Deep within the bowels of the River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
311 is milling around doing their pre-show primping and preening...
Well everyone except guitarist Tim Mahoney. Today he's on press
"Tonight is a make up show. When Katrina hit, we had to rearrange some
shows and Baton Rouge was one of them. It's beautiful down here. New
Orleans and Baton Rouge have always been extremely supportive of the
band. And it's great being able to play here, especially after what
happened this summer."
After fifteen years together, Mahoney and crew are riding high on the
success of their ninth album, Don't Tread On Me, that debuted at
number five on the Billboard album charts. Proving that this little
band from Omaha can still deliver the goods years after their piers
have either moved on to other bands or faded into the Alternative
Ether. "That's something we're really celebrating this year. When our
first album came out, Tool's first album came out and so did the first
Rage Against the Machine record. Thank God Tool is still around, but a
lot of those bands either broke up or didn't make it for some reason,"
"But then again, the climate has changed from grunge to whatever is
going on now. So it is funny to look and see that if anything we were
the number one rock band with full on musicians for one week."
311's evolution as musicians and songwriters has taken them from the
rockin' rude boy sound of their first album, to the ultra-tender tones
of "Getting Through To Her" from their latest long-player. "Coming off
the success of The Blue Album we did Transistor, which was
experimental. That's somewhere we'd like to go back to. And that
record will be even more experimental than that. But at the core of
every record we still come from the same place: Whether it's searching
for that ultimate rock riff or a beautiful classic melody. Or finding
inspiration with our influences, be it dance hall, reggae, rock or
hip-hop. But as time goes on we're growing individually as players and
then growing together as a unit."
Like an old married couple who can say volumes with a a grunt or a
glance, a band's ability to communicate on a level that borders on
telepathy after playing together for years. "Over the course of
fifteen years, the riffs that these guys write start to mix together
to the point that we all are coming from the same place. The goal is
always to make the melody more beautiful. To make the rock, rock
harder. And to make the songs even stronger."
"As I look back on this album now hat it's been a while since we wrote
it, it's easy to mark where we are as a band. Yeah there is the harder
sound of "Don''t Tread On Me," but then there is the more mellow vibe
from Whisky And Wine," which is just a joy to play live."
Don't Tread On Me, at least within the borders of the Republic of 311,
is a declaration of a fluid ideology. "You can look at [Don't Tread On
Me] on the surface and think of it in a nationalistic way, but for me,
I take it more personally. Be it your relationships with friends, a
lover, family or this band, you have to draw that line. We are
positive and peaceful people, so we prefer to draw that metaphorically
instead of physically. But we will always stand up for ourselves and
our families. So who cares if Rolling Stone hates us, or whatever.....
It's all so much bigger than all that."
Only if former Creed crooner Scott Stapp would have read this article before trying to take on the band at a bar one night…. Sometimes it takes a good Nebraska ass woopin’ to make a hard-headed hack to learn his lesson.