They’ve been together for nearly 20 years. Fusing rap, rock and ska, they hit it big with their 1995 singles “Down” and “All Mixed Up.” Since then, all but one of their albums have been in the top 15 on the Billboard charts. They got their name from the police code for indecent exposure. And they’ll be playing their first show on Maui this weekend. Recently, we talked with 311 bassist P-Nut by phone.
MAUI TIME WEEKLY: You just came back from Jamaica. How was that?
P-NUT: Beautiful, except that my wife wasn’t there. You’re not going to believe that I’m actually ordering a burger right now. So hold on one short second…
It’s lunchtime there, yeah… so are you excited to come to Maui?
Yes, of course.
[Burger Lady]: Do you want ketchup?
No, thanks. The only fault of the Jamaica trip was that my wife wasn’t there. But she’ll be able to come out [to Maui].
Ah, that’s perfect. Will you guys get to chill out here or are you going right back on the road?
Um, we are going to be home for a week—well, a little less than that… actually about five days all together. And my wife is coming to see me in Maui, as a matter of fact, and spend a couple of days with me, so it’s going to be really nice. Nice and mellow, and we will forget all about being separated in Jamaica.
Yeah, I think Maui will let you forget all about that. I read something about you guys doing a 3-11 Day in New Orleans. How did that get started?
Well, we heard about fans getting together and listing to music on March 11, and [we decided] that it would be a good idea to do a concert that day and celebrate the best of the band and what we could come up with, and, you know, turn it into a marathon eventually like it did. It started officially in 2000, and in 2004 we filmed it, released it, and then we just did the show in Memphis last week. I’m still reeling from it ‘cause it was such an expenditure of energy.
Yeah, I bet. I know you guys do a major set, too—a few hours or something like that?
Yeah, we did like 65 songs. We started at 7:30 and ended at 12. Yeah, it was insane, a lota, lota fun. That’s why we only do it every two years. We were really disappointed that we weren’t able to do the show in New Orleans this time but Memphis was an easy second choice, another open container town. A good destination for Americans to see—that was one of the things that made us really happy to go to New Orleans. Every time we go there we have so much fun.
Yeah, you can let it go. Hey, it’s St. Patty’s day today, speaking of letting go. Are you going out tonight?
No, no. I’m just going to be recovering from the tour. I’m not the most social person. When I’m home, I just like to be at home and cook with my wife and hang out and enjoy the space that we created together.
Yeah, you want to be sleeping in your bed, vegging on your couch…
For sure. I got to have some grounding. It’s good to have the balance, it makes it all that much more worthwhile.
So when you’re on the road, what are you listening to music-wise?
You know, oddly enough, I didn’t listen to much specific stuff. I’ve been listening to a lot of vintage reggae and Curtis Mayfield, like always, and Ween. They’re so great. And uh, I love the most recent Coheed and Cambria disc. I am always singing the praises of their creative spark. The bass player is kick-ass. It’s going in such a unique direction that I can’t help but love every iota.
So as far as this show, are you going back to the 311 old-school roots?
Yeah, we always play our older stuff—it’s always a big part of the set, not an overwhelming part, but we always love to tip a little nod to the first albums. And we always play a diverse set, just kind of appreciating what we’ve done, and still looking forward.
Well, I know your burger is getting cold so I’m going to let you go, and I really appreciate you taking the time out to talk to me.
Not a problem, I am happy to do it. I appreciate you cutting it a little short. No worries ‘bout the burger. I got a microwave. MTW