When you're young, you celebrate every holiday with vigor -- presents! A day off school! Good times.
Get a little older and you start to pick favorites. Often the ones that revolve around family, giant feasts or three square meals of candy -- Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Halloween.
Around college things start to trend differently -- St. Patrick's Day (get drunk with friends), the day before Thanksgiving (get drunk with older friends), the Fourth of July (get drunk with friends and make things explode).
Eventually you must consciously work to give things meaning. Am I thoughtful enough (Christmas)? Thankful enough (Thanksgiving)? Slutty enough of a witch (Columbus Day)? It's rare to wake up and feel the same magic.
But since 1993, I've loved and lived the band with the built-in holiday. That band is 311. And today is 311 Day.
On 311 Day we listen to 311.
It seems a bit cheesy to profoundly celebrate your favorite band from high school on an annual basis. And if you've read this blog more than once, you know I'm not the kind to get stuck forever listening to only those old high school bands. But 311 was less a band and more a lifestyle. It's kind of like sporting a mohawk -- when you spot the guy at the other end of the bar who is also wearing a 311 shirt, you nod and smile -- that dude knows. We know.
I got into this band at a time I didn't know exactly what I was. Was I a nerd? A hippie? Was I hardcore enough?
311's message of unity and positivity taught me that this kind of divisiveness is unnecessary. Then that became my personality. Just love people. Just dig living.
I learned that it's okay to be a suburban punk rocker with not enough to get angry about (just a love of moshing).
311 was also part of a movement of bands that helped teach another lesson of inclusiveness -- combining musical styles. Other favorites like Incubus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys and Sublime all combined varying amounts of punk, funk, jazz, rock, reggae and hip-hop.
If you can't decide which one you like, put them together.
As an iconic Incubus album once demanded: MAKE YOURSELF.
So 311 Day makes me happy. I get to listen to the music that helped make me who I am, and remember some of the more important lessons of my youth.
Live, enjoy, be you and encourage others.
"A piece to every crew that wants a piece. And peace to all crews that love peace."
"I'd like to be the thief who steals that jaded necklace that you're always wearin."
"Nature has no conscience -- no kindness or ill-will."
"Revenge sends ends to the defendant."
(^UPDATE: Just realized that 90% of the time I'm quoting 311, it's from Grassroots ('93). No wonder I always point to it as my favorite album, even though Music, Transistor, Evolver, the blue album and Universal Pulse are all a CLOSE second. In fact.. I'm pretty sure I post "Lucky" to my personal fb every single 311 Day. Rock on.)
[As you view Nick's hair below, remember that the album dropped in 1991...]