Nick Hexum – Vocals/Guitar
SA Martinez – Vocals/DJ
Tim Mahoney – Lead Guitar
P-Nut – Bass
Chad Sexton – Drums
There are not many ways to describe a band like 311 and the impact the group has left on fans and the music industry. Creating a sound that fuses everything from rock, reggae, hip-hop, punk to funk, 311 has never been a unit that is easily categorized. Since the band’s debut, MUSIC, there has been a rabid fan base following the guys; yet the commercial breakthrough came with 311’s self-titled album. The release produced songs, such as “Down,” “All Mixed Up,” and “Don’t Stay Home,” which were rock radio and MTV staples.
311 has been a band for over twenty years and has carved a nitch in the alternative rock scene. The group has created the Unity Tour, which has been filling amphitheatres each summer for many years with acts like The Offspring, Snoop Dogg, Pepper, The English Beat and Ziggy Marley. In 2011, 311 hosted the Pow Wow Festival in Florida with musicians, such as Deftones, The Dirty Heads and Sublime with Rome.
In 2012, 311 will bring their tenth celebration of the date 03/11 to the MGM GRAND ARENA in Las Vegas, Nev., for two shows 03/10 and 03/11/12. There will also be a Fan Party at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel. In addition, 311 will do a Caribbean Cruise from 05/10 to 05/14/12. In 2011, 311 created UNIVERSAL PULSE, with just eight songs, it’s a wild ride in rock. They will have a busy 2012 in support of the release. I had the chance to get a few questions answered by guitarist and vocalist, Nick Hexum.
SoundsGood) UNIVERSAL PULSE is the shortest album 311 has released, in the recording process did it just feel right for it to have eight songs?
Hexum) We decided just to focus on the best of the best. Quality over quantity. We wanted people to want to listen again and again!
SG) 311 has been doing special shows each year for the date 03/11, for 2012 it’s a weekend in Las Vegas with shows on 03/10 and 03/11, as well as having a 311 Fan Party. What should fans expect from the shows and the party?
Hexum) Rock, sweat, funk, and love.
SG) The band has done the Unity Tour each summer. Is it something that will continue in 2012?
Hexum) Yes, 2012 will be our tenth consecutive summer to headline amphitheatres.
SG) 311 hosted the "Pow Wow" Festival last year in Florida-will there be another festival for 2012?
Hexum) Pow Wow was an amazing experience. When I watched the video trailer I got overwhelmed by what an amazing thing it was to be a part of. [watch it at:]
Right now our focus is on 311 Day in March and the 311 Cruise in May. I really want to do Pow Wow again, but nothing is confirmed at this time.
SG) The band fuses so many different music styles and is a great example for smaller bands to do music that they love. What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?
Hexum) Learning to accept not getting your way is really important. When you're in a band you have to surrender to democracy and have faith that the group as a whole will do the right thing even when it's not to your liking. It always works out in the end!
Jamie Rhoden – Vocals/Guitar
Ben Russin – Drums
Ned Russin – Bass/Vocals
Shane Moran – Guitar/Vocals
SoundsGood) Title Fight has released EP’s and 7 Inches but the band’s full-length album is coming out in May. How does it feel to finally have a full-length coming out?
Russin) It feels great. We’ve been a band since 2003-since we were about 12 or 13 years old and eight years later were finally releasing our first full-length. We’ve been talking about it forever and we really wanted to make sure we did it right. That we put it out on the right label, we recorded the songs when they were ready to be recorded and I really think we did that. We worked with a great producer and a great studio so we’re really excited about the songs.
SG) I understand you guys recently toured Japan. How was that?
Russin) It was great. We went over with a band called H2O, which are a pretty iconic legendary band from New York. We did five days in Japan. Everyone was so nice to us out there. It was probably one of the most fun tours that we’ve done so we can’t wait to get back there.
SG) The band’s sound brings melody into the hardcore genera. Is that something intentional or just happens when creating songs?
Russin) When we started out we idolized bands like Blink-182 and The Descendents so we started out a lot more poppy you could say. As we progressed we kind of put more of our hardcore influences into it.
SG) How is it having your brother in the band?
Russin) Good. I guess me and him kind of butt heads the most out of anyone else. But, I guess that’s expected because he’s my twin brother so we argue and get along all the time anyway. I couldn’t really see it any other way because we have been doing it for so long. I think it would be weird to not be with him all the time because we see each other every day of the year. It’s cool.
SG) How does it feel to be going on a headlining tour?
Russin) Great. We have been on about four fairly large support tours in the last year so it’s refreshing to be able to headline the United States. It’s a really diverse lineup and we are excited to get out there and hopefully the shows will be good. I think it’s a little over five weeks and we are going to be seeing the country and that’s the best part of being in a band I think.
