311 Fan Spotlight – 5/30/16 – Sean Tovson!


Happy Memorial Day excitable nation! Before you celebrate, take a few moments and meet our new fan spotlight. Here is the story of Sean Tovson!

It was Sean’s friend Michael (O’Donnell – here is his Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/michael.odonnell.98892) that was the biggest musical influence on him in middle and high school. “We played on the same soccer team, ran in the same crowd, and he introduced me to a lot of music I would not have heard otherwise while I was being properly sheltered in the suburbs of Lafayette, IN.” It was in 93 or 94 when Mike handed Sean a copy of Sublime’s 40oz to Freedom and also 311’s Grassroots. Sean said it was his single most influential moment musically speaking. “Both became lifetime favorites.  I was unconsciously more drawn to 311’s sound than Sublime’s work.  I didn’t see my first show until 1999, 3 years after Bradley’s death, so that had a lot to do with sparking my 311 fandom even further.”

Sean credits 311 for getting him through a bitter move back to Texas in 1998, and it connected him to friends that he wouldn’t have met otherwise. “The kind of friends willing to road trip to shows or even have their dad fly a small group up to Omaha in a 4 passenger plane just to see 311. I guess I can thank 311 for molding and helping rebuild my core friend group wherever I lived.” Sean isn’t really sure how he fully became a huge fan of 311 or really anything, he said it just happened. He feels like he only truly hit true fan status for 311 and Full Service. “For others, it’s going to take more time and more albums (hint hint Manny the Martyr and Audic Empire…)  It’s a feeling, not a choice.”

How many shows has Sean seen? “The Answer from Hitchhiker’s Guide… 42.” His answer for favorite of those 42 can change he said with perspective or the day. “I’d have to say my favorite regular show would be either of the last 2 Oklahoma shows (OKC, Tulsa).  Multi-day land shows is easily the Transistor set from the Powwow in 2011.  Boat show is Cruise 3, set 2, which I spent blissfully in a hot tub with friends at the show.”

For song that means the most to him it was a tough question to answer. His three top songs are “Running,” “Lucky,” and “T&P Combo.”  However of the three, he said “Running” is probably his favorite. “I feel like I can’t shut off my brain most of the time, and this song always brings me to a calm, serene place.  Several other songs also do that for me, like 8:16am.” A lyric that really stands out to him is “Smooth like Reggie Miller in an airborne freeze frame, Funky like the kungfu that can put you to shame.” Sean said, “Growing up in Indiana, I loved the reference to my favorite player on my favorite team, and the lyrics remind me of every member of 311.”

Sean was born in Dallas, Texas but raised from the age of 3-17 in Battle Ground, Indiana. He played every sport he could until high school where he decided to only continue with soccer. Sean was a third of the way through his Junior year when he had to move to Coppell, Texas, where he completed high school. His parents made him apply to college even though he wasn’t into it, and he ended up with a scholarship to The University of Texas at Dallas. “But I had a great time there.  As a freshman in college, a roommate let me play his bass guitar, and soon I had my own.  I was 100% inspired by Aaron Wills.  I played in a band for a bit in college called New Fiction, which blew up with about an album’s worth of material I didn’t take with me. “

Sean started dating his now wife Emily Adams and got a job, so he put down his bass for about ten years to focus on providing for his family. “I graduated from college with a degree in computer science in 2003, Emily & I got married in 2004 (had a 311 grooms cake), had our first child in 2005 and second in 2007.  I quickly went from a laid-back gamer to “goddamn, get me some water” workaholic, putting in hundreds of hours in overtime to hone my software development skills.  All this time I was jamming to 311.  As my availability shrunk, so did my musical influence.  I wasn’t listening to much else besides 311, Blindside, Incubus, Deftones, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, etc… but mostly 311.”

His first software development job came to him just out of college. After that he changed jobs a few times before he ended up at the company that he works for today. He’s been there for about eight or nine years in pension administration. He also once tried to build a travel technology business with another developer but ended up squashed out of the industry contractually. Sean has also created a lot of gig flyers, logo designs, and posters in the last couple of years. Some of his work can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/TovsonArt, including some 311 fan art he’s created.

On cruise number three, Sean roomed next to Kyle Boudreaux and after the cruise they kept in touch. When 311 released grab bag shirts, Sean said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a place to swap these with other fans to get another shirt you want more?” Kyle then added Sean to a group on Facebook where other 311 fans hook each other up for extra show tickets. This eventually grew into the 311 Trading Post group. “I spent hours into the thousands trying to build a place for fans to safely trade or sell 311 merchandise, which really grew a greater perspective of our excellent fan base.”

