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