The 411 on 311


    It’s not difficult to figure out why 311 has been going strong for over 20 years. The group, which formed in 1990 in Omaha, works relentlessly on diverse pop-rock music that includes touches of rap, reggae and even metallic guitar tones.
       “I think part of the reason we’re still happening is because of our Midwest roots,” vocalist-DJ S.A. Martinez said while calling from his Los Angeles home. “There is a Midwestern humbleness about each of us. There’s no rock star attitudes in this band. You work hard in the Midwest. We’re very grounded and I think you can thank Nebraska for that.”
      There’s always been an openness to take sonic chances in 311. “Each of us has different musical tastes,” Martinez said. “We’ve always been up for anything sonically. We’ll take chances and not to get too Midwestern on you but I think our risk-taking has something to with the openness of the Midwest. We’re being true to where we’re from.”
   The members of 311 all live in the Los Angeles area. “But we have long memories,” Martinez said. “We go back to our roots.”
     311, which also includes, vocalist-guitarist Nick Hexum, guitarist Tim Mahoney, bassist Aaron P-Nut Wills and drummer Chad Sexton, kicked off its jaunt aptly enough in the heartland but it’s swinging eastward with a show Tuesday at the Festival Pier.
     The band will render tracks from its new album, ‘Universal Pulse,’ which dropped last week (7-19).
     “If you’re really into 311, you’ll dig this album,” Martinez said. “It’s a culmination of all of our sounds. It’s more focused since it’s just eight songs but I think that’s a really good thing. I think this album is signature 311 since it touches on all of our sounds.”
    The group will mix the new with such hits as ‘Down’ and ‘Mixed Up,’ which were ubiquitous back in the mid-90s.
     “We’re all for playing the songs that established us,” Martinez said. “We’re thankful that those songs launched us. We love flashing back to that period. For some reason fans jumped all over those songs.”
     The ‘90s and the early part of the last decade were good to 311. The group has a pair of platinum albums and two gold records.
     “Success is a good thing,” Martinez said. “We have a fan base that never let go of us. Because of that we can continue to make music. That’s all that we want to do. It’s been a great existence. I thought about this when we hit the 20-year mark last year. I want to keep doing this for another 20 and more with this band. We haven’t had a lineup change in ages (since 1992) and that’s a special thing.”

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