Sublime is an American ska punk band from Long Beach, California. Originally formed in 1986, Sublime consisted of Bradley Nowell (vocals and guitar), Bud Gaugh (drums and percussion), and Eric Wilson (bass guitar). Lou Dog, Nowell's dalmatian, was the mascot of the band. Sublime achieved mainstream success with their self-titled third album. However, Nowell died of a heroin overdose shortly before its release, resulting in the band's split in 1996. As of September 2009, Sublime has reunited with a new lead singer and guitarist Rome Ramirez. Worldwide, Sublime has sold over 17 million albums, including about 10 million in the U.S. alone.
Early career (1986-1991)
Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh were childhood friends having grown up in the same Long Beach neighborhood. Eric's father Billy Wilson taught Gaugh how to read music and play the drums. Gaugh and Wilson together with future Sublime manager Michael Happoldt formed a three-piece punk band called The Juice Bros during their high school years. About this time, Bradley Nowell joined the band.
Sublime played its first gig on the Fourth of July, 1988 in a small club, reportedly starting the "Peninsula Riot" in Harbor Peninsula which led to seven arrests. For the next several years, the group focused primarily on playing at parties and clubs throughout Southern California. They recorded a few songs and put forth a number of short demos beside the well known Jah Won't Pay the Bills, containing several songs which would later appear on their major releases.
40 Oz. to Freedom and Robbin' the Hood (1992-1995)
Eventually, Sublime developed a large following in California. After concentrating on playing live shows, the band released 40 Oz. to Freedom in 1992 under Nowell's label, Skunk Records. The record established Sublime's blend of reggae, punk, skate, and hip hop, and helped to further strengthen the group's growing California following. Initially being sold exclusively at their live shows, the album became widely known in the greater Los Angeles area after rock radio station KROQ began playing the song, "Date Rape". In June 1994, Sublime was signed to the label Gasoline Alley of MCA records by Jon Phillips who subsequently became Sublime's manager.
The band toured extensively throughout 1994-1995, their popularity increasing gradually beyond the West Coast as "Date Rape" began earning radio play. Nowell was known for his tendency to play heavily intoxicated to the degree that he sometimes seemed to not even be able to play the guitar, as seen in the majority of the videos featuring the band live. In 1995, the band co-headlined the inaugural nationwide Vans Warped Tour. Being one of the most popular acts on the tour, their drug use led to tensions with the tour management. Gaugh was arrested several times for possessing marijuana. Similarly, the band's famed practice of keeping their dogs with them everywhere, including on the stage, resulted in concert-goers being bitten. Sublime was actually kicked off the tour for some time before the tour management was forced to reconsider and bring them back due to popular demand. After the Warped Tour and the subsequent Three Ring Circus Tour, the band was pressured to begin producing new studio material as a proper follow-up to the suddenly-prosperous 40 Oz. to Freedom.
Nowell's death, final album and breakup (1996)
Early 1996 saw Sublime headline the very first SnoCore Tour. In February, they began recording what would comprise the band's self-titled third record and their major label debut album. They completed it before Nowell died of a heroin overdose on May 25, 1996 at the Oceanview Motel in San Francisco, California, two months prior to the release. The album became a huge success, including the single "What I Got", which made it to #1 at the Modern Rock Chart. The album earned the band worldwide fame, and has since gone five-times platinum. Beside "What I Got", the album included several popular singles including "Santeria", "Doin' Time", "Wrong Way" and "April 29, 1992 (Miami)", all of which received heavy airplay.
A number of posthumous releases followed, among them Second-Hand Smoke in 1997 and both Stand by Your Van and Sublime Acoustic: Bradley Nowell & Friends in 1998. By the release of their Greatest Hits compilation in 1999 the band had released as many albums after Nowell's death as during his lifetime. A box set of demos, rarities and live recordings, entitled Everything Under the Sun, was released on November 14, 2006.
Following Sublime's demise, its surviving members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh formed the Long Beach Dub Allstars in 1997, which also included many frequent Sublime contributors such as Michael "Miguel" Happoldt (former member of The Ziggens), Todd Forman (3rd Alley) and "Field" Marshall Goodman. LBDA disbanded in 2002.
Reunion with new singer (2009-present)
On 28 February 2009, Sublime reunited for a show in Nevada; the performance was confirmed on March 1, 2009, by a MySpace blog message from Gaugh's current band Del Mar; the message stated the singer and guitarist that joined Wilson and Gaugh onstage was Rome Ramirez, a then-20-year-old from Northern California.
On August 31, 2009, it was announced that the reunited Sublime featuring new front-man Rome would be playing Cypress Hill's Smokeout Festival on October 23-24 in San Bernardino, California. The fest will also include performances from Kottonmouth Kings, Slipknot, Deftones, Bad Brains and Pennywise. It is not yet known whether or not the reunion is permanent or whether there will be any more gigs or a new album.
According to Rome, there will be a new Sublime album in 2010.
