The 411 on 311 and Offspring

T wo of the ’90s most notable live rock bands, 311 and The Offspring, are teaming up to bring their Never-Ending Summer Tour to the Rose Music Center on Sept. 4. As an added bonus, they’re bringing along special guests Gym Class Heroes.

90s Bro Bands bring Never-Ending Summer to Rose

311 (l-r): Doug “SA” Martinez, P-Nut, Nick Hexum, Chad Sexton, Tim Mahoney.

By Alan Sculley

Two of the ’90s most notable live rock bands, 311 and The Offspring, are teaming up to bring their Never-Ending Summer Tour to the Rose Music Center on Sept. 4. As an added bonus, they’re bringing along special guests Gym Class Heroes.

311 released their new album, Mosaic, last summer that has the veteran rap-reggae-rock outfit excited. But the group would have toured this year even if it didn’t have a fairly new batch of music to bring to the fans.

“That’s just what we do,” said 311 singer Nick Hexum in a recent phone interview. “We decided we were a touring band and we want to stay connected with our fans. We just refuse to be caught in that album cycle that some bands get caught in. We put touring first and, fortunately, our fans are there for us, whether we have a new album or not. But there’s more excitement when you have a new album.”

Mosaic is a record that Hexum believes will catch some ears who might have ignored earlier 311 music.

“I would say it’s a big step forward as far as modernizing our sound,” Hexum said. “We wanted to pursue ideas and sounds that felt fresh and new, but there’s classic elements in there with hip-hop and reggae and rockin’ riffs.”

Those elements will allow the Mosaic songs to easily fit into the 311 live show, even though Hexum said it’s hard to say which of those songs, or any other from the band’s quarter-century long catalog will be played on any given night.

“We custom make the set each night,” he said. “After doing this for so long, you kind of have a vibe for each town—there will be a lot of new people here or it will be filled with old fans, that kind of thing. After sound check, we have a set list meeting where we get on one bus and talk it out.”

311 was formed in Omaha, Nebraska in 1988, taking its name from the police code for indecent exposure. When Doug “SA” Martinez joined in 1992 to sing and work the turntables, the band’s lineup of Hexum, guitarist Tim Mahoney, bassist Aaron “P-Nut” Wills and drummer Chad Sexton was set, seemingly for good.

“We’ve always felt we stumbled into a special chemistry with the five of us and we’ve stayed together,” Hexum said. “We take good care of that band we have…The fact that the five us in 1992 loaded up in a Volkswagon van and Buick Monte Carlo and drove out to a little house in Van Nuys, California that right there was all-for-one, one-for-all. It’s always been the five guys in 311 and, hopefully, it always will be.”

The Offspring (clockwise from left): Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman, Pete Parada, Greg K., and Dexter Holland.

Sharing the bill with 311 is The Offspring, another hard rocking touring band. Offspring leader Dexter Holland recently reflected on his group’s pioneering role in the ‘90s “bro band” phenomenon, thanks in large part to frat-boy favorites like “Self Esteem” and “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy).”

“The songs that people mostly know us for are the fun ones,” he says. “But we also have some more serious songs like ‘Gone Away,’ which is about losing someone who’s close to you, and ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright,’ which is a song I wrote about driving through my old neighborhood and realizing that all these kids that I grew up with ended up having lives where really bad things happened. So, there’s some seriousness there, as well.”

The same can be said for Holland’s extra-musical activities. Two decades after he dropped out of college to devote his time to the whole rock ’n’ roll thing, the singer-guitarist decided to take a break from The Offspring to finish up his doctorate in molecular biology. It was a sensible thing to do for a rock star who’d published a paper on HIV genomes in the peer-reviewed science journal PLoS One called “Identification of Human MicroRNA-Like Sequences Embedded within the Protein-Encoding Genes of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.”

“I’m specifically interested in virology, and I felt like HIV, which is literally a worldwide pandemic, was the most worthy place to put my efforts,” said the Orange County native. “I’ve been getting a couple of interesting offers from places like UNICEF, but just getting the degree took so much time that I felt like I had to go back to my day job, which is my band.”

As day jobs go, Holland’s doesn’t seem all that bad. Earlier this year, he and his band set sail from Miami to Key West and on to the Bahamas as part of Flogging Molly’s Salty Dog Cruise, alongside The Buzzcocks, The Vandals, Lagwagon, The Adolescents and other acts with punk-rock pedigrees.

“When we started, we liked The Ramones and The Sex Pistols and The Dead Kennedys and stuff,” recalled Holland. “We weren’t trained musicians. The only way that we could have been a band that anyone actually knew was to do it the way we did it. We had to do it bratty and punk. So we wrote what came naturally for us at that age, and I’ve come to appreciate that we have these really great live shows where the music is upbeat and fun. So I’m actually very pleased with the way things have gone.”

311 and The Offspring’s Never-Ending Summer Tour with special guest Gym Class Heroes will play at the Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights, on Sept. 4 at 7:00 p.m. For tickets or more information, call 937.610.0288, or visit rosemusiccenter.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Alan Sculley at AlanSculley@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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