The Pier’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award: 311
One of the biggest names in the history of American reggae-rock is 311. 311 is not just a talented group of musicians or a phenomenal live touring act, they have become a movement and a lifestyle for legions of fans across the globe. With their celebratory live shows & uplifting albums, 311 have continued to fill the souls of fans with their music for more than 20 years and counting.
In an era when mixing and matching different styles of music was not the norm, 311’s hybrid blend of rock, reggae, funk and hip-hop made them true musical pioneers of the early 90’s. Now, over 20-years later, 311 is still going strong…and at the same time, they are helping to usher in the next wave of great acts. Bands like Pepper, Ballyhoo!, The Movement,The Dirty Heads, The Expendables, Slightly Stoopid, Matisyahu and many more have all shared the stage with 311 on their annual summer Unity Tour. 311 has brought their Unity Tour package to amphitheaters around the country for the last 10 consecutive years….essentially becoming our favorite summer soundtrack.
Beyond their impressive touring streak, 311 has sold over 8-million CD’s/DVD’s in the United States alone. Since the band formed in 1990, seven of their albums have reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Top 200 Sales Chart. However, record sales were not the main objective for 311.
Nick Hexum recently told The Pier that he wanted the fans to, “Remember  as being just positive people that had a good influence on people’s psyche and their lives. We always tried to have a fun time with the fans at all the live shows and different settings, and just play good songs for them to enjoy. That’s what music can be; it truly can be like a miniature vacation for the fans. Whether it is just putting on your headphones with an album or attending a show in person, we just wanted to make these people’s lives a little bit better and help them out with our music. And, hopefully we did that, and made their lives better through our music.”
311 has lived up to their end of that bargain, and they now have fans traveling to their shows and events from around the globe. This March, 311 will set off on their 3rd “311 Caribbean Cruise” (www.311Cruise.com) – a 4 night cruise from Miami, FL to a private island in the Bahamas, along with 3,000 fans and 12 other great bands & DJ’s (Rebelution, Less Than Jake, Badfish, etc).
And, every other year on March 11th (“311 Day”), 311 hosts a special concert event that has become a gathering of 311’s biggest fans from around the world. At 311 Day, the band typically plays an extended setlist (up to 5 hours / 60 songs). Just this past year, 311 sold out the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and tickets were sold to fans from all 50 states and 13 different countries. 311 also hosted their own “311 Pow Wow Festival” last summer at a campground in Live Oak, Florida. It was a 3-night camping & music festival for their dedicated fans.
There is no other band quite like 311. As so many of the greats from the 1990s alternative music scene have either imploded or disbanded, 311 has continued to chart their own course in the dwindling music industry. Nick Hexum remarked, “It is kind of sad though, with the collapse of the music business, there are just not as many bands coming out to tour as there used to be. Only the bands that are really savvy with their social media are able to get everything going and make everything work. Back in the 90s, there were tons of bands that were just into playing and touring, and I think that those types of bands have really fallen off a bit. For us, we just feel grateful that we were able to survive the downturn.”
311 has done far more than just survive. Other bands look up to them as leaders or guides down the musical road to success. With all their accomplishments, 311 is a band that is beyond deserving of this Lifetime Achievement Award. And yet, the most encouraging thing about 311 is, they are still recording new music, and have no intention of stopping anytime soon!
Hexum says, “We always change our style and sound. That’s the fun part. That is the exploration. A lot people say, ‘I am really curious where you guys go with your next album.’ And all I can say is, ‘Yeah, me too!’ We have no idea where the collective group’s conscious will take us next time, but that is the fun of exploration. We are always changing, so it is more of a wait and see process.”
We can’t wait to see what’s next for 311. And it’s with great honor that we at The Pier proudly award 311 with our second annual Lifetime Achievement Award! Congratulations, 311!
Video: 311 – Down
Video: 311 – Come Original
Video 311 – Sunset in July