311 commemorated their 25 years as a group with the boxset release of Archive. The boxset includes 81 tracks including unreleased songs, B-sides, bonus tracks, pre-production recordings and demos. Of those 81 songs, we’re giving away for FREE, this week only, “Pass The Grass”, a demo to what later became “Strong All Along”…
You can download 311’s demo of “Strong All Along” with “Pass The Grass” for FREE on our home page under the MP3 Leak of the Week on the right hand column! This Download will only be available until Saturday, July 25th, 2015.
311 – “Pass The Grass” – Download HERE
“Pass The Grass” Background:
I had a chance to speak with 311 front man Nick Hexum for about 35minutes discussing the bands 25 years as a group that included the release of the Archive. This was the group depleting their vault of music into a release of 81 songs.
Going through and finding that there were 81 various tracks to put out for the fans, Nick acknowledged that he was most excited to see “Week of Saturdays”, which was an Uplifter B-side, as well as “Pass The Grass” finally get released to the fans. Nick explains that “Pass The Grass” would eventually turn into ‘Strong All Along’ off their album Soundsystem.
“Very different lyrics and it’s a really playful, funny demo and it changed a lot,” says Nick of the song, ‘Pass The Grass.’ “For people to go back and hear what became ‘Strong All Along’, I think that may be a trip.”
The album, Soundsystem came out October 12, 1999 and the inspiration for that album came from the previous summer’s trip to Jamaica. “‘98 was the one summer we didn’t tour,” shares Nick. “Me and SA Martinez went down to Jamaica. We went to the deep underground reggae scene, the dance-hall where the sound systems were just set up in the center of town with these huge parties and everyone’s dancing there and drinking Red Stripe and we’re the only Americans there.”
It was while in Jamaica, experiencing these center of the town dancehall parties that 311 found inspiration for their next album Soundsystem. “We just made a lot of friends and would have people dropping freestyles for us! We’d be like: ‘Here’s a Red Stripe, give us a freestyle.’ We’re getting ideas because it’s just such a musical culture down there that everybody can sing. So a great place to go and get inspired.”
What you’re hearing with “Pass The Grass” is a tribute to that experience as you’ll notice a dancehall riddim with familiar elements that made its way onto the final cut of “Strong All Along”. The early workings of the song sound like something you would freestyle over at a dancehall party in Jamaica. “When the drum beat goes double time is what they call ‘Steppers Reggae’ where the snare goes next to a double time pattern and that is in the song,” Nick says of “Strong All Along”. “I hear a little XTC, which was a huge band for me as a teenager. They’re really sophisticated songwriters.”
On 311’s last Caribbean cruise, they sailed off to Jamaica and during their excursion the group performed the album Soundsystem in its entirety as a tribute to that summer of ’98 experience that influenced the album. “That’s why it was so cool on this last cruise back to Jamaica and to play that album in its entirety as we were sailing away, it kind of just came full circle.”
With so much depth, these stories provide perspective to the mindset of each song and it enables us to listen with new hears and appreciation. With 81 songs, you can purchase 311’s Archive by clicking HERE!
311 was formed in 1990 in Omaha, Nebraska by singer/guitarist Nick Hexum, singer S.A. Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton and bassist P-Nut. The band now resides in Los Angeles, California.
311 mix rock, rap, reggae and funk into their own unique sound. After years of consistent touring, 311 have developed a reputation as one of the hardest working, most influential and most entertaining live bands in the U.S.
311 have released eleven studio albums, one live album, one greatest hits album and three dvd’s – and have sold over 8.5 million albums in the U.S. Nine of their albums have consecutively reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Top 200 Sales Chart…and nine of their singles have reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Alternative Rock Radio Chart.
After their current summer tour, the band will head back into the studio to finish up their 12th studio album to be released sometime in 2016. Nick explained to The Pier that the newer material is “very innovative, very futuristic. I think we’re really in the creative zone and everyone’s very fired up about it. We had a band meeting where we told the manager: ‘Hey, after summer tour, let’s not add a lot of fly dates because it’s going to be time to really get this album into high gear.'” Read our latest conversation with Nick Hexum by clicking HERE!
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Huge thanks again to 311 for allowing us to share their demo of “Strong All Along” with “Pass The Grass” to post up for FREE download. Free music is a privilege that we’re grateful for and we appreciate the work these artists do! Please feel free to download this song for FREE and spread the awareness to your friends!
Enjoy the FREE track on the homepage!
Article By: Mike Patti
Listen: 311 – Come Original (Pre-production version)
Listen: 311 – “Strong All Along”