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Friday, June 20, 2008

311 Discuss Summer Tour & New Album

It's time for 311's annual summer tour and this year the band is hitting the road with Snoop Dogg! The band discusses their success and upcoming album below.

Read on and then head over to where PV is the featured Music Critic!

311 Q&A: Answers by Nick Hexum (vocals/guitar), SA Martinez (vocals/dj), P-Nut (bass).

311 is once again headlining amphitheaters this summer. In recent years, 311's live concert draw has grown larger than ever, with many shows drawing crowds of 10,000 people or more. How does the 311 touring machine continue to get bigger and stronger over the years?

NICK: I think our shows continue to grow because of the special connection that we have with our fans and that our fans have with each other. We're extremely grateful that so many people want to come to the shows and we're deeply committed to putting on an exciting show every night.

SA: I think our growing concert draw is a reflection of our growth as a band over the years. What we've been experiencing in recent years is the bridging of the generations. Some of our fans who have been with us for a long time are now sharing their musical connections with their younger siblings or even with their kids. And historically bands that have stayed together over many years tend to attract new fans as younger generations come of age and discover the music for themselves.

P-NUT: Our shows keep getting bigger for two reasons. First off: we tour every summer and because of that, it's become an annual event that people don't want to miss. People know we'll be coming and plan accordingly. Also, we have the best advertising agency in the world, OUR FANS. The people who tell their friends to come to a 311 show to have a great time have given this band longevity. We thank them for that.

311 always brings out impressive, diverse acts on tour from The Roots to Matisyahu to Papa Roach to The Wailers (and years ago Incubus, No Doubt & Korn). This summer Snoop Dogg and Fiction Plane join the bill. How do you feel about 311 and Snoop teaming up for the summer journey?

NICK: We couldn't be happier about it. We've been fans of Snoop for a long time. He has managed longevity in the hip hop world which is extremely rare. The pairing comes at a great time for 311 because the pendulum has swung back towards raps and dope beats in some of our music - so this summer will be a blast!

SA: The 311 and Snoop package is just a natural progression for both acts. We've always had diverse acts open for us because of our diverse musical stew (mixing rock & reggae & hip-hop). I think our fans will love seeing Snoop, and I think he'll definitely widen his fan base because of the match-up.

P-NUT: 311 and Snoop will be a legendary pairing that shouldn't be missed by anyone who likes musick and goodness.

What can 311 fans expect on this summer's Unity Tour?
NICK: Copious amounts of fragrant funk and rock and relaxed reggae. We tailor each set list to go with the vibe we are feeling, so each night is a unique experience.

SA. 311 fans can expect what they always expect from a 311 concert experience - a GREAT SHOW! I think our reputation speaks for itself.

P-NUT: Fans can expect to be have the times of their lives. (no refunds for having no fun).

311 has been writing material for a new album for a tentative Spring 2009 release. Has the band approached writing and recording this new album any different? What direction do you see the new songs going?

NICK: The new songs build on themes that we have started before but take them leaps and bounds further. I cannot think of a time that we have worked as hard for so long on a collection of songs. Personally, I have been expanding my knowledge of theory and learned many new jazz guitar chords so the textures are getting more complex without losing the catchiness and groove of our previous stuff. One thing we have been mindful of is writing grooves that make people want to dance. The songs are going to be great live and also interesting to just listen to on headphones.

SA. I think this album is going to be a benchmark in our career. It has come together so far like no previous 311 recording. Everything continues to evolve.

P-NUT: We are making sure this album is a fully thought-out and realized piece of creativity for all to enjoy.

311 will be recording the new album with esteemed producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi, The Cult, etc). How is that relationship with Bob going and what do you see Bob bringing to the new album?

NICK: Bob brings a fresh point of view to our music. It's the perfect fit. There have been countless times where Bob makes a suggestion and the bandmembers look at each other and say, "Why didn't we think of that?" He's an amazing engineer that is getting the best tones, but he's also very much a song guy.

SA. Bob's great. He's able to hear what belongs in the song and what is cluttering it.

P-NUT: This recording experience (so far) has been great because of having Bob at the controls; nice to learn from a new master. Bob makes sure everyone is giving their best.

311 just rocked another sold-out 3-11 Day show in New Orleans. 14,000 Tickets were sold to fans in all 50 U.S. states and 12 different countries. The band played for 5 hours (63 songs). What makes that show so special that it brings your fans together from all over the world?

NICK: 3-11-08 was one of the greatest nights of my life. There was so much energy and love in the arena. It was overwhelming but only in a good way. Our band has not won a lot of awards and such but this night really reminded us how far we and our fans have come together. It felt like winning a Grammy or something even better. I was so charged by the crowd that I didn't get tired until ninety minutes after the 5 hour show. Then I ate some pizza and fell asleep. What a night!

SA. 3-11 Day is the best. It's a lot of work, but so worth it. On everyone's part - band and fan alike. We all sacrifice for that day but the love that is shared is so important for our growth and continual transformation.

P-NUT: The sheer numbers of the 3-11 Day show makes it so special. People know we are going to put on the show of shows and since it's every other year, it's always fresh when we assemble our all star team of songs and fans. And that's what it's all about.

How do you see the next handful of years going for the band?

NICK: I expect big things for us. There is an excitement and cooperation in the studio and backstage that is palpable. I believe our fans are going to sense it at the shows and when they hear the album. There is no end in sight for us. We've gotten a second wind fueled by our fans, both old and new, that makes us very grateful. Onward we rock!

SA. The next few years, (which will fly by like they all do) I see us continuing our expansion, musically and geographically. We're going to tour more and share the love.

P-NUT: I see the next years for 311 being about taking the musick to new and expanding audiences. Respect to all 311 fans and lovers of life.


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