Something you may not know about Sean is that he has a somewhat secret band project and their first show is coming up on August 20th. They’ve written a few dozen songs at this point and have been jamming for a few years. He’s also working on a music video for Betray the Dreamer (a local Dallas progressive rock band that he loves). Sean’s wife Emily and his daughters, Katie (age 11) and Caroline (age 9), also share Sean’s love for both 311 and Full Service. Their daughters have even already attended their first show at Red Rocks back in 2014!


Something that makes Sean unique? “I’m really quick at Photoshopping anything into anything into anything.  Like… 2 minutes and you’ve turned into a mushroom quick.  Right, Jimmy?” Guilty pleasure, he has many he said. But right now he said he loved the show “Veronica Mars” and would still watch it if it was still on the air. “I absolutely love Kristin Bell.  I’d love to meet her & bring a baby sloth to make her happy cry.”

Sean’s message to 311 is this:

“It’s always been my dream to do a show print for you, and I would do you right with a great design.”

Now to all the other amazing fans:

“You’re my larger family, spread out all over the place.  We’re here, there, & everywhere following a band together.  There are so many of you that I have met through this common bond we share, and have for over 25 years.  We have so many great times ahead and our friendships will continue throughout our lives.  I’m so happy to have met you all, and I hope we continue to come together, whether it be a 311 show, a cruise, a powwow, a 311 day, a Full Service Circus, or just a meet up for drinks & brisket.  Keep it positive, and scroll on by the drama.”



Well said Sean! Such a great story and I thank you for sharing it! I hope everyone enjoyed learning more about Mr. Sean Tovson just as I did. Thank you all for reading and now you can go enjoy your day a little more I hope. Until we meet again – keep on spreading the love & positivity!

Much love – The Runt


311 Fan Spotlight – 5/23/16 – Vanessa Velasquez!

311 me

Another week is upon us and that means another fan spotlight has arrived! This week we meet the fabulous Vanessa Velasquez!

Vanessa’s 311 journey begins in the 7th grade. She and her brother were on the bus home from school and she had forgotten her earphones in her locker and her brother was kind enough to share his with her. “At the time, he had just gotten a burned CD called the “Stoner Mix” that a girl he liked gave to him for Valentines day. Omaha Stylee and Beautiful Disaster were the two songs that caught my attention and made me want to listen and learn more.”

First live show fell on July 20, 2008 which was the summer right after Vanessa graduated high school.  “I used some of my graduation money to buy my best friend and I a ticket.” Since then she’s seen 43 shows which include four 311 Day’s from 2010 to 2016, and four cruises. Of those shows, Vanessa said there are four events that hold a special place in her heart. “Pow Wow because they played Transistor (one of my favorite albums) and because I got to kiss my crush for the first time after briefly meeting him on the 1st cruise and keeping in touch after that. Cruise #2 because I got to see 311 play on the beach. OUR VERSION OF PARADISE, 311 Day 2014 and 311 Day 2016 because it was in NOLA and I love that city, even though it’s dirty.”

Favorite song is a little difficult for Vanessa because she said there’s just too many too list and there are many that make her tear up when she see’s the played live. “One song I do always listen to when I’m feeling down is Strong All Along. Never fails to put a smile on my face. Also Use of Time- with the Unity Orchestra version. Nick sounds like a god and I just love it.” Favorite quote from a song is, “Stay positive with love, just see the good in everybody.”

Vanessa was born in Garden City, Kansas and grew up on a farm with her grandparents in a strict Catholic home. Her mother was just a mere 16 when she had her, and both her parents were always working to support the family. It was mostly weekends that she got to spend time with them but that changed later once they got themselves on their feet financially. “I was the kinda kid that would wake up early and help out with the animals, one of my favorite things was milking the cows and helping my grandma make cheese!” In 2004 her family moved to Northern Virginia, where she said she discovered what a mall was! Now she lives in Georgia and waits tables at Mellow Mushroom to fund her 311 habit.

Vanessa credits her brother solely for getting her into 311. It was her twin brother who unfortunately passed away who had her listen to them for the first time and he always wanted to see them live. “My brother passed away in 2003 in a car accident with my uncle. He introduced me to 311 and his dream was to see 311 live one day. Now I’m living that dream for him.”

