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311 Fan Spotlight #372 – 10/3/22 – Ed Blake!

Welcome back 311 nation! It’s time to meet the next fan spotlight. Let’s read the story of Ed Blake!

It was thanks to MTV that Ed found 311. Then he used to buy new CD’s on Tuesdays when they were released.  “I got the Blue album and loved it. I like all kinds of music and they incorporated a variety of styles. My buddies had Grassroots and Music too so it worked out. I may or may not have gotten some burned copies. Allegedly.”

For show count, Ed believes he is somewhere in the 50’s. He doesn’t really keep count, he just tries to have fun and enjoy the experience. First show for him was September 28, 1995. “My friend and I showed up and were the first ones in the parking lot. While we were hanging out before anyone else was there, we allegedly saw Nick get into a white Nissan, Acura, or Mitsubishi sports car right next to us with a lady friend. They left soon after we realized it was him. No Doubt opened for 311 and I remember Gwen Stefani came out after their set. She was super cool and chatting with everyone before 311 came on. Besides that, the show was pretty awesome. They definitely brought the energy.”

Picking a favorite live show for Ed was extremely tough. “Maybe the last Red Rocks show?? We were in the 5th row on the same level as the stage, eye level with the band.  Or maybe Austin in 2015? My wife Amanda, dog, and I took a trip to see 311 and SA got super star stuck when he met our dog, George Costanza. He even asked for a photo ?? The cruise shows are really awesome too. There is definitely electricity in the air.  But usually the last show I’ve been to is pretty high up on the list as well.”

For songs that Ed loves, he said there are a few including “Homebrew,” “Don’t Stay Home,” and “Sweet.” As for favorite lyrics, he chose these: “If you don’t have someone to do it with it’s not worth doing.”

Ed moved from the east coast when he was just in the first grade to Wichita, Kansas. “I went to college and then got married to my intellectually and visually stimulating wife Amanda, 18 years ago, after vetting her for 5 years. We moved to the DFW area,  finished school, and have been here ever since. For my career, I am a category manager who handles supply chain from start to finish (production , buying, shipping, etc.). Basically, I make sure product is on the shelf for the largest convenience chain in North America, who coincidentally, also has Eleven in their name. ;)”

Fun fact about Ed is that he loves yard work! Something else about him is that he bartended for 12 years and was a competitive bartender. “I did competitions for speed, accuracy, and flair bartending. I excelled in this and it was my passion for quite some time and helped pay off college. I have a pretty decent collection of trophies from it too. I could juggle four bottles and do some pretty cool tricks. I still love it and still find myself doing tricks with different objects around the house.” As for guilty pleasure, Ed says he loves late night ice cream eating.

Other bands that Ed can be found listening to, well theres a lot. “Too many to list… OutKast, Khruangbin, Beastie Boys, Pink Floyd, Otis Redding, Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, DMB, Pantera, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Dire Straits, The Beach Boys, Tool, Snoop, Biggie, Pac, System of a Down, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Geto Boys, NWA, Metallica, The Clash, Post Malone, Grateful Dead, some country music, and Selena to name a few. ?? Some music I don’t like is the newer rap that is not good. You know the kind I’m talking about.”

To 311, Ed said he has this run-on sentence for them: “You are definitely one of the best live bands I have ever seen thanks for bringing me so many positive memories and making some of my all time favorite music.”

Now here are his words for all the other fans out there:

“If you are of the shorter stature and I am standing in front of you at a show just let me know and you can get in front of me. I let Brandon Scott do it all the time because he is very petite. ;)”

Many thanks to Ed for being a part of the fan spotlight! Always, many many thanks to the readers each week. Now go have an amazing week. Sending you all lots of positive vibes.

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight #371 – 9/19/22 – Brandon Scott!

Welcome back Excitable friends! It’s time to meet a new 311 fan spotlight. This week let’s hear the story of Brandon Scott!

This story starts with a little bit of illegal action, but the statue of limitations has passed according to Brandon, so it’s ok to tell it. When he was 16, he and his friends used to steal CD’s from the local Camelot Music store at the mall and them sell them at school for extra cash. “There was one CD that no one wanted to buy. It was 311’s self-titled album, commonly known as the “Blue Album”.  I vividly remember sitting in my white 94 Ford Probe looking down at the CD that I was unable to sell, debating on whether to throw it away, when I decided to open it up and slide the disc into my CD player. Little did I know, every day for the next 3 years, that CD would never leave my car’s CD player. That’s right… my car stereo partially broke; the eject button was fried and it would only allow CDs to play. I was annoyed by the circumstance at first, but slowly ended up embracing it. So, what drew me to 311…. fate. The rest is history.”

Exact count of live shows is unknown for Brandon. His first one was October 23, 2000, at the Bronco Bowl in Dallas, Texas. As for his favorite event or show, he said it’s hands down the first 311 cruise. “The first cruise was absolutely amazing. Everyone on the boat were cruise virgins, not knowing what kind of shitshow we were walking into. The energy throughout the boat was surreal. My favorite show on the boat was the second indoor theatre show. We were fortunate enough to watch from the mini pit. We were so close, my eyes were stinging from SA’s sweat.”

The song that holds a special place in his heart for Brandon is “Trouble.” “My interpretation could totally not be accurate, as I make up my own meanings and lyrics to most songs, but I took it as ‘hold yourself accountable for your mistakes’. I was a real bag of shit when I was younger and whenever I got in trouble, I would never take responsibility for putting myself situations and would blame my misfortune on anyone but me. I wasted a ton of time holding useless grudges and/or dwelling on it. This song changed my mind set and I can now own up to any mistake and move forward.  I’m not sure of the actual meaning of the song, but that’s what it means to me.”

