311 Fan Spotlight – 2/27/17 – Renae Amberg!

Hello again excitable friends! Remember our spotlight Eric from last week? This week we get to meet his awesome wife, Renae Amberg!

Renae was first introduced to 311 much like many of us, through hearing the magic of the song “Down” on the radio around 1995. “Something about their unique sound and striking, sometimes entertaining, lyrics drew me in.”

When it comes to number of live shows, Renae said they are new kids on the block. “I’ve been to 11 shows, the 1st being Milwaukee in 2008.” Of the shows she has been to, she said her favorite so far was Chillicothe, Illinois in 2014. “It was such an intimate show and the energy was amazing.”

When it comes to her favorite song, the top spot goes to “Omaha Stylee. However, “Flowing” is the one that means the most to Renae. “Soundsystem was the album that really sucked me in and this song…the lyrics, it feels so good.” One of her favorite lines comes from the song as well: “You can’t be let down if you don’t expect the world.”

Renae was born, raised, and currently living in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and she absolutely loves Chicago. She spent five years in Iowa City attending the University of Iowa. “Some of the greatest times of my life.” While she obtained a bachelors degree in art, she currently works as an accounting manager at a hotel. “I can’t deny my love for numbers.” Aside from her 9 to 5 job, she is the proud mama of a five year old “excitable in training” and of course a very happy wife to Eric! “Life is good.”

Something you may not know about Renae is that she isn’t a girly girl. “I love being outside, getting my hands dirty and being one with nature. I make sure to go camping at least once a year.” For talent, Renae said she really can’t think of anything outside her love for math, but she thinks what makes her unique is her free spirit. “When it comes down to it I just want to have a great time and enjoy the people around me. No drama. Just a damn good time!”

Musical choices aside from 311 range anywhere from Bob Dylan to Lauren Hill. “If it’s good, I like it.” Her other favorite band is The Grateful Dead. Guilty pleasure for her comes in television form. “The Kardashians…I’m so sorry :/”

Renae’s message to 311 is this: “Please don’t ever stop doing what you do, the world needs more of you.”

To all the other awesome fans:

“The culture that is 311 has changed my life in so many ways. I love how we all can come together to celebrate the joy of the music and the amazing vibes and I hope we never stop. Do as you will, do as you wish, follow your bliss. I love you!”


Now you’ve all met the other half of the Amberg couple, Renae! A great read and thanks for sharing your story Renae. Thank you to all who read every week. You are all wonderful and just keep this world a better place. Until next time…

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 2/20/17 – Eric Amberg!

Hello my excitable friends! The latest edition of the 311 fan spotlight has arrived. This week we get to meet Mr. Eric Amberg!

Like many 311 fans, it was the song “Down” and the blue album that lured him into the magic of 311. “They just had a sound that pulled me in.” Since his introduction to the band Eric has seen them 11 times. First show for him was in Milwaukee at Summerfest back in 2008. His favorite event so far was 311 Day 2016. “It was more than just the show. It was the whole experience of New Orleans and the excitable vibe.”

The song “Tranquility” is the one that means the most to him. “It makes me think of my mother who I lost to cancer a few years ago. And it makes me cry almost every time I hear it.” Some of Eric’s favorite lyrics are “There’s much power in anger, but love’s a bigger banger” and “The fish who keeps on swimming, is the first to chill upstream.”

The suburbs of Chicago is where Eric was born and raised. To support his concert habits (and life) he works in a warehouse for a Japanese machine manufacturer. He loves to barbecue and says he is pretty good at it. The most important thing you should know about Eric though is that he is a proud father and husband to his excitable family!

Eric was once really into the jam band scene but then realized it wasn’t really for him. Now aside from 311 he likes The Grateful Dead, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Rebelution, Tool and Metallica.

Working in the warehouse for years has allowed Eric to develop quite a unique talent. “I have learned to pick up a dime with a forklift.” Aside from that he said his real talent is just trying to see the good in everybody all the time. “I just want to be good to everyone. I’m a lover not a fighter.” Guilty pleasure for Eric comes in the form of what he calls “bad movies.” “Like really bad. I cry at the end of Legally Blonde.”

