Sublime Biography

Review The Artist (42)

Source: written by Michael "Miguel" Happoldt
FORMED: 1988

I first met Sublime in the Fall of 1988, me and Brad were students at C.S.U.L.B. The band was the most popular group on campus and on the way to being the biggest draw in town. At the time, I was playing in the Ziggens and Brad would occasionally let us open up. One day I decided I was going to release all the Ziggens demos I was working on in the cassette format. I got a sharpie marker and scribbled out Skunk Records for the xeroxed liner notes. "You can't just do that" said Brad. Sublime had just completed a 4-song, 16-track demo, so we said, "why not put out your tape on our new label?" So began a partnership that would propel the music from keg parties to video music awards and platinum plaques. "Don't Push" and "Slowride" were from this first tape.

Prior to our meeting, was the infamous 8-track demo that "Romeo" and "New Realization" are from. This tape would have been lost if it wasn't for Trey Pangborn (guitarist for Falling Idols). The master tapes were long gone, and back then there was no DAT for a bunch of punk rockers from Long Beach. One New Year's we were boozin' at Trey's and I was going through the tape box looking for a selection. I came across a day-glo Memorex tape (like the kind your little sister would record the "Grease" soundtrack on), and there it was.

All this time I was a recording student at C.S.U.D.H., so we eventually got together to make a tape. Our first outing was live to DAT, this was a big deal in 1990, new technology, whatever. We recorded about two whole hours worth of material in the middle of the night. "Had a DAT" (hence the name) and "Chick On My Tip" were from this session.

Our first 24-track session was at C.S.U.D.H. we spent months recording 4 songs, perfecting, experimenting, learning. This would be the bulk of our second cassette release "Jah Won't Pay The Bills". "Badfish" was from this time. At this point, we thought we were really in there. We had finally produced some recordings that we were proud of and we were about to embark on our first tour. We were wrong. This is where Bud went on a little vacation from music.

We all missed Bud very much, but respected his decision. Rather than rest on our laurels, we decided to keep recording. In 1991, I bought my first sampler, a Roland S-50. This changed everthing. We were also working with the Field Marshall at this time. "Get Out" was the first song we worked on. We had completed our first tour upon returning it was obvious to all that we needed a CD to take it to the next level. I'm not gonna go into detail on how we financed this venture, let's just say we did it "by any means necessary". The version of "Get Out!" presented here is a remix. The original contained samples of a long haired, British, burn-out band that shall remain nameless. When the corporates picked up "40 oz." to distribute nationally, the original was removed from the CD.

"Trenchtown Rock" was the last thing recorded during the one day tracking session for "40 oz.". It was one of those spur of the second things, but to this day it gives me the chills because it is a testament of how Brad was, bam! genius. "Drunk Drivin'" is the only song I ever wrote. It was for Bert Susanka who was convinced I too could create the hits. These songs were left off the CD because when I was done, the program was 82 minutes long and CDs can only have 74 minutes. We were pretty naive.

It took a while, but "40 oz." started to do pretty good. We kept touring and doing shows. We had Kelly Vargas on drums for a while. Eventually Mr. Brett got a hold or our CD and wanted to hear some new songs. In the summer of '94 we entered Epitaph's Studio to make some demos. It's a long story, but by this time Bud was back on the kit. "Saw Red" is from this session. No Doubt were friends of ours from way back, and were always real supportive of our efforts. So, when Brad asked Gwen to come down to sing she was glad to. Needless to say, we never got signed to Epitaph!

We finished six songs and were going to put out a CD, but Eric and Brad thought six songs on a CD was kind of a rip-off. So we recorded a bunch of acoustic numbers and began working on the 4-track. If you ever buy a 4-track, get a Tascam 246 because they rule. We had always used the 4-track for demos but by now we were getting really good results. We would move our clandestine lab from house to house till we weould get ejected for obvious reasons. "Garbage Grove" was supposed to be on "Robbin The Hood", but we thought we could do it better on 24-track. You be the judge.

Between "Robbin" and the last tape we did a few compilation and soundtrack projects. "Legal Dub" was the extended ending of a song that would go to benefit NORML. We like NORML. "What's Really Goin' Wrong" was the sequel to a surf flick from a company called "Lost". Chicken had the rough idea and the boys helped him finish it off. It's interesting to note that these surf/skate/snowboard flicks gave us our first national, as well as international, distribution. This was pre-corporation days.

