Happy Monday 311 peeps and welcome to the latest fan spotlight on Kevin Gentile!
I met Kevin for the first time down in Miami before the third cruise. I was talking to someone at a fan gathering and when they found out I was from Massachusetts they said, “You have to meet Kevin! He’s from Mass too!” Of course as soon as I met him I recognized him because, as it usually goes in the 311 fan world, I was already friends with him on Facebook. So it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one cool individual from my neck of the woods!
The first thing Kevin wrote to me about being a 311 fan is that he had to be honest, “I’m not the most ‘old school’ fan, but I’m an old school fan the way Nick says it.” Kevin’s introduction to 311 came when “Down” and “All Mixed Up” were released on the radio airwaves back in the mid 90’s. He also had heard a few other songs off of Music and Grassroots and liked what he heard, but was more into metal then. What really got him into 311 and listening to them more was his friend from high school Justin. Justin was listening to 311 a lot and Transistor had just been released. It was that album that hooked Kevin. “I was playing it non-stop. That was my first 311 album that I bought and then I kind of went backwards from there and discovered everything else. Then Soundsystem dropped…still my favorite album by them.”
Two of Kevin’s favorite songs come from Soundsystem – “Strong All Along” and “Can’t Fade Me.” He has faced a lot of adversity in his life and says that he doesn’t believe in himself enough. These two songs help keep him moving forward with the knowledge that no matter what he faces, he has the strength in him to conquer it. One of his favorite lyrics comes from the song “Speakeasy” though – “If there’s a shadow in your life then there’s sunshine.” A great lyric that I can see why he likes, especially with his outlook on finding the strength within to get by what is troubling you. Kevin also has some 311 ink like a lot of us fans, so he carries with him everyday the positivity that the band and their music provide for us. He has a tattoo of the 311 star symbol with reggae colors, surrounded by lyrics from “Strong All Along.” As he told me, “It’s a constant reminder that 311, the band that has gotten me through so much, as well as all of the fans that I have met and shared some of the best moments of my life with, that you have my back and that I have always been ‘strong all along’ no matter how much I doubt myself!”
One day Kevin was bored and decided to go through every show he has attended and see how many it was, as well as which songs he has heard live. Since then he updates it every time he sees the band. His tally so far is 34 shows and it will soon be 35 when he heads to Nola for his fourth 311 day! He’s also been on all three cruises and to Pow Wow. His very first show of 311 was the 10th anniversary of their first show and they played the whole blue album in its entirety! It was also his birthday, what an awesome gift! This is by far one of his favorite shows, and then he says his first 311 day back in 2008 was simply magical. However he claims that the beach show on the second cruise really took the cake as his favorite. Kevin had been saying he wanted to see a mosh pit during the song “Amber” so he and few others started spreading the word that it should happen during the beach show and it did! A huge “splash pit” erupted in the water. He says that while the setlist was amazing, it was the splash pit moment that really made it for him. In his words, “Did I just say my favorite 311 experience was seeing ‘Amber’? What is wrong with me?”
Kevin has lived in Massachusetts his entire life in various towns, and while he has thought about moving away a bunch of times, he just can’t seem to do it. “I love it here in Boston.” He started out as a quiet kid who was often picked on up until he was midway through high school. He was a wallflower at that point but says that he managed to start opening up and became a social butterfly, the Kevin that we all know and love. Since doing that he says he has become one of the most reliable people his friends know. “I always want to meet people, always want to help, always want to be in the know.” Kevin loves planning things and has a knack for it. He claims that he is a jack of all trades when it comes to work. He has been working hard since the age of 12 when he was a paperboy and continued to work all through high school and college. He’s worked in a variety of industries and currently works as a sales associate for an awesome travel company that he just recently started at. He also manages an upscale bar in Boston a few nights a week. So Kevin do you actually have any free time? “Yeah I have no time, but I always say work hard, play hard. That is what fuels my 311 obsession.” He is now known at work as “that kid that likes that band” and is even starting to convert a few people to being fans of 311! Go Kevin, spread that 311 love!
Want to know something really interesting about Kevin? His name is spelled wrong on his birth certificate. His mother signed his birth certificate with his name spelled Keven and he didn’t know about this until about eight years ago when he was going to apply for his passport. Funny enough, he had already created an email that was “Kevendust”, a play on Sevendust which is another band he loves. Kevin credits his dad for raising him on music that made him who he is today, such as The Beatles, Aerosmith, The Doors, Phil Collins and Billy Joel (all fantastic artists!). Some of his other favorites are Sublime, Coheed & Cambria, The Mars Volta, and Led Zeppelin. Kevin says he is always willing to open up to new music and the cruises help him do that. He discovered Bad Rabbits because of the cruise and says he is really now one of their biggest advocates!
If Kevin could say one thing to 311, it is “Thank you so very much for bringing us all together.” His experiences and the fans he has met have provided him some of the best times in his life and he knows that it is because of 311 and their music. Kevin mentioned to me that he usually throws it all out there and doesn’t have any secrets, so I just wanted to say thanks to him for being so honest and forthcoming for this fan spotlight! It’s great to hear other peoples experiences and everything that they take away from them. I leave you all with a personal message to all of you”
“I have to say this – I’ve never experienced something quite like what I have the last 5 or so years. I have friends in almost every state, and probably a couch to crash on to boot. Many of my “311 friends” have become some of my closest friends. I thank you for being there for me, for making me laugh, for partying with me, for giving me the hospitality that you’ve shown. I say this to all my friends that don’t understand what we are.. and I said it’s like we’re the new “Dead Heads”. It’s not even about the music anymore, 311, however much I love them, are like background music to what I get to experience when I am at one of these big events. The love, the friendship, the good times. Don’t take this for granted… this moment is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present. I told myself I was going to stop after the 2nd cruise. That translated into a 3rd one, as well as visiting friends all across the country this summer and a 4th 311 day in March. I just can’t stop loving this awesomeness. See you all in NoLa!!!!!”
Thanks “Keven”! 🙂 As always, stay positive & love your life! Until next time!