311 Fan Spotlight – 6/27/16 – Aaron Kirby!

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Hey there excitable nation! How is everyone feeling on this lovely day? I hope awesome and guess what? It’s time for our next 311 fan spotlight! Let’s read the story of Aaron Kirby!

At the age of 14 in 1995, Aaron was really into rollerblading. He and his friend watched a skate video that had the song “Omaha Stylee” in it (See link here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2tep15 ). They both loved the song so they went to Target where Aaron purchased Grassroots and his friend purchased Music. “After a few days we switched.  I was hooked.  A few months later I was watching MTV and Carson Daily premiered Down.  I still remember getting goosebumps!” What drew him in was how original their music was. “Nothing else sounded like 311. Their seamless blend of so many styles of music was captivating.”

Aaron started seeing 311 live in 2000 at the Murat Theater in Indianapolis with Zebrahead as the opener. He’s been to 35 shows so far which include cruises two and four, as well as 311 Day 06, 14, and 16. “After Cruise 2 was when I really started hitting a lot of shows. I had less than 10 shows under my belt prior.”  Favorite? Aaron said it’s hard to beat the beach show from cruise two. “ It is my favorite overall experience for a show.” Although he said best show for music itself was 311 Day 2016, night two, and favorite regular tour show was the Chicago one 2015 where they surprised the audience with the Blue album in its entirety. “Did I mention Omaha 2014?  That road trip was very special because it was my first time really getting to know other fans through the Familia.  Stephen and Sandy Gwaltney, Tim Zinkan, Tessa Chambers and Shannon Crummy joined me for an epic journey to the homeland for Grassroots in its entirety.  My only tattoo is of the poster from that show.”

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Favorite song goes to “8:16AM” since it was his first love. Favorite lyrics come from “My Stoney Baby” – “”The fish who keeps on swimming is the first to chill upstream.”  He said it’s usable for so many situations in life.

A little about Aaron’s upbringing comes in quote form: “I grew up tall and I grew up right, with them Indiana boys on them Indiana nights. Lol.” He still lives in the same area he was born which is Lafayette, Indiana. He and his wife have been in real estate brokerage together for a decade, as well as having some real estate investments.

Something unique about Aaron is that he has two different colored eyes, one brown and one that ranges from green to blue depending on the day. “They used to both be green.   My dad now says that I’m half full of shit.”  Another unique attribute? He’s 6’ 7” so you can always spot him at the shows! “My friends have no problem finding their way back after a beer / bathroom trip.  I have a great view no matter where I’m at.  The downside is having someone at EVERY show ask me to move or duck because they can’t see.  Yeah, I was here first, you can move.  Short people need to learn some manners! Haha!”  Guilty pleasure? “I love cooking on my Big Green Egg.  I’ll  make you some killer food.  Better than the Pecan Lodge ever tried to be. :)”

Other bands he loves include Dirty Heads, Rebelution, Iration, DMB, Jack Johnson, 21 Pilots, Sublime with or without Rome,  RDGLDGRN, Rage Against the Machine, and Bad Religion. “I’m all over the board.”

Aaron’s message to 311:

“Thank you for the lifetime of music, fun and constant positivity that has played such a huge roll in my life.”

His message to all the other fans:

“I can’t wait to see so many of you and make some new friends this summer and on the cruise next year!”

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Now you’ve all met Aaron Kirby! Such a great story. Thank you Aaron for sharing and thank you all for reading! You guys seriously rock and are all the reason that this community is amazing. Now go start your week and bring the positive to every day!

Much love – The Runt

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/20/16 – Mike Kleczka!

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Welcome again excitable people near and far! It’s that time again, to meet our next fan spotlight! This week, let’s learn all about Mike Kleczka.

Freshman year of college, back in 1993, was the year Mike found 311 totally by accident. In high school he found new music simply by going to as many shows as possible. Then in college he progressed to joining the college radio station as a DJ. “The school station was operated like a commercial station so, the music director could get on the guest list to almost any show in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.” The preferred venue was Lupo’s in Providence and one day the music director told Mike that if he like Rage Against the Machine, he’d like this band called “three eleven” that they were going to see that night. Mike said he thinks the director meant he’d like them because they incorporated hip-hop into their sound. “Not knowing any of the material, I just took it in. Turns out, I really liked it! So, when I prepped for my shows, I added  the “Freak Out” single to my playlist. Eventually, I dug out the full length “Music” album from the music library and played more songs.”

