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Charley Kellum – this week’s 311 fan spotlight!

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Hello my excitable friends and welcome to another edition of the 311 fan spotlight! Time to start the week right…let’s read about our fellow fan Mr. Charley Kellum!

Charley’s tale takes us back to good ole 1995 when a friend of his played a cassette tape of Grassroots for him. When Charley said he liked it, the friend threw on the blue album CD and that sealed the deal. “The beat of ‘Random’ really drew me in, then once I heard ‘Loco’ I was capital H Hooked! Chad’s drum work was so syncopated and amazingly tight. I couldn’t stop listening!”

Atlanta in 1997 was the first time Charley saw 311 live and since then he’s been to 10 shows. Last year he attended his first 311 Day and he was completely blown away by the experience. “Hearing ‘Damn’ live was one of my bucket list songs and I had just told someone I’d love to hear that or ‘Rolling.’ Then I heard the opening chords of ‘Damn’ and went ballistic!”

Favorite quote of Charley’s comes from the song “Homebrew” – “In the end, revenge sends ends to the defendant.”  Then there are multiple songs that mean a lot to Charley. He said “Beyond the Gray Sky” always makes him cry when hearing it live. Then the song “Hive” is the first song he heard them play live, so that will always have a special place in his heart. The prize for favorite song though goes to “Visit.”  “The message is great and that’s what I want to do. Visit the world with my time on this world.”

Charley grew up in a small town named Osage City in the state of Kansas (he said the population there is around 2300).  Then in 1997 he moved to Georgia shortly after the death of his mother. “For the next few years, 311 became my life and was my guidance through my pain.” Then in 2000 Charley joined the Navy to better his life situation. “I was broke, unemployed, and crashing on couches. The Navy changed my life.” From there he spent time in Charleston, S.C., Kings Bay Sub Base in Georgia, and then Atlanta where he recruited for 4 years. Charley is now out of the Navy and living in Statesboro, Georgia where he works for GA Power. “I am trying to earn a Reactor Operators license at a nuclear power plant.”

Music plays a special part in Charley’s life. He was once a Vocal Music Education major so he used to just sing at the drop of a hat. He even performed the National Anthem to open for Craig Morgan, and then sang it again a month later for a Christian Labor Day concert in front of 15,000 people! Charley is also super smart – so much so that he is a member of Mensa, the high IQ society. Aside from 311, Charley’s musical interests are quite eclectic. He loves Alice in Chains, Primus, Rebelution, Eminem, Ludacris, Pantera,  and Garth Brooks. “I love all music: rock, rap, and reggae take the lead though.” Guilty pleasure? “I love Sons of Anarchy!”

In 2012 at the Atlanta show meet and greet, Charley was lucky enough to tell the guys just how much they mean to him. He simply said to them, “Thank you for creating the music that has helped me through the darkest times of my life, as well as punctuated its celebrations.”

Now here’s Charley’s message to all the fans out there:

“To my beloved Familia, keep filling up venues and loving each other. Maintain the positivity and let’s keep it going as long as possible!”

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Thanks for reading peeps about another awesome member of the 311 nation! Keep that positive attitude flowing and spread it to those around you. Have a great week!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight! Meet 311 Cheerleader Kristina Gregory!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write up a new fan spotlight, but I’m back and this week we focus on a person that I’m sure many of you know. She is one half of the famous 311 Cheerleaders duo – meet Kristina Gregory!

I’ve had the honor and privilege of getting to know Kristina over many events that we attended together and she truly is one of the sweetest girls I’ve met!  She and her best friend Amy have been long time fans of 311 and their love began with the blue album and grew from there. As Kristina says, “We became obsessed!”  Kristina’s first concert ever was 311 and while she took a hiatus from attending live shows for a bit, she returned and instantly reconnected with the amazing feeling you get from the live shows. While she has no idea how many shows she’s been to, she knows that each one has meant something special to her, especially her first one ever. “What I would give to have the ticket stub from my very first show at Nations in DC, which no longer exists!”

When asked what show she attended that ranks as her all time favorite, she mentions that this is a tough question to answer since she’s experienced so many wonderful events thanks to 311. If forced to pick one, Kristina doesn’t believe anything can top the very first deck show on the first 311 Caribbean Cruise. “Hearing your favorite band play such amazing music as you sail off into the ocean…there might not be anything better!” This particular event also holds a special place in her heart because it is where she met Ricky, who is now her fiancé!

Every 311 fan has songs or lyrics that mean something special to them, and Kristina is no exception. While there isn’t one particular song that is her favorite or means the most to her, there are certain lyrics from songs that mean a lot to her. Different lyrics and songs have spoken to her over various times in her life. A favorite quote of Kristina’s is “Every time you will ignore your heart it will come back twice more.  Never deny your own instincts; reconsider everything.”  Another lyric that has become sort of an anthem for her and Amy is from Mix it Up – “We’re just two misfits that no one else gets.”  It’s only proper that the 311 Cheerleaders have a lyric that seems to be tailored to them! 🙂

Many of us have developed a love for other bands thanks to 311 and Kristina is no different. Two of her other favorite bands are Ballyhoo! and Bumpin’ Uglies (many of you may know that she lobbied hard to get Bumpin’ Uglies on the Cali-Roots Festival line up and it worked). Kristina mentioned that she likes a plethora of genres! Some of the artists she shuffles on her Pandora are Sublime, G. Love, Garth Brooks, and Justin Timberlake. She’s also mentions Pasadena is a Maryland band that she really enjoys.

