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Thursday, December 2, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 71


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311 returns to its 'grassroots' in hopes to please hardcore followers

By Jason Caesar Consolacion
Daily Cougar Staff

Bands have a tendency to evolve in their sound and style. However, the desire to mature as musicians can sometimes force a band to stray from what they do best.

Omaha, Neb., natives 311 have come a long way since 1993's Music. But which direction the band took is debatable.


Marina Chavez/Capricorn Records


311, a band which has undergone many changes in its sound since it burst on to the scene in th eearly '90s, plays Numbers on Sunday at 7p.m.

The band reached its musical peak in 1994 with the release of Grassroots, an album that featured great tracks like "8:16 A.M.," "Omaha Stylee," "Silver" and "Grassroots."

311 reached its commercial success in 1995 with its self-titled Capricorn release, which went multi-platinum. Songs like "Down," "All Mixed Up" and "Don't Stay Home" made it to the airwaves and caught the ear of the mainstream listener.

However, most avid 311 fans will tell you that the band began to lose its edge with that album.

The daring guitar patterns that denied conventional chord progressions began to disappear. Lead singer S.A. Martinez's lyrics began to deteriorate. Fellow lead singer Nick Hexum's melodies became more simplistic. Guitarist Chad Sexton, bassist P-Nut and drummer Tim Mahoney have kept original, but the music just isn't the same.

The band's 1997 release, Transistor, was a big change from what 311 fans are used to. For some, it was a sweet change to something different. For others, it was a style they had hoped the band would never resort to.

Hints of sound effects, synthesizers and other industrial sounds splattered an unfamiliar stain on Transistor

With its latest release, Soundsystem, 311 has returned ­ somewhat ­ to its roots. The daring guitar licks are back and Hexum's and Martinez's lyrics are in top form.

Perhaps a message was sent to 311 fans in the album's first single, "Come Original." It's a cut that requests for all entertainers to stick to their own style and not fall victim to the pressures of bowing to what the mainstream listener wants.

Unfortunately, the message wasn't exactly taken to heart by the sender. Soundsystem includes hints of 1994's Music, but the album is still flooded with the styles that fueled Transistor.

Whether you like 311's new sound or not, the quintet will be in town Sunday at Numbers. At the request of its fans, the band has opted to go on a club and small theater tour. 

The concert is sold out, but you can still win tickets by listening to KTBZ radio. Doors open at 7 p.m.
 

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