311’s mosaic of unity

Todd Shearon
By Todd Shearon June 23, 2017 20:12

311’s mosaic of unity

What does it take to paint the perfect picture?

Roughly 10,000 photos, 27 years, five band members and one consistent concept…unity.

In the case of 311, the perfect picture is their new album Mosaic…or at least its cover. Mosaic was released June 23, 2017 making it their latest album.

But let’s rewind for a minute.

When a band forms, it is always going to start with music. Once the relationship begins, it becomes about loving the music you are making, those you are creating it with and those you are creating it for. Like any relationship, it takes commitment in addition to several other elements in order to create a long-lasting future.

Made up of Nick Hexum, S.A. Martinez, Chad Sexton, P-Nut and Tim Mahoney, the Omaha, Nebraska bred 311, have been down with ‘unity,’ right from the start; it was originally the name of their band, first independent CD and even a song.

Windsor/Detroit’s 89X Program Director, Matt Franklin recalls 311’s self-titled third album as having a very unique sound at the time (’95-’96) which made it easy for the station to add them to rotation.

“311 delivered a perfect balance of bouncy, fun and positive summer-time vibes,” said Franklin. “But they could also get heavy and let it rip with some killer guitar riffs. The sound of Nick’s (Hexum) vocals and his phrasing is the key element that ties it all together.”

Also known as The Blue Album, their third album featured the singles Don’t Stay Home, All Mixed Up and Down, which hit No. 29, No. 4 and No. 1 on the Modern Rock chart, respectively.

“We have a strong bond of friendship and music that has endured, but there’s still lots of great music to make,” said Hexum. “We’re on sort of a higher mission to bring people together and when we hear these anecdotes from people saying things like, ‘you really changed my attitude when I started listening to 311,’ these are things worth going on for.”

Remember those other elements mentioned earlier?

One of them is continually writing fresh new music, in this case for 27 years.

“The hardest part is to find something that’s relevant and find some exciting, new, modern influences in our music with all the classic 311 elements,” said Hexum. “We have a couple like that on the new album. It’s about taking that creativity and letting it happen naturally.”

Mosaic is the twelfth studio album by 311 and features 17 new tracks powered by the first single Too Much To Think which offers the distinctive feel-good vibe the band has been known to deliver.

311 may have definitely found the best way to market their new music.

To bring home the concept of “band and fans as one”, 311 literally created a mosaic for the album cover using nearly 10,000 photos of 311 fans, submitted by 311 fans.

On 311.com, drummer Chad Sexton said, “We wanted to find a word or phrase that would describe our fan base, our band and our music. And to tie all of this into a concept that could be presented in the album artwork as well. Where we landed was perfect…Mosaic.”

Sexton mentions that one definition describes a mosaic as a combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole.

If you visit 311AlbumArt.com you can view a high resolution pan and zoom of the cover to see the photos contained within.

“311 has now transcended beyond its music, becoming something bigger than the music itself,” said 311’s manager Peter Raspler. “It’s a community, a lifestyle and a movement. ”

Raspler said, “there are so many stories within 311’s fan base of how the band has brought people together in so many ways and that it is attributed to the good vibes coming from the stage, musically and lyrically and for what the band stands for…keeping it on the positive.”

311’s universal appeal, music and vibe are what Franklin says attracted both men and women, which helped strengthen their core audience and allow many new fans to come onboard throughout the years.

Franklin, who refers to 311 as an ‘89X Essential’ artist said, “They’ve always been real. On record, on the radio and on stage. You can tell they’re being true to themselves and projecting positivity that a lot of fans can pick up on.”

To Hexum, “that’s a higher calling beyond just rockin’ out and making money or whatever people get into music for. It has encouraged us to make music from the heart and let the cards fall where they may.”

Playing for 60 thousand people at a Memorial Day concert in Omaha in 2005, hearing themselves on the radio for the first time and performing on David Letterman in 1995 are some of the special highlights when Hexum and company said to themselves, “wow we’ve done it. We’ve accomplished what we set out and wanted to do.”

Hexum claims the band has never got anywhere near the feeling of losing the fire for what they do and doesn’t really have any complaints. He is always awestruck by how much a snowball can grow.

“Sometimes things go by so fast and you’re left with nothing to look back at,” says Hexum.

Now Hexum and his tight-knit musical family have painted the perfect picture to encapsulate their brotherhood…Mosaic.

Nick Hexum and Tim Mahoney perform during 311 concert at DTE Music Theatre in Clarkson, Mich. on July 9, 2015. (Photo by Todd Shearon)

Nick Hexum and Tim Mahoney perform during 311 concert at DTE Music Theatre in Clarkson, Mich. on July 9, 2015. (Photo by Todd Shearon)

Nick Hexum performs during 311 concert at DTE Music Theatre in Clarkson, Mich. on July 9, 2015. (Photo by Todd Shearon)

Nick Hexum performs during 311 concert at DTE Music Theatre in Clarkson, Mich. on July 9, 2015. (Photo by Todd Shearon)

Nick Hexum performs during 311 concert at Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights, Mich. on July 12, 2016. (Photo by Todd Shearon)

Nick Hexum performs during 311 concert at Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights, Mich. on July 12, 2016. (Photo by Todd Shearon)

Todd Shearon
By Todd Shearon June 23, 2017 20:12

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