Eric’s message to 311 is a simple yet awesome one: “Thank you for being a ray of light in what otherwise can be a dreary world.”

His message to all the other fans out there is simple yet awesome as well!

“If you’re ever in Chicago and want to barbecue…hit me up!”


Sounds like an offer some of us might just take you up on Eric! That was his story my friends, I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you all for reading! Until we meet again, go out and see the good in everyone like Eric does.

Much love! – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 2/13/17 – Jessica Ferguson!

Hey there my friends out in 311 nation! It’s my favorite time of the week…we get to meet a new fan spotlight. Let’s read all about the lovely Jessica Ferguson!

Flash back to when Jessica was a junior in college and her friend Jeremy introduced her to the blue album. “From then on I couldn’t get enough. They sounded completely different from everything else I had heard and just made me feel good instantaneously.”

Since then Jessica has been to 38 shows. She lived in Montgomery, Alabama, which wasn’t the most convenient location for seeing 311. However when she moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2005, she was able to see them pretty much every summer. “And then after the 2013 Cruise (my first) it was ALL 311, ALL THE TIME and my summer vacations became consumed by their tour and hitting as many stops as I could. I keep a spreadsheet (yes, I’m a nerd) of every set list I’ve seen. The only one I’m missing is from my very first show- September 16, 1997, at Oak Mountain Amphitheater in Birmingham, AL. So if anyone has that set list, please help a sister out!!”

Jessica’s favorite event? She actually said it’s really a five way tie! First up was her first 311 Day in 2000. “I had no idea anything special was happening. I thought it would be the normal hour and a half show. Boy was I wrong. It was the first time of many that my face has been completely melted off by them.” Second was Halloween Atlanta 2010. “My first real time witnessing the glorious Familia experience instead of just attending a normal show.” Then there was the 2013 cruise. “The amount of good vibes, love and genuine happiness that surrounds you for four days is simply amazing…and I just so happened to meet the love of my life on that boat.” 311 Day 2014 was special since they rented a beautiful house in New Orleans and had the most amazing time. “I’ve always had a love affair with that city and am so blessed my favorite band seems to love it just as much as I do.” Finally to round this out was the kickoff to the summer tour of 2015. “My favorite concert buddy and I flew from CLT to Phoenix to see the first show and then drove to Las Vegas for Red, White and Boom. Had a little reunion with my 2013 Cruise roomies, some amazing food (In-N-Out, I’m talking to you) and not to mention some amazing shows with my toes in the sand. Can’t get any better.”

Very favorite song for Jessica is “Purpose.” “It reached out and grabbed me in a special way the first time I heard it- I can’t explain exactly why. I lose my mind every time they play it- sometimes screaming, sometime sobbing, every time loving it. Since I knew it was coming up in Vegas when they played Blue from start to finish, I got a great video of it that I cherish. On a related note, do you realize how lucky we are to have a favorite band that keeps it fresh from show to show, and doesn’t play the same old set list every night? That is extremely rare nowadays from the vast majority of bands out there and much appreciated by me.” One of her favorite lyrics is a fan favorite, “Stay positive and love your life.” “What a great message for us to live by and spread to all the non-believers out there. It hangs in the Flying Saucer in Charlotte, NC for everyone to see, courtesy of me drinking 200 different beers.” She also really loves the lines, “Let’s think of all the good times, instead of wish we could times,so much better that way” and “Life’s a bowl of punch, go ahead and spike it.”