Kristina was originally born in New Jersey, but moved to Virginia when she was two and grew up there. She obtained her degree in English from James Madison University of Harrisonburg, VA and moved to Richmond after that. She still resides there today.  Kristina has been an Executive Assistant for CEO’s of various corporations for the past seven years, and currently works for a pharmaceutical company. She notes that she funds her 311 habit, “Any way possible!  I have a professional organization business on the side and Ricky and I also rent out our guest room on Airbnb for extra money. I’ve always believed that people do what they want to do, and if you want something bad enough you make it happen!”  Kristina dealt with a tough time in her life when she went through a divorce and she credits Amy for being her rock, helping her put her life back together. She also says that re-discovering her love for 311 made her feel alive again. “I still remember our summer tour road trip before our cheer shtick started; it was the most fun i could remember having in so long. Then of course after cheer started, it’s been a whirlwind of great times and great people!”

While some may think that her cheer shtick is just for 311, what you may not know is that Kristina actually was a dancer on her high school dance team and made the All American Cheer & Dance team back in 2001. Her reward for this? She got to perform with 98 Degrees during the halftime show at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii!

If Kristina had the opportunity to say one sentence to the members of 311, it would be, “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!” 311 has brought so many great times to her life that she knows there is nothing more to say to them than this. She loves the band, the music, and the fans that make each and every show a truly positive and energetic experience. She truly is a 311 Cheerleader – rooting for the band every chance she can get whether in uniform or not! Going to Nola for 311 day? Keep your eye out for Kristina and make sure you say hi! I leave you with her personal message to all of the excitable crew:

“Love of 311 is not a competition!  It’s not about how many shows you’ve been to or how many times you’ve met the band.  It’s about being together and sharing the love of this amazing band.  I’ve met so many amazing new friends a long the way – thank you to everyone who embraced me as part of this community!”

Thanks for reading and thank you Kristina for being this weeks fan spotlight! As always, “Stay Positive & Love Your Life” 🙂

 

311 Red Rocks 2012

2012 was a big year for me in regards to my 311 addiction. I finally, after loving the band for 16 years, made it to my first 311 day. One would think that pilgrimage alone would be enough, but no. I had always wanted to go see 311 at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO, a little town just outside of Denver. I heard the venue was full of natural beauty that made the acoustics of live performances mind blowing. And 311 loved playing there. Seeing them there wasn’t just something I thought would be fun. It was an absolute necessity that I attend a 311 show there.

Being the Aries that I am, I don’t have patience and when I want something, I figure out a way to get it. Thankfully I met an awesome friend named Tony on the first 311 cruise. He just so happens to live in Denver and graciously offered his place up for my husband and I to stay when we came out for the show. Now I have mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again…311 fans are the best. Tony has become one of my husband and I’s favorite people to party with and we always have a fun time with him and laughs are always guaranteed when he is around. If you read this Tony, just know we think you are awesome! “You don’t even know!”

Tony!

So thanks to Tony (and his roommate Desiree), we had a place to crash so we could travel out to Denver and go see 311 at Red Rocks! To say that this show was amazing is an understatement. We managed to get seats just a few rows back from the stage. As I watched the opening bands including Slightly Stoopid my energy level just became off the charts. I would look around at the beauty of the venue and all the excitables and just lose my breath at the sheer awesomeness of it all.

The band did something at this show that they had never done before – printed the entire shows setlist on the special Red Rocks t-shirt that they were selling that night. A lot of people refused to look at the shirt because they wanted to be surprised. What do you think I did? I did mention I’m an Aries right?? So yeah I knew the whole show before it happened and guess what? It was still just as great. Actually I pretty much forgot which songs were coming in what order after I looked at them so it really was a surprise at times! They opened with Leaving Babylon, which was so different because it is such a mellow song. They then pumped up the energy level with Full Ride and Do You Right, which Tony and I had a blast jumping up and down to of course.

I was told that I needed to experience the show from the back just to hear how great it sounded so during a few songs I took off and went alone up to the very top. All I can say is…WOW. I like being up front because I wear contacts and hate not being able to see when I’m far away. Having said that, being way up back at Red Rocks is something everyone should see, even if its just for a few minutes. I stood there, listening to my favorite band, watching the sea of fans rock out, with the city lights of Denver sparkling in the distance. And the sound! It was like they were right next to me. Perfect acoustics and such an amazing, energizing, positive moment. It was really moving!

View from the top!

As if the concert experience wasn’t enough, we waited after the show and Nick came out to sign a few autographs and say hello! We waited quite awhile, and they kept telling us no one was coming out…but I’m glad we didn’t listen or I would have missed this experience!

 

Me & Nick!

To say that I’m happy with my decision to make the trip out to Red Rocks is an understatement. I have always seen all of these fans traveling all over the country to see the band and now I know the appeal of it. Not only do you get to see your favorite band in many different venues, you get to meet new people and make connections you really never knew you could make. I have met so many amazing people over the years thanks to this band. This was just one more beautiful place that I got to share my experience with them! So I know all of this costs money, and I’ve said it before if you are on limited funds I know its hard, but try to make the journey to Red Rocks at some point in your life. Hopefully its to see 311, but even if it isn’t, the experience and beauty of this venue is worth it. As always, stay positive and love your life! Until next time.