As for favorite lyrics, Brandon said there are really too many to list out. Right now though, he loves this chunk from the song “Electricity:”

“I’m in disbelief at what people will believe

All along I thought we had our hearts on our shirtsleeves

If one thing I can say as a piece of advice

Don’t believe it till you see it and then see it twice.”

Plano, Texas, is where Brandon was born and raised. The infamous black heroin epidemic occurred there while he was in high school. Currently he is working as an Operations Manager for a National Mortgage Lender. He started his first job in mortgage lending back in 2000, which is where he met his beautiful wife of 14 years (they’ve been together for 22).

While Brandon is a huge champion of Marijuana, he’s always paranoid about bringing it with him into shows, thinking security might find it and if he was charged with anything he’d lose his job. For 311 Day 2012 he constructed a prototype of a product he invented that looks like a stack of credit cards and fits in your wallet. “After 311 Day that year, I decided to start a hobby business so other like-minded individuals could benefit from the product. I got a patent, had it designed, and went into production. It’s called the Wallet Caddy and available at Walletcaddy.com. If you think you could benefit from, or know someone that would, feel free to support. 20% off with promo code: PLUGS.”

Interesting fact about Brandon is that he has claustrophobia and globophobia, which is the fear of balloons. “Balloons that ignite my fear have to be latex (mylar doesn’t bother me) and must be inflated.  Also, the balloon must be compromised (in the grasp of a child or being bouncing untethered by the wind). When I see a balloon in this state, I immediately cover my ears and go into a panic state (sweating and hearing blood pulsate through my ears). These two examples are the only things that give me any sort of anxiety.”

Unique attribute for Brandon is that he is a self-proclaimed pinball wizard. “My awesome wife bought me a South Park pinball machine for my 30th birthday and I have put more hours into it than I would like to admit. I have perfected it and the same angles translate over to other pinball machines, so I basically just figure out the gameplay aspect and can hit high scores. Playing really isn’t enjoyable anymore because I will end up playing a single ball for 45 minutes while others wait their turn. Now I just let others play.”

Guilty pleasure for Brandon? That would be the reality T.V. show Big Brother. “I have watched every season and consider myself a super fan. Along with everyone else who is a fan of the show, I believe I would absolutely kill it as a contestant; most contestants right now on BB care too much what America thinks of them, and I don’t give a shit about that. I have a strategy to win all planned out and have applied to be on the show over the past few years with no luck.  My dream is to give a shout out to 311 after a jury vote. “I want to say what’s up to Tim, Chad, Nick, P-Nut, and my man SA Martineeeezzzzz….311’s got the boom y’all!!!”  So, if anyone knows any Big Brother casting directors, holla atcha boi.”

While Brandon said he feels like he’s the only 311 fan that doesn’t really like reggae that much, he does like a few bands that he was introduced to thanks to 311 like Dirty Heads, Rebelution, and Prof. He also likes Incubus, but is mostly into rappers like Kanye, 50 Cent, Post Malone, Chainz, and Lil Wayne.

For what Brandon would say to 311, he directs his question directly to Nick: “To Nick about his changing of the R-word on the song Lucky. My question to Nick would be, “Of all the words you could choose from…why ‘rehard’?”  Now hear me out, for all I know, he is not saying ‘rehard’, as I have not seen the updated lyrics, so if he is saying something else that makes sense and not just replacing one letter of the R-word, then it’s a moot point, but let’s say it is ‘rehard’.  “Why?”  I think a better option would be to replace the word with “Jake Paul”. ‘Bernard’ and ‘hard’ have a certain drawl on the song that I think it could be pulled off… “I throw down like a crazy Jake Pauuu(l)”.  I think there would be a certain inuendo there for us old school fans.  Plus, Jake Paul might talk about it, which would open 311’s music to a younger fan base. Possibly re-record/release and “Lucky” goes tik tok viral…who knows?  All I know is, I’m not a fan of ‘rehard’ (it’s my opinion, chill) …and I want my 10%.”

Now here are his words to the other 311 fans out there:

Hello other fans,

If you read all the way to this point, thank you.  My personal message to you is just me wanting to spread some knowledge that I have learned from my years on this Earth.  First, buy a washlet (toilet seat bidet/$200). It will change your life forever if used properly (fill up the chamber, empty out the chamber…think: fracking). My hope is to normalize washlets in the States like they are in Japan so that I can go on vacation and there will always be one available. Second, join the revolution…of only tipping employees who make below the standard minimum wage.  As you may have seen, every place under the moon is now displaying a tipping option.  It’s ok not to tip on everything. Don’t feel pressured because you think you will be judged. Whenever you find yourself in that moment, just think back to this spotlight and know I think you’re a dope for tipping. And finally, if you ever get a tattoo with writing, always triple check it once it’s on you, but before the tattooing starts, no matter how stoned you might be… or you might find yourself with a slightly different quote than what you expected…with that said…

“Stay Positive and Live Your Life” – Brandon Scott 

Thank you Brandon for sharing your story with everyone! Of course, many, many thanks to the readers each week. Thank you for coming back and being the amazing people you are. Have an excellent week!

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight #370 – 8/29/22 – Eric Midgett!

