311 Fan Spotlight – Shawn Van Houten – 5/25/15


Happy Memorial Day excitable friends! I hope you are all enjoying this honorable holiday. Let’s kick off this day and week with the latest 311 fan spotlight on Mr. Shawn Van Houten!!

Shawn’s journey with 311 begins at a young age when he first saw the video for “Down” after he snuck out of his room to go watch MTV. “As I grew up, I constantly surrounded myself with all styles of music. I think I always liked them because they appealed to so many styles that I am into.”

Since his introduction to them, Shawn has seen the band 38 times. Narrowing down his favorite was tough because there are so many great ones. For example, this past cruise he says was one of the most incredible times in his lift because he got to play with The Unity All Stars. After mulling it over though, he chose 311 Day 2014 as his favorite event so far. “I was there for a week, saw a ton of great music in the process, stayed in an amazing house with so many people who became some of my dearest friends. Banana Brigade Brunch. Seeing everyone rocking to the Stereolithic for the first time, as one, at the pre-party was truly something I will never forget.”

“All Mixed Up” is the song that is one of Shawn’s favorites, because he said it defines an all around good feeling for him. “From the time I heard it, I’ve always held it close, whenever I’ve needed a song to get me that positive, fun spirit, that’s my go to.” Some of his favorite lyrics come from “Life’s Not a Race” – “The natural way things organize.” He also loves these lyrics from “Prisoner” – “A laser light pinpoints the top of my dome, then through my body as if Scotty’s beaming up a wayward soul.”

Raised on Long Island, New York, Shawn now resides in Brooklyn. He’s lived in New York his whole life and has been a music addict just as long. “I was born into it. My mom was a hardcore Dead-Head. I’ve never met my father, but my family has told me he was a roadie for Led Zeppelin and other bands. I’ve played music all my life. I play guitar, sing, play bass, and play the saxophone.” To fund his 311 habit, Shawn has been working in the restaurant industry for years, both serving and bartending.

Being a music addict, there are many bands and artists that Shawn loves besides 311. Some of them are Rage Against the Machine, Incubus, Pantera, Eminem, Dillinger Escape Plan, Bassnectar, Deftones, Minus the Bear, Mute Math, The Offspring, and Slipknot. Shawn sang in a metal band for a few years during high school. He then went on to form a punk/melodic hardcore band. They even toured, released a record, and as he says, “Fucked shit up. It was a lot of fun.”

A special talent Shawn has that you may not know about…he can balance things on his nose and chin! “Bring me a wiffle ball bat, or a chair, or a table, or a ladder. I’ll balance that shit.” Guilty pleasure for Shawn comes in the form of Facebook. “But I don’t care cause it keeps me in touch with the 311 community.”

When asked what one sentence he would say to 311 if given the opportunity, Shawn wrote this: “There’s really not much to say in one sentence to these men who have changed my life, spirit and energy indefinitely. I guess a simple Thank you for all your hard work, and your impact on me and so many that I care about.”

Now to all of you amazing individuals that come together to form the awesome 311 nation:

“Thank you to this entire community. Thank you for being awesome, understanding, unique, strong, personable, caring, and being the greatest friends on earth. You’ve impacted my life beyond belief, I have such love for so many of you, and I cant wait to meet even more.”


That concludes Shawn’s story and I hope, as always, that you’ve enjoyed reading about another fellow fan! Have an amazing week my friends, and don’t forget to keep on spreading that love and positivity everywhere you go.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Josh Kutscher – 5/18/15

Josh is the one with his tongue sticking out :)
Josh is the one with his tongue sticking out 🙂

Welcome back my friends in 311 nation! Time to kick off the new week with the latest 311 fan spotlight! Let’s meet Josh Kutscher!

10 years old was the age Josh discovered 311, back in 1994. His sisters boyfriend was playing the Grassroots album and while he didn’t really understand most of the lyrics at the time, he was hooked on the sound. “I distinctly remember how the music grabbed me, how different it was than what I was used to listening to. The whole package just blew my mind.” Josh then begged his dad to take him to a show, and his father agreed because Josh said he had no idea who they were and probably thought it was an all ages show. “He got tickets to a show in Baltimore at a place called the Eight By Ten. If you’ve been there you know it’s called that because it’s literally an 8×10 room, it’s so small and intimate. When we got there however, it was 21 and over, so I was denied. I remember walking back towards our car and I was obviously upset. The manager of the venue saw my dad and I and asked what was wrong. We explained that I was too young and couldn’t get in. He looked at me, and looked at my dad and said “Come with me”. We walked back to the front and he went to the door guy and said “I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be drinking”. From there he took my dad and I to the side, up the stairs and let us watch from the side right next to the stage. The show was amazing, my dad was probably freaked out a little. I just remember thinking how tall all the guys were cause I was right by them. I’m 5’7 now as an adult. So I was teeny tiny back then.”

