Hello all of my friends out there in 311 nation!! Welcome to a new week and a new fan spotlight! I apologize for the lack of a spotlight last week, so how about I make up for it? It’s time to meet the latest fan spotlight on the one and only Dan Okopyni!
The well known 311 songs are how Dan was first introduced to the band (songs such as “Down,” “Beautiful Disaster,” “Amber” etc…) and he always enjoyed them. However it wasn’t until later on when he saw his first concert by the guys that he really and truly became hooked. “I think the actual moment I became a fan was when I was invited to see my first show and saw the raw energy on stage that the band exuded, much different from how I knew Nick as a friend. I was astonished. Shortly after watching them rock the stage, I watched the crowd (I am a people watcher by nature) and was in awe of the positive energy of everyone rocking out. It was not like other concerts I had been to before, it was quite a spiritual experience; a lot of love and good vibes were being put out by people and I had never felt anything like it.” That show sealed the deal and hooked Dan. He knew he wanted to see more shows and while he says he feels like he has more to learn and witness, he also feels like he has a tiny part in the world of the Familia.
Positivity is what drew Dan to the music and the band. He knows they are unique and that no matter what mood he is in or what he is going through, he can always listen to them. “I ride the emotional waves as all humans do, 311 is like the surfboard that propels me across the emotional currents the comprise my life.” Dan feeds of energy (he says in a good way, “not to be confused with a creepy teenage vampire or something”) and the energy of 311 is what continues to keep him drawn to them. “When the lights go dark and the black lights come on, and I watch as the boys are about to hit the stage; I can feel the crowd and it feels good.”
It was in 2010 that Dan saw his first show, although he hasn’t kept count of how many he’s attended. He goes to most of the Southern California shows and has been to all of the cruises and the 311 Day events since 2010. While he doesn’t have a favorite show per se, he can classify how he feels at some of the places he’s seen them. He loves Chula Vista because it feels laid back and relaxed. Irvine is usually a “family” show since it’s where most locals come to see the band and it always has good energy. Santa Barbara he loves because the venue is beautiful. 311 Day 2014 in New Orleans was an event he’ll always remember. “New Orleans 311 day was awesome and truly magical; the food and the good times were definitely embraced by me and the show was amazing, with that band that came on to play some of their songs with them. I love it.” Then there are the cruises where Dan says he feels he can truly be himself. “I feel like I am able to meet most of the fans at those events, because let’s face it, you’re trapped on a damn boat with me so…yeah, you are probably going to see me and I am going to see you. I feel like the cruise is where I can truly be me; wandering the halls of positivity without a care in the world. I meet the coolest people on the ship and all of them have a special place in my heart for the experiences I have gotten to share with them. I am so thankful for those moments and memories.”
When I asked Dan what song means the most to him, he chose the NHQ song “A Song for Driving.” “It holds a lot of personal sentiment due to the nature of how the song came to be, and the lyrics encompassed how my life used to be when I was on the road a lot for work. I remember talking to Nick about my job and how I was always on the road, when we took a road trip to Vegas. He then later told me our conversation inspired him to write that song; I was really blown away by this and it made me feel really good inside to be a part of someone’s artistic expression that I only wish I could begin to have the talent to do.” One of his favorite lyrics of 311 comes from “Creatures (For A While)’ – “Sometimes I go a little crazy.”
Born to an immigrant family in San Jose, California, Dan was raised there and says he “fully adopted the grunge generation with bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana.” He has also lived in Arlington, Texas, Bakersfield, California, and now currently resides in Los Angeles. He lives with his younger sister, girlfriend Kristina, and his adorable, loving dog Toby. How he makes his living is by what he calls being a huge computer geek (he’s a Server Administrator for a medical foundation). He loves traveling to new areas for shows and is planning on hitting Salt Lake City this year. If you catch him at a show, make sure you say hi. He says he likes to think he is easily approachable. “I like running around the venues a lot, seeing people and just generally never can sit still. I have to be honest in the fact that I am not much of a dancer really, so at the shows you can catch me head banging and jumping to the heavy songs, but that’s about the extent of it.”
Dan spends much of his free time giving back to the community around him and helping others because he has been through difficult times in the past. “I feel that helping others is the best way to have my own spiritual peace.” When he has time to just relax he keeps it pretty basic, enjoying movies & T.V. series, or surfing social media. He likes to make people laugh and does so often with witty Facebook comments. He’s been getting into hockey lately and really enjoys football. “I generally play fantasy football every season; even have a 311 fans league, though the waiting list to get in is usually pretty long.” Some guilty pleasures of his are Star Wars, binge watching T.V. series such as Gotham, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men, and he loves to cook for people.
Can any of you speak fluent Ukrainian? Dan can! It’s one of his many talents. He also has a very creative mind when it comes to writing stories. “I have an overactive imagination that if I get time to put down on paper, ends up being some amazing stories.” When not listening to 311, Dan enjoys mostly heavy bands such as Metallica, Korn, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, The Used and Mudvayne. He also listens to classical when he is at work. “It helps me think.” Rap is another genre he likes, with some favorite artists being Young Jeezy, UGK and Tupac.
Dan would like to say to 311 this message – “Thanks guys. Thanks for being so damn cool to me and the conversations we’ve had. I really appreciate everything you do.”
To all the awesome peeps out in 311 nation:
“You are all beautiful, amazing, heartfelt people with whom I am glad to have met or hope to meet soon. You each carry within yourselves a personal story, a life lived and your own unique characteristics. Please keep being you, the world needs more positive people like yourselves. Thank you for showing me some amazingly good times with equally powerful conversations and above all else, I am glad to be able to call some of you my friends.”
That is the tale of Mr. Dan Okopyni! I hope you all enjoyed his story and had fun kicking off your week with the new spotlight. Thanks as always for reading and for being the awesome people you are. Until next time…keep spreading the love & positivity out into the world!
Much love – The Runt