Hello everyone out there in 311 nation! It’s that time again, let’s read the story of another awesome fan. This week we meet Eric Midgett!

Eric went to boarding school during high school and his roommate would occasionally play the albums Grassroots, Music, and the blue album. “Grassroots really resonated with me. I was into grunge at the time, so I think the guitar tone of the dirty stuff pulled me in. I bought Grassroots first that Fall and have been hooked ever since. I’ve always been into guitar and think the different styles and tones drew me to their music. You can listen to a song with 3-4 genres influencing it and it just works!”

Show count for Eric is at 32, he uses Setlist.fm to track them. First show for him was at the 1996 H.O.R.D.E Festival in Virginia Beach, Virginia. “While my first show was a festival set and short, it was memorable because I remember Nick wearing a leg cast.  That said, he was full of energy and still moved around quite well.  My first 311 headliner show was about a month later in Richmond, VA, and had the Urge and Deftones open.”

Picking a favorite show or event was tough for Eric, but he chose the first show he saw with two of his best friends Keith and John (both are pictured above). “On a whim, we decided to drive from Virginia Beach to Charlottesville to see 311 play at a small club called Trax (where Dave Matthews got his start).  While the three of us were friends, this was our first time really all hanging out together and our first road trip. We got there very early and were surprised to see a couple of people already in line. We were maybe the 3rd or 4th group of people in line and had Papa Johns delivered to the curb at one point. ??  We were able to get on the rail in front of miT the whole time.  This show was before Soundsystem was released, so we heard “Life’s Not a Race,” “Eons,” and “Freeze Time” before most people. To top off a great day, I got a guitar pick personally handed to me by miT and his setlist after the show (attached). I think Keith ended up catching 2 drumsticks.  Another interesting part of this show was that besides 311 Day, this was the only time I recall seeing 311 without an opener.”

Picking a favorite song was also hard for Eric. He said while it’s not his favorite album, Evolver got him through some tough times in life. ” It kind of came out at a perfect time and really seemed to speak directly to me with “Reconsider Everything,” “Seems Uncertain,” and “Don’t Dwell” specifically.  Without the changes I made at that time of my life listening to that album, I would not be where I am today with the amazing family and friends I am surrounded by.”

For favorite lyrics, Eric said the song “It’s Alright” really resonates strongly with him. “It’s alright, wherever you are right now. I tell you it’s alright, that’s where you’re supposed to be now.”

Virginia Beach is where Eric grew up, and he’s also lived in Central Florida and the Atlanta area. His first concert was Weezer. Then behind 311 the next band he’s seen the most is Dave Matthews Band. After high school he worked retail which is where he met his two best friends, Keith and John. “Kmart funded many of our concert road trips between 1999 and 2003.  I am an Atlanta Braves fan and like a lot of their fans, I started watching them on TBS in the 90’s.  That said, I am a baseball fan first and a Braves fan second.  I just love the game and unlike a lot of fans of specific teams, I do not hate other teams’ players, but rather just focus on my team’s success and great play.”

Fun fact about Eric is that he enjoys woodworking and has built a couple of guitars. He also wants to get into home brewing but needs to find the time. ” If I won the lottery, I think I would want to have a brewery and guitar workshop on a beach somewhere.”

When asked what makes him unique, Eric said that over the years he has become very understanding of different perspectives and really tries to avoid judging people. “Social Media has made that challenging but at the same time has helped me train and grow that ability.  I generally give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove me otherwise.”

Guilty pleasure for Eric is that he loves watching pro wrestling. ” A lot of people “grow” out of it, but I am still intrigued and fascinated by it as an art form. While I do not watch every show, it’s one of those things I can miss for a while and then pick right back into without missing a beat.”

As for other musicians that Eric loves, the list includes The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Clash, Metallica, Joe Bonamassa, Dave Matthews Band, Incubus, Muse, Dirty Heads, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and the Strokes. “I’ve been fortunate to follow some great people on Twitter that have introduced me to other stuff as well like Royal Blood, Mariachi El Brox, Animals As Leaders, Mastadon, Rebelution, Grateful Dead, and many more others.”

To 311, Eric has this message: “I appreciate everything you have given so much to us over the past 30+ years and no matter what the future brings, those memories will remain. Please continue to take care of yourselves. Cheers and I hope I can have a beer (or 3) with Pnut and SA one day!”

Now here are his words to all the other 311 fans out there:

“Thank you for every random chat and conversation over the last 25 years of shows. Continue to stay true to yourself and don’t waste your energy on those that want to bring you down.”

Many thanks to Eric for sharing his story with us all! Of course, much gratitude to all the readers out there. Thank you for the support. Hope you all have an amazing week!

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight #369 – 8/22/22 – Brandy Sirk Rakes!

Hello again my friends out there in 311 nation! Are we ready for the newest addition to the 311 fan spotlight? Let’s meet Brandy Sirk Rakes!

It was when the self-titled Blue album was released that Brandy became a fan. She was in the 7th grade and heard “Down” on the radio. “I was blown away. They were so different from the grunge/alternative music I was into at the time. When I finally got my hands on the CD, I knew I’d be a fan for life. The melodies, beats and harmonies – what’s not to love?”

As for live shows, Brandy thinks she’s only seen 311 live about 5-6 times, outside of seeing them on the cruise. First show for her was in Dallas, Texas, in 2001. “I went with my best friend who was also a huge fan. It was an amazing show! :)” Favorite event for her was the 2012 cruise. “I went with my husband to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. We had the BEST time and we met some great people. Watching 311 perform on the beach was definitely the highlight of the trip!”

