Chill. light on my sight as my ego becomes
A funky child with some words on my tongue
Be like intake of breath and my mouth gets loose
While I scatter my spit I dream of juice
Have you ever made out in dark hallways
Displayed a kiss that made your day or say
Play a track from your record collection
Its your mix, congratulations
Weve changed a lot and then some some
Know that we have always been down down
And if I ever didnt thank you you
Then just let me do it now
I bet you light up when we start the show follow me now
Very closely because I told you so you know
We glow because we throw sun rays
We be freaky and we wanna stay
Lightning strikes yo we be in that violent force of light
Guaranteed to turn it out as bad as dolemite
cuz were dope kid change like a chameleon
And the channel whenever that wack show real world is on
You know we dazzle like ghetto box boomin battles
Rattle inside your head feel redeemed like cola bottles
Fall in love with you teachers on the wax
We are self made check the technique 311 in la
Keep my feet on the ground
Keep my head in the clouds
Electrified by the sound
Comes from the down
311 (pronounced "three eleven") is an American alternative rock band originating from Omaha, Nebraska. Their unique musical structure incorporates a variety of musical styles including rap, punk rock, ska, reggae, and funk.
311 has enjoyed commercial success stemming from its rabid fan base. Since their self-titled album in 1995, all but one of their albums (the exception being Live) have been in the top 15 of the Billboard 200. 19 of their singles have received significant radio airplay since "Do You Right" in 1993; five of those songs being top 3 hits on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.
The Local Band (1989ΓΆβ?¬β??1992)
311 was formed in late 1989 by four friends; Nick Hexum, Chad Sexton, Aaron Wills, and Jim Watson. Originally known as "The Fish Hippos," they began playing shows all around Omaha, in pubs, bars, and school talent shows. In 1990, singer Nick Hexum became tired of the band's name and wanted a new one. He found one when guitarist Jim Watson was arrested for indecent exposure after skinny dipping in a local pond. When Watson was taken home to his parents, the arrest warrant had the police code 311 on it, and the name stuck.
In 1990 Hexum started his own little record company, called What Have You Records, for the purpose of releasing 311 albums. Their first release, Dammit!, was released that year. By 1991, Jim Watson had decided he didn't want to be in 311 anymore. After he left, the remaining members asked their friend Tim Mahoney to take over for Watson.
In 1991 311 released their second independent release, Unity, and was released with far greater numbers. While Dammit! only printed 300 cassettes, Unity had 1000 CDs and 500 cassettes printed. The band began to headline shows in local clubs, such as The Ranch Bowl, and became a local success.
1992 was a big year for 311. SA Martinez, who been making various appearences with 311 over the past years as a vocalist, had officially been asked to join the band. The newly formed 311 recorded a six-track demo, called Hydroponic, and moved to Los Angeles. Within their first few months, 311 was signed to Capricorn Records.
The Beginnings (1993-1994)
Their first major record, Music was released in 1993. The single "Do You Right" received airplay on modern rock stations and reached #27 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. But the album failed to chart at the time. The following year, they released their second studio album, Grassroots. Although none of the singles charted, the album reached #8 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart and #193 on the Billboard 200.
Mainstream breakthrough (1995ΓΆβ?¬β??2001)
In 1995, 311 released what was to be their biggest selling CD, the self-titled 311 (also known as The Blue Album). Produced by Ron St. Germain , the album was recorded live in contrast to their previous two albums in which all instruments were recorded separately. The first single "Don't Stay Home" was a modest success, reaching #29 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. But the follow-up single "Down," which was released 14 months after the album, received heavy airplay on mainstream radio and the accompanying music video was on MTV's rotation. The song hit #1 on the Modern Rock chart. The band made their Network Television debut on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on August 23. The third single, "All Mixed Up", enjoyed almost identical success, reaching #4 on the Modern Rock chart. These singles propelled the album to platinum status in 1996. The album eventually went triple-platinum.
In the following years, 311 continued touring and on August 5th 1997 they released Transistor which debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200. Transistor is known as a fan-favorite throughout the 311 community, and still stands as their most obscure, yet defining album to date. While featuring popular tracks like "Beautiful Disaster", "Transistor ", and "Prisoner," the album also dealt with more weighty subject matter such as world affairs ("Borders"), spirituality ("Inner Light Spectrum"), and mysticism ("The Continuous Life"). The track Transistor also has a "hidden" introduction in which an audio file is mixed in that is thought to be alien communications from space. Although not garnering as much fame as some of 311's previous output, the album quickly went platinum, and in the following years would go double platinum (selling more than 2 million copies).
In 1999, 311 released their fifth major album, Soundsystem. "Come Original" was the album's first single and had success on radio and MTV. The song reached #6 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. The video was heavily requested on MTV's TRL, and was #60 on TRL's Top 99 of '99. The second single, "Flowing," had American Pie's Eddie Kaye Thomas featured in the music video.
The success of these albums helped the band's first two major albums, Music and Grassroots, reach certified gold status.
In 1995, the band purchased a communal living spacerecording studio in North Hollywood, California called The Hive. The band has recorded every album at The Hive since 2000, beginning with the sessions for From Chaos, 311's sixth major record release.
