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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 24, 2006

311 back in town

 •  My view: 'Don't Tread on Me' by 311

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

The veteran rock/rap group is known for its mellow music but recently got into a far-from-mellow altercation with Creed’s former frontman Scott Stapp.

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with Pepper

6 p.m. Saturday

Waikiki Shell


(877) 750-4400,


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"It was just a fluke occurrence, man. Wrong place. Wrong time."

311 vocalist S.A. Martinez was on the phone, summing up his band's notorious Thanksgiving Day brawl with former Creed front man Scott Stapp — a subject he'd have to address, along with 311's concert tomorrow at the Waikiki Shell.

Three months hadn't changed his take on what went down between Martinez, bandmates Chad Sexton and P-Nut, and Stapp in a Baltimore lounge.

According to 311's account on its Web site, www.311.com, the three band members were watching a basketball game with their wives and friends in the lounge of Baltimore's Harbor Court Hotel when Stapp entered the bar appearing intoxicated. They'd met Stapp earlier in the day with no incident. But after drinking a shot, smashing the glass into the bar and getting into an argument with other patrons, Stapp turned his attention toward 311.

Stapp sat next to Martinez and made a "disrespectful and crude remark" to Martinez's wife. When Sexton and Martinez asked him to step away, Stapp sucker-punched Sexton. A huge fight erupted, broken up by hotel security, with no arrests made. Martinez broke a finger.

Stapp has said he didn't start the fight, but hasn't commented on the rest of 311's take on the events. However, based on security-camera footage, hotel security backed up Stapp's claim to The Associated Press.

Stapp has remained in the limelight with a February marriage to a former Miss New York, an arrest for public drunkenness at Los Angeles International Airport en route to his Hawai'i honeymoon, and a co-starring role in a stolen, Internet-distributed 6-year-old sex tape of Kid Rock and a handful of groupies.

311, a quintet of '90s rap-rock originators more quietly famous these days for its hip-hop, reggae and dance hall-inflected surf rock and proud of its longtime offstage mellowness, is, not surprisingly, sort of embarrassed by all the attention.

"It was an unfortunate thing that happened. But it happened," Martinez said. "We've moved on. And we hope that (Stapp) moves on and wish him well."

Stapp's take on the incident notwithstanding, Martinez said 311 stands by its story.

"There's no other way to look at it," said Martinez, matter-of-factly. "He definitely started it, and we finished it."

Even after insisting he bore the dude no ill will, Martinez couldn't help inserting a sly dig alluding to Stapps' post-brawl travails.

"He's got enough problems," said Martinez of Stapp, laughing. "But he'll be all right."


It's been six years since 311 jetted this way for a show, and Martinez felt the band owed its Honolulu fans something special.

"It's a shame we haven't been back in a long time," Martinez said. "And we've (since) had singles — like 'Amber' and 'Love Song' — that have done very well there. ... So it's going to be great."

Not great on the order of the band's biennial marathon "3-11 Day" fan shows — the latest one on March 11 in Memphis, Tenn., clocked at five hours with more than 60 fan-approved favorites — but great just the same.

"We have a great mix of old and new at the shows (on the current tour). And that's a good thing," Martinez said. "And as you know, Pepper is going to be opening up the Waikiki (Shell) date."

The band hooked up with Kailua, Kona-bred, now San Diego-based Pepper via 311 vocalist/guitarist Nick Hexum. Pepper recorded its last CD, 2004's "In With the Old," at 311's Burbank, Calif., recording studio The Hive.

"Nick's been working with Pepper on some new tracks for their upcoming album, (and) he's really excited about the music they're making. So it'll be fun to have them on the bill," said Martinez. "We've played some shows with them before. And there's the possibility that we might be doing some touring with them this summer."

The bands also shared a producer in Ron Saint Germain, who directed 311's self-titled breakthrough album in 1995, which sold 3 million copies, and last year's "Don't Tread on Me."

311's eighth studio CD in 16 years, "Don't Tread on Me" bowed at No. 5 on Billboard's Top 200 album chart in August.


"It's gone by so fast. That's four tours of high school, you know what I'm sayin'?" said Martinez, laughing hard about 311's long and — Scott Stapp brawl notwithstanding — not-so-strange trip from its Omaha, Neb., roots.

311 — the band took its name from Omaha law enforcement's criminal code for indecent exposure — can and still does churn out kegger-ready soundtrack anthems on the order of its biggest '90s hits "All Mixed Up" and "Down." But the band seems increasingly more comfortable assuming the blissed out, romantic rude-boy vibe of its post-millennial radio faves "Amber" and tequila bar cover of The Cure's "Love Song."

"I think right now we're scratching the surface ... definitely exploring other sides of our musical spectrum ... finding things that we haven't touched on," said Martinez. "But we've always done that. That's kind of what we did early on. It was kind of like, 'Let's mix this with that and this with that,' and it spawned a genre."

That would be, for better or worse, rap-rock and its countless poor man's Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park clones that littered the late '90s.

"But we're growing. We're maturing. And I really think we have a lot of great music ahead of us," said Martinez. "We probably still haven't put together the quintessential 311 record."

Scott Stapp, we're guessing, can hardly wait for that one.

Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com.