Vanessa’s talent she says really isn’t a talent. “I would like to consider myself somewhat of an old fashioned Suzy homemaker. I think my grandma and mother for teaching me everything I know, from making tortillas by hand to cooking or just being good at cleaning and keeping my home organized. No shame in being a little domesticated, right?”

Nessa said that her music taste is weird when not listening to 311. “Besides 311 I like dancing music we call CUMBIA in Spanish. I also enjoy jam band, reggae music, and R&B pop from the 2000’s. Seriously it’s all over the place.”

Guilty pleasure comes via the T.V. show “Desperate Housewives.” “I love Eva Longoria and Marcia Cross in that show.” Another one is the second and third album from the band Good Charlotte. “I love the Madden brothers!” Vanessa also mentioned that she loves camping, kayaking, learning about craft beer, and CATS!! 🙂

To the band her message is this:

“Thank you for all the smiles and happy tears you guys have put on my face, life would be boring without 311.”

To all the other fans of the band:

“To all the brodels and Slinkies I have met in my journey as a 311 excitable and to those I have yet to cross paths with. THANK YOU for making these life experiences much more fun by being a part of it. “If you don’t have someone to do it with, it’s not worth doin'”  You guys are much more than just people I see at a show/ event. you are family. Peace, love, UNITY! and respect <3”



And there you have Vanessa’s story! I hope you loved it and that you all get to meet this amazing soul in person one day. Until next time, go be awesome, amazing, and keep spreading the positivity!

Much love – The Runt


311 Fan Spotlight – 5/16/16 – Marino Radke!

311 pic VA Beach

Hello again excitable friends! Now is the time…the time for our next 311 fan spotlight! This week we learn the story of Marino Radke!

Fresh out of the Navy is where Marino’s story begins. He returned from overseas and moved into his first apartment. After finally getting cable hooked up, he turned on MTV and there was the video for 311’s “Down.” “I turned it up all the way and was literally glued to the TV.  Never heard anything quite like it and I was ready for some new music in my life. Went the next day and bought the Blue CD, fell in love and when that happened I needed more, went out over that summer and found the rest of their CD’s.”

Twenty-seven is where Marino stands for live shows. He’s seen them 3 times this year already and has two more planned (Atlanta shows). “I was a late bloomer to seeing them live, making up for it now!”  Of all the amazing shows and experiences he has seen, his favorite comes in as a tie between Pow Wow and his first ever show back in 2000. “That first show I really didn’t know what to expect and it was an amazing set list with Jimmies Chicken Shack opening and the venue was so small (Music Farm). But I’m still hoping the best is yet to come!”

“Come Original” is the song that speaks the most to Marino. Then there is “Beyond the Grey Sky” that brings back memories of his dad. “Visit” is another favorite, because visiting the world is his other hobby. The one that really means a lot to him though is “Two Drops in the Ocean.” “I was lucky enough to get married on the beach in Cancun with my wife walking down the aisle to this song. Forever our song!”

Some of his favorite lyrics come from “My Stoney Baby” – “The fish who keeps on swimming, is the first to chill upstream.” Marino has a koi tattoo with 311 bars on his calf to remind him to never give up and keep giving his all. Another favorite lyric comes from “Eons” – “Nobody knows just what you’re battling inside, you can hide.”  Marino believes we all have a story and we are all going through something. “Another reason I love the band, the inclusion and the positivity.”

Marino grew up in Seal Beach and Garden Grove, California. “Loved surfing, most everyday if I could as a kid. The beach was my favorite place to be.” He was raised around some great uncles who were really into music and got him into bands like The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Hendrix. After high school Marino joined the Navy and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. He got to travel all over the Mediterranean including France, Italy, Greece, Israel and Spain. He also went to almost every island in the Caribbean. After he left the Navy he chose to stay on the east coast and after moving around a bit, he finally settled in Fort Mills, S.C. He lives there with his lovely wife (who he says understands his 311 habit), his teenage son Zack and daughter Caswell. He’s even brought his kids to three shows already!

Currently Marino supervises an order fulfillment center for Time Warner Business Class. He’s also a huge fan of most music and has attended over 2500 show and festivals. Some other bands he loves are RHCP, Pearl Jam, Social Distortion, Rancid, The Movement, Sublime, The Offspring (who he went to high school with), WAR, Bob Dylan and the Stones. When not seeing shows, he enjoys relaxing with friends to some good music and great beer, and most weekends it’s at the pool. “At this point in my life I believe life is about living and experiences with the ones you love.  I will sleep when I’m dead.”