While she couldn’t narrow it down to one song in particular, Brandy said the whole album “Soundsystem” is special to her. “Not only is the album badass, but the reoccurring theme of being true to who you are was what I needed at the time. I was 17 when the album was released, so not a kid and not quite an adult. I think that’s definitely the point in life where you realize that being “cool” isn’t important and it really is ok to be yourself.”

Lyrics that really connect with Brandy are from “Beyond the Gray Sky.” She said the words are just so powerful. “I think we’ve all known someone who’s wanted to, or maybe has, ended their own life. The song is a reminder that you are loved and that things can get better… one day you’ll see the clear blue.”

Brandy was born in Germany, where her father was stationed at the time. They lived there for 3 years before moving to Nebraska, not far from Omaha. When her parents divorced she and her mom moved to a tiny town in Arkansas. “I lived there until I got married and we moved to the Little Rock area. I currently work in the legal department for a public utility.”

Fun fact about Brandy is that she has a degree in Geology! She’s also a very organized person. “I have lists and spreadsheets about things I need to do and goals to reach. I even help my friends keep their lives in order. Haha.” Guilty pleasure for her is the soap opera “General Hospital.” ” I know, I know. I’ve been watching it since I was a little kid, and I can’t give it up.”

When not listening to 311, other artists jamming on Brandy’s playlist include The Toadies, Queens of the Stone Age, Primus, Nirvana, and Stone Temple Pilots, just to name a few.

To 311, Brandy would like to say these words: “Thanks for not only creating great music, but for building a community.”

Now her words to all the other fans out there:

“Enjoy the music and forget about everything else! :)”

Thank you Brandy for sharing your story with us all! Of course, many thanks to all the readers each time. Thanks for coming back each edition. Have an amazing week friends.

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight #368 – 8/8/22 – Lauren Shetterly!

Welcome back my friends out there in 311 nation! Are we ready to meet another awesome fan? This week we check out the story of Lauren Shetterly!

It was when Lauren started high school that she became aware of 311. She had friends who would listen to them a lot and she thought they really had a unique sound, different than the alt rock and grunge she was currently listening to. “To hear something like 311, really made me pay attention. The way the music made me feel is what I remember. The melody, the musicianship, the vocals. Even when I hear 311 today, it takes me back to that time when I initially discovered them. What furthered my fandom was when I met my high school sweetheart, who is my boyfriend today (we got back together later in life), he was a big fan, and we would listen to 311 together. I still have the 311 mixed CD he gave me back in 2005.”

First show for Lauren was close to her hometown, at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia. “I was in high school. My dad was really into going to concerts with me during that time, and I had told him about 311 and played a bunch of their songs for him beforehand, and he was jazzed. I remember by the time we left the show, we both said WOW. My dad became a big 311 fan after that.”

When asked what her favorite show or event has been, she said nothing compares to seeing them on the cruise. “My boyfriend and I went on the last 311 cruise- our first time. For the first show on the boat, we were in the hot tub, hanging out with some rad people and enjoying the concert from there. It was such an incredible experience- will never forget it.”

As for songs that hold a special place in her heart, she said they are the ones that remind her of special moments with her boyfriend. “Give Me A Call, Eons, and Crack the Code are some of the main ones that come to mind.” As for lyrics that she loves, she chose these: “Ask me if I’m not blind,I can, I can read all the signs. So many have died, So many out of their minds. Thank your lucky stars, You got it good it’s not hard. To be what you are, Thank your lucky stars.”

Manassas, Virginia, is where Lauren is originally from. Then at 18 she moved to San Diego for her undergraduate degree and never left. “The great thing about San Diego is that there are so many great music venues and there’s always shows coming through the area, so I’m typically always going to concerts. At this point, I’ve definitely seen hundreds. And we all know that the type of crowds at concerts can vary, but at every 311 show, the fans in the crowd are always the chillest, nicest people to hang with.”

Fun facts about Lauren – she has a WSET Level 2 wine certification, she’s been playing roller derby for 10 years, and she spends a lot of her free time doing animal rescue. “It’s very rare when I don’t have rescue kitties at my house.” In the same line of animal rescue, Lauren said she is a cat whisperer. “In rescue I’ve dealt with many challenging cases, but it’s very rare when I can’t get a cat to calm down and begin to like me. PS one of my secrets is gerber baby food- it’s kitty crack- they love it ;)”

Guilty pleasure for Lauren, outside of going to concerts, is watching some of her favorite T.V. shows over and over. “Trailer Park Boys, Roseanne, Schitt’s Creek, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, etc. I love to have them on all the time at my house, sometimes even just as background noise- it’s almost a source of comfort.” Now her biggest guilty pleasure, she said, is actually wine. “My boyfriend is now in the wine industry and within the last 5 years we’ve travelled to several wine regions, and we’ve just fallen in love with it. So any vacation, any outing, typically revolves around what wine we’re going to drink, and then of course, what we’re going to eat, as he also is a former chef. If we’re not talking about what we’re going to eat and drink, then I don’t know what there is to talk about, haha!”

For other artists Lauren can be found listening to, she said she’s really all over the map. “I love 90s alt rock- smashing pumpkins is one of my all-time favorites. I love classic rock- Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Toto, Hall & Oates. I also love hip-hop- Pusha T, Joyner Lucas, JID, Kendrick, & Eminem. At any given moment, I’m hopping around from one genre to another. Right now I’m really into the new Prof stuff– been a fan since I saw him on the last cruise!”

