Hello again my friends in 311 nation! New week and a new fan spotlight, so let’s get this party started! Time to meet Mike Benoit!
Mike’s story begins when he heard “Down” on the local radio station in Vermont, he was immediately hooked. He was a big Rage Against the Machine and The Offspring fan, so 311 was a good mix of them. “I believe my exact words when I heard Down was: “who the hell are THESE guys???” It wasn’t until my freshman year of college (2002) where I really started to dig in to 311. I had a roommate who had a ton of their albums. Music and Grassroots pretty much changed everything for me.”
Show count is at 10 for Mike. “Living in Vermont forces you to drive everywhere to see them with the exception of the 1 or 2 times they’ve been here. My first show was 11/13/2003 in Providence, RI at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Still one of the best 311 shows I’ve experienced (Jackolantern’s Weather, Gap, Freak Out, Don’t Dwell?!?!?!)” Favorite show so far was the Hampton Beach, New Hampshire back on 7/19/2016. “First time I heard Stealing Happy Hours and Jackpot live, both were amazing! I’ve yet to experience a 311 Day or a cruise…. hoping to change that when the next cruise is announced.”
Song that means the most to Mike was hard to choose because they have gotten him through many good and bad times in his life. “It’s really about what’s going on at the moment. If I had to pick ONE song that means the most, it would have to be Unity. I love the songs by 311 that feel like an adventure. Ones that are unexpected and don’t follow the same typical structure. Wildfire is a good example of that as well. Unity has great lyrics and it crushes live – “My bros are down for the Unity, 311 is down for the Unity, Unanimity, of the Unity.” Aside from those lyrics, Mike also likes what has become the 311 motto, “Stay positive and love your life.” His favorite SA lyric is “You’re a power spot rotating, ever-changing, Transmitting like a radio wave frequently feeling, What’s goin’ on times are weird all this static, Things erratic seems like we lost the magic, See hear how clear is inner quality, A yin and yang type of thang sacred geometry, Ascending mad energy crazy bad, You’re something NASA fuckin’ wish they had,” Favorite Nick quote is, “How can you say that you’re blue, A rich rock star you are, Yet you still complain, that’s insane, Imagine if you had a child of two, You’re a single mom, son named Tom, You work a long hard day just to bill pay, With no time to play then what would you say.”
Mike grew up in Essex, Vermont, a suburb of Burlington. He was very active growing up, playing baseball, hockey, and running cross-country. The first two were his favorites though. He is a die hard Boston fan except when it comes to football, he roots for The Raiders because his dad is from Los Angeles. Mike lived in Vermont until he graduated high school and went to college for 2 years in Smithfield, Rhode Island, which is where he really got into 311. He found that city life wasn’t for him though and moved back to Vermont because he “preferred mountain views and easy living.” “Once I got my shit together and met what would turn out to be my wife, we moved to Fairfax, VT and then St. Albans, VT. I’ve visited Paris, France, Arizona, Ohio, all of New England, Canada, and most of Florida. My wife April and I traveled 15 hours to go see 311 and the rest of the Carolina Rebellion Tour in 2014. What a crazy ass show that was!!! 50,000 people. Never seen that many people actually get along. Despite being a heavy rock festival where I thought 311 was the odd ball out band, people really got in to them! Great to see!”
Mike was in a band for about 4 years, a cover band called the EMT’s which stood for Ed, Mike, and Tim, the members of the band. “I played bass guitar and put myself in debt trying to think I had some sort of future. Being in a band is a TOUGH job.” Mentioned above is Mike’s love for hockey, and he still plays even now that he’s in his 30’s. He has two daughters, age 2 and 5, and he considers being a dad to two girls a talent! He also brews his own beer. “You name the style and I’ll brew it! I’m a Beer Wench for a few ladies from the New England area who supply them with awesome Vermont beers!”
Guilty pleasure for Mike is the T.V. show America’s Got Talent. He is also obsessed with Batman. “May as well throw Batdad in to that mix as well.” Some other musicians that he loves are Sublime, Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, Breaking Benjamin, Volbeat, Twelve Foot Ninja, Save Ferris, Reel Big Fish, Killswitch Engage, Slipknot, Anthrax, Slayer, to classic rock – AC/DC, Eric Clapton, Rush, and Metallica.
Mike has never had the opportunity to meet the band, so his message to them is this:
“To P-Nut, thank you for inspiring me to pick up a bass guitar. Him and Victor Wooten are the reasons I started playing. To the rest of the guys, thanks for helping get through all the good times and bad over the last 17 years or so. You truly have a gift when a band with all original members can continue to make amazing music and evolve all while keeping your OG sound at the same time. Because of 311, I’ve met some amazing people who I can call good friends now from all over the place. I don’t know any other band I listen to where that has happened. You show up at a 311 show, you leave with friends or “I got a clique, but it’s more like a family.”
Now to all the other awesome 311 fans:
“To 311 Nation – Stay Positive, Love Your Life. We need that more than anything right now, be kind to each other. For the rest of this, I just want to give a shout out to my Hampton Beach crew (you all know who you are) and everyone else I’ve had the pleasure to meet over the years. Thank you for making me feel welcome and contributing to some amazing 311 shows. The band may put the music out, but the fans in the crowd help seal the deal when it comes to the overall experience! Cheers!”
There you have the story of Mike Benoit (pronounced Ben-Wah just so you all know)! Thanks for being a part of this creation Mike, and thanks to all the fans who keep on reading. Such an amazing group to be a part of! Until next time.
Much love – The Runt