Six questions with 311 bassist P-Nut

Chris Bitonti

This is the second time in three years 311 will play 311 Day in Las Vegas. Why Vegas? Vegas is a perfect fit. There are tons of hotels, big venues and a reason for our fans to enjoy the city. The West Coast gets a holiday for 311 day. This year, we decided to stretch it out over two days to play even more songs. It’s an experiment for us, and we’re still testing the waters.

What can fans expect? Songs no one has ever heard live. I was just looking at the setlist from 2010, and we’re playing twice as many rare songs right now. That number could always get cut down; we’re still rehearsing. On 311 Day, the people coming have heard the hits, so we’re using these shows as the world premier of many songs. We are practicing some B-sides that were never released, but our fans know the songs and we’ve never thought of playing them. It’s going to be very exciting.

The Details

March 10-11, 9 p.m., MGM Grand Garden Arena ,$75 per day or $102-$135 for both. , 891-7777.

After more than 10 albums and 20 years, how do you guys keep it fresh? Do we? I don’t know. I don’t think we have. I think we’ve fallen into a format as a band that has stifled our creativity, and we’re gonna stab it in the chest and let it bleed in the corner. We’re not afraid of going into dark places and pushing it, saying, “We’re not trying hard enough.”

It was different back when we were all living together and finishing each other’s sentences and playing four or five hours a day. We just can’t do that anymore. I guess we could get a communal house for all our families, which we have talked about. It would make a great VH1 special (laughs).

Do you have a favorite song to perform live? Hard to say. It’s a different song every time the question is asked. I get to play so many different styles and tones and emulate my heroes, it’s always a different song.

Who are some of those heroes? Oh, anyone playing bass, especially Steve Harris of Iron Maiden and Cliff Burton, the original bassist of Metallica. I went through a metal phase when I was 14 or 15.

You have such a devoted following and are so well known for your live performances. Do you feel pressure as a band to continuously up the ante with your live shows? No, I think the door is open to us. We seem to be supported as long as we don’t jump the shark. Enjoying live music is an ancient tradition, and I think we are an anomaly, in that we are wanting to solve conflicts. We don’t just want to rail against a problem, we are looking for solutions to it.

But lately we’ve been writing songs about how much we love our fans. Mostly because our world really ends with them. There’s our family and our fans and really nothing beyond that.


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