Something that makes Marino unique? “Useless information. I have the ability to remember tons of it!” He said that over the years he read a lot about music, movies and travel. They always had Rolling Stone magazine in the house as he grew up and that’s where he got a lot of the info. “I am often asked by friends to answer questions. I would attend trivia with friends and our team would kill.  It’s really amazing since I can’t remember everything from work.  But when it comes to music especially, I can remember everything from set lists from the 90’s, bands I’ve seen and where they are now, just random information. Origins of bands, Band names, members gone from band, what band they used to be in.” Guilty pleasure he says is that he’s a huge Rolling Stones fan, but I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed about! “I have been to 6 shows over the years, all but 1 with my parents and uncle. I have a deep catalog of their music. I was raised on all the early stuff at family parties or when I would come home late in high school my Mom would make me stay up a lil longer listening to the Stones on vinyl.  The music is so raw and rocking, what rock music should be!”

Cool fact about Marino – for a few years growing up he and his mom lived in the same apartment complex with members of the band WAR. “I was probably 3 or 4, they would jam in the garage and me & my mom would hang out with them.  Mom said I would dance and just loved it…I took her word, still love WAR to this day! Music is timeless and I thank my mom all the time for instilling in me the love of music and sharing her appreciation for all music.”

To the guys in 311, Marino’s message is, “The band is more than just music, it’s a community they have brought together.  Sincerely, Thank You, we as fans appreciate you and we can tell you appreciate us!”

To the community of fans:

“It’s so Simple….Stay Positive & Love your Life.  I say this all the time to friends now and they think I’m a weirdo, but when they think about it, it’s all you really need!”


And that is the story of Marino Radke my friends! Thank you all for reading each week and learning more about the amazing community of 311 fans. Until we meet again, go be awesome and spread the positive vibe!

Much love – The Runt


311 Fan Spotlight – 5/9/16 – Chad Neustifter!


Happy new fan spotlight day 311 excitable nation! Sorry for the one week hiatus but we are back at it today. Let’s not delay the fun…meet Chad Neustifter!

The year was 1996 and the setting was a car where Chad first heard 311. He and some friends were just driving around, nowhere in particular, when one of his friends had him pop the blue album into the disc-man that was connected to the car with a tape adapter. “Ended up listening to it straight through and it was glorious!”

Last tally of shows Chad was at is around 32 depending on how you count the multiple show events. Favorite of those shows is his first 311 Day back in 2006 in Memphis. “It just seems unbeatable. I met some of the most amazing people that year and created some really great friendships that I think/hope will last forever. Can’t believe that was already a decade ago!”

There isn’t one song that Chad can pick as his favorite or most meaningful because in a way 311 has really just soundtracked the last 20 years of his life. “So many songs take me right back to different times of my life and remind me of what was happening at that time. Too many fuzzy/wonderful treasures to recollect.”

Chad is a born and raised “Wisconsonite.” He was born in Oshkosh and lived there most of his life. He also lived in Milwaukee for a few years in his early twenties when he went to college. While he didn’t get into this as a career, Chad was a literature major with an emphasis on medieval literature. He currently works as a restaurant general manager between 311 adventures.

Unique quality that Chad has is a different one. “I can shotgun beer faster that anyone in the Familia! I will take on ALL challengers!”  Guilty pleasure for him is the T.V. show Nashville. “I can’t stop watching it. I don’t even like country music. I can’t explain it.”

Other music that Chad is in to comes in a variety of genres. “I’m an incredibly huge fan of music and am listening to some form of ti for at least 8 hours a day…my taste is all over the board.” Chad listens to everything from hip hop to golden oldies. His current playlist is at about 250 GB. “Not a huge fan of country and whatever it is the kids are listening to these days.”

Chad’s message to 311 is this: “Thanks for making all of the wonderful music and all the amazing friendships it has blessed me with!”

To all the wonderful other fans:

“I love each and every one of you so very much. I’ll see you this summer in Chicago and Milwaukee. Antonio R., watch out, I’m coming to win that tie breaker beer shotgun race!”



There you have the story of Chad Neustifter excitable friends! Thanks for reading it and I hope you loved it. Now go be awesome and spread the light, love & positive vibes!

Much love – The Runt