After 25 years 311 keeps on Livin & Rockin!
By Kyle J. Susalla
The silver anniversary celebration of the band is officially underway with a cross country summer tour and a very special release that is sure to keep their loyal following of diehard fans excitable. Aaron ‘P-Nut’ Wills, the man whom in his own words “manipulates the bass for 311” checked in with us at HEAR to chat about the milestone, the shows, the release, and more as it all kicks off!
“It’s fun to say to people who don’t know. That has been the most recent leverage that I’ve noticed; People that aren’t in the fold and have no idea really. ‘What band are you in?’ does come up now and then and I say oh, I’m in 311… we’ve been around for 25 years. They’re like ‘oh, cool!’ So it makes sense, even if they have no reference for it whatsoever, that they understand we must have a terribly awesome fan base, the band must be stable obviously, and we must have had some success along the way here or there. It kind of says it all being able to last this long.” P-Nut proclaimed, in regards to the feeling of having a quarter century of longevity under their belts.
For the aforementioned terribly awesome fan base (who most certainly are in the fold) 311 has just released a limited edition box set entitled ArcHIVE. A greatest hits album this is not. The band dug deep into their vault of recordings from over the years and unleashed 81 tracks worth of unreleased material, b-sides, and demos across 4 discs. Also included is a 60 page photo book of images and memorabilia spanning from the early years to the present. “We’ve done the greatest hits thing and knew that our fans had already purchased everything we’ve released. We wanted to give them the other stuff that we sort of had lying around. This was an idea that started a couple years ago beginning as whispers and then it turned into go time and we started getting it all assembled with the content and art and I really love the way the package came together. The photo booklet is wonderful. It’s fun to flip through all those memories and have it all so well documented because it’s like summer vacations for 25 years straight!” said P-Nut. ArcHIVE can most assuredly be dubbed a must own for any fan of 311, the sound is amazing as the tracks maintain the era specific vibe to when they were recorded and the demos really provide a peek into the creative process of the group. Also, I’m told that we can expect to hear some of this material sprinkled into their set lists this summer.
It would be impossible for a group to last this long and be able to put out a release such as this without having built a loyal following, especially with the ways in which the music industry has changed over the course of their career. “We’ve always concentrated on the live show and that will really serve any group. No matter if you’re a DJ or a bar band you need to put it on stage and make people feel you.” P-Nut says. It’s the best advice that he can offer to any band trying to make it these days, as the strategy has clearly paid dividends for 311.
We’re just a couple days away from getting our taste here in Detroit, as 311 will hit the stage at DTE Music Theater on Thursday the 9th. They are joining in the lineup of the revived HORDE festival, co-headlining with Blues Traveler. “It has probably been about 13 years if not more since we’ve played with those guys, which is crazy. We’re honored and can’t wait to be there pounding it out! Along with Big Head Todd as well and the Verve Pipe it’s going to be a great time and we’re really excited about it.” says P-Nut. Tickets are still available for the show which starts at 5pm Thursday. Come on out as it is going to be one of the most fun concerts of the summer and for many of us is sure to bring back some adolescent memories.
You can snag your own copy of ArcHIVE via Amazon or at Best Buy, as well as other retailers. Keep up with all things 311 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and at 311.com
JULY 9 , 2015
DTE ENERGY MUSIC THEATRE
H.O.R.D.E. Festival, conceived by Blues Traveler frontman John Popper as a traveling roots rock and jam band festival which crisscrossed North America to record crowds from 1992-1998, makes its highly anticipated return for one US date only at DTE Energy Music Theatre on Thursday, July 9 at 5 p.m. DTE will be the only destination for this acclaimed festival revival where Blues Traveler is joined by alt-rockers 311, Big Head Todd and the Monsters and The Verve Pipe.
Tickets at $69.50, $49.50 and $25 in the pavilion, $20 on the United Shore lawn and $60 United Shore lawn four-packs go on sale Friday, May 1 at 10 a.m. at Livenation.com, Palacenet.com, The Palace Ticket Store and all Ticketmaster locations. Tickets may be also charged by phone to American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard by calling 800.745.3000.
