily Adams and got a job, so he put down his bass for about ten years to focus on providing for his family. “I graduated from college with a degree in computer science in 2003, Emily & I got married in 2004 (had a 311 grooms cake), had our first child in 2005 and second in 2007.  I quickly went from a laid-back gamer to “goddamn, get me some water” workaholic, putting in hundreds of hours in overtime to hone my software development skills.  All this time I was jamming to 311.  As my availability shrunk, so did my musical influence.  I wasn’t listening to much else besides 311, Blindside, Incubus, Deftones, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, etc… but mostly 311.”

His first software development job came to him just out of college. After that he changed jobs a few times before he ended up at the company that he works for today. He’s been there for about eight or nine years in pension administration. He also once tried to build a travel technology business with another developer but ended up squashed out of the industry contractually. Sean has also created a lot of gig flyers, logo designs, and posters in the last couple of years. Some of his work can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/TovsonArt, including some 311 fan art he’s created.

On cruise number three, Sean roomed next to Kyle Boudreaux and after the cruise they kept in touch. When 311 released grab bag shirts, Sean said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a place to swap these with other fans to get another shirt you want more?” Kyle then added Sean to a group on Facebook where other 311 fans hook each other up for extra show tickets. This eventually grew into the 311 Trading Post group. “I spent hours into the thousands trying to build a place for fans to safely trade or sell 311 merchandise, which really grew a greater perspective of our excellent fan base.”

Something you may not know about Sean is that he has a somewhat secret band project and their first show is coming up on August 20th. They’ve written a few dozen songs at this point and have been jamming for a few years. He’s also working on a music video for Betray the Dreamer (a local Dallas progressive rock band that he loves). Sean’s wife Emily and his daughters, Katie (age 11) and Caroline (age 9), also share Sean’s love for both 311 and Full Service. Their daughters have even already attended their first show at Red Rocks back in 2014!

image1

Something that makes Sean unique? “I’m really quick at Photoshopping anything into anything into anything.  Like… 2 minutes and you’ve turned into a mushroom quick.  Right, Jimmy?” Guilty pleasure, he has many he said. But right now he said he loved the show “Veronica Mars” and would still watch it if it was still on the air. “I absolutely love Kristin Bell.  I’d love to meet her & bring a baby sloth to make her happy cry.”

Sean’s message to 311 is this:

“It’s always been my dream to do a show print for you, and I would do you right with a great design.”

Now to all the other amazing fans:

“You’re my larger family, spread out all over the place.  We’re here, there, & everywhere following a band together.  There are so many of you that I have met through this common bond we share, and have for over 25 years.  We have so many great times ahead and our friendships will continue throughout our lives.  I’m so happy to have met you all, and I hope we continue to come together, whether it be a 311 show, a cruise, a powwow, a 311 day, a Full Service Circus, or just a meet up for drinks & brisket.  Keep it positive, and scroll on by the drama.”

image2

—–

Well said Sean! Such a great story and I thank you for sharing it! I hope everyone enjoyed learning more about Mr. Sean Tovson just as I did. Thank you all for reading and now you can go enjoy your day a little more I hope. Until we meet again – keep on spreading the love & positivity!

Much love – The Runt

 

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

May 23rd, 2016

311 me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the band her message is this:

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

To all the other fans of the band:

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

strong

——

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

Much love – The Runt

 

Powered by WordPress. Theme by Sash Lewis.