311, a band that is known for mixing rock, rap, reggae and funk into their own unique sound, was formed in 1990 in Omaha, Nebraska by singer/guitarist Nick Hexum, singer S.A. Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton and bassist P-Nut. After years of touring, 311 have developed a reputation as one of the most entertaining & dynamic live bands in the U.S.
In celebration of 25 years as a band, in June 2015, 311 released the 311 ARCHIVE box set – featuring 4 CD’s (81 tracks of B-sides, bonus tracks, pre-production recordings and demos from 1992-2014) plus a 60 page book of rare photos and memorabilia.
Every other year, 311 plays an arena show on March 11th (“311 DAY”) – that attracts 311’s biggest fans from around the world. Billed as “the ultimate 311 concert experience,” the show includes an extended setlist of hits, rarities and covers; backed by state-of-the-art lighting and special effects. 311 Day typically attracts over 10,000 fans (from all 50 U.S. States and 15+ countries) – and March 11th is now considered a holiday to 311 fans around the globe.
Nick Hexum took a few moments to speak with me about making it big, evolving and necessities.
Kristina Haney: At what point did you realize 311 was going to make it big?
Nick Hexum: The first time I made music with Tim and Chad in the pre-cursor band to 311, which was called Unity, I felt we had stumbled on such an explosive and unique sound. I just couldn’t wait for the world to hear it, because I felt great things awaited us. The combination of funk, punk, reggae, and hip hop hadn’t been done like we did it and my mindset was “record deal or bust!”
KH: What do you do as a band to stay relevant in the ever-evolving music industry?
NH: Staying up on the new distribution technology is part of the job. But, as an artist, it’s even more important to make sure that you put the music first and don’t get too bogged down in thinking about business. I think if you make innovative music from the heart the rest will take care of itself.
KH: Name three things you can’t live without.
NH: I can’t live without my family, the songs in my head, and a guitar to play them on!
KH: What is your favorite thing on 311 Day?
NH: The roar of the crowd when we tear into our first song is a rush beyond compare.
311 are currently writing and recording their 12th studio album for projected release in early 2017. The band’s previous album, STEREOLITHIC, debuted at #6 on the Top 200 Album Chart. The guys are set to play at Pot of Gold Music Festival in Chandler, AZ on March 19th. Buy concert tickets and learn more about their upcoming performances here. Purchase a CD here or visit their online store to purchase a vinyl record, as well as other merchandise.