Born in Houston, Texas, Jessica moved to Gulf Shores, Alabama at the age of 10. “And no, I am not an Alabama fan. War Damn Eagle!” She graduated from Huntington College in Montgomery in 1997 and worked at a bank for 8 years before she moved to Charlotte. There she worked for an investment company in their compliance department. “I am fully FINRA licensed- 7, 24, 63, 66. I absolutely LOVED my time in Charlotte- great friends, great city, great beer- but remember that “love of my life” that I mentioned earlier? Well, somehow he- Mike Morel- convinced me to move to Wiggins, MS, in October of 2015, and life has been splendid from then on, as I was blessed enough to keep my job and work remotely from the house. The 311 Love Connection is a real thing!” Jessica said that the fact she and Mike were friends for so long and having their love for 311 in common made a big difference in the development of their relationship and she couldn’t be happier. “I never thought I would ever live in Mississippi, but it’s just geography, right? It has brought me much closer to my Daddy, one of my favorite cities and my new family. The entire trajectory of my life has changed all because of one band, and I cannot thank them enough.”

An interesting fact about Jessica is that she is a complete Anglophile. Don’t know what that means? “I can’t get enough of anything British. I took my first trip to London in 2013 by myself to watch soccer and check out the city a bit. The next trip is already planned- Mike loves the New Orleans Saints, so when I heard they were playing a game in London next season, I started the planning. We recently purchased our plane tickets- now the waiting begins. Luckily we have the cruise and summer shows to bide our time until we hop across the pond.”

Unique attribute comes in the form of useless information, Jessica said her brain is just crammed full of it! “Mike’s kids call me Jessi-Goog. Whenever I start a sentence with fun fact, they know they are in for a random nugget of uselessness.” Guilty pleasure is one many people have. “I love TV way too much. I watch way too much. I think I’ve seen every House Hunters on HGTV that has ever been made.”

Jessica is very thankful for so many of the other great bands that 311 has introduced her to like Full Service, Rebelution, RDGLDGRN, Passafire, and Dirty Heads. As for other bands she likes, she said she loves a little bit of everything. “Pop (when the kids are in the car), modern alternative, 70’s/80’s old school country, classical, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Jim Croce, Dierks Bentley, just give me all of it! Music is good for the soul- especially live music. I’ve seen at least one live show a month for the last two years and bucket-lister Billy Joel is up next- so excited!” She also has a goal to own every Harry Connick Jr. and REM album. “I’m getting there, slowly but surely.”

To 311, Jessica would like to say, “A simple “thank you” seems inadequate for all the love and positivity they’ve brought to my life, but that’s what I’ve got. I’m also grateful and blessed that they’ve stuck around for so long- same lineup, continuous music that is so varied and challenging and inspiring and uplifting. Sometimes we forget how good we have it as 311 fans.”

To all the other amazing fans:

“I am so blessed to have met such wonderfully wild, diverse, interesting and lovely people on my 311 journey. I’ve never felt so at home with complete strangers before. You are all beautiful, awesome people!!”


That wraps up the tale of Jessica Ferguson! What another great fan story. You all make my job to easy by being such wonderful people. Thank you all for reading each week. Keep coming back and I’ll keep writing. Until next week!

Much love! – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight – 2/6/17 – Stephanie Hoover!

Hello again excitable nation! Another week which means another fan spotlight. It’s time to meet the lovely Stephanie Hoover!

Stephanie’s husband, and fellow fan spotlight, is the reason that she is a huge 311 fan. Derek was infatuated with them and he was always talking about what a huge fan he was. Derek convinced Stephanie that they should go to 311 Day and she said boy she was in for a big surprise. That’s when she really became a huge fan. “Not because he forced it on me but because I love the positive energy that they send out.”

For show count, she stopped counting at some point but believes it’s somewhere around 30 or so. Her first show was 311 Day 2004, which also happens to still be her favorite. “They went for 6 hours, no opening band and the stage show was crazy. The ladies spinning fire and the stilt characters. Then the acrobats. Omg it was so much fun. I had never seen anything like that before. One band starts the show and that same band closes the show. That is so unheard of. I was so tired though dancing in the seats and singing the songs that I did know at that time. Oh and i cant forget watching Derek in the line before the show. We were waiting in line to get floor tickets. They found a cooler that was full of Mad Dog 20/20 and Jack Daniels. He ended up mixing it together and they drank it, him and like 10 other guys. Not sure if they were trying to out do each other or not, but we ended up going back to our hotel room drunk as a cooter brown that night.”

