The band 311 doesn't seem to have a definitive origin story, but from their official site http://www.311music.com, we get these stories.
"One of P-Nut's friends (Jim Watson) was arrested, cuffed (naked) and taken home to his parents. He was issued a citation for a code 311 (indecent exposure). We thought this was funny, so we took it as our band name. After the humor of the name wore off - we still kept it because we liked that it was just abstract and that it did not define us in anyway. The name did not describe our sound or our politics, it just let the music speak for itself."
"Since most interviewers always ask us 'What does 311 mean?', we have come up with lots of different answers over the years. Some include: Nick - "five friends making music", Tim - "a number dictated to me by a higher intelligence", P-Nut - "knowing a little numerology and studying a little magic, which I do; in some factions, three is man and 11 is magic. So 311 is like male magic."
UPDATED March 2011
An email from a reader (I wish people would just post comments) suggested this explanation:
Though it has never been officially confirmed, I have a story to the contrary. Three of the members of 311 went to my high school (Westside High School, Omaha, Nebraska). The members that went to my school are Nick Hexum, Tim Mahoney, and Chad Sexton. Our high school gets out at 3:10, meaning that 3:11 was freedom. I do not know if this was made up after they became famous or what, but I thought you would appreciate the information. For a while our high school actually banned all 311 memorabilia, including t-shirts.
|One of those banned t-shirts|
Greatest Hits '93-'03
Don't Tread on Me
311 - Live in New Orleans 311 Day