Fifty-three shows is where Mike is at for seeing them live (Fifty-four if you count the secret Hive show). He’s seen them at least once a year since 1993, with the exception of 98, 99, and 2007.  People not into 311 like he is ask him all the time what his favorite show has been, and he says it’s a tough question to answer.  “I think that my favorite shows are the ones over the past three years and “the next one”. I say that because I’ve met some really awesome people the past few years and getting to experience shows with them is what I love. I’ve seen them play most of their songs live at one point or another. At this point, WHO i’m going to the show with is just as important that WHAT songs we’re going to hear. We know that the band will put on a great show, regardless. I just want to enjoy it with my friends. And I love the notion that I can possibly make new friends at any show I go to. (I usually do, too!)” To date Mike has seen 311 in 13 different states.

Favorite song is another difficult question to answer. At 40 years old and having been a fan since 93, he’s been listening to 311 for more than half his life. “The band keeps doing something a little different with each album they release. If they kept releasing Music and Grassroots, I don’t think a lot of us would still be here today. People get on them for albums like DTOM and Uplifter. Long for the Flowers? It’s Getting OK now? great songs. 2009 was one of the best summers. Uplifter was the soundtrack. Never Ending Summer? I Like the Way? Sun Come Through? I think it was great because it was different than what they’d been doing on previous albums.”

Some lyrics though that Mike loves are as follows: “You make me feel uncalm and I think I like it.” and “I love it when the only sound I hear is your infectious laughter. I will hear you again in 800 years if I’m still lucky.” These lyrics make Mike think of his amazing wife Tina. “She is not “all in” as some of us are but, Tina is a fan and travels with me to the event shows. She’s met some amazing friends, too. “The 311 wives club’ as she’s come to call it.” One more lyric he loves is, “Time of our lives, here I was happy.” He said this is one because, well, he is!

Mike was born and raised on the east coast in New York and New Jersey. He is the oldest of four boys, all of whom love 311 as well. They still try to see at least one show a year together. He said you also might here him call the band three to eleven sometimes, which is a nod to him mom. “She asked me, one time, when my younger brother wanted to go see 311. She said, “Tell me about this band he wants to see, Three to Eleven. What’s their deal? is that a secret code or something? What time does that represent? It’s not another pot code is it?”  Once i stopped laughing, I filled her in. Since then, Mom understands.”

Mike attended college in Massachusetts and Pittsburgh, and graduated from Robert Morris University with a degree in Communications. “Pittsburgh is an awesome town with a crazy local dialect. “Yinz going don ton to see the Stillers?” Love that place!”  Mike moved to Michigan to start a family and career. He said as he was answering the questions he can finally say career and family have finally aligned. He is about the begin working for Fathead (the company that does the wall graphics of athletes, superheroes, etc.).

Mike said his wife Tina is extremely supportive of him (and tolerant he added). They have five amazing children together that keep them on their toes. His oldest son has already been to 13 shows and his daughter and second son both went to their first show last summer. Mike works hard to fund his 311 habit and they go to as many shows as the budget allows. “I’ve met many friends at shows and through poster collecting. I like to see them as much as I can and going to shows is how it gets done.”

Collecting posters, prints, and merch is a hobby of Mike’s and he’s an admin for the Facebook 311 Trading Post. “Along with four friends, we have a group that enables 311 fans to buy, sell and trade 311 merch and posters with other 311 fans. There’s a whole sub group within the 311 community and it’s awesome to be a part of it. You’ve probably seen us camping out at shows so we can be sure to get a poster before they sell out. Some folks can’t imagine why people would line up to get posters or t-shirts or hats or whatever the hot item is. Honestly, it’s just like tailgating. There’s beer and snacks and everyone there has something in common to talk about. It’s actually a fun place to be before a show. Well, maybe not that 311 Day 2014 line. :)”

When not “311-ing”, Mike can be found playing hockey, strumming a guitar, or running to kids activities (naturally a lot since of those since he has five). Something that makes Mike unique is his Lego tattoo. “I have a min-ifigure fishing on my arm.” He said other than that he can juggle. “I’m not a professional by any means but people seem to be surprised when I do it and I don’t know many people that can.”  Guilty pleasure is that he still plays video games, mostly sports games and Call of Duty. “After a long day, when the kids are all in bed and the wife has retired for the evening, I like sitting by myself, in peace, and scoring a virtual hat trick or fake blowing shit up.”