Lauren’s message to 311 is this: “THANK YOU for really making the music that helps me document my life. So many songs have such profound meanings in key times in my life. You guys have had such an incredibly positive impact on my life. Attending the cruise for the first time in 2019 was life-changing. The music, the vibe, every single person we met was so kind and amazing- it really restores your faith in humanity. And that’s a true testament to you guys, bringing that group of people together to have such a harmonious and memorable experience.”

Now her words to all you other awesome fans out there:

“Thank you for being such a rad group of people. It was incredible to meet some of you on the last cruise. Really look forward to meeting more of you on the next one. Such positive vibes all around- love and appreciate it so much!”

Many thanks to Lauren for sharing your story with us all! Of course, big shout out to all the supporters of this blog each week. Happy cruise booking week to all that are attending next year! Sending you all positive vibes.

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight #367 – 8/1/22 – Melody Shepard!

Hey there 311 nation! Welcome to the latest edition of the fan spotlight. This week let’s meet Melody Shepard!

It was in the mid 1990’s when Melody heard 311 on the radio, plus her older sister loved them. The first show she technically saw them at was in in 90’s at The Meadows, where she was supposed to be finding and collecting her older sister. 311 was opening for Everclear. The first time that was planned for her tsee them was a meet & greet that her mom had won tickets to off of the radio. “Webster Theater in Hartford. I was a super awkward teenager, I think I was like… 14 or 15 at the time. I still have the photo.”

For show count, Melody is somewhere around 15, including 311 Day 2016 and 2018. As for favorite show, she said it was hands down 311 Day 2016. “My sister and I had discovered the Cruise. We were going to go together, but some things happened and we couldn’t go. So when I heard about the two day show in NOLA, I was like “We HAVE to go.” I was living check to check. I skimped and saved for MONTHS. Did side jobs, saved up everything I possibly could, because I knew that I would probably never be able to do something like this ever again. Being in that arena PACKED full of people with the same vibe and energy was the most insane experience of my life. I had the absolute time of my life, happy slam dancing in the aisle with an Amber ale in my hand. We had also learned of Erik’s All Star’s and we got our jersey’s the next available order session. I think it may have been one of the last batches he did. To this day, every time I hear “Island Sun” I get hurled back to that night they debuted it. And occasionally I will go on YouTube and rewatch the opening night, and get goosebumps all over again. I also got my first 311 tattoo while we were there at Electric Ladyland Tattoo. I got the 311 bars in the Mardi Gras colors.”

Picking a favorite song is obviously a difficult question for any fan, and it was the same for Melody. “There have been so many over the years and during different events in my life… If I had to pick ONE, it would be Trouble.” For a favorite line from a song, she chose this: “When it’s all laid on the line, I can’t settle for less than everything that should be mine.”

Melody grew up as the middle child of 3 girls in central Connecticut. She lived in the state her whole life but will be moving to New York state in a year or two. To fund her 311 habit, she’s always busted her butt at retail jobs or listened to the radio to win tickets. “The 311 summer tour was something I always looked forward to. Driving as far north as to experience the BallRoom at Hampton Beach in NH and driving down to Long Island to see them at a music fest when they also played with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.”

Simple and down to Earth is how Melody would describe herself. She loves animals, being out in the woods, and peace & quiet. “Gardening is my therapy. We have two cats, a dog, an african grey, a tortoise and two frogs.” Melody has also managed to convert her boyfriend into becoming a fan. “I talked him into planning a trip out to visit his brother in NV around their show at Mandalay Bay with New Politics after we had already seen them in Hartford XD. We also went to 311 day 2018 in Vegas together, and met everyone else that had gotten stranded trying to get back to New England. I also catch him singing along in the car too.”

Want to know a fun fact about Melody? She can talk to horses! “In non-horse people talk, that just means I’ve got good horse sense.” If you can’t tell, she has a passion for animals and wildlife.  “I’ve spent the last 4 years here at my home turning our yard into a sanctuary for insects. I raise Monarch Butterflies every summer, and recently have added Black Swallowtails to that list. For monarchs the only plant their caterpillar eat is called Milkweed. I’ve spent all these years cultivating it to grow in my yard as well as finding and digging up young plants to transplant to my yard. Last summer I raised and released over 200 Monarch Butterflies. We also now have the best fireflies in the neighborhood and dragonflies the size of humming birds (That I also put out feeders for) We use no pesticides what so ever and never treat our lawn.”

Guilty pleasure for Melody she said is house plants. “I probably spend more time and money on them than I “should” but I love them and they make my office look like a jungle. I’m a sucker for a Philodendron or a Pothos lol.”

When not listening to 311, Melody can be found jamming out to bands such as Linkin’ Park, Clutch, NCS, and Jules Gaia.

To 311, Melody would like to send these words: “Thank you so much for all your years of love for your fans and giving of yourselves to your craft.”

Now here is her message to all the other fans out there:

“You guys are all amazing. Everyone I’ve ever met at any of the shows I’ve been to over the years, or even just on the Familia FB page. Keep Livin’ and a rockin’.”

Many thanks to Melody for sharing her 311 story! Of course, a huge shout out of gratitude to all the readers of each edition. Have an amazing week, sending lots of light to all of you.

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight #366 – 7/18/22 – Colin Murray!