Song that means the most to her is “My Heart Sings.” She had the lyrics put on Derek’s groom cake for their wedding. “He was almost in tears.” One of her favorite quotes is simply “Come original” but she also says she is usually quoting the band every day.

Born in Houston, Texas, Stephanie says she’s pretty sure that it was the minute her mother left the hospital that they moved to Farmington, New Mexico. She has two sisters and a brother, all older than her, so she’s the baby of the family! She lived in New Mexico for 8 years and then they moved to Dallas, Texas where her dad attended Criswell Bible College. “Yes…that makes me a preachers kid.” She went to high school at W.W. Samuell and graduated in 1985. “Yeah I know I am an old effer…LOL. But I still love 311!”

After high school Stephanie went to the Metroplex School for Beauty and became a cosmetologist for about 10 years or so. She then moved to Mesquite, Texas, where she had her two beautiful daughters Rebecca, now 27, and Jordon, now 23. It was later that she met her “handsome and adorable husband” Derek. They moved to Arlington, Texas and have been together for 15 years. As far as how she funds her 311 habits, well simply put she works her ass off! “I work for a Medical Real Estate Company in Uptown Dallas. I advised them once I was hired on that I would never quit this job. They would literally have to fire me or lay me off to get rid of me.” 

Stephanie is pretty crafty, she’s remodeled bathrooms, painted rooms in their home, and framed many 311 posters. “I also Crochet a lot…. A LOT…. I think sometimes Derek gets mad at my addiction to crochet. There are so many things that I want to make it is unbelievable…There just is not enough time for me to make them all. The saying that I should be quoting right now is “This earth has not swallowed me yet!!!!!” WHat that means is that until I am Beyond the Gray Sky, I will be crocheting.” Stephanie has even made stuff for people in the 311 community now that people know she can sew. She also has an Etsy store that she just started and is in the process of starting products. “Whats that you say?… What is the name of the store on Etsy?….. SuperSassyStylez. Yes please go check it out. It is still under construction but you can see my handmade products on there.”

Other bands Stephanie loves are Styx, Scorpions, and pretty much most 80’s. “Yes I am old school. That’s when I was just getting into music a lot.” Guilty pleasure? Singing karaoke! “I was really shy at first and used to have this fear that no one would like my singing. I had to be drunk before I would sing, but now you don’t even have to give me a drink and I will sing. I guess what they say is true…practice makes perfect.” Stephanie also has a secret talent – baking cakes!  “I have not done any in a while but i have attached the cake that I made for Derek for his Grooms cake for our wedding as well as the brides cake. Yes I made both for my own wedding….. I saved about 1500 bucks making my own cakes.” And in case you haven’t figured out from the photos, Stephanie’s favorite color is purple. “I am a huge TCU fan!”

If Stephanie could talk to 311 right now, she said she’d probably ask them a question about their family or say “OMG it’s about time I finally got to actually meet y’all. I would probably be really stupid and they would look at me like I was an idiot. Lmao.”

Now her message to the 311 fan community:

“Well most important….Derek Hoover I love you with all my heart and thank God everyday for you. Next…no matter what is going on in your life there is always someone that is in worse shape than you are. Respect yourself and others around you and you will have earned the respect back. This world is krewl and there are krewl people in it. In the words of Bambi’s mom, “If you can’t say nothing nice …. SHHHHHH say nothing!  Don’t sweat the petty stuff and don’t pet the sweaty stuff. Keep looking up because that’s where it all is…  There is always a hug to be given or received.   So this is me in a nutshell. Stay positive and love your life. Dueces!”


That’s the tale of Stephanie Hoover! Thank you to her for sharing and thank you to all for reading week after week. I love sharing your love for 311. You are all amazing people and make me proud to be a part of this community. Until we meet again, keep being awesome.

Much love – The Runt