Of course, having been a DJ, Mike is into a lot of bands. “I feel that I come from the rock/punk/hip hop side as opposed to the reggae side.” Some bands he currently listens to are Fugazi, Tiger Army, Beastie Boys, Alkaline Trio, The Urge, Frank Turner, Gaslight Anthem, Bouncing Souls, The Loved One, Public Enemy, Atmosphere, DOOMTREE, RDGLDGRN, and Sage Francis.  Mike said he’s also started to cultivate over to the reggae side the past several years. Dirty Heads and Passafire are a couple of new bands he’s starting to enjoy. “I guess it really doesn’t matter the genre. If it clicks in my mind, if it is well received by my aural receptors, I’ll listen to it.”

Mike’s message to the band is:

“Please don’t stop! Keep pushing the boundaries of your music. We will still be here. The next album could be Chad farting on a snare drum and I’d still buy it.”

And to all the other fans:

“To the 311 community, this is a great thing we have going here. There’s not many artists that are able to have a career as long as 311 and to keep a core community together like this is amazing. We should appreciate it, and each other, for as long as it lasts. I love being a part of it and look forward to meeting more folks at the next show. Til then, you know the drill… Stay Positive and Love Your Live! I know I do!”

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There you have it folks, Mike’s story of his love for 311. Thank you for reading as always! You are all amazing people and I love doing this! Until we meet again…keep spreading the unity, positivity, and love!

Much love – The Runt

 

 

 

 

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/13/16 – Nick Greenwall

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Welcome back friends to the next edition of the 311 fan spotlight! Let’s kick this thing off and meet Nick Greenwall!

1995 was the year and Nick was in high school when first introduced to 311, via the blue album of course and the radio airplay of “Down.” It was the combination of styles that attracted Nick and he said it was a refreshing change from everything else out there. “They had a special energy that drew me to them.” Nick said it’s great to discover a band that already has a few albums because then you can go back and listen to their previous work. After listening to Grassroots and Music he was completely hooked. As Nick put it, “311 has been positively influencing my life since 1995.”

This August, at Red Rocks in Colorado, will mark Nick’s 19th show, and his 8th at Red Rocks. “If you have never experienced the power that is Red Rocks, then you are missing out!  It will change your life!” His first show was in 1995 at the KTCL Big Adventure Festival at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater. “It was a special experience as my two older brother’s band at the time was playing the 2nd or 3rd stage so I got to be their roadie.”

While Nick has had many memorable experiences over the last 21 years, there are a few that stand out over the rest. One lucky thing he got to do was Skype with P-Nut for an hour a couple of years ago. He got to actually have an intellectual conversation, get introduced to his family and P-Nut was introduced to Nick’s. “  He is a down to earth human and a genuine family man.  We had a lot in common.” The cruise is another great memory for Nick, and he said if you can afford it to find your way there. “It’s the ultimate 311 experience!” Then there’s the time he stood outside, almost freezing to death, to get into the Fox Theatre in Boulder to see 311 on a frigid day in October 1999. “311 put on an incredible and intimate show for a small crowd and Nick did his signature stage dive.” Finally there was the first time he met the band as a whole back at Red Rocks in 2011. “I was blown away by how appreciative and sincere the guys were towards their fans.  That experienced reinforced everything my heart had told me about these guys all those years…that they were the real deal.”

There are too many to choose from for Nick to narrow down his favorite song. However he said there are certain albums as a whole that can always bring him back to a certain place or memory in his life, which brings him great joy. “Make it Rough” from Stereolithic stands out to him and he said makes him realize that you can’t get too caught up in the future that you forget to live for today. As far as lyrics, on of his favorites is from “1,2,3” – “It’s alright to feel good.  It’s alright for nothing to be wrong.  The deepest dream that we have could….be tomorrow’s song.”

Nick was born in Minnesota but grew up in a small farming community about thirty minutes north of Denver, Colorado. He bleeds purple as he is a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan. He is a husband and dad, and really enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter exploring their beautiful state. His daughter’s favorite 311 song is “Never Ending Summer.” “She always does the, ‘3! 11! 3! 3! 11!’ chant at the beginning with a huge smile on her face.”  Nick works at a local credit union in Denver for “many moons” and he loves having the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them to learn and grow financially.

A little fact about Nick most don’t know is that he loves learning about anything to do with World War II. “What an amazing time in history.  Ever since Band of Brothers came out that gave me an entirely new perspective on some of the battles fought in Europe and what the soldiers had to fight through and endure.  If you know one, thank a veteran!  If you are a veteran, thank you for your service!”  When asked what makes him unique, he said there are many things! “Get to know me. If you see me at a show, say hello!”

