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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 28, 2000)
Omaha natives 311 to bring home rock
By Josh Nichols
The group that one decade ago was
just another Midwestern band, toying
with a unique, unheard of mix of rock,
reggae, funk and rap, returns to
Lincoln tonight for another show at
And like always, the group of
Omaha natives who call themselves
311 are happy to be back, said vocalist
and guitarist Nick Hexum.
“It’s always great to come back
home to Nebraska,” he said. “Even
though we’ve all been living in L. A. for
quite a while, our roots will always be
Despite the dedication to their
home state, odds are the group has no
regrets of leaving it.
Since the band’s move to Los
Angeles in 1992, when it signed with
Capricorn Records, 311 has two certi
fied Gold albums, one certified
Platinum album and a certified Triple
Platinum album, which together have
sold more than 5 million copies.
Tonight’s show is part of a tour pro
moting the album “Soundsystem,”
which was released last October.
Like its previous recordings,
“Soundsystem” is a little bit of every
It’s a little rock, a little reggae and a
little funk, but this time, it was done a
“This time there’s very little knob
fiddling,” Hexum said. “It’s loud gui
tars and loud drums. It’s probably the
most rock album we’ve made.”
The record has yet to receive the
mainstream radio play of the band’s
other recordings, but this doesn’t con
“We’re all really proud of
‘Soundsystem,’ and that’s the only way
that we can really judge our own
records,” he said. “We love it, and it
seems that our hard-core fans love it...
so we’re pretty happy.”
Hexum said he is happy with what
is happening with 311 and also with
what is happening in the current music
The sound 311 has been kicking
out for a decade has hit the main
stream. That is, the experimentation
and overlapping of rock and hip hop
are more common.
Artists such as Limp Bizkit and
Kid Rock are topping the charts with
the new sound - the sound, in a sense,
that 311 helped create.
This doesn’t bother Hexum.
“For the most part, I think music is
moving in a pretty interesting direc
tion,” he said. “It seems like artists are
no longer afraid to really experiment
and mix styles and cross genres.”
Hexum likes that new sounds are
being accepted and that 311 played a
part in the renovation.
“When we were coming up, our
rap, rock, reggae hybrid was not really
accepted,” he said. “A lot has changed
since then, and I’m glad that in some
way we were a catalyst for that
The return to Lincoln brings back
memories for Hexum of when 311 was
just another local band playing in
Lincoln and Omaha bars.
He cited one particular example in
Lincoln when the group was scheduled
to play a gig at Duffy’s Tavern, 14th and
O streets, but had recently parted with
its first guitarist.
“We played with no guitar!” he
said. “We just rocked out - drums,
bass, and vocals ... Our friends all
showed up and danced. What a trip.”
Memories like this one are why
Chicken Shack making most
of touring with local legends
By Josh Nichols
A group that is described in its
press release as a little schizophrenic
and is known for thriving in its own
twisted universe is opening for 311
tonight at Pershing Auditorium.
Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, like
311, plays a blend of sounds, and its
music is difficult to categorize.
“It’s a mix of a lot of different
sounds,” said lead singer Jimi HaHa.
“It’s like if Black Sabbath, the
Beach Boys and the Beatles had a
The band’s current single, “Do
Right,” is getting nationwide radio
play and is its first release off of
“Bring Your Own Stereo,” the
group’s most recent album.
Jimmie’s Chicken Shack first
received attention in 1997 when its
single “High,” received considerable
radio and MTV play.
The single was from the album
“Pushing the Salmanilla Envelope,”
which HaHa said came across as
being filled with discontent and
He said “Bring Your Own
Stereo” has a happier sound.
“With this one, all of us were just
feeling so good and we had so much
fun,” he said.
The band’s recent success has
allowed it to tour with the likes of
Live, Everclear and now 311.
HaHa said the current tour is
“Traveling with 311 has been
awesome,” he said. “We’re having a
The tour, which wraps up March
31, is making a sweep throughout the
Midwest including gigs in Kansas,
Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa.
Playing in the Combelt hasn’t
fazed the East Coast natives.
“The crowds have been awe
Hexum and 311 enjoy returning to
“The fan reaction in Nebraska is
always amazing, and that’s really
inspiring to us,” he said. “The
Nebraska shows are really important to
As far as the band’s current status,
Hexum said the band is playing as
some,” HaHa said. “People have
been digging us.”
Once this tour ends, HaHa said
the group plans to go back east and
then head overseas to tour Europe.
