The '90s were a fertile time for the cross-breeding of ska, reggae, and rock. Two of the biggest acts in this new hybrid scene were, of course, Sublime and 311. The former lost its lead singer to a heroin overdose, but now continues on with a new singer in the latter-day incarnation Sublime with Rome.
The latter, though, has remained playing and writing new music together continuously since those heady days. In fact, in the ensuing years, 311 has exponentially strengthened its fan base and reputation as a live act, and the band's tours and festivals remain staples on the live circuit.
The band recently announced a new edition of its annual Summer Unity
tour. This time around, 311 is joined by like-minded act Slightly
Stoopid, which is set to release its 10th album, Top of the World, on August 14. Meanwhile, 311 is set to perform cuts from all 10 of its albums, up to its most recent, Universal Pulse, which was released last year.
The Summer Unity Tour kicks off today in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and
arrives in South Florida at the Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach
on Tuesday, July 17. Nick Hexum, frontman/vocalist of 311, and Miles
Doughty, frontman of Slightly Stoopid, recently conducted a phone press
conference to discuss the tour. We got a couple of questions in:
County Grind: How do you feel the internet has affected your band and its approach to music?
Miles Doughty: You know, it would be a tougher time to get noticed
today because there's so many bands and the music business has changed so much. Even though the internet has
had some hurting for revenue or whatnot because of piracy, it's allowed us to have
more and more of a direct relationship with our fans, and that's more important. So it's a bigger gain than there is any kind
of loss. We just are definitely grateful to be able to have so many fans wanting to hear the next thing we do
after so many years.
Do you feel like your role as fathers has changed your approach to music?
Nick Hexum: Now that there's been a total of
five 311 babies born in the past three years, there's definitely really a lot
of home life and stuff that's being developed. It's important to take time to do that and also have various, outside of the band, creative
endeavors -- even if some fans might get a little
impatient between albums.
The Summer Unity Tour 2012, with 311 and Slightly Stoopid. 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 at the Cruzan Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $15 to $70. Visit livenation.com