Starting in 2000 the band began celebrating "their holiday" of 311 Day, held on March 11 (311). Every other year the band and thousands of their most loyal fans gather to New Orleans and celebrate with and extended concert put on by 311. The sets get longer every year, in 2000 they played 47 songs and in 2002 59 songs were played. In 2004 311 played 68 songs in 5 hours, and later that year a DVD was released of 311 Day 2004, containing 64 of the 68 songs. The most recent 311 Day, in 2006, was held at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, due to the destruction from Hurricane Katrina. The band played 65 songs, the setlist was cut short from 69, because of a strict curfew of midnight. The band recorded the entire show in high definition. A 2 hour edit of the show aired on HDTV on December 10. Another 311 Day DVD is not been officially announced, but according to members of the band, it will happen.
From Chaos was released in late 2001 and debuted at #10 on the Billboard 200. Its first single, "You Wouldn't Believe" featured basketball star Shaquille O'Neal in the video and had a solid run of success on MTV. The album is also known for its third single, "Amber", an ethereal love song with surf guitar and the group's signature reggae-flavored sound.
Continued Success (2003ΓΆβ?¬β??2006)
Their seventh major release, Evolver, came in 2003 and marked a return to the straightforward guitar-heavy sound that the band had become known for. Overall opinions of the album were mixed, but many of their core fans considered the album another masterpiece. Evolver debuted at #7 on the Billboard 200, and the single "Creatures (For A While)" reached #3 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.
In 2004, 311 covered the Cure's "Love Song" which became a #1 hit on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. It also reached #59 on the Hot 100, their first single to reach that chart. It was featured on the soundtrack for the motion picture 50 First Dates and then a few months later on their own Greatest Hits '93-'03. The compilation debuted at #7 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold. The album also featured two new songs. One of these new tracks, "First Straw", was released as a single and reached #14 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.
311's 'Don't Tread On Me' album
311's 'Don't Tread On Me' album
On August 16, 2005, 311 released their eighth studio album, titled Don't Tread on Me. "Don't Tread On Me," the first single, reached #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and #1 at R&R. The next two singles, "Speak Easy" and "Frolic Room", did not receive the same success as the first, neither of which making it past #20 on the Modern Rock Charts.
Despite 311's immense popularity, neither of their newest studio albums, excluding Greatest Hits, have received an RIAA certification yet.
On July 20, 2006 311 kicked off the Summer Unity Tour, opening for 311 would be Pepper and the legendary Wailers. Other bands opened for 311 in some shows, like Panic & The Rebel Emergency in Toronto. It would go on to be the biggest 311 tour to date, with the band performing 37 shows across 27 states. Every show drew thousands of people, including their biggest show to date, drawing over 18,500 people in Atlanta, plus shows in New Jersey (17,210), Boston (15,276), Washington DC (13,812), Omaha (13,467), Kansas City (11,156) and Colorado (10,000).
After completion of the tour, 311 announced they would be taking a break, their first official one in over eight years. Loyal 311 fans felt that it was truly deserved and accepted the time off. 311 is said to return to touring next summer, along with another album.
False claims of racism
In 1993 the band started to receive criticism due to perceived racism as "311" is used as a symbol, particularly in prison tattoos, for the Ku Klux Klan because K is the 11th letter of the alphabet (Three 11s = Three Ks = KKK). It was also rumored that Nick Hexum was a member of The National Front, which is a white supremacy group.
The name actually came from a skinny dipping incident when Jim Watson, the band's former guitarist, was charged with indecent exposure by the Omaha Police Department and was escorted home handcuffed and naked. The police code which appeared on the citation was "311". Nick Hexum has said.
311 vs. Scott Stapp
While taking Thanksgiving Day off on their Fall 2005 tour in Baltimore, Maryland (the band had a show the following night at Towson University's Center Arena in nearby Towson), Martinez and Sexton were involved in a lounge brawl with former Creed lead singer Scott Stapp (who was in town promoting his debut solo album, The Great Divide, released just two days prior) in the Harbor Court Hotel. Martinez told MTV:
He was acting out of control, looking for attention and being loud and obnoxious. He walked up to the bar, took a shot of whiskey and then slammed the shot glass down on the bar, and it shattered everywhere.
He said some disrespectful things towards my wife and I asked him what he said, and then Chad came over and said, "Don't talk to her that way," and Scott got up and Chad followed him. After a while he went back to the bar and was looking for attention. And then a few minutes later, he came back to the table where my wife was, sat down across from us and wanted attention, he started the fight, then the police arrived, escorted Scott to his room and then told him to get out of the hotel.
A spokesperson for Stapp, who is no stranger to controversy with incidents like a 2002 drunken concert stop with Creed in Chicago, did not return MTV News' requests for comment on the altercation, and according to the Baltimore Police Department, no charges have been filed.
The melee left Martinez with a fractured knuckle on his right hand, which he fitted with a soft cast the following day. P-Nut reopened a surgery scar in the fight, though Martinez is not exactly sure how that happened. In keeping with 311's always positive, optimistic vibes, Martinez was just happy that their hometown heroes the Los Angeles Lakers won that night.