SG) What type of reaction do you think fans will have about your new album on tour?
Russin) That’s a good question. I was kind of wondering that myself. Were releasing the album May 3rd and we go on tour May 15th so hopefully they will have some time to soak in the album and get to sing along to their songs when were playing. Some of the songs on the album are a little different than what we have put out before so it will be interesting to see what fans think of it.
Be sure to get a copy of Title Fight’s new album, SHED on SideOneDummy Records and catch them on tour. For more information go to www.www.MySpace.com/TitleFight.
Al Barr - Lead Vocals
Ken Casey - Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals
Matt Kelly – Drums, Vocals
James Lynch - Guitar, Vocals
Scruffy Wallace – Bagpipes, Tin Whistle
Tim Brennan - Guitar, Accordion, Vocals
Jeff DaRosa - Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Bouzouki, Keyboard, Mandolin, Whistle, Organ, Vocals
SoundsGood) Do you have plans to release a new album soon?
Lynch) Were in the process of writing a new album right now.
SG) How did things change for the band when you guys had a song in the movie and on the soundtrack for The Departed?
Lynch) It’s business as usual. It’s obvious people come to see us and know that song. I feel that song was a great representation of what the band does. It makes it nice because when people say what band are you in you can say the song from The Departed.
SG) What made you guys decide to go from Hellcat to your own label, Born & Bred for the album, MEANEST OF TIMES?
Lynch) Since the beginning of the band we knew what was best for us and we had the opportunity to do it.
SG) How was it to play on stage with Bruce Springsteen?
Lynch) It was my sister’s rehearsal dinner for her wedding, so I did not get to participate in that-but thank you for bringing that up.
SG) How was a show in your hometown of Boston?
Lynch) All the shows are insane. The fans are insane. It doesn’t matter what city were in or what country were in the shows are amazing and the ones in Boston are just as amazing. We just get to go home and sleep in our own beds.
SG) What country is your favorite to go to that you have played in?
Lynch) Australia! It’s beautiful. I love the attitude of the people. We like to go there when it’s freezing at home and when it’s summertime there.
What’s next for the Dropkick Murphys?
Lynch) Our main focus right now is writing the new album and getting that out.
Reel Big Fish
Aaron Barrett - Guitar/Lead Vocals
Scott Klopfenstein - Trumpet, Guitar, Keyboards/Backing Vocals
Dan Regan - Trombone/Backing Vocals
John Christianson - Trumpet/Backing Vocals
Ryland Steen - Drums
Derek Gibbs - Bass Guitar
SoundsGood) How many times have you guys done Warped and how does this year’s tour different than others?
Scott) This is the fifth time. The fifth time we’ve done Warped Tour. It gets easier every time. What’s different…the band’s…
Derek) The catering has gotten better over the years. We have a shower on the bus-that was not always the case.
Scott) No, that was not always the case. It seems more like visiting an old friend. It’s comfortable and yet still fun and exciting.
SG) Since you have so many songs how do you pack them into a thirty five minute set?
Scott) There are certain songs that we play that most people prefer over others. So, we have over the years watched and learned which songs the kids respond to the best. Today is the day about high energy. You have only thirty five minutes to forty minutes to really jam pack in the excitement.
Derek) It’s tough to please everybody but we want to pick the ones that are going to have the most overall effect. Make people happy.
Scott) Yeah, we want to make people happy! [In a high voice]
SG) What’s the craziest thing that you have seen a fan do this year or this tour?
Scott) Here’s a crazy thing. This is something that I personally don’t understand, I understand other bands are fine with it and certain members of our band are cool with it but I don’t understand the signing of the boobs. It’s weird on the level where I’m not comfortable touching or being near strangers boobs. I think it’s a little uncomfortable for me, and I have even had my sexuality put into question by the fans because I’m not comfortable signing a strangers boobs. Like I’m not going to go up to one of my favorite bands like David Byrne of the Talking Heads and say would you sign my dode. I don’t know about it. It seems very extreme to me but to other people its rock and roll as usual.
Derek) But, I’ll still sign all the boobs. I don’t care.
SG) Are there any bands that you have seen any new bands that have really caught your eye?
Derek) We don’t find ourselves out there enough. Tip the Van comes to mind.
Scott) We’ve mostly been going and watching old friends like Dillinger Escape Plan, Alkaline Trio, Anti-Flag and Andrew W.K. Cat’s that we’ve known for a little while. But, we really are busy throughout the entire day. We do two hour signings every day, then we play and we do interviews, plus were trying to fit meals in and phone calls to wives and girlfriends and then there’s plenty of video games that have to be played. Red Dead Redemption isn’t going to play itself.