Despite its recent success, the
band members don’t get overly con
cerned about what will happen in the
“We expect nothing, and are
never disappointed,” HaHa said.
“If we can play music, we’re hav
Jimmie’s Chicken Shack
A group that prides itself in being
a little confusing had those inten
tions in mind when picking a name.
Jimmie’s Chicken Shack was
Malcolm X’s favorite Harlem restau
“It was just an old blues/jazz
joint in Harlem,” HaHa said.
“We just chose it to confuse peo
When asked about what to
expect from tonight’s show, HaHa
took the same laid-back approach.
“Just come out early and enjoy,”
he said. “If they think they don’t like
us, come check us out anyway.”
well, if not better, than it ever has, and
it plans to continue making new music.
“I think we’re playing better than
ever,” he said. “We’ve added some new
elements to the show, and we’ve also
brought a mobile studio on the road
with us, so we are already working on
some new material.
“We’re still having a blast.”
Classic operas hit high note in performance
■ Ariel Bybee wants to expose
Lincoln to music with production
that showcases famous pieces.
By Jason Hardy
Opera, like any art form, definitely has its
Works like “Madame Butterfly,” “Carmen”
and “Carousel” are colossal undertakings for
any opera house. Nevertheless, the University
of Nebraska-Lincoln’s school of music is
proud to present a production that will show
case scenes from the aforementioned operas as
well as other famous works.
But what makes the show so special isn’t
the operas themselves, it’s the way they’re
being presented. “At the Met: Onstage and
Backstage at the Metropolitan Opera” is the
brainchild of Ariel Bybee, UNL’s artist-in-resi
dence who spent 18 years as a mezzo-soprano
at New York City’s world-famous Metropolitan
“I’ve never done anything like this before.
We just sort of conjured up this idea, partly
because people are very curious about what
goes on backstage,” Bybee said. “I just wanted
to show what kind of stuff is onstage and then
just gossip a little bit and dish about what goes
She said the format would be fairly simple.
After a brief introduction, Bybee will discuss
the first excerpt she and her students will per
form, including information about her experi
ences with each particular show. She said the
show itself was like nothing she’d ever done.
“It illustrates my experience through per
sonal stories,” she said. “I’m talking between
each of these scenes, so I come totally out of
the action and talk to the audience. In fact, I
change costumes while I’m talking.”
For Bybee’s students, the show presented a
number of opportunities that would be hard to
come by otherwise.
“I was really happy to be able to perform
with Ariel because it’s an unusual chance.
Usually she’s there supporting us, and now
she’s onstage with us,” said Karen Hughes, a
second-year UNL masters student and per
former in the program. “The fact that she’s
bringing in her experience and staging it from
her point of view is different from a director
who is seeing it from the outside. She’s doing it
how the great stars she’s worked with have
Hughes also said performing such famous
roles and talking about the Metropolitan Opera
was very inspiring.
“For me, I guess the Met would be the ulti
mate goal,” she said. “So to sing with someone
who’s sung there is exciting - it re-ignites the
passion for what we’re doing.”
While the show has re-ignited Hughe’s pas
sion for opera, Bybee said it was also well-suit
ed for people who might be interested in opera
but who’ve had limited exposure to it.
“If you’re not a devotee of the opera, this is
the easiest way to get a start,” she said. “Having
come to Lincoln from New York, I realized that
there’s not as much of an opera following here.
Maybe this is my way of building one. It’s fun -
it’s serious fun - it’s accessible and it’s to be
enjoyed by everyone, not just old fogies ”
Hughes said aside from the quality opera
exerts, Bybee’s discussion greatly enhances the
“She talks about it from such a personal
point of view that it brings it down to earth,”
At the Met: Onstage
AND BACKSTAGE AT THE
WHERE: Kimball Recital
Hall, 11th and R streets.
March 28, 8 p.m.
THE SKINNY: Ariel Bybee
brings inner workings of the
opera to UNL.
she said. “She talks also about the experiences
about how it’s not easy to be an opera singer.
It’s a nitty-gritty profession.”
Ultimately, Bybee said she hopes Lincoln
audiences will have as much fun with the piece
as she and her students have had.
“It’s very popular in New York, and when I
came here I was surprised that opera hasn’t
caught on, so I wanna boost opera,” she said. “I
want to share my love for it with the Lincoln
audience. I hope I can show my enthusiasm and
my love for these pieces.”
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