Ona's Music Room Uncategorized 311’s 28-Year-Old-Early Career: From Ganja-Toking Nebraska Stoners to Arena Rock Legends

311’s 28-Year-Old-Early Career: From Ganja-Toking Nebraska Stoners to Arena Rock Legends

Music 311 Revealed – A Look Back at the Band’s 28-Year-Old-Early Career

More than 28 years after five ganja-toking Nebraska stoners broke out of the alternative rock scene with Music, 311 is still pumping out albums and selling out arena tours. They reissued their debut, released a TikTok-friendly sped up version of “Amber” and just announced a new tour.

From funk-laced rockers to brooding takes on The Cure, they’ve got a massive catalog that touches all sorts of emotions.


Since forming in the late ’80s in Omaha, Nebraska, 311 has evolved from an eclectically genre-fusing rock band to a corporate entity with multiple album cycles and sellout summer arena tours. Yet, despite their ubiquity, the group remains a cult act with a fervent following; they celebrate March 11 as “311 Day.”

The band’s first album, Music, was a modest hit, but 311’s triple-platinum 1995 self-titled effort put them on the map. The popular single “Down” paired Doug Martinez’s easygoing delivery with Hexum’s gravelly voice, and their blend of influences has become a signature sound; they’ve played with ska icons The English Beat and rap legend Snoop Dogg while also dipping into chugging hard rock (“Beautiful Disaster”) and playful hip-hop (“All Mixed Up”).

Their 1999 album Soundsystem was a moderate hit, as was the 2001 release From Chaos. In 2004, 311 released their Greatest Hits 93-03, followed by Evolver and the live-release Universal Pulse in 2009. Uplifter, a collaboration with producer Bob Rock, was heralded as “the heaviest 311 has ever been.”.


The band’s incessant touring schedule has helped them build a huge grassroots following. Every summer they embark on a tour with special guests, playing large venues and arenas across the United States. They also hold a concert cruise, and they’ve created their own streaming platform for livestreaming select shows.

311’s music has a blend of rock, reggae, and hip-hop that makes it hard to categorize. They’ve toured with ska icons The English Beat and rap legend Snoop Dogg, while their hit singles range from chugging hard rock to playful hip-hop.

The band was formed in the late ’80s in Omaha, Nebraska, by vocalist Nick Hexum, bassist S.A. Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney and drummer Chad Sexton. They released a few albums independently before finding a bigger audience with their 1995 self-titled release. Their subsequent releases, including the 1997 LP Transistor and 2001’s From Chaos, all did well. Their most recent album, the uplifting Uplifter, was released in 2019. 311’s celebratory live shows and incessant touring have earned them a massive fanbase.


Nick Hexum (vocals/guitar), Tim Mahoney (guitar), SA Martinez (vocals/dj), and Chad Sexton (drums) were all in a band together at their high school called The Eds. They continued to play music together after graduation and eventually formed 311.

In ’96 their third album Homebrew was released and the band started to really gain some attention. By ’99 the band was on tour constantly and their fan base was exploding. They even made it to the big time when their cd Down reached # 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and they were featured in the Adam Sandler movie 50 First Dates.

After years of consistent touring, the band re-teamed with producer Eddy Offord for 2001’s From Chaos and again with Bob Rock for 2011’s Universal Pulse. They followed up with the crowdfunded Stereolithic three years later and then Mosaic in 2017. The most recent release was 2019’s energetic Voyager. The band’s unique sound blends rock, rap and reggae with a message of unity and positivity.


In an age of political toxicity and social media fueling personal insecurities, it can be tough for some to maintain a positive outlook. But 311’s thoughtful lyrics encourage listeners to embrace the potential of every moment while also recognizing how precious life is.

The band combines a variety of musical styles to create a unique sound that resonates with fans on an emotional level. Use of Time combines reggae-influenced rhythms with energetic guitar riffs to create a uplifting yet reflective song. The lyrical content evokes vivid imagery and touches upon the impermanence of life, inspiring listeners to live fully and appreciate each day.

While 311 owes a debt of gratitude to the dance music movement that popularized rap-rock in the ’90s, they defy easy categorization. They’ve toured with ska icons the English Beat and playful hip-hop legends Sublime With Rome, and their best songs range from chugging hard rock to dub-influenced funk. But few of their songs can hold a groove as consistently as “All Mixed Up,” which features a well-harmonized melody and a signature scratch funk riff that’s more subtle than many of their other hits.

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