SG) What are your plans for 2011?
Derek) Just keep it going. More touring, more touring and I would think we would start working on a new album like an original new album.
Scott) That’s what were thinking but probably a lot of touring as usual and maybe a new record.
Brian Mashburn-Lead Guitar and Vocals
Oliver Zavala-Trumpet and Vocals
SoundsGood) Do you guys have any plans to release a new album?
Mashburn) Yeah. We just finished recording a record and we put it out but we are supposed to go back in to remix it and maybe add another song or two.
Hanson) We made like two hundred copies and we sold them at the Reel Big Fish show.
Mashburn) We sold out. We had like five left or something.
SG) What inspires the lyrics for the songs?
Mashburn) In this band a lot of co-writing happens. Alan and I will co-write a lot of the lyrics. There are a couple songs where he is the main principle guy and then a couple of songs I am the main guy.
SG) Having seven people in the band does it make it a little crazy on stage at times?
Mashburn) For me personally I have been playing in large groups for so long that I am not even used to a small group.
Hanson) And with seven people it’s hard to get our schedules to jive.
Mashburn) It’s one of those things where we all love playing so not to play is not really an option. When we get on stage we have a good time and the fans have a good time so it’s worth it.
SG) What is the best thing about playing in Starpool?
Hanson) Probably playing with musicians that I had already looked up to because when they were in Save Ferris. I loved the way he [Mashburn] played guitar and I loved the way Bill played bass so then all of a sudden when Save Ferris broke up and they still wanted to keep playing and Alan said he wanted to play with us and T-Bone said we need a drummer [I was in]. Since we have been together for seven years they have become my best friends so now it’s about having fun with friends.
Mashburn) I think Phil pretty much summed it up. We have been friends for a long time so I think our motivation is that this is our social life. And to be totally honest with you there are not a lot of bands who are doing positive fun dance music anymore. We’re offering something that’s old school and kind of unique in a weird way.
SG) How does the crowd reaction change when you play a show that’s 21 and over like the show tonight compared to an all ages venue?
Mashburn) These shows [the band played at the Slidebar Café in Fullerton, Calif. when the interview was done] are a lot more friends and its smaller and more intimate. With the House of Blues though it’s a packed house with a thousand people. We did the show with Reel Big Fish recently there and it was awesome-the energy was just crazy. They are both really cool but different experiences.
[Before the last question, singer, Alan Meade arrived so he was able to answer the last one.]
SG) What’s next for the band?
Meade) Whatever comes at us we analyze it, check our schedules and if we can do it we make it happen.
Mashburn) We may do a re-release of our CD that night with a remix and a couple new songs. We’re just going to keep playing shows.
Do yourself a favor and see one of Starpool's amazing live shows. For more information about the band go to www.MySpace.com/Starpool.
Tom - vocals
Mike - guitar
Eric - bass
Tony - guitar
Will – drums
SoundsGood) What are the band’s plans for 2010?
Mike) Hopefully release a record. We have a full-length album that’s recorded. We want to put it out on a label or put it out ourselves.
Eric) Play a bunch of shows.
Mike) Yeah! Play a lot of shows and if a tour opportunity comes up do that too.
SG) You guys have a sound that mixes different styles of rock and punk. Do you try to make songs sound a little different or does it just happen?
Eric) I don’t think any of us try to do anything. We just show things to each other and put ourselves on it. Sometimes the whole song can be switched around.
Mike) We just do what we do.
SG) Live Tom has a lot of intensity and energy. Has he had anything crazy happen to him recently from getting into the music on stage?
Tom) Yeah. Eric tends to hit me with the head of his bass. I’m old now. We don’t play as large of stages and I can’t climb anything but I would if given the opportunity. I did get hit in the head by a ceiling fan and fell off of the five foot bar.
SG) You guys seem like an awesome band to play with Bad Religion. Have you guys ever had the chance to play with them or do you have plans to?
Eric) We wish! They are definitely an influence on all of us. That would be awesome!
SG) You seem to play a lot of shows that are over 21. Has anyone got really drunk at the shows?
All three) Yeah!
Tom) It’s usually the shows that are the laid back ones. I found out I can’t drink and play anymore. I learned my lesson on Valentine’s Day. I don’t drink as much anymore.
Eric) All of us don’t drink as much anymore.
SG) Sederra was nominated for an OC Music Award for 2009 as Best Punk act and for 2010 you are up for Best Rock act. Do you think you have a better shot of winning the Rock award?
Mike) Last year we were up against international touring bands who all have record deals or had major label deals at one time.
Tom) I feel we are more of a rock band now than we are a punk band anyway.
Mike) We were just happy to be nominated.
