DEVORE, California — 311 have yet to select Don't Tread on Me's second single, and they don't seem too concerned about it.
"I don't really care because in the past it's always been our third single that kinda [takes off]," singer Nick Hexum joked backstage at KROQ-FM's Inland Invasion on Saturday (see "Beck Bashes, Barker Mashes, Shirley Clashes, Arcade Fire Smash At KROQ Fest"). "The second one's a wash. We're just getting warmed up."
Even so, you have to have number two to get to number three, and 311 can see the follow-up to "Don't Tread on Me" going in a few different directions.
"I think we're gonna leave ourselves open until it's real obvious," said Hexum. "It could be another uptempo one like 'Don't Tread,' or there's a couple of chill, more reggae kind of ballads."
311, who are celebrating their 15-year anniversary, will decide before returning to the road October 19 for a fall tour of mostly college towns. The band is also debating openers for the outing, after taking Papa Roach and Pennywise on a summer tour that just wrapped.
During their monthlong break, Hexum is planning to finish mixing and mastering some tracks he recorded with his brother, Zach Hexum.
"When we went on that political tour supporting Kerry [last fall], a few songs stuck out [because] the way we played them was really cool," Nick said. "So right when the tour ended we went into the 311 studio and recorded six or seven cool covers. I don't know how they will ever come out, but they're just kinda supporting the liberal agenda that me and Zach subscribe to. 311 will always be my main thing, but it's fun to do something you believe in."
Before wrapping the summer trek, 311 staged a few food drives for victims of Hurricane Katrina and will continue helping throughout the fall.
"We can give as much as we can, but to give these people houses again is the ultimate, number-one thing," bassist P-Nut explained. "My brother's an architect, and I'm gonna try to find some low-cost way of [rebuilding] or at least looking into that."
In 2000, 2002 and 2004, 311 staged massive concerts in New Orleans on March 11, better known to fans as 311 Day. Before the hurricane hit, the band was planning to return to the UNO Lakefront Arena in 2006 (see "311's Don't Tread Walks In Footsteps Of Van Halen, Pantera").
"The good news is that the venue does still exist — it never got flooded, it didn't get really damaged," Hexum said. "The question is if the infrastructure in the city would be ready to have that many people. And so we're just trying to think really positive because we loved that city before and now it makes us love it that much more, knowing what's going on there. It'd be such a cool thing to be like, 'Business as usual, back again, you can't take us out.' "
311 will stay on the road well past March, until the end of next summer.
"We're always kinda trying new things, so it takes America a little while to understand what we're doing," Hexum said. "We just have to be more patient, and that's why we're spreading the whole promotion of this album out longer. We're doing four tours to support this album rather than just expecting it to blow up out of the box. That's not gonna happen with us. We're not cookie-cutter enough to blow up that quick. At least we like to think so."
Before their fall trek, 311 will play a free show October 15 in the parking lot of Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium.
311's fall tour dates, according to Jive/Zomba Records:
- 10/15 - Los Angeles, CA @ Dodger Stadium Lot
- 10/19 - San Diego, CA @ Soma
- 10/20 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
- 10/21 - Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
- 10/23 - Sacramento, CA @ Freeborn Hall
- 10/26 - San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
- 10/27 - San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
- 10/28 - San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
- 10/30 - Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
- 11/1 - Spokane, WA @ Big Easy
- 11/2 - Bozeman, MT @ Valley Ice Garden
- 11/5 - Champaign, IL @ Assembly Hall
- 11/6 - DeKalb, IL @ Convocation Center
- 11/8 - West Lafayette, IN @ Elliott Hall
- 11/12 - Lewisburg, PA @ Gerhard Fieldhouse
- 11/13 - Allentown, PA @ Memorial Hall
- 11/16 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 11/17 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 11/18 - Portland, ME @ Cumberland County Civic Center
- 11/23 - Lowell, MA @ Tsongas Arena