After his first live experience with 311, the Blue album came out the next year and he was completely hooked. He fell off the obsession for a bit until early college with a friend Russ, and that’s when the obsession fully took over. “I met so many amazing people through social media and being older and able to travel on my own allowed me to start doing all the big events.”  As far as how many shows he’s been to, Josh lost count a long time ago. He believes he’s definitely close to the 100 mark. When asked what his favorite show or event has been so far, he said it’s hard to choose. But he ended up saying the second cruise because of the weather and the fact that his favorite local band, Ballyhoo, was on it for the first time. “Those guys made that trip so special for me and I’ll never forget how kind they’ve been to me over the years. I have a special place for those guys. They made me want to get back into music, and hopefully my latest degree in business will help me get to that point but on the other side of things. I still love to play music and do whenever I can. I love writing songs, I wish I was more tech savvy so I could record more easily, it takes me a little longer for things that shouldn’t, but the end product is still the same.”

It was hard for Josh to narrow down his favorite song, he even told me at one point he was stuck on answering it because it really changes depending on the time or mood he’s in. He said there are about four or five that have helped him through things. “Down” he chose for sentimental value, because he says it’s what sealed the deal eventually. “I just remember being 11 or 12 years old and watching the video on MTV and thinking how cool they were after already getting sucked in listening to Grassroots. I got so excited when I saw them on TV because I didn’t remember hearing them on the radio or anything before that.” As far as which song impacts him emotionally he chose “Sometimes Jacks Rule the Realm.” “I remember Vegas 311Day 2012 they played it and I remember just getting lost in Tim’s solo and remember thinking at that moment how amazing my life is with 311 in it.”

Josh has lived in Reisterstown (a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland) his entire life. He was adopted at the age of 6 months old and has a non-biological sister who was also adopted. It was at an early age that his parents got he and his sister into music. He was able to play piano really well by the age of 5 or 6. Then he was taught guitar, saxophone, and bass guitar. “Because of piano, I was able to play pretty much any instrument with how I had to do music theory and stuff. When learning the guitar, I pictured a piano on my fret. Piano is whole and half notes, and scales etc. The guitar is the same thing. It’s just taking those scales and putting them to strings. Half notes are black keys and whole notes are white. I bet many people never thought of the guitar like a piano in that sense.” He credits his dad as his biggest influence in music. “He got to see all the good bands like The Beatles, The Doors, and The Who. He said when he saw The Beatles he didn’t hear one song. I asked why and he said it was too loud because of all the girls screaming and technology back then. If you weren’t semi close it was hard to hear.”

Something many may not know about Josh is that he has two degrees. “I probably don’t come across as a smart person lol, and not that I’m a genius, I worked for every A that I got. But I have an engineering degree and worked in that field for 2-3 years before realizing I hate it. Went back to school for Business because I really want to do something in music or just business in general.” Right now to fund his 311 habit, Josh works as a bartender. “It’s weird, I’ve had an engineering job before and make more bartending now. But I guess that’s life.” One thing Josh knows is that he really wants to succeed in business and he knows he will because it’s all about the opportunities that present themselves. “I think it’s funny when people ask me what I want to do. It’s more like what don’t I want to do, and they think because I don’t have one set thing specifically that I don’t know what to do, but really it’s that I don’t hinder myself to one path. Life is funny that way.”

If you’re friends with Josh on Facebook, then you know he has an adorable pup named Coda and he loves him!! When I asked him if he has something that makes him unique he even said, “If napping and cuddling with Coda was a unique talent, then I’d be very unique.” Coda means the world to him and obviously his name comes from 311. One of Josh’s guilty pleasures is this British band call Rixton. “They’re like a British Maroon 5. I hate to admit I love them but that one song ‘Me and My Broken Heart’ is so damn catchy.” He said he also sadly loves The Voice. “A lot of people will hate on me for that because it’s bad for music, but I wish I could sing. It’s the one talent I don’t have and if I did I would write so many more songs. I have a ton lying around I don’t record because I can’t sing. I just play the piano to how it should be sung with the lyrics.”

