All five members of 311 grew up in the 1970's in Omaha, Nebraska. Nick Hexum, Tim Mahoney and Chad Sexton lived on the west side of town and went to Westside High School together. P-Nut and SA Martinez lived on the south side of town and went to Bryan High School together.
During high school, Nick and Tim played in a rock band together called "The Ed's". Nick was also in the high school concert jazz band with Chad.
At seventeen, Nick graduated early from high school and moved to downtown Los Angeles in pursuit of a music career. When Nick returned to Omaha for Chad and Tim's high school graduation - the three of them jammed and realized they had a special musical chemistry. They soon added a keyboardist named Ward Bones and called themselves "Unity". In late '88, Nick, Chad and Ward moved to LA and made an unsuccessful stab at getting a recording contract.
Disillusioned with the L.A. scene, Chad soon moved back to Omaha and began jamming with P-Nut and a guitarist named Jim Watson. Months later, Chad persuaded Nick to move back to Omaha and join them. They played their first gig opening for Fugazi on June 10th 1990.
In 1991, they parted ways with Jim Watson and added Tim Mahoney as lead guitarist. At that time, SA Martinez began to make guest appearances with the band - and was eventually added as a full member. 311 was complete (Nick, Chad, Tim, P-Nut and SA).
In 1990 & 1991 the band released three independent records on their own label (What Have You Records). The records were called "Dammit," "Hydroponic," and "Unity." With these records and their solid live show, the band quickly established a following in the Midwest and then set out for the West Coast.
They rented a small house in Van Nuys, California and all moved in together. These were very lean times for the band. Just before disintegrating into total poverty, they were signed to Capricorn Records.
311's first cd "Music", was released with little fanfare in February of '93 (now Gold). The band hit the road in support of the record and was temporarily sidelined when their touring RV caught on fire and exploded on the shoulder of the highway. The fire destroyed all their equipment, clothes, money and personal possessions. Despite losing everything - the band members escaped the blaze with minor burns and injuries. They decided to persevere and they only canceled one show before returning to the stage with equipment donated by fans and friends who heard about the disaster on the television news.
In July of '94 they released their second cd "Grassroots" (now Gold). By this time they were touring the US non-stop. They moved out of the house in Van Nuys - put their stuff into a storage space and literally just lived on the road. They put all their energy into their live show and steadily developed an incredible grassroots following nationwide.
In July '95 they released their third cd "311" and once again set out on tour. By '96 the shows and the fanbase had grown considerably - and the media which had basically ignored 311 until then, began paying attention. In September of '96 (14 months after the release of the "311" album) the song "Down" hit the airwaves and became an across the board success at radio and MTV. "Down" went to #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart and the follow-up single "All Mixed Up" went to #2.
After the success of the "311" album (which is now triple Platinum), 311 released a long form home video called "Enlarged to Show Detail" containing live concert footage, interviews, videos, backstage footage, etc. To make it a unique item, 311 bundled the video with a 5 song EP containing outtakes from the "311" cd. The home video debuted at #1 on Billboards Music Video Sales Chart and is now a Platinum video.
After releasing the home video, 311 went back into the studio to record their fourth cd "Transistor". "Transistor" debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and is now Platinum.
311's 1997 headlining tour in support of the "Transistor" album drew an average of 10,000 people per night in the US. The band also toured Europe, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
In September of 1998, 311 re-issued some old material on the "Omaha Session" EP. The EP contains 9 songs from the bands 1989-1991 independent releases ("Dammit," "Hydroponic" and "Unity"). The EP is on the band's original "What Have You Records" label and is only available via the 311 website (www.311music.com) and the 311 Mail Order Merch Catalog.
In November of 1998, 311 released 311 Live - a collection of live recordings from the 1997 US Tour. And in October of 1999, 311 released their fifth cd "Soundsystem" which debuted at #9 and toured extensively in the US and Japan.
In 2000, the band purchased a recording studio in North Hollywood. After making some renovations and bringing in their own equipment, they renamed it "The Hive" (which is also the name of their fanclub). The studio was active in the 70's / 80's. Missing Persons and Adam Ant recorded albums there and most recently it was used as a voice over studio for movies, etc.
In 2001, the band released "From Chaos" which debuted at #10 on the Billboard Top 200 Sales Chart. 311 toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe in support of "From Chaos". The first single "You Wouldn't Believe" reached #7 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart. The second single "I'll Be Here Awhile" reached #15 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart. The single "Amber" reached #10 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart and #30 on the Billboard Modern AC Chart. The album is certified Gold.