The H.O.R.D.E. Festival began in 1992 as a solution to the dilemma of five east-coast bands that sought to avoid the club circuit in the summertime when other larger bands were playing to sold-out amphitheaters. After seven successful years, the final H.O.R.D.E. date took place on September 5, 1998 at Portland Meadows in Portland, Oregon.
Multi-platinum rock group 311 have developed a reputation as one of the most entertaining live bands in the US. Their celebratory live shows and hybrid sound have earned them a massive grassroots following and a catalog of modern rock hits, including “Down,” “All Mixed Up,” “Amber,” “Come Original,” and “Beautiful Disaster.” The band’s most recent release, 2014’s Stereolithic, topped the Billboard Alternative Albums chart. In celebration of their 25th anniversary as a band, 311 will release a special 4 Disc Box Set this summer.
About Blues Traveler
For nearly three decades, the New Jersey-based band Blues Traveler has sold more than 13 million albums worldwide. Their multi-platinum album, four, featured the GRAMMY® Award-winning, Billboard top 10 smash, “Run-Around.” Blues Traveler’s most recent studio album Blow Up the Moon, is the 12th studio album and was released on April 7. Each track on the album was recorded as a collaboration, including guests 3OH!3, JC Chasez, The Dirty Heads, Rome Ramirez, Hanson, Plain White T’s, Thompson Square, Secondhand Serenade, New Hollow, Jewel, Bowling for Soup, and Thomas Ian Nicholas.
About Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Founded in Colorado in 1986, Big Head Todd and the Monsters (BHTM) catapulted out of the mountain states and into the national spotlight. With chart-topping singles and engaging live shows, BHTM has sold over three million albums and packed major venues worldwide, including selling out their home state’s historic Red Rocks Amphitheatre seven times, most recently in 2012. Most importantly, they’ve done it the old-fashioned way: with excellent songwriting, scorching guitar and fearless genre melding. The band’s most recent release is 2014’s Black Beehive, recorded at Butcher Boy Studios in Chicago.
The Verve Pipe
With a reputation for spectacular live performances, the genesis of East Lansing, Michigan band The Verve Pipe can be traced back to the early 1990s when the principal members of two rival Michigan bands joined forces. After releasing two independent albums, I’ve Suffered A Head Injury and Pop Smear, the group quickly garnered a regional following for its textured rock songs distinguished by innovative arrangements, soul-searching lyrics and layered vocals.
The success of both albums attracted the attention of RCA Records, which released their platinum major label debut Villains in 1996. The album featured the radio hit “Photograph” and the #1 single “The Freshmen,” one of the most successful multi-format tracks of 1997 and winner of an ASCAP Pop Award. Their follow-up release, the critically acclaimed self-titled LP The Verve Pipe, featured “Hero,” a Top 15 hit at Modern Rock radio. They released their first rock album in over 13 years last June with Overboard, a collection of 10 new songs including the first single “Crash Landing,” along with “Hit and Run,” “Latchkey Kid” and the haunting title track “Overboard.”
About Workshop Stage
The “Workshop Stage” will feature the Thomas Nicholas Band with frontman Thomas Ian Nicholas, who starred in the American Pie movie franchise. The band, along with bassist Clint Fowler, drummer Tim Moore and guitarist Matt Kennedy, has released five albums. Their fourth album, a self-titled EP released in March 2012, includes the single “My Generation” which is also on the American Reunion soundtrack album. Their latest album is the EP, Security, released in April 2014. Michigan funk-pop band The Ragbirds will also perform on the second stage, which will allow bands the unique opportunity to jam with each other.
In addition to the “Workshop Stage,” the festival grounds will feature local craft beer selections, vendor booths, non-profit groups, including mobile food rescue organization Forgotten Harvest; Ypsilanti non-profit Growing Hope; youth social services agency Ruth Ellis Center; Notes for Notes, which is dedicated to providing youth with free access to music instruments, instruction and recording studio environments; and Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME), a music college custom built for serious musicians who desire a long-term, professional career in modern music.