311 Compare Themselves To Grateful Dead, U2, Phish, Your Mom

anthonyjmiccio | July 7, 2008 12:00 pm

Chad Sexton, the diminutive drummer for 311, made sure to leave no sensibility unoffended when searching for the correct group to compare his stoner-friendly crap-metal ensemble to in a recent interview with MTV. “I think we have the same appeal as a band like the Grateful Dead. We have some Deadheads in the band, and when they stopped touring, Phish kind of took over for them, and maybe Dave Matthews Band has some of that same appeal as well. We can jam on our [songs] like those bands, but I’d say we’re kind of a band between–and I’m not comparing us to these bands, but just in the level of status and accomplishment, and that they’re still together–U2 and Phish. It’s somewhere in the middle of that, and we’re hoping to define that a little better over the next couple of years.” While no one would call me a big U2 fan, I don’t think its fair to bring them up when trying to explain what a concert draw your shitty band is. Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to place 311 between Phish and the Kottonmouth Kings?

It’s a weird phenomenon: We keep playing, and kids are having a great time every summer.

We’ve picked up a comparable following, I guess. We wanted to make sure we tour every summer, regardless of our records, because we’re here to play live music. We don’t want to spend a summer getting away from the people.

And soon the people will be blessed with another full-length, this one helmed by Bob “Some Kind Of Mixer” Rock!

So far, [the record is] sounding like 311, just with Bob Rock helping us get the roadmaps and the energy of the songs down, in how he’s recording it. We’ve experimented a lot in recent years and shifted this way and that way, and with the current climate out there, with record sales, it could be a coincidence that [our sales] just went down, down, down because of the Internet, or maybe we’ve been too experimental. Maybe we should get back to the basics — the 311 basics.

Judging by their drum sound on songs like 2004’s “First Straw,” Dr. Rock sounds like the perfect fit.

In high school, I wrote a two-out-of-ten review of 311’s Transistor for the teen page of my local paper, which ran the same day as their headlining show. Mark McGrath, of opening act Sugar Ray, actually called out the piece on stage, finding fault in claims like “bevy of crap,” “tuneless drivel,” and “Vanilla Ice performing at Disney’s Tiki Tiki Room.” Over ten years later, they’re still playing godawful reggae-metal, and I’m still being paid to say they suck. Some things never change.

311 Are The New Grateful Dead, Drummer Chad Sexton Says Before Tour With Snoop Dogg [MTV]311 – First Straw [YouTube]