The tour, which also includes Gym Class Heroes, gets under way July 25 in Mountain View, Calif., and will play 29 cities before finishing Sept. 9 in Wichita, Kan. 311 and the Offspring are "pretty tight," according to Hexum, both hailing from Southern California and also having toured together many years ago. "We're both veteran rockers and have a great connection with our fans through lots of touring," Hexum notes. "They're down to Earth guys, like I believe we are."
But there is a challenge, Hexum adds. "Last time we toured together we had Pepper as an opener, and they put on a big BBQ every night out in the parking lot after the show. Now we have to figure out who's gonna be doing the grilling this summer."
The tour comes as 311 is celebrating the 25th album of its debut album, Music, which Hexum and company still have strong, and positive feelings for. "We did the original first sessions at Cherokee (Studios) where Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson had recorded," he recalls. "It was overwhelming and exciting and just a dream come true. I can hear the youthfulness in that record. It was an exciting time, and I also had a good amount of nerves, wanting to be sure I could sing in tune and do it right."
Now, meanwhile, 311 has "the bulk of an album written" to follow up 2017's Mosaic, working both on its own and with producer/co-writer John Feldmann. Hexum says the new material is "building on the progressive kind of stuff (from Mosaic), doing intense riffs and being innovative with the guitar work. "Songs like 'Too Late' from the last album kind of signify a direction we're excited about exploring on this one," he says. Nevertheless, Hexum adds, "every song is very different. We keep it all over the place, always with strong melodies, always with reggae and hip-hop and heavy rock influences. It's just fun to keep finding goals and going beyond it."
311 is planning to return to the studio after the tour to wrap things up for a first half of 2019 release. "We were kind of on the fence about whether to really buckle down and crank it out and finish it and send it to mastering," Hexum says, "but we realized that life’s not a race. We should just take our time. I think that will only make (the album) better."