311 will release their 7th LP, "Evolver", on July 22, 2003. The album was produced by Ron Saint Germain (Bad Brains, Soundgarden, Tool). Saint also produced the "311" and "From Chaos" albums. The band recorded and mixed "Evolver" at their own Hive Studios in Los Angeles. Look for 311 to hit the road for all of Summer 2003 and beyond!!
Thanks to Andrew Rodriguez for submitting the biography.
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311 | Reviewer: Mike Ives | 3/28/13
I have been a long long time fan of 311 and continue to support their music. They truly love than fans and show it in every show. They have recently completed their third "311 cruise". I have had the pleasure of attending the first and third cruise. The cruise is full of great music and the most amazing fans otherwise known as the "excitable ones".311 is also the only band that has it's own holiday on March 11th. Every even year 311 puts on a multiple hour and sometimes a multiple day celebration for all the excitable ones to enjoy the band and each other. I personally would like to thank 311 for all their hard work. To quote 311 "stay positive and love your life."
Instantly! | Reviewer: Mike (NJ) | 3/8/13
I first heard 311 in 1993 a year after I graduated high school. We were driving around bored as we usually did in the burbs of South Jersey. My boy Frank, now deceased, slipped a CD in the head unit and suddenly something magical was pouring out of the speakers and I was like, " yo!, what is this sound man"? It was the first time I ever heard 311, it was the Music CD. It was so refreshing, current, and different they way they were jamming hard rock then all of a sudden slow it down and slip smoothly into a reggae beat. How they were rapping and then would break into a soft-harmonic chorus. Then I really started listiening to the instruments individually and realized that these guys were real musicians, real artsits. Then I studied the lyrics and that was the last staple cementing them as my favorite band. I shared so many of their beliefs, especially the belief to jsut stay positive and avoid the negative energy. 311 becoming my favorite band was no easy feat, as I was a huge fan of Nirvana, Tool, Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Fugazi, Soundgarde, Pearl Jam etc... This was the early 90's and these band were already refreshing as they pushed out the rest of the "Hair Bands", the cheezy commercialized heavy metal bands, like Ratt. 311 is still my favorite band today, 20 years later. I've seen them live 4 times (they were even better live)and have turned many people on to them and most people had the same response I did when they first heard them. They are true musical professionals and built their brand as all successful companies do, by word of mouth and consistently producing a superior product! Thank you 311 for your dedication to your craft.
10 Years of Bliss | Reviewer: Brian | 8/18/12
Ever since I heard the song "Down"...I knew I would love 311. Like most music, you have to give it some time and hear a few songs to adjust to the groups sound and individuality. But as I listened to song after song of theres, they just kept getting better and better. And I knew that they were the band for me. Then I fell in love. Besides the mushy stuff, 311 is the best! Seriously the way they mix Jazz, Rock, Reggae, Ska, even a little punk-ish sound is freaking amazing. 311 for life!
New Fan! | Reviewer: Cory | 3/12/09
I don't know what rock I've been under for the last 10+ years but a friend recently introduced me to 311 and I'm in love. Rock is typically not my first choice of music, but I'm diggin' their style!
Best tunes on earth....... | Reviewer: Brad Smith | 10/3/07
If i'm having a bad day, great day, i'll always listen to three eleven no matter what every song always makes my day so much better. Really what the band needs is a spot on the radio no matter where you are, if you turn the station to 311.0 you get the 311 station lol that would be the shit!!
311!!!!!!!! | Reviewer: uglydrew | 4/5/07
yes most midwest (NE IA KS) musicians tend to stick with a jazz influenced style, as you can tell with 311...its what we grew up listening to and its all they teach how to play in the schools...at least in omaha and lincoln. im trying to get my own band going and 311 has inspired me as i fell in love with them at age ten when i first heard them...i would love to see some more bands like 311 with such a unique style and much musical talent...maybe some day i'll be lucky enough to sing/tour with them
311 rocks | Reviewer: Sam | 3/28/07
311 is an all around great band.I think that 311's members are all very talented. i espesialy look up to Tim because i play guitar myself. i like how 311's music is jazz based, especially the song 816 AM. Keep on Jamming!!!!!!!!!!
Best Band Ever! | Reviewer: Estelle | 8/15/04
I have been a huge fan of these guys since 1994! Wow, that's 10 years! They are awesome! Great in concert (I was front row at 3 of their concerts), great lyrics and rhythm. I am 29 and hope I will still be listening to them at 69! LOL Their sound is always changing and I love it all! You guys rock! Thank you!
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