On October 23, 2009, Nowell's family and the executors of his estate threatened Gaugh and Wilson, along with Rome, with a lawsuit if the reconstituted band uses the Sublime moniker in a statement posted on the band's official MySpace page. The statement reads as follows:
It was recently announced that Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and Sublime drummer Floyd 'Bud' Gaugh are 'reuniting' and teaming with singer and guitarist Rome Ramirez in a band they intend to call 'Sublime.' Prior to his untimely passing, both Bud and Eric acknowledged that Brad Nowell was the sole owner of the name Sublime. It was Brad's expressed intention that no one use the name Sublime in any group that did not include him, and Brad even registered the trademark 'Sublime' under his own name.
As Brad's heirs, and with the support of his entire family, we only want to respect his wishes and therefore have not consented to Bud and Eric calling their new project 'Sublime.' We have always supported Bud and Eric's musical endeavors and their desire to continue to play Sublime's music. We wholeheartedly supported Bud, Eric and the many talented members of the Sublime posse that formed the Long Beach Dub All-Stars, soon after Brad's death, to honor him through their original recordings, live performances and Sublime music until they disbanded in 2001. But, out of respect for Brad's wishes, we have always refused to endorse any group performing as 'Sublime,' and now with great reluctance feel compelled to take the appropriate legal action to protect Brad's legacy.
Our hope is that Brad's ex-bandmates will respect his wishes and find a new name to perform under, so as to enhance the 'Sublime' legacy without the confusion and disappointment that many fans have expressed upon seeing the announcement.
Gaugh and Wilson also commented on the the lawsuit, saying:
On behalf of the band Sublime, founding members Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson are thrilled by the opportunity to reconnect with their fans around the world. While we all mourn the passing of our brother and bandmate Bradley Nowell some thirteen years ago, Sublime still has a strong message of hope and love to share ? a message that is especially important in these difficult times.
Brad's heirs apparently do not share this vision and do not want the band Sublime to continue and tried ? unsuccessfully ? to file a temporary restraining order to prevent the band from carrying on. Despite those objections, we are pleased that the United States District Court has allowed us to perform as Sublime for all of our fans.
We urge everyone to join us in our message of peace and love, and we look forward to sharing the music we created ? the music that defines us.
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Sublime utilized a genre-blending mash-up style which incorporated elements of dub, reggae, ska, punk rock, improvised dancehall, hip hop, psychedelic rock and acoustic rock, which they developed through their live shows. The band is usually classified as ska-punk.
Sublime's music was highlighted by bass-driven grooves, reggae rhythms, elaborately-cadenced rhyme schemes and transitions between paces and styles throughout a given song, sometimes alternating between thrash punk, ska and reggae within the same song (see "Seed"). Their music often contains psychedelic, harmonic minor-based or bluesy guitar solos, rhythmically-improvised bass solos or dub-lines, turntable scratching and rolling drum transitions and heavy bass lines.
In the media and legacy
Even over a decade after Nowell's death and the band's breakup, Sublime remains immensely popular throughout North America, especially in its state of origin, California. The renowned Los Angeles alternative rock radio station KROQ has listed Sublime at #3 in its "Top 106.7 biggest KROQ bands of all time" memorial for the past six years in a row, behind Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana, and #81 at the "Top 166 Artists of 1980-2008" list. With over 17 million units sold worldwide, Sublime is one of the most successful ska-punk acts of all time.
Sublime's song "Santeria" has been included in the video game Guitar Hero World Tour. The song "Seed" has been included in Tony Hawk's Underground. The song "What I Got" has also been included in the multi-format game Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX and also in the remake film Fun with Dick and Janealso in guitar hero5. "Doin' Time" is heard in Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2. "Wrong Way" was a featured song in the multi-platform game Aggressive Inline. "Date Rape" was also a featured song on the game BMX XXX. "Smoke Two Joints" is heard in the background of the movies Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Grind, and Mallrats.
Bradley Nowell - vocals, guitar
Eric Wilson - bass
Bud Gaugh - drums
Rome Ramirez - vocals, guitar
Eric Wilson - bass
Bud Gaugh - drums
All Sublime lyrics
- 40 Oz To Freedom
- 5446 / Ball And Chain
- 5446 That's My Number / Ball And Chain
- 5446 That�s My Number/ball & Chain
- Ain't No Prophet
- All You Need
- April 29, 1992
- April 29, 1992 (Leary)
- April 29th, 1992
- Bad Fish
- Ball And Chain
- Ball & Chain
- Ballad Of Johnny Butt
- Big Salty Tears
- Boss D. J.
- Caress Me Down
- Chica Me Tipo
- Chica Mi Tipo
- Chick On My Tip
- Cisco Kid
- Crazy Fool
- D. J. S
- Date Rape
- Doin' Time
- Doin Time (Snoop Dogg Remix)
- Don�t Push
- Drunk Drivin�
- Dub Medly 2
- EBIN (8 Track Demo)
- Eye Of Fatima
- Fallen Idols
- Foolish Fool
- Foreman Freestyle
- Free Loop Dub
- Freeway Time In La County Jail
- Garbage Grove
- Garden Grove
- Get Out
- Get Ready
- Greatest Hits
- Had A Dat
- Had A Dat (live 1989)
- Hong Kong Phooey
- I Don�t Care Too Much For Reggae Dub
All lyrics are property of their respective owners and are strictly for non-commercial use only.