An eclectic taste in music is what Nick says he has. Some of his staples aside from 311 include Deftones, Rebelution, Shiny Toy Guns, The Bravery, The Cure, Bob Marley, Dave Matthews Band, Grateful Dead, Tool, Hall & Oates, The Doors, Duran Duran, Elvis, Fleetwood Mac, Sublime, Pink Floyd, Erykah Badu, MNDR, Metallica, and Type O Negative. He also has really enjoyed the 311 side projects NHQ, Los Stellarians and Ghostwolf.

Main hobby right now is collecting and trading 311 posters and merch. He says the most enjoyable part of it is the negotiations and conversations that happen during the process. “It’s not actually getting the poster in the end. I’ve met a lot of great people from simply sparking up conversations over potential trades.”

Nick’s message to 311 is this:

“Thank you for continually striving to progress both musically and as people and for giving back so much to the fans who are truly inspired by you.”

Now his message to all the awesome fellow fans:

“I have met some exceptionally remarkable people within our group.  People who inspire me to be a better person and live life to the fullest.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many of you up to this point and look forward to meeting more of you in the future.  Our experiences in life and the people we meet shape us into who we are today or who we will become.  My advice to all would be to get out there and live life, experience new things, make new memories, continually broaden your perspective, and most importantly…have fun in the process.  Life is grand!”

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That’s the story of Nick Greenwall my friends! I hope you enjoyed reading it and learning more about him. Thank you as always for reading and being the amazing community of fans that you are. Until we meet again…keep on loving and spreading the positivity!

Much love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 6/6/16 – Lauren Piekarz!

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Happy June excitable nation! Time to kick off the new month with our next fan spotlight. Let’s meet the lovely Lauren Piekarz!

Lauren considers herself a relatively new 311 fan. While she knew most of their hits during high school and college, it wasn’t until she met her boyfriend Ian that she became the huge fan she is now. “He introduced me to not only a band but a way of life. Hell we totally plan our vacations around this amazing band.” Like all of us, the music is what fully drew her in. “I listened to each album, starting with Music, all the way through. It was an interesting journey for a few months.”

Total number of shows is somewhere between 15-20, depending on how you count the cruise shows. As far as her favorite, she couldn’t pick just one. “I truly think each even I have gone to has given me a different feeling and experience. I wouldn’t trade one for another.”

As far as song that means the most to her it’s “Go/Ebb and Flow.” “Go” was one of the first b-sides she got into and it was the first time she really got to see a song by 311 evolve. “Watching it evolve into what is now Ebb and Flow on Stereolithic still blows my mind.” Favorite lyric comes from “Speakeasy” – “If there’s a shadow in your life then there’s sunshine.” She loves this lyric because she tries to always remind herself that on days when things are tough you have to just “keep on keepin’ on.”

Lauren is from the Chicago suburbs and still currently resides there. She is working two jobs while finishing up her master’s degree in counseling. As if that isn’t enough, she is also a part of the Wheeler’s Weekend Jams team. “I couldn’t be happier to be where I am in life right now. I feel like things have just begun!”

An interesting fact you may not know about Lauren – she has worked for a piano moving company for four years and she has two pianos in her office. However she can’t play a piano to save her life!

If you know Lauren at all, you know that she is really crafty and loves making jewelry, and has made some amazing 311 inspired pieces! She also said she would change her job if she could…and become a panda babysitter! “I would never miss a day of work.” Guilty pleasure she said is trashy reality T.V. “The more melted my brain feels, and the dumber I feel, the better.”

Other bands that Lauren loves are the Deftones, Ben Harper, The Movement, Queens of the Stone Age, Every Time I Die, Dirty Heads, The Lumineers, and Snoop Dogg. “I could go on, I have a wide, strange range of musical taste.”

To 311 she’d like to say, “Thank you. Thank you for changing my life and bringing new, amazing people into it. Just thank you.”

Finally to all the other fans:

“I love ya all! I can’t wait to see some of you this summer. Hugs for all!!!”

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Now you have met Lauren Piekarz! Make sure you give her a big hello and a hug when you meet her in person. Thank you Lauren for being a part of this and thank you to all who consistently read the blog! It’s truly an honor to learn and write about each and every one of you. Until we meet again, keep being positive and spreading the love!

Much love – The Runt