311, the alternative rock band from Omaha, Nebraska, have been travelling the vast highway that is Rock And Roll for the past 22 years. Comprised of Nick Hexum (vocals/guitar), SA Martinez (vocals/dj), Tim Mahoney (lead guitar), P-Nut (bass) and Chad Sexton (drums), 311 continues to evolve with their albums (latest album “Universal Pulse” was released in July 2011) and with constant touring. Until September 5th, you can catch them on the “Unity” Tour 2012 with guest Slightly Stoopid (dates and ticket information after the jump). Recently, I was able to interview Nick Hexum. We talked about, among other things, the current tour, the record industry and how 311 has made it a mission to involve their fans in their success.
1.With being a band for almost 25 years, what do you feel you have had to do to stay relevant and productive?
I think 311 has a commitment to working hard and being the best we can be. Remaining teachable is the key. If you ever start to think you have nothing left to learn, that's when you're lost.
2. With so many bands/labels doing cruises, what makes the 311 Cruise different from the others? Who's idea was it to do the cruise?
I think the thing that makes the 311 Cruises so special is our fans. They really get into the welcoming spirit of Unity and the boat just turns into a big all-inclusive party. It's so cool to see and be a part of.
3. 311 is one of the few bands that tour regularly who change their setlist every night. Who decides on which songs are played and what approach do you take to making each show different?
We have a setlist meeting after each soundcheck. After so many tours we have a feel for each city and customize what we think will work best in that town.
4. When you first worked with Bob Rock on "Uplifter", what was that experience like? Was it at all intimidating?
The first time you work with a new producer is really exciting. Everyone brings their A-game. It's fun to pick their brains. Bob Rock is an encyclopedia of music knowledge and a real gentleman.
5. I just interviewed Ballyhoo! and Howi talked very highly about Ballyhoo's experience working and touring with 311. What was it like touring and working with Ballyhoo!?
We love them. They have a vibe and sound that fits well with 311.
6. With such an extensive catalog of songs to perform live, what incentive do you have to go back into the studio and put out new material when you could tour on the older stuff?
There's always new styles to explore. Business aside, I couldn't imagine stopping writing and creating. The journey from song idea to studio to live show is an amazing process.
7. In 311's career, what has been your "crowning" achievement so far?
Seeing how 311's fan base and grown and taken on a life of it's own is our biggest achievement. We love to see how they organize events, groups, and t-shirts on their own. So cool to see that.
8. How has the 2012 version of the "Unity Tour" compared to those in the past?
With Slightly Stoopid, it's a big backyard BBQ!
9. What is one way that you feel the music industry has changed the most in the last 25 years?
Being able to have a direct relationship with our fans through the internet is great for us.
10. Are there any bands that you feel you owe a sense of grattitude to?
Beatles, The Clash, Bob Marley
Remaining Dates for the "Unity" Tour 2012:
8/8 Columbus, OH Lifestyles Community Amphitheatre
8/9 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
8/12 Cleveland, OH Jacobs Pavilion
8/14 Indianapolis, IN The Lawn at White River State Park
8/15 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
8/17 Chicago, IL Northerly Island
8/18 Bonner Springs, KS Summerdays Festival Sandstone Amphitheatre
8/19 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre
8/22 Salt Lake City, UT Usana Amphitheatre
8/24 Irvine, CA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
8/25 San Diego, CA Cricket Amphitheatre Chula Vista
8/28 Mesa, AZ Mesa Amphitheatre
8/29 Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl
8/31 San Francisco, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
9/1 Las Vegas, NV The Beach at Mandalay Bay
9/2 Reno, NV University of Nevada - Reno
9/4 Portland, OR Sleep Country Amphitheatre
9/5 Seattle, WA Marymoor Amphitheatre
For up-to-the-minute news, show and ticket information, please visit : www.311.com