‘Stealing Happy Hours’: A Fan’s Retrospective on 30 Years of 311

As the Omaha-bred rockers of alternative radio fame commemorate three decades of music making, this 311 Head reflects on growing up with the best band in the land

From left: bassist Aaron “P-Nut” Wills, guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton, vocalist and deejay Douglas “S.A.” Martinez and vocalist and guitarist Nick Hexum. (311/BMG)
The music video for the song that set it off: 311’s “Down.” (311/BMG)
The iconic cover art for the group’s eponymous commercial success. (311/BMG)
A brief history of 311’s beginnings and promo for “Blue.” (311/BMG)
A full-album playlist featuring the music videos for “Transistor” radio singles, “Transistor,” “Prisoner” and “Beautiful Disaster.” (311/BMG)
Cover art for 1997 release, “Transistor.” (311/BMG)
311’s video for “Grassroots” lead single, “Homebrew.” (311/BMG)
Live footage of the dynamic live drum solo on “Grassroots” crowd-pleaser “Applied Science.” (311/BMG)
The cover of 311’s first documentary, “Enlarged to Show Detail.” (311/BMG)
Cover art for 1999’s “Soundsystem.” (311/BMG)
Audio for “Hostile Apostle” off of “From Chaos.” (311/BMG)
Photographs of me, taken the fall of 2001, in my freshman year dorm room — subway poster and promotional “From Chaos” signage, confiscated from 311 Street Team materials the previous summer, hanging on proud display. (C. Farhat / M. Finnegan)
A collection of my 311 ticket stubs from days of yore, including an after-show pass for the Aug. 10, 2003, concert in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the band canceled its appearance for the post-performance party. (R. Peach)
A clipping of my interview with bassist Aaron “P-Nut” Wills, circa 2003. (R. Peach)
The intriguing cover art for 2003’s “Evolver.” Ron Ulicny, a photographer and longtime friend of the band, shot the photograph, noting on the band’s website: ‘I wanted to project 311 in a different light, for them to be seen from a new perspective. My inspiration really comes from bands I dig from the ’60s and ’70s (Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Doors, Pink Floyd), and an appreciation of the album artwork they created. I wanted to take a risk with an ambitious project that reflects more of an art piece, which goes beyond most of today’s album covers. I thought this photo concept would fit the band well and still present them in a cool way.’ (311/BMG)
A 311 Day 2014 live recording of “Beyond the Gray Sky” featuring a 14-piece orchestra. (311/BMG)
Another melodically meandering album closer — this one from “DTOM” (2005). (311/BMG)
The happy-go-lucky video for “Uplifter” lead single, “Hey You!” — an ode on music’s healing power. (311/BMG)
Audio for “Uplifter” standout track and album b-side, “Get Down.” (311/BMG)
311 Day 2020 recap video. (311/BMG)
A photo of Thomas Merton playing bongos from inside his hermitage on the grounds of Kentucky’s Trappist Monastery, Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey. (Ralph Eugene Meatyard)
Animated video for the trippy “Universal Pulse” album closer, “And A Ways to Go.” (311/BMG)
The cover of 311’s second full-length documentary, “Enlarged to Show Detail 2” (2001). (311/BMG)
The first of a series of screenshots detailing 311’s public commitment to Black lives. (R. Peach)
A live recording of “Mosaic” rocker “Too Late.” (311/BMG/SXM)
The cover art for 2017’s Mosaic featuring fan photographs. (311/BMG)
A screenshot of a fan’s post on the 311 Familia Facebook page. (R. Peach)
An animated fan video for “Stereolithic” rock ballad “Friday Afternoon.”
A full-album stream of 2014’s “Stereolithic.” (311/BMG)
A heartfelt and touching fan performance of the “Stereolithic” finisher, “Tranquility,” in this time of COVID. (311/BMG)
A recap video of 311’s October 2017 performance in Irvine, California, for Jack FM’s 12th radio festival. (311/BMG)
The lyric video for “Voyager” standout, “Stainless.” (311/BMG)
Lyric video of the jammy “What The?!” off “Voyager.” (311/BMG)
Nearly 25 years after first hearing 311 on the radio, I find a moment to pause and take stock. (E. Duff)
A rousing rendition of “Stealing Happy Hours” from the 2011 Pow Wow Festival for which the band played “Transistor” (1997) in full. (311/BMG)

Advocate, Educator, Essayist, Scholar | www.brotherpreach.com

Advocate, Educator, Essayist, Scholar | www.brotherpreach.com