Favorite lyric from a 311 song he says has to be “Fuck the naysayers and he has a great explanation of why these words are his favorites: “Just because life is too short. I’ve been guilty in the past of miscommunication etc. so don’t think I’m on my high horse saying this, I’m older now, a little wiser, more laid back. People are surprised when they meet me for the first time in person. I’m very different than it may seem online. I really have nothing but love for everyone. I feel bad when there’s someone who thinks there may be an issue between us or holds a grudge because I would squash it in a heartbeat if there’s still bad feelings. I genuinely love everyone for their individuality and it’s what makes it so fun to be a 311 fan.”

Josh would like to send this message to the band (I only gave him one sentence to do it): “When are you bringing me on tour?”

Finally his message to all of the fans out there in 311 nation:

“I just want to say to everyone out there in 311 land- No matter if we’re friends or we haven’t met yet, or have been friends but aren’t anymore, that I have nothing but love for all of you and cherish all the moments we have together. I know communication is hard when it’s over miles and miles and we’re all so passionate. Things can come across differently than they are meant, or things can get taken wrong as well. But I know it’s not purposeful, and we are all here for the same reason, to enjoy the band we all love. Some of my most rewarding friendships have come recently from people who I have had a disagreement with in the past and have squashed whatever the issue was, or people who judged me based on what other people said despite never meeting me in person, and after meeting me in person having such love and admiration for each other. Each and every one of you and every experience good or bad has shaped me and changed me for the better. I owe so much to all of you and words could never express how much you all mean to me. If you see me please always say hi! I don’t always recognize or remember everyone but I don’t want to miss out on making a memory with any of you. PLUR!”


That my amazing friends is Josh’s story! I hope you enjoyed it as always and I can’t thank everyone enough for reading, let alone all the people who participate in my project! Can I conquer writing all of your stories? I can promise you I will surely try. Have an amazing week 311 nation!! Keep on spreading the love and positivity everywhere you go.

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Amanda Terrell – 5-11-15


Hello and happy Monday again excitable friends!! Hope your weekend was full of fun, love and sun! Time for the latest 311 fan spotlight and we meet the wife of last weeks feature. Let’s read about Amanda Terrell!

Amanda’s first memory of 311 coming into her life happened the summer before her junior year of high school. She was sitting in the back of a bus with friends as they made their way on a trip through the United Kingdom. They all had a ton of CD’s with them and they often shared. A friend of hers saw she had the blue album and he had Transistor. They decided to swap and that’s when her real love for them began.  “Something about Transistor really resonated with me at the time, and we traded right then and there. I can’t really explain in words what drew me to their music but I’ll try. I always liked 311, I liked them more the older I got. I went through weird music phases my entire adolescence, country, Christian music, pop, do-wop, swing music, hip-hop, jam bands, you name it, I listened to it but the 90’s rock scene is the only genre that has ever really impacted me in a positive light, it has always remained close to my heart and 311 falls under that compass.”

Live show tally stands at 18 (she said she’s a low man on the totem pole). Her first show she went to was right after she gave birth to their daughter. “I was in so much pain, but we rocked it, right on the rail. Nick was behind me like a sturdy stainless steel encased brick wall. Nothing was getting past him.” Since then they’ve seen every possible show they can make it to in the 13 years they’ve been together. Her favorite so far has been 311 Day 2014 and she says this even though they just came back from an amazing vacation on the last cruise. “The reason why I say 311 Day 2014 is because it’s where it all started. By that I mean meeting and building friendships with the most positive and uplifting people I ever met. I consider these people more like family, those infamous 311 lyrics, “Now I got a clique but it’s more like a family” those words ring true. I’ll be honest and I’ve seen a few people say the same thing, I love 311, I love their music, their positive attitudes, their musicianship, but it’s the people that really make 311, well 311. I was more excited about hanging out with my friends on the cruise than seeing 311. Some people may say blasphemy, but when your friends live in different random states across the country, being able to see them and share their energy as we’re jumping up and down listening to 311, that feeling is indescribable. That’s why I say 311 Day 2014 because it was the start of a journey for us, I only regret that we couldn’t start it sooner.”