"April 29, 1992 (Leary)" was recorded in Texas with head Butthole Paul Leary. The sessions with Paul were very prolific. We filled 22 reels of 24-track tape. The album version had already been completed in L.A. with David Kahne, so we thought let's give it another try. By the way, those scanner sound bites are real. I recorded my neighbor's police scanner on April 30, 1992, the night after was the night Long Beach went richter. "Superstar Punani" was completed at this time. It was left off the last tape because we simply had enough songs. Doin' Time "Uptown Dub" was started in Texas, but never completed. We finished it about a year later with Ikey and Tim. I think Brad would be pretty stoked on the results. He always liked the take but wanted to change the lyrics, so I made it an instrumental dub.

By now you know how much influence hip-hop had on the music. One of the first things we wanted to do when the last album was done was a remix EP with other artists reinterpreting the music. Sean Perry gave me his "Doin' Time (Eerie Splendor Remix)" when we were in Hawaii. It was too late to make the remix EP, but too awesome to go to waste. Mad Lion was always someone we were into, and his work with KRS-One never left Brad's tape deck. Sean hooked up this guest appearance. I like the futuristic vibe, it sounds like the ideas we had for future recordings.

I could go on telling anecdotes and stories forever, but the music will always explain things best. I hope you enjoy this compilation. For all you that wrote in, I got a ton of good live music that we're goin' to release next. Oh yeah, Loudog is fine, he's at my feet right now. He is fat and sassy. We all miss you very much Brad.
R.I.P Brad Nowell 1968-1996

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look at all the love we found | Reviewer: SublimeInMBSC | 10/26/13

I can't say enough about sublime and how they influenced me. I was introduced to them by them. As a 20 year old surf bum my best friend and I were watching a band when another band started playing we're only gonna die by BR. We ran over and watched the entire show. A few thousand of us were introduced to sublime in the beach town MBSC 8-15-95. It had to be one of the best sublime shows ever yet nothing exists of it. During the show the police chased a stoner for lighting up a doobie. Myrtle beach was full of cool beach people open to anything but the police here are stuck in the old days. Bud even got locked up while here. Now most of the folks have grown old and are married, dead or addicted. MB has always been a place to get ripped. It would be great if a video of that show cams about. The band even stopped playing while everyone cheered the stoner as he leapt a tall fence like a deer. Even Brad cheered him on. It was epic. One thing I believe kids don't really take to heart is the fact that Sublime never made it really huge until a year or more after his death. Once "What I got" hit all the kids loved it. I remember dating a girl who fell in love with them and tried to tell me about them. I had known for awhile and the Cali kids had known for years. Back then music spread slowly across regions. Now when I listen it reminds me of my youth and it is emotional. We are getting old now and if you were into sports like skateboarding,dirt bikes and surfing your body is worn out and your energy is depleted. It would be nice to go back to those days and enjoy life like it was. Now music sucks in general. Bradley was one of a kind and will be missed. Sometimes I wonder that maybe he was lucky to go out in his prime but I still wish he were here making great music.
Hey Brad, look at all the love you (& Loudog) brought us

Kgreen | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/30/13

The man was truly a legend. I was too young when the sublime movement was going on. It was probably 1998 when I started listening to them, and haven't stopped ever since. The man was and is a legend, his music brings happiness and joy to more people than he could have ever imagined R.I.P. Bradley

"so i bought myself that gun now im right back where im from" | Reviewer: j man | 5/15/11

thats a dope bio miguel gotta keep that comin im always lookin for background stories on bradley,sublime,loudog and friends unfourtunetley i was jus a tad pole wen the movement was in be honest for the longest time sublime was a band i would hear of hear and there and i only new them for like santeria and what i got but the day i decided to look more into sublime and there music i instantly became obsessed because the story of bradley and sublime jus related u kno some dudes jus drinkin dancin smokin havin fun and jammin i luv that and the sound that came out of them it jus amazes me more people don apreciate like thy should.any way lookin forward to seein some more of this all my condolences to the nowell family troy and jakob and brads homies rip bradley ur a genius man the world wasnt and still isnt quite ready for wat u had to give u didnt loose the war u jus ran outta time.

J-Rock | Reviewer: J-Rock | 4/13/11

I have been a huge fan since the first Sublime tape I heard at age 13. One of my good friends had just moved in from California, he told us all Sublime, and let me get my first taste of the band that would ultimatly become my favorite band of all time. Here I am 16 years later, with kids of my own, rocking out to Sublime like I did when I was a teen.

I feel like Sublime's music has been the soundtrack to my life. I love how they have inspired so many artists over the years to make excellent music. Sublime has really helped create and entire genre of artists, and you can listen to the Sublime influence in every single one of them.

