Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
Note: Originally written for The Beachcomber, before the 2020 SandJam was canceled. Happy to give the interview a home here as Tim Mahoney was generous with his time. SandJam has already released planned 2021 dates of April 23-25.
Before the coronavirus was at the forefront – 311‘s guitarist Tim Mahoney chatted with us. 311 was one of the scheduled headliners of Panama City Beach’s annual SandJam Fest. Like many festivals, the event has been canceled for this year and plans to return 2021 with an all-new lineup.
Mahoney was home at the time of the phone interview, preparing for 311 Day – a special event solely devoted to the band and their fans. “Very domestic,” Mahoney said of his morning. “I’m firing up the studio. I’m going to get to do a little work reviewing songs here for 311 Day coming up. So it’s a little balance right now before I get out of town.”
311 Day is an annual event that occurs on March 11th – a day the allows 311 fans to meet in one location and celebrate the band’s extensive catalog. “I guess we’re fortunate that we named our band a number that could be a date.”
Mahoney shares how the realization occurred that they ‘had their own holiday built-in’, so they ran with celebrating it. 2020’s 311 Day was the first to stretch across three days. “So we can cover more material, and not have to kill ourselves.”
The annual event previously called its home in New Orleans, then Memphis, and more recently Las Vegas. “Vegas seems to work pretty good because it’s easy for everybody to get a flight to Vegas, you know what I mean?”
Perhaps one aspect that keeps 311 fans so connect to the band is the steady release of content and live material. “We’re not a jam band per se, but there’s a lot of similarities – and that would be one of them,” Mahoney says of their view on releasing live recordings of concerts. “We just like to make it available. And hopefully, as time goes on it’s getting to be better quality and stuff. But I’m a huge Phish fan. I love Phish. And I really appreciate being able to listen to what they’re doing, because where I live and how I travel, I rarely get to go out and see him live. And it’s a treat when I do. But the fact that I can listen to them and see them if I want to because their stuff is online – that’s really great.”
“It keeps you in touch with them,” Mahoney says of fans. “And even just to be able to get out information about… ‘Hey, okay, we’re going out or we’re working on music. And we’re doing this and that.’ They’re so much a part of it with our band anyways, helping us survive and help us continue to make music and things like that… So we’re trying to learn.”
When it came to crowdsourcing some questions for Mahoney, a slew of musician friends wanted to know about his current guitar rig that helps him attain his signature tone. “My rig is pretty simple, but it’s the same things I’ve been using… There’s so much goes into it like the building of an amp or any of the effects or things that you use. And the dedication people put into all that stuff. They might not be players either. But it’s so much a part of what someone hears when they hear that the guitar rig.”
“The most recent thing that I put on my pedalboard is…Okay, so my name is Tim. There’s a guy named Paul Cochrane who makes these pedals. At first, he made a Tim pedal. And then it switched to a Timmy pedal. And they now have this ‘Timmy Version 3’. So I’ve always used one, because I was like, okay, I don’t care if it sounds horrible – it’s just called Tim and I got to get it. And then it’s like, holy shit, this thing sounds great! It’s an overdrive pedal, which just means it makes your clean guitar sound kind of dirty. Right?”
Mahoney’s primary touring guitars are nearing accidentally vintage. Primarily bought in the late ’90s and nearing their 25th year on the road. “The main couple I play, they go everywhere with me… You find all the vibrations and all the things, whether it’s from a human – me holding it, touching it, or the band blasting loud sound waves through it or whatever. It’s your buddy, you know what I mean? And there’s a bond there in a weird way.”
Mahoney was hopeful for their SandJam experience that won’t come to pass – to enjoy some time listening to music and our beautiful beach. Just as he was excited about the band’s scheduled tour with Incubus slated for later this year, and hopefully comes to pass.
To learn more about the adult-alternative rock festival SandJam visit: SandJamFest.com
To keep up with 311 visit: www.311.com.