HISTORY

With sounds treading on a hybrid of rap, funk, hip-hop, and reggae, the word alternative seems unfitting at best to genre-nize 311. People of the "Down" generation had their first taste of the 311 sound with the self-titled release, 311 (1995). But hardcore fans know the root stems several years back- this wasn't an overnight success story.

Since the group started playing in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, in 1990, they've been building a loyal and ever-increasing fan base. Originally called Unity, the band was formed by vocalist Nick Hexum, guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton, and keyboardist Ward Bones. With Tim later dropping out, the remaining three set out to L.A. to land a record deal. With no success, the group broke up and headed back home. There, Chad hooked up with bassist P-Nut (Aaron Charles Wills), and the two formed the group Fish Hippos, later changed to 311. Nick was called back, and the new group was completed by guitarist Jimi Watson. They played their first real show opening for Fugazi in 1990.

In '91 the group parted with Jim and re-added Tim Mahoney as lead guitarist. Later band member, S.A. Martinez, often made guest appearances at their live shows, and was added to the roster in 92.

311 released three albums on its own while still in Omaha: Dammit, Unity, and Hydroponic. Unity was the first album the group could afford to put on CD and was a huge hit locally, selling about 1000 copies. It was the biggest success story of any local band in Omaha at that time. With that on their hands, 311 set off to LA to take another stab at the music industry.

It was struggling times for the band - living under one roof in Van Nuys, California, the group soon found their funds depleted and bills mounting. However in early 1992, the band met producer Eddy Offord. Realizing their potential, Offord recorded a demo tape that attracted the likes of label Capricorn Records. 311 signed on, and Offord engineered and produced the first two Capricorn albums: 1993's Music, and 1994's Grassroots.

Within the year, the relationship of producer and band ended in a bitter dispute, as 311 and Offord went their separate ways. The band managed to hook up with producer Ron Saint German for their third major release, 311, or better known as "the blue album". After nearly six years, 311 had the hit they were looking for - with its energetic hip-hop/metal verses and catchy sing-along choruses, the single "Down" became a major modern-rock hit. "All Mixed Up", a prerelease to Down, was re-released with success after the flurry of media coverage - 311 was being dubbed as "the hot 'new' band". Quickly becoming a household name, 311 went from touring in small venues to playing sold out field shows.

Though one might play them as an overnight success, 311 has gained it's large following by relentless touring and word of mouth. Often plagued by the harsh words of critics, the music that is 311 has remained true to its roots. As lead singer Nick Hexum says it best - "Rock critics didn't put us here, so they can't take us down."

VOCALIST, NICK HEXUM
Born 4/12/70 in Madison, WI
Check out Nick's bio at 311music.com.
BASSIST, P-NUT
Born on 6/5/74 in Indianapolis, IN
Check out Pnut's bio at 311music.com.
GUITARIST, TIM MAHONEY
Born 2/17/70 in Omaha, NE
Check out Tim's bio at 311music.com.
MIX MASTER, SA MARTINEZ
Born 10/29/70 in Omaha, NE
Check out SA's bio at 311music.com.
DRUMMER, CHAD SEXTON
Born 9/7/70 in Lexington, KY
Check out Chad's bio at 311music.com.
INTERVIEW

What is the biggest career mistake you think you could make?
Nick: The biggest mistake we could make would be to do choreographed dance moves--like the Britney Spears/ Backstreet Boys dance moves. We won't be doing that anytime soon!
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What's the greatest gig 311 has played to date?
Nick: I remember our debut gig opening for Fugazi in Omaha being really triumphant.
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