I never got to see a Sublime show, but many times I have wished that I was 20 or so living in So Cal during the entire Sublime movment.

It was great to see Fishbone along with Slightly Stoopid this year. One was an influence to Sublime, the other was influenced by Sublime. It was a great show and so nice to get a little taste of Southern California.

Best thing to ever happen | Reviewer: CantfoolJahIknow | 8/14/10

I have literally been listening to sublime since the day I was born. My earliest memories are of my father singing along to the records. Every song they have made has a special meaning to me because I have either lived it or was listening to it during the best times of my life. Sublime will stand the test of time and will always be an inspiration to the youth and the Jah people. Stay strong. Love your neighbor. One Love.

smoke a bowl sred a bowl | Reviewer: RastaJet | 5/27/10

sublime is one of the greatest bands and when im sitting around passing a bong and jammin out to sublime i know that im at peace with everything around me(:
and so i thank you brad,eric,and bud for making my life complete<3

Gettin me through it | Reviewer: Davedawg | 4/11/10

I'm 19 and never got to see a sublime show but I was fortunate enough to see Eric bud and Rome at the smokeout tour. There's always a sublime song that perfectly captures my emotion. My friends are sick of it but as long as their drunk asses are in my car that's what they'll hear

Too drunk to light the bong, too high to write this song | Reviewer: Matt Clingan | 2/14/10

I was first introduced to Sublime in 6th grade, now I am in 11th grade still listening to these guys. Sublime makes me feel great everyday their, their originality is what really got me hooked. I'll be singing Greatest Hits all day long, Brad thank you for sharing your music/talent with the world you will never be forgotten. And I will let make my kids listen to you.
R.I.P. Brad and Lou

a legend | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/3/10

sublime , even saying the word lights up my face ! Im 19 yrs old , and I absolutely love sublime I wish I could've seen any of their shows in the past , as for brad I never met u but im 100% sure u were a beautiful human being full of talent ! This is a great article , sublime is a legend

and their music will be passed through generations ,god bless everyone

a great man with a great band | Reviewer: r2teck | 12/15/09

So Lets just say through all the BS i was 13 when they played in the backyard of my house i never heard any thing like it, i was very blessed to know these guys and not as friends but as family, there music changed my outlook on life and luv, even though the realty is gone the memories live forever.

From Dolly: Sublime is the only best real music | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/3/09

I am a fiftyish woman who rocks to good music. I heard Sublime when my son brought home the CD and I will never be the same. Sure there is other good music, but when I'm working as an officer of the court Sublime is who I quote as it fits:
"and once in awhile you can show me the light in the strangest of places if you look through it right" (Scarlett). When child welfare gets too serious I let loose by singing Brad's music at the top of my lungs and when I'm done all is healed.
Thanks, God, for these boys!

Nick Vittum is a douche | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/14/09

You sound more and more stupid as I read on, you're not even worth insulting.

Anyways Sublimes impact on music and our generation can never/will never be forgotten.
So many words come to mind, Tragic, Sad, Depressing. None of them do justice to the feeling we all have about bradley, and his ultimate demise. It's ok though Bro, you're bigger than you ever imagined, and no more heartache. -RH

May you R E S T - I N - P E A C E

let the lovin take ahold cuz it will if you let it ♥ | Reviewer: Ramona | 8/13/09

currently, i'm 14 years old and sublime is my favorite band. i remember waiting for the bus with my sister when i was in about fourth grade and singing Wrong Way with her but never knowing who sang it. Brad, Bud, Eric and Lou-dog have inspired me to follow my heart. When i enter the gates of Heaven, i'll meet Bradley<3 i'm always singing What i Got in school. and getting in mass trouble for writing lyrics to Get Ready on my folders. Sublime lives through my soul and beats in my heart.

what ever ? | Reviewer: dirtyboy | 7/18/09

So Miguel hows life been treating ya good I hope thought id drop a line. tried to get a hold of you befor.First time ive run acros this site any way i still have some vid left.that hasnt been gaffed yet. YA KNOW WHAT I MEAN.OLD MAN BURNS

This train is bound for Glory..<3 | Reviewer: Joanna Kate A. | 5/4/09

I'm a 19 yr old girl from Boston, my number one favorite band is Sublime. When i was just 11 years old i remember watching MTV and seeing a music video for "Wrong Way" ever since then i have been listening to sublime..all i wanted to do was to go to a sublime show, at a young age i found out that Brad Nowell was dead after the fact that i became so enticed by the band's music and lyrics, i was extremely sad. Sublime's sound has tainted