Hello again friends and fans of 311!! Welcome to the next edition of the 311 fan spotlight. Start the week of right and read the story of John Katchisin!
The year 1999 is where John’s story begins. His older brother Tommy, 12 at the time, was really into the band. The two shared a room and one day before Tommy left for work he had been playing a particular song. “I remember him playing a certain song that had this really heavy guitar sound with this really cool CHUG rhythm in the intro that caught my attention. He had left the CD in the stereo an I took it upon myself to keep playing back the 1st track on the album. After that awesome guitar intro the song got really heavy with these cool swells, and DJ scratch’s, that turned into (after listening back a million times) “ARE YOU READY FOR 311?” I was instantly hooked. The song was so catchy I could not help myself but keep listening over an over again dancing around my room pretending like I already knew the lyrics.”
John took the CD out and discovered it was Soundsystem and that the song was “Freeze Time.” It was at that moment he became an excitable! He then dove deeper and deeper into their catalog of music, inevitably falling more in love. “That piccolo snare on Chad’s kit was so legit. You can pin point which song comes from what album by the sound of his snare, it’s seriously incredible. I started noticing that the most when I came across a lot their B-SIDE tracks. Another aspect is that you can take apart one of their songs an strictly listen to one band member. They all stand out on their own, they all have a voice. In the song “Running”, I always find myself humming along to P-NUT’S bass line in that track, I can’t help it, it’s so good.” John also said one of the beautiful things about their music is that there is always a lyric of theirs that will fit any situation at any point in your life.
An exact number John does not have in regards to amount of shows he’s seen. He was around 18 when he started to save the concert ticket stubs. He does know that he’s never missed a tour since 1999, plus he’s been to three 311 Day events, a cruise, and Pow Wow. So his total he says is a lot of shows! Favorite so far has been Pow Wow, with an honorable mention going to the cruise. “The Pow Wow experience for me was beyond incredible, so much so that driving back home I could not help but cry. 311 played TRANSISTOR in it’s ENTIRETY. I mean seriously, too good. What was really cool to me was camping out in the woods an meeting/forming a family of excitables. We all helped each other out the entire weekend. If someone needed anything there was always somebody in our group to help, an not even in our group, there was just someone at the festival that would reach out an help, the 311 nation was alive an kicking. All the people I met at Pow Wow I still talk to this day. We are friends for life, that’s what 311 does, they connect you to other’s. Before 311 went into their Transistor Set on the last night, before taking a short break they had closed their first set with the song, “And A Ways To Go”. It was at the ending of the song with it’s trippy bass solo S.A sing’s the lyric, “Come on yeah it will be alright, an we’re gonna take a ride I don’t know if will come back” I bursted into tears. I was so overjoyed with happiness, with my girl wrapped in my arms, the two of us singing along, I realized where I was. I was in Heaven!”
There are a lot of songs that mean a great deal to John but the one that really hits home is “Jupiter.” “Stay Positive & Love Your Life”, I have a half sleeve tattoo on my arm with that lyric on it. Whenever I lose myself in the chaos that is life, I stop and look at my arm an take a deep breathe, an I know that everything will be alright. But it’s not just that, it reminds me of someone very special an dear to my heart. It reminds me of my Ex girlfriend. I have been, still am, an will always be in love with this woman. She changed my life, she challenged me, she opened me up to so many things an motivated me to become a better man. Unfortunately at this point in our lives we are not together, god I wish we were. Maybe it’s just not the right time an we need to focus on ourselves right now. “If it falls apart will you still be my friend”, yes it did fall apart, an yes we are still friends.” So we know one lyric that means the world to John, but he has a few others as well including, “The soul you have is Electricity,” “Take on the love and the good karma,” and “Try not to think too far ahead, the pendulum swings soon enough.”
Born and raised in Edison, New Jersey, John is also currently still living there. He’d like to live somewhere else but right now he’s saving money and working his butt off so he can’t complain. When he was just 3 years old his parents enrolled him at Metuchen Dance Centre where he began to learn all styles of dance including tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, musical theatre, modern and ballroom. When he was 16 he became a certified dance teacher and it was dance that got him into all different types of music. After high school he found a cool school in NYC called S.A.E. where young professionals could be trained in the art of audio engineering. He went through an intense 9 months of training and then picked up DJing as a night job. He’s been booking gigs in Manhattan and really trying to get his name out there the past few years. Once he graduated the program he got a day job as an audio technician and he gets to be in a lot of different places and meet many new people. John said it’s a bit of a struggle because he can be shy and stand offish but that 311 helps with that. “I do a lot of my work on my own so I put on some 311 throughout my whole work day an let it motivate me an help me get through my day an finish my work an relax as much as possible. I’ve realized from doing that no matter where I am, as long as I can listen to 311 at any point I am going to be just fine.”
John’s brother and sister had a big influence on his musical upbringing. Tommy worked in the music industry for 15 years so not only did he get him into 311, but also other bands like Korn, Powerman 5000, Motley Crue and System of a Down. His sister Amanda influenced him in the dance genre and he grew up listening to New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, Nsync and Salt N Pepa because of her. “I have no shame in it at all. Listening to all of these artist’s has shaped me into the man I am today. My musicality is all over the place an I love that!”
Most people don’t know that John is a professional dancer and that he has been doing it for 25 years. “People meet me or look at me and being a dancer is the absolute last thing they would think of. Which is why I love going out on the dance floor and busting a move.” John is also a self taught drummer. “Being a dancer I just had the natural rhythm in me. I was 14 an my brother’s friends band left their equipment in our basement. So I took it upon myself to get on the drums an start making some noise.” Guilty pleasure for John is WWE. He’s been a huge fan since he was a kid. “I cannot help myself. I love it, It’s basically a soap opera for men. I even had my own wrestling league with my friends when we were kids. We called it the IWF (Intense Wrestling Federation) go ahead laugh it up. I loved pretending to be the wrestlers walking down to the ring with entrance music, I thought that was so cool. I was even The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michael’s & Y2J Chris Jericho for halloween. That’s my guilty pleasure.”
John is lucky enough to have met the band and said many things to them. He even got the opportunity to sing on stage with them! (See the video here https://youtu.be/GhA_f4mFQnI). If he was face to face with the guys right now though, his message would be this: “Thank you, for everything! Please never stop making music because I am in it for the long haul!”
To all the amazing fans that make up excitable nation:
“To all the other excitable’s out there. Wether we have met yet, or not. We are already friends for life! :)”
There you have it folks, the tale of John Katchisin! What a great story and I’m glad he shared it. Thank you all for reading each week and learning more about the awesome people that make up this amazing group of fans! Keep on being you and the fantastic humans that you are.
Until we meet again! Much Love – The Runt