For three decades, Aaron “P-Nut” Wills has traveled the world as part of 311.
The rock band is on tour celebrating its milestone in the music industry.
“It’s been a journey that has taken us all over the world,” Wills says. “It’s been a wonderful journey.”
The band formed over 30 years ago in Omaha, Nebraska, and is still making music and touring the world with most of its original lineup.
Besides Wills, the band’s bassist, the other members of the band are Nick Hexum, Chad Sexton, Tim Mahoney and Doug “SA” Martinez.
The band is known for hits such as “Beautiful Disaster,” “Down,” “Amber,” “Come Original,” “All Mixed Up” and “Too Much to Think.”
The band’s most recent album is 2019’s “Voyager,” and 311 has been marking the anniversary with livestreamed shows and a national tour, which makes a stop at Isleta Amphitheater on Sunday, Oct. 3.
Wills says the band used the time off in 2020 to rest.
“Honestly, I think we needed a break,” he says of last year. “It was nice to press pause and think of what’s next. There are rumblings of new music, but nothing is happening as a collective.”
Unlike many other bands that started around the same time, 311 has managed to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the music industry.
That was made possible by the fans.
“We paid attention to the fans, and that’s made the difference,” he says. “They were the ones showing up to multiple concerts, spreading the word about us. We’ve had hits on the radio, but it was the fans who helped keep us moving forward. They inspire us to push ourselves musically. You can hear their appreciation for us, and we’re always interacting with them to give a creative experience.”
Wills says it took a few weeks for the band to feel like a well-oiled machine when it began touring more than a month ago.
He says that by July 2020, he was itching to get back out on the road.
“I noticed then I was missing out hearing the applause each night,” he says. “Traveling has been so much a part of my life. Getting back to that routine has been amazing.”
One might think that having released 13 albums, the band would have a tough time putting together a set list.
“It’s not too hard,” Wills says. “Sometimes there’s a rare track that we want to play. Before we take it to the set, we work it out in sound check. It’s been a little harder these days, because we’re doing sound check parties.”
311’s show in Albuquerque are always a little more special for Wills.
When he performs in the city, he gets an opportunity to spend time with his dad, who lives in Albuquerque.
“He loves the experience and loves the music,” he says. “He loves our audience and it works out well to have him here with us. He’s been along for the journey too.”