311 drops the 411

By Eben Gering

Arizona Daily Wildcat

311 is focused on the fusion of punk sounds and hip-hop vocals. The band appeared recently at the Party Gardens in Phoenix to promote their newly released, self-titled third album. Mutato Reporter Eben Gering discusssed the band's views on performance and sound with guitarist Tim Mahoney.

Mutato: How has your audience changed since you first toured?

311: Well, it has changed in that it has grown. I see a lot of the same people at the shows now that I saw when we first started playing. We've kept a lot of fans over the years and found new ones. It's been a steady, slow growth. I see people with lots of different concert T-shirts at shows. It seems like our fans are people that grew up listening to punk or reggae and also enjoy hip-hop. Probably some Seattle fans (laughs).

Mutato: Have MTV and increased airplay altered your objectives as a band?

311: We just write the songs that are natural and true to us. We released an album of songs we're proud of. If a radio station wants to play one of our songs, then that's cool, because we want to try to touch people with our music. No amount of commercial success is ever going to change the way we write music.

Mutato: Did you think you'd get as big as you are at the start?

311: We've surpassed many of our dreams already. We've just been working for the last five years and try to go with the flow and keep on keepin' on (laughs).

Mutato: The last album seemed mellower than your first two. Does this reflect a permanent shift in stylistic direction or a temporary departure?

311: Well, we recorded 21 songs, and only 13 were put on the album. There were some pretty funky, wierder songs that didn't make the cut. I think the album just reflects where we're at at this time. It wasn't a conscious choice, just what we sounded like. It's one of our albums I guess.

Mutato: What about those songs that didn't make the cut?

311: They'll all eventually get released. There's a sound track for the movie National Lampoon's Senior Trip I guess it was called? or Class Trip? So we gave them some songs that didn't make the album, and they chose a song called "Outside". We have another song we recorded later for the Hempilation called "The Herb". They'll all eventually get released. Whether it's on a compilation of B-sides or what, we don't have any definite plans right now. We play them live though.

Mutato: Do you ever feel ripped off by new bands with reggae, hip-hop, punk style sounds?

311: No.

Mutato: Are you interested in bigger concerts with other performers, like Lollapolooza?

311: We're really into doing our own shows, and we've never been offered Lollapalooza or anything like that, so I don't know what we'd do in that position. We'll see. Maybe we'll get offered that.

Mutato: What do you guys listen to when you're not onstage?

311: Well, lots of different stuff. Old jazz, new jazz, lots of reggae, rock, Pantera (laughs). Acid jazz, just a whole good party mix of music.

Mutato: What do you have planned coming up?

311: We're out through Thanksgiving right now. We're going to take a few months off then go back on the road, probably February. We're going to try to step it up and travel with production.

Mutato: Are you ever playing Tucson again?

311: Yeah, we'll be back to Tucson for sure. Probably next summer we'll come and play Phoenix and Tucson both.

Mutato: What is your philosophy about live performance?

311: Its really a lot of what we're about. It's really fun. If we make a record, and then we get to go out and play it live for the fans, people can come out and hear them. We all enjoy listening to live music.

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