Hey there 311 Excitables! It’s time for the latest edition of the fan spotlight. This week we meet Colin Murray!

It was the song “Don’t Stay Home” that was the first 311 tune Colin heard and he was immediately hooked. “I remember the chorus and the last verse always being so fun to sing along to and just had my head bopping. I liked that their sound was a little different than what had been on the radio, and for the first time actually paying attention to lyrics and understanding the meaning to or behind a song.”

For show count, Colin is sitting at 61 but will add one more by the end of the year when he attends Richmond in September. “I’ve done five 311 days (’04, ’10, ’12, ’16, ’18), and two cruises (V, VI). My first show was 8/29/1997 at Nissan Pavilion (now called Jiffy Lube Live) in Virginia. I still have the ticket stub, signed by Pnut. One of these days I hope to get the whole band to sign it.”

As for favorite show, Colin said it was hard to choose since there were so many great ones. His first 311 Day in 2004 helped him understand just how magical and special the band is, for being able to have fans travel across the country for this amazing show. Then he also mentioned the cruise in 2019. “That was one of the first events I did without any friends from home and planned only with my 311 crew I had met thru different fan groups. Seeing them at Red Rocks in 2019 was also really amazing.”

The song “Use of Time” has been one of Colin’s favorite songs since it came out. “Hard to even put it into words but there’s just something about that rock ballad and Tim’s solos that make you get lost. I often close my eyes and just soak those moments in. Other favorites include Plain (just a fun jam), and Don’t Stay Home (for nostalgia).”

Answering another tough question, Colin had to choose some favorite lyrics and said there are so many it’s hard to narrow it down. He said all the typical positive ones stand out. The ones he quoted include: “Can’t fade me, still in the same ol trade of positivity,” “The jaded ones will wither while we optimistic grow,” and “We spend our lives, learning, if you like learning, life is large…it could never be only the ups, the downs will always come around.” Colin also said he loves pretty much every line of SA’s in “Offbeat Bare Ass.” “Just so funny.”

Colin grew up around Northern Virginia and is still living in that area, about 20 minutes west of where he went to high school, in Loudon County. He graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in business. He has three sisters – one blood and two step-sisters – with 2 1/2 years separating them all.

For work, Colin currently is managing the band Of Good Nature on the day-to-day operations and he tours with them as the tour manager. “When I’m not traveling with OGN I have been known to work merch for Ballyhoo! (I’m also an admin for their fan group). I also help book and coordinate shows for Hill Country Barbeque in DC, which has a 260-cap concert room on the lower level, and support a couple of other bands on an admin level with my business partner.”

Interesting fact about Colin is that for most of his life, he only went to concerts at big arena’s and pavilions. He also only went if friends were going. “In 2018 I changed that, and went by myself to see Tunnel Vision, Kash’d Out, and Seranation at Jammin Java, a small local venue, and while the crowd was quite small (barely 50 people), I reveled in the smaller nature of that scene, especially the interaction with the artists hanging out at the merch tables. I decided I was not going to miss another show like that just because friends couldn’t/didn’t want to go, plus I found something freeing about going to a show by myself. I quickly found multiple fan groups online and started seeing the same people at shows, so made a bunch of new friends; a music family across different bands and people. I went to 30 shows in 2018, and 62 in 2019!”

It was in July of 2019 that Colin first helped out Of Good Nature with merch at Jammin’ Java, He absolutely loved it and felt like that was what he needed to be doing. “I spent the next six months trying to learn more about the industry, volunteering with local bands to help with merch and other things. I reconnected with OGN in January 2020 and did my first road trip, a three-show run with Badfish and Ballyhoo!. We immediately knew we had a team and a good thing going, and was eventually offered and accepted a Tour Manager position with them for their six-week tour with The Expendables that kicked off in March 2020…well, we know what happened next. Thankfully I could stay at my regular job and just pulled double duty helping them on the few “socially distant”/”limited capacity” shows and basically interning as a manager. OGN signed on with Fatback Artist Management in spring of 2021, and I was brought on to maintain and expand my role as manager.”

Something fun people may not know about Colin is that he’s only had 3 jobs in his life. “13 years with Best Buy, 13 years in a basic corporate type job, and now with OGN for a year. Not many my age have had such few jobs!” Guilty pleasure for Colin is the show “America’s Got Talent.” “I’m a total nerd for magicians and mentalists and love seeing those types of acts. They usually have decent comedians too and I love good stand up.”

The other two bands that are long-standing favorites of Colin’s are Incubus and Chevelle. He’s also big in to Ballyhoo!, Passafire, The Movement, Joey Harkum, Bumpin’ Uglies, Little Stranger, The Elovaters, and of course, Of Good Nature.

To 311, Colin would like to send this message:

“Thank you for creating such good, positive lyrics and beautiful music, and for sticking together for so long. 30 years takes an incredible amount of dedication and selflessness, and we the fans are incredibly lucky to have this from our favorite band.”

Now here are his words to the other 311 fans out there:

“I’m humbled by all the friendships and relationships I’ve made from being a fan of the band, and you all have become some of my closest friends over the years. Thank you for bringing me into your worlds! I miss all of you and hope to see you soon, at a 311 show, or on the road!”

Thanks Colin for being a part of the 311 Fan Spotlight! Many, many thanks to the readers and supporters also. Sending you all so much positive vibes and hope you have an amazing week.

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight #365 – 7/11/22 – Suzanne Travis!