Eric) It’s cool just to be nominated by your peers.
Mike) There are so many different categories. It’s so diverse and Orange County is so diverse. There’s all different styles.
SG) Having five members in the band is it hard to all get together to work on music sometimes?
Eric) I have a daughter now. Dealing with relationships, it’s hard to do it but we're still trying to do it.
SG) What should fans expect next from Sederra?
Mike) A lot of live shows. We’re going to be recording. We released a new song online. You can check it out at www.MySpace.com/Sederra that will be on the new record. We’re just going to be playing shows and get the new recording out.
DAMIEN B - LYRICS, MAIN VOCALS AND ALL MUSIC PRODUCTION
GIANNA GIANNA - BACKING VOCALS AND THE LIVEST HYPE
JESSE ST. JOHN - ADDITIONAL LYRICS, VOCALS AND CRAZY HYPE
SoundsGood) Does BLOK have any plans to release a full-length album?
Damien B) We have our first official single coming out in March. The label was talking to us about doing a six-song EP after that.
Jesse St. John) Hopefully, we will have a least an EP soon.
SG) So, I heard you are siblings. When you collaborate on music or decide to play a show do things go smoothly?
Damien B) It makes it really easy because I know their strengths. We communicate without saying anything most of the time. We know each other more than most bandmates know each other.
Jesse. St. John) A lot of siblings have different interests but we are lucky enough to be interested in the same things.
Giovanna Giovanna) And we’re all best friends.
Jesse St. John) We all hang out every day so it’s great.
SG) BLOK is such a unique and free act. Do you find it tough being from conservative Orange County at times?
Damien B) Part of the reason I go ahead with the production choices I make is to push the limit. We would be making something similar where ever we were. But at the same time it has been kind of unusual because we are a little strange for this area.
Jesse St. John) We make our eccentricities pretty accessible because we’re not trying to alienate anybody. We want everybody to join us and have fun.
Giovanna Giovanna) We are all so free that we hope everybody joins us in letting go of everything.
Damien B) I want everyone to be creative, be themselves and have fun. We all want that and I would think more people want that.
SG) What made you want to form BLOK?
Damien B) Good question. Well, I have been making music for eight years. But, it was more experimental. I wanted to do something that I could communicate to other people the things that I felt and something that they could get into and understand. I wanted something I could play live especially and people could get into it. I knew how talented they were so it started out pretty naturally. We basically do whatever we feel like.
Jesse St. John) When people say that this is so eccentric and wild. This is his most accessible project as far as mass appeal. If you think we are wild and crazy we’re like, we are trying to be calm for you guys. I think this is the most accessible mass appeal project that he has ever done. He wanted to do it live and this is the first project he has done for audiences.
Damien B) I feel that a band that’s not pushing boundaries. I think it’s more for the band than for anyone that’s listening. I also feel like it should be for everybody. If you aren’t with the audience then why are you up there performing.
SG) What is a musical act that you would really want to open for?
John St. John) The first person that I think of that we all love is Ebony Bones. We saw her live and we loved her. She was so good!
Damien B) And the Gorillaz.
John St. John) Yeah. The Gorillaz would be perfect. We love the Gorillaz. I think that the music itself is interesting but then live they bring it to a new level live. There are so many bands that go out there and try to recreate their record and just play it. So, anybody who takes their record and adds something different live like the Gorillaz or Ebony Bones.
SG) What was your reaction when you were voted Best Hip Hop Act of 2009 by OC Weekly?
Damien B) I picked up the OC Weekly and was looking through the OC Weekly’s Best Of issue and I was like owe that’s us. No one told us. There was a nice article about us so we were excited.
Jesse St. John) We brought a copy home to our mom. It was awesome!
SG) You have so much energy on stage. Where do you get it from?
Giovanna Giovanna) His songs and his beats make me do that. Even when we do the sound check I restrain myself so much because I want to bust out and dance. It’s so natural and I just want to thrash out. I just want to go crazy because I love it so much.
Jesse St. John) That’s our forum to release our inhibitions and go wild. We love the music and love dancing. It’s so natural.
Giovanna Giovanna) Sometimes I don’t remember what I do onstage because I get so into the music.
SG) What are the plans for BLOK in 2010?
Damien B) We have a video coming out soon. I just met with the director a few days ago. We clicked on a lot of stuff. It’s still in the works but will be coming soon. We might press vinyl and we might be playing some festivals. Definitely, a lot of music and we will be playing more shows. Eventually, we want to go to Japan and Europe because there are music scenes that are more like us.
Jesse St. John) We just started playing shows in 2009. So, if 2009 is representative of 2010 it’s looking really good as far as progression.
For information about BLOK go to www.MySpace.com/TheOfficialBlok.