When asked what song means the most to Amanda, her response was, “Ugh there are so many to choose from lol.” She managed to narrow it down to two songs. She chose “I’ll Be Here Awhile” because she’s know her husband since the 7th grade (it was actually supposed to be played at their wedding but the DJ sucked). Then the other song is “Large in the Margin” because the lyrics just really impacted her. “I got pretty emotional when I heard it on the cruise when I heard it during the Soundsystem set. Tears were streaming down my face.”

Amanda is from Houston, Texas and she said, “No I don’t have an accent and no I don’t own a horse haha.” She said the city is rapidly growing and while they have really great Mexican food, she would like a little more space than the city provides. She and Nick have been married for 13 years and have their two kids, daughter Kaylee, 11, and son Gunner, 9. She loves watching Kaylee gracefully dance and Gunner smile from ear to ear as he plays baseball. For work, Amanda is a neurodevelopmental specialist who teaches four and five year olds. “I actually really love my job. It doesn’t pay much as most teaching positions do but it’s in those teachable moments that you realize why it is you do what you do.” Amanda is also going to school though, for the field of Marine Biology, which she has been interested in since middle school. “It is my dream. I love the ocean and all of it’s inhabitants. There is a quote about the ocean that rings true for me: Blue is known as a sad color, but when I see the ocean, all my sorrow is washed away.”

It’s not only the inhabitants of the ocean that Amanda loves, she’s a lover of all animals and has cared for many since she was just a little girl. She even spent time in the animal care field and loved it. Her and the family now have four pets. The first is a fat orange tabby cat named Flip, age 12, who is a big cuddle bug and will eat tacos right out of Amanda’s hand. Then there is Boomer, their 11 year old Boxer, who has a super positive attitude in spite of his age. Next is their 5 year old Boxer/Pitbull mix Sampson, who is a big goofball that gives great hugs. The baby is their 1 year old grey tabby Eon, who Amanda says is so independent, and the total opposite of Flip. “She is definitely Nick’s cat, he has a huge soft spot for her.”


Amanda’s second toe is longer than her big toe, which she said some people think is gross. “But it is actually a sign of royalty so BAM!”  Don’t mess with her, because even though she stands at only 4 feet 11 inches, she knows she can take on the world. “Gandalf the Grey said, ‘Even the smallest person can change the course of the future’ so you best look out! LOL! My stature makes me unique and it’s taken me 33 years to realize it.”

Amanda has a few guilty pleasures. The first is that she’s a total “Twi-hard.” “I love everything about Twilight and I’m so annoyed at myself for that, LOL.” She’s read all the books multiple times even though she doesn’t really think it’s written well by the author and if she has to answer, she is Team Jacob because she’s realized Edward is just a scary stalker vampire (I laughed out loud at this). Other guilty pleasures include TMZ and dirty tabloids (which drives Nick crazy), chocolate muffins (which she said she could eat all day), and she’s a total Potterhead. “I cannot wait until we’re able to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I will probably crap my pants the minute we walk through the gate, hahaha.”

Amanda also has a huge love for movies of all kinds, with horror being her least favorite. She loves going and sitting in a dark theater with her sour patch kids or dibs, and she’s super excited for some movies coming out this summer like Jurassic World. She’s also a huge fan of musicals and her favorite is Singing in the Rain. “I grew up in choir, and it’s actually where Nick and I met in the 7th grade. We were even partners in our show choir, the Safari Singers in high school!”

Amanda’s message to 311 is simple: “Thank you!!! I know it’s cliche, but for real what else could I say in just one sentence lol.”

To all the fans that make up 311 nation:

“Hook ‘Em Horns!!! Go Texans!! Clutch City!! Go Astros!! Oh yeah Stay Positive and Live Your Life!!”



Now you’ve all met Amanda! I love reading and writing about awesome 311 couples, and they definitely are great! Thank you all for taking the time to learn more about another fellow excitable. Until we meet again, don’t forget to keep on giving out those positive vibes and spreading the positivity everywhere you go!

Much love! – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – Nick Terrell – 5/4/2015


Hello, hello again excitable nation! Thanks for coming back again for the new 311 fan spotlight!! This week we feature Mr. Nick Terrell!

