311’s Nick Hexum, Chad Sexton on Status of Band, Recent Tours: ‘Behind the Setlist’ Podcast
“We went through a bit of a rough time,” 311 singer and guitarist Nick Hexum tells Billboard‘s Behind the Setlist podcast when asked about the band’s status following comments made online by bass player Aaron “P-Nut” Wills.
In May, founding member P-Nut ignited speculation about his future with the band after saying on Twitter he was “planning on taking a break from the band after I fulfill my obligations,” which extended to 2023 “and slightly beyond.” Five months later, however, the band is on stable ground, says Hexum.
The band members have had “some really good conversations lately about getting getting back on track,” Hexum shares. “And you know, we’re looking forward to the future. Again, I think breaks are healthy, and we have had a fairly intense touring schedule” that has included 62 concerts so far in 2022 and continues with dates in Chicago (Oct. 22 and 23) and Los Angeles (Nov. 11 and 12) before heading south to Slightly Stoopid’s Closer to the Sun festival in Mexico in early December. “Everything feels pretty well on track,” says Hexum. “And we’ve we’ve had some really good talks and discussions lately. We’re excited about the next chapter — P-Nut included.”
This year, 311 made a concerted effort to include secondary markets in the middle of the U.S. as the band returned to the road after two years slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Being from the middle of the country, we’re also in the middle of a lot of different styles,” shares Hexum. “We don’t want to be like elitist in any way, you know what I mean? We want to make it known that everyone’s welcome in our community. And so it was nice to show some love for the smaller towns that we have probably just been neglecting out of, you know, being being pulled to the bigger cities.”
311’s spring and fall tours took them to such cities as Fargo, N.D.; Bozeman and Missoula, Mont.; Green Bay and Superior, Wis.; Garden City, Idaho; Tulsa, Okla.; and Wichita, Kan. “Personally, it’s been a fun year to get to go to play, like, Missoula,” says Hexum. “Who knew that we had a good amount of fans there?”
This fall, 311 is streaming six concerts that each highlights a different album. Fans can purchase livestreams of the album sets and upgrade to bundles that include limited-edition merchandise such as T-shirts, autographed posters and animated NFTs. The band’s two performances at Terminal 5 in New York City on Oct. 1 and 2 featured 1993’s Music and 1994’s’s Grassroots. 311 will perform its breakthrough, self-titled album from 1995 and the successful follow-up, 1997’s Transistor, in Chicago on Oct. 22 and 23, respectively. As the tour continues west, shows in Los Angeles on Nov. 11 and 12 will perform Soundsystem from 1999 and From Chaos from 2001.