Hey there and welcome back my excitable friends in 311 nation! The time is here to meet another awesome fellow 311 lover – Tonya Frye!
A bar that Tonya frequented quite a bit in the early 90’s is the setting for where her love for the band starts. The bar would play “Do You Right” and “Homebrew.” “I couldn’t help but get my groove on when I would hear them.”
Exact count on how many shows Tonya has attended is hazy, but she guesses she’s somewhere in the fifties. “If I had known at the time that this would become such a huge thing in my life, I would have kept better track.” Favorite event however is an easier question to answer and she chose 311 Day 2008. “It was my first 311 Day, my first time in New Orleans, and it was the first time that I really traveled a long distance to see them. Everything about that trip was amazing.” A close second for her would be her very first show ever which was at Strawberry Banks in Hampton, Virginia, May 27, 1996. “It was such a random venue. Like, someone literally put up a stage on the middle of the field. They opened the show with ‘Homebrew’ and I have been hooked ever since.”
Tonya has a great answer for the question of what’s her favorite song: “Picking which song means the most to me is like asking me which one of my children I love the most lol.” She says there is always a song to match where she currently is in her life. Some of the top songs on her list though are “Hostile Apostle,” “Starshines,” “Hive,” and “Reconsider Everything.”
One of Tonya’s favorite lyrics comes from “Never Ending Summer:” “Hanging out with my friends, we’re traveling. Out and about, good times that we’re having it’s, harmonic bliss when we are all synchronized, something got to see with your own eyes.” She loves these words because they remind her of Kim James, her 311 partner in crime, as well as all the other amazing friends she has made and road tripped with to a show.
An “older than the average 311 fan” is how Tonya describes herself. “I am 43, which puts me at around the same age as the band members.” Richmond, Virginia is where she grew up and it was a huge hub for punk music throughout the 80’s. “I was a little, angry punk rock girl for a long time. Hell, I still have a little bit of that angst ridden teenager inside of me.” Then at the age of 20, in 1992, Tonya moved to Virginia Beach where she still is to this day.
311 has become part of her family she says. She took all of her younger siblings to see them when they were in high school. Now she has four kids of her own and they all have seen 311 as their first concerts. Even her husband got sucked in! “He was a casual fan, you could say, until I started dragging him to shows. Now he is a huge fan and has turned into one of those crazy poster people lol.”
Tonya is a Pre-K teacher, which she says doesn’t pay that much. However she created an after school science enrichment program to make extra money and help support her 311 habit. “Last year I watched one of my students after school to make money for the cruise. 311 Day and the like have become my husband and my Christmas/Birthday present to each other.” While Tonya says she’s an open book so there’s nothing people really don’t know about her, she can tell you something unique. “Don’t ever challenge me to a trivia contest. I know an insane amount of useless trivia.” She says she even owns every edition of Trivia Pursuit and her family won’t play with her anymore because she takes it a little too seriously!
Her musical tastes are eclectic, and when not rocking out to 311 she can be found listening to anything from The Smiths to Passafire, from The Descendents to Incubus. And even a little Kelly Clarkson, her guilty pleasure. “There I said it. Go ahead and judge, but that girl can sing her ass off.”
311 has a huge impact on Tonya and her families life, so to them she’d like to say:
“I am sure everyone says this, but I would simply say “Thank You”. Thank you for your music and thank for this amazing community that I love. Also ,I would say, ”for the love of all things holy, would you please, please play Hostile Apostle.”
To all the other awesome fans out there:
“Live your most genuine life every day. Like the song says, ‘This moment is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”
Now you’ve met Tonya Frye! I love reading about older fans (simply because I myself am one lol). I hope you all get to meet her in person one day…I know I do! Thanks Tonya for being a part of this and thank you to all that read the spotlights! You all ROCK!
Until next time, stay awesome.
Much love – The Runt