Nick’s 311 love started back in 5th grade when he was hanging out at a local skating rink. A song came on that he had never heard before and he was instantly intrigued by the sound. “I went to the DJ about 10 times after that asking who it was and if he would play it again. He told me to go away and that I was bugging him. However he told me the song was called “All Mixed Up’ but never who it was.” Flash forward to Christmas at his grandparents when he received a Best Buy gift card. He went to the store the very next day to use it. “While I was going through all the CD’s I stopped at an album that had 5 guys on it with their eyes blacked out and alien heads all around the case. It caught my eye so I picked it up and was looking at the song titles when I saw “All Mixed Up’ on the track listing.” He bought the CD right then and there, went back to his grandparents and locked himself in their computer room to listen to it. “I didn’t leave their office till I had listened to the entire album, twice. I never looked back after that.”

Live shows for Nick started in 2000 and since then he’s been to 22 of them. “I tried to go to a show a year but my time in the Navy prevented that more than once. But I made up for it a bit last year and this year.” Last year he would have said that his favorite show was 311 Day 2014 since it was his first, but the cruise this year has now taken the cake as his favorite. “I have never had so much fun with other 311 fans.”

“Can’t Fade Me” is what he would say is his most loved song usually, but since Stereolithic came out the song “Existential Hero” has moved up to the top spot. His favorite lyrics he loved so much he had them tattooed on him – “Keep my feet on the ground, keep my head in the clouds.”

Nick was born in Houston, Texas in 1981, and after spending a few years in Austin, they moved back to Houston. He played baseball for 14 years including in high school where they were nationally known and ranked in the top 15 high school baseball programs in the country, with one of the most winningest coaches in state and national statistics. Growing up he had great friends that he still has to this day, including his wife Amanda. “I met my wife growing up when she moved to my area in the 7th grade. No we were not high school sweethearts. In fact, she wouldn’t give me the time of day though I tried for years lol. We were still very close friends though besides that.”

After high school Nick say he was a “stupid kid” for a year and just worked an partied. Then he decided to join the Navy and left for bootcamp on September 6, 2001. “It was a very interesting time in bootcamp given what took place 5 days later.” He was a Hospital Corpsman (medic) for 8 years, during which he was the medivac coordinator, responsible for making the arrangements to get injured Marines and sailors back to the east coast for further treatment after injuries. He was also the liaison between the Naval hospital and the entire base of Camp Lejeune.

It was during this time that he had won Amanda’s heart and they started dating. They were married later when he returned from Guantanamo Bay (he said no he didn’t witness any beatings but did have Al Qaeda members tell him they would kill him and his family while he was treating their illnesses). It was 2003 when he and Amanda married, and they had their first child Kaylee later that year. Three years later they welcomed their son Gunner to the family. Family is and always has been very important to Nick. He comes from a hard working family and he was very close to both his mom and dad’s sides. Nick says they do what they can when they are able in regards to attending 311 shows. Kaylee is going to her first show this summer in Houston! “She even has a self made sign on her bedroom wall that says Slinky in training.”

Since Nick is from Texas, one of his many talents is two stepping. “I can two step like no other.” While he thinks he’s pretty ordinary, he can play instruments by ear but can’t read music. “I sang and did theatre and taught myself guitar, drums, and piano a bit.” Nick really loves all music, although he says the only artist that rivals his love for 311 is Sublime. “They share almost an equal place in my heart. I actually peed my pants a bit a few months ago when Bradley’s wife added me as a friend on Facebook. I know it’s FB and not real life, but I didn’t add her…she added me.” Aside from 311 and Sublime he loves many different genres including metal, old country, and classic rock since his dad raised him on it. Guilty pleasure for Nick comes in the form of ranch Wheat Thins. “I can destroy a box within minutes.”

To the band that means so much to Nick he’d like to say, “Thank you for being one of the biggest parts to the soundtrack of my life.”

To all the amazing fans out there in 311 nation:

I am so glad to have met so many of the awesome people that I have. I look forward to meeting so many more! I hope to see lots of you in Texas this summer. I will be at all 3 shows. So bring your asses and lets party!!”




There you have the story of Nick Terrell my friends! I hope you had fun reading it and get to meet him in person someday soon! Head down to Texas and party with him! Until next week my friends, keep on spreading that unity and love to the rest of the world.


Much love! – The Runt