Hello my friends out there in 311 nation! Who wants to read a new fan spotlight? This week we get to learn the story of the lovely Suzanne Travis!

It was Suzanne’s husband Brett who ended up getting her into 311, he’s been a fan since 1994. It took her several years of convincing though before she gave 311 a chance. “I’m an Aries and can be stubborn but he likes a lot of heavy stuff which is not my style. I happened to hear Blake Lewis on American Idol cover All Mixed Up, and decided to give it a try.”

First show for Suzanne was in Atlanta in August of 2006, which at the time was 311’s biggest show ever (18,000 tickets sold). “Because I came to the scene late, my husband gave me the entire catalog of studio albums at the same time. I listened nonstop and crammed to make sure I’d know everything played. I was doing pretty great until the first encore when the opened with “Summer of Love”. He hadn’t given me that album so I had no clue. I was so mad at the time, but now I’d give anything to hear it on a semi-regular basis.”

Show count that Suzanne is currently at is 173, which is 14 behind Brett. “We’ve seen them in 45 states so far (West Virginia will be #46 in Sept 2022). That will leave only Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Delaware.” With all of those shows, naturally Suzanne had difficulty picking a favorite. She has a few favorites for different reasons. “During the event: Cruise 2 Beach Show. There’s never been anything like it before or since. We knew it was special at the time and it remains a top show for me.
Looking back: Pow Wow 2011. That was a hard one. There was so much prep involved to get there, make sure we had the things we needed for the weekend. It was hot, muggy, and camping is not my thing. But that event was a turning point in my 311 life, and Transistor was cemented as my favorite album. I listen to the live version/watch the video regularly and think how fantastic it all was.”

For song that means the most to her, Suzanne said it has to be “All ReMixed Up.” “It is the song that got me into their catalog and it is sort of mine and Brett’s “song”. The live version with the “My dreams are made of your love”, “your love brightens my life”, and “your love keeps me warm” – that’s about as sappy as we get, but I’m always happy to hear that song at the shows.”

While she said that she’s not really great with lyrics, one of Suzanne’s top songs is “Speak Easy.” “I always cry a little bit when I hear it because it has such a special place in my heart. ‘Out on the ocean; There’s no one around; No one to hear a sound; It’s just us out here; Out on the ocean; Speaking free.” Another special song for her is “Tranquility.” “We’ve lost quite a few wonderful members of the 311 Community over the past few years. I just try to remember: ‘Don’t be afraid, it’s all part of the plan for us; All that you hold dear; Is on the other side of that fear.”

Suzanne is from a relatively small town in East Tennessee. She spent most of her life living in various parts of the state including Memphis, and Mufreesboro/Nashville. “In 2013, we moved to Indianapolis due to my work. Because of 311, we had tons of friends immediately which made the transition so much easier, for which I’m forever grateful.”

For work, Suzanne said she is a pharmacist but jokes that she “plays one on T.V.” because she hasn’t dispensed any medications since 2007 and hasn’t counseled any patients since 2010. She currently works for a specialty pharmacy in a non-clinical role.

Fun fact about Suzanne is that in college she earned her certification to be a lifeguard! “I never really put it to use until 2004 when we were snorkeling in Mexico. Brett got overwhelmed in the ocean and I was able to pull/swim him to shore.”

Unique attribute for Suzanne is that she is really great at navigating and has a good sense of direction. “I’ve been a designated navigator since high school during church trips with ACTUAL MAPS! Don’t ask me about left and right because I mix those up all the time but I can get us where we need to go.”

Other musicians that Suzanne loves include Ghostwolf, Los Stellarians, The Skints, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sleigh Bells, Santigold, and Bikini Trill. She and Brett even traveled to France in 2019 for two shows by The Skints. She’s also a big fan of 70’s and 80’s music, so she loves Pat Benatar, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Air Supply, Jimmy Buffett, ABBA, and Christopher Cross.

Suzanne has a message directed to the families of the band and crew: “Thank you to the families of the band and crew. We know you sacrifice a lot for the fans, and it’s really appreciated beyond measure.”

Now her words for the members of 311: “Thank you for some amazing memories and experiences. Please keep mixing up the setlists and we will keep traveling.”

And now Suzanne’s message to all the other fans out there:

“We’ve been to a lot of places and met a lot of really wonderful fans around the US (and abroad). I’m so grateful for all of the friends we’ve made along the way. You’ve made our lives exciting and full of good times. Thanks for being amazing. <3”

Thank you so much Suzanne for sharing your story with us all! Per the usual, a huge shout out of gratitude to the readers and supporters each week. Wishing you all the best and can’t wait to see some of you at the shows this fall.

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight #364 – 7/4/22 – Mike DeGuzman!

Photo Credit: Kim Mock

Hello friends out there in 311 nation. Happy 4th of July 2022! We have a special treat for you this week, as we get to learn the story of Passafire’s own Mike DeGuzman!

Mike’s brother was really into agressive in-line skating and they used to watch Hoax 2 Anarchy Across America repeatedly on VHS. “It introduced me to bands like Sublime, Pennywise, Rancid, and 311.  “Feels So Good” was the featured song when they were skating in Chicago.  This is also where I heard “All Mixed Up,” before it ever became a radio hit.  At this point, I hadn’t heard any band like 311… I was hooked.”

For show count, Mike says he really doesn’t know the number. He saw them a few of times before he joined Passafire and then he was fortunate to open for 311 on the 2012 and 2019 cruises. His first time seeing them was at Summerfest in Milwaukee in 2003, with G. Love & Special Sauce.

