Like many young Midwesterners with visions of rock and roll stardom dancing in front of their eyes, Chad Sexton and the rest of his 311 bandmates moved out to L.A. to try their hand in the music business. Sexton grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and started on the drums at four years old. Throughout middle school and high school Sexton played in the jazz band, as well as with local acts The Railmen and the Sky Ryders drum corps. It was in these various musical contexts that he began developing the speed and finesse that he would become known for as a member of ska superstars 311, which began in Omaha as just another Chad Sexton learning experience, before the guys decided to move out to L.A. to try and make it big.
There they began shopping around a demo, Hydroponic, until Capricorn Records picked them up. 311 then went to work on their first major-label album Music, which they was released in 1993. With a unique combination of rap, rock, reggae, ska, and alternative, 311 quickly began to gather a large following. Their sophmore release, 1994's Grassroots, proved to be a step up from their earlier work, as the album showed even more diversity and a more mature sound.
But it was their third album, 311, released the following year, that launched them to super stardom, with singles “All Mixed Up” and “Down” receiving heavy radio rotation and helping to push the album to triple-platinum status. The band became a mainstay on popular radio and MTV and were featured in numerous late-night talk show performances. Successive albums followed one after another, with Transistor in 1997, followed by Soundsystem (1999), From Chaos (2001), Evolver (2003), and Don’t Tread On Me (2005).
Each album featured Sexton's drumming out front. His mastery of classical rudiments and rigid, drum corps–style approach are a key feature of most 311 songs.