Should the whole “being a beloved ’90s rock band” stop working out, the guys of 311 might make for pretty excellent marriage counselors.
“I have been married for 10 years and been in this band for over 20,” bassist P-Nut said. “You have to be flexible, you have to stand up for your point of view, but weigh out the other person’s as much as you do yours. Sometimes you take a backseat, but not to the point of losing yourself. It’s complicated. We should release a book, ‘How to Keep Your Band Together,’ ’cause we could write it.”
A lot of it has to do with never going to bed angry. The band hailing from Omaha, Neb., could have resented its fall from the upper echelon when its albums were going triple-platinum and songs like “All Mixed Up,” “Down” and “Amber” dominated the airwaves. Instead, it opted for quiet acceptance, enjoying a still-gratifying life on the road.
“We understand our big radio days are behind us, and we are just going to tour and tour and play great shows and keep releasing albums to not as much fanfare as we received in the mid-’90s,” P-Nut said. “It doesn’t matter that much, though. I love the little nook we are in as a touring band, and it’s so, so satisfying. We always saw it coming.”
Loyal diehards still clamor for 311’s brand of reggae and funk flavored rock, undeterred by a lack of presence on MTV. A healthy road life with its audience has kept the act viable and thriving, selling out stadiums and enjoying those played-out songs even still.
“Those big songs we play day in and day out, there’s something about them. There’s a way — mostly from the audience — that makes them different every night,” he said. “We could play them with our eyebrows at this point, they are so ingrained, but even if you’ve played the song 5,000 times, there’s still some little way to make it special.”
Recently, the five-piece has taken to spicing things up with new and unusual performances. The group has hosted “311 on March 11” since 2000, playing upward of 60 songs, often unheard. This year also introduces the 311 Caribbean Cruise, four days and nights on a Carnival cruise ship with nightly concerts, DJ sets, Q-and-As and photo sessions — the perfect honeymoon for the band and its fans.
“People want more than a regular show,” P-Nut said. “We’re spoiled because of our fans’ dedication, and that’s why we keep at it.”
Although less focused on recording now, the group still has a new album in the works. But for now, their home is on the road, including Friday at Diamond Ballroom. Should the uninitiated catch a show or pick up the upcoming disc and fall for 311, the guys would be thrilled, but if not, they’ve already got the ones they love.
“If we capture a new generation, whatever that means, that’s great; but other than that, we are perfectly fine,” he said. “Everything is on cruise control.”