As for favorite show, he said when he went to the first 311 Day in Las Vegas it was memorable because it was his birthday. However his favorite moment of any show he went to was the beach show in Harvest Caye on the 2012 cruise.

One song that always stands out to Mike is “Do You Right” because it was the first song that he covered in the first band he ever joined when he was in high school. As for favorite lyrics, he loves, “Fuck the bullshit, it’s time to throw down.” ” No deep meaning or reason, it’s just hype as fuck. :)”

Born in Chicago, Mike was raised just outside of the city in the suburbs. He has four older brothers and two loving parents that have always supported everything he does. While his teenage years had him focused on sports, by the time college rolled around he had lost interest and started focusing more on playing music. “Throughout the years of playing in high school / college bands, I’ve covered 311, Sublime, Slightly Stoopid, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.  As a fan of this scene, I hadn’t noticed that many piano players were covering their songs.  So I went ahead and posted a bunch of reggae/rock piano covers on YouTube (http://youtube.com.hilda55.com/playlist?list=PL98028998619BA837).”

Eventually The Expendables came across his cover of “Down Down Down” and invited him to come play with them at their House of Blues Chicago show in January 2010. “Passafire was one of the opening bands on this tour.  They remembered me sitting in on keys and eventually asked me to play keyboards for them full-time.  The rest is history.  I’ve been living & breathing the reggae/rock scene for 11.5 years now & am forever grateful for all the opportunities that have come along the way.”

Fun fact about Mike is that he has a degree in Information Systems from Northern Illinois University and he worked in email marketing before quitting to join Passafire. He’s also a former Illinois state champion wrestler! “I hold the all-time wins & pins varsity record at Hinsdale South High School.” As for guilty pleasure, Mike loves playing Disc Golf! “Peep my hashtag on Instagram #MikeDiscGuzman.”

Being a musician, there are many bands and artists that peak Mike’s interest. He grew up listening to jam bands like Phish, String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, and Umphrey’s McGee. “Nowadays, my playlist is all over the place… Khruangbin, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tycho, Odesza, The Midnight, Ahmad Jamal, Gene Harris, Animals As Leaders, Post Malone, & so on.”

To 311, Mike would like to say these words: “Please bring Passafire back on the Cruise… it’s on my birthday next year! ?? “

Now here are his words to all the other 311 (and Passafire) fans out there:

“Playing on the 2012 311 Cruise was arguably the best thing to ever happen for Passafire.  Our fan group (Passafire Army http://www.facebook.com.hilda55.com/groups/PassafireArmy/) was formed from 311 fans shortly after this cruise… shout out Joe Kirk!  We’ve not only gained a ton of fans from this community, but have also become life long friends with many of you along the way.  On behalf of the band, I just want to say thank you for all of your support!  We would be nothing without y’all. ??”

Thanks Mike for sharing your 311 story! Heads up everyone, Passafire is going on tour this summer with Iration, Atmosphere, and The Grouch/DJ Fresh. Be sure to check them out on the Sunshine & Summer Nights Tour if you can! You won’t be dissapointed. Now go have an amazing week my friends. Stay positive & love your life!

Much Love – The Runt

311 Fan Spotlight #363 – 6/20/22 – JD Coulter!

Hello again Excitable nation! Who wants to read a new fan spotlight? Let’s get this party started – here is JD Coulter!

JD was introduced to 311 in the year 1998, when a friend of hers had her listen to the blue album. Flash forward a few years later and she stumbled upon “Transistor.” That’s the album that solidified her love for 311. “I remember one of my friends had the ETSD movie on VHS tape, and we would watch it after school, totally intrigued by these diehard 311 fans doing hardcore things like “the milk challenge.” I had to know more, I needed to learn every album. And every album has been the soundtrack to an era of my life at some point. My favorite always changes.”

While JD may have lost count of how many shows she has attended, she believes it’s around 10. First show for her was in 2003 at the Meadowbrook Farm in Gilford, New Hampshire, with O.A.R. and Something Corporate. As for favorite show, she said it’s definitely 311 Day 2014 in New Orleans. “It was my first time to NOLA and Bourbon Street. I got to stay in a haunted bed and breakfast! But my favorite part by far was seeing 311 play with the Unity Orchestra.”

The song that means the most to JD is “Eons.” As for favorite lyric, this one was actually her yearbook quote and it’s from Hostile Apostle: “Some people live for the rules, I live for exceptions.”

JD is the age of 36 and was born and raised in Connecticut. She tries to catch 311 shows in the New England area whenever she can. ” I’ve been married for 8 years to my husband Andrew. I have a 15 year old son, Dylan. He is my world, and also a 311 fan!”

Fun fact about JD is that she loves hiking and exploring the outdoors. She also said writing is her passion. “I’m writing a poetry book.” As for guilty pleasure, she loves nerdy stuff and crossword puzzles.

As for other musicians JD can be found jamming out to, they include the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Modest Mouse, and Radiohead. She also likes hip-hop as well. “Super eclectic.”

For her message to the band, JD would like to say: “Thanks for reaching me with your positivity and attaching your music to my memories.”

Now here is her simple but awesome message to all the other 311 fans:

“Don’t worry, be happy.”

Many thanks to JD for being a part of the fan spotlight! As always, my love and gratitude goes out to everyone who reads these fun little quips. Hope you all have an amazing week!

Much Love – The Runt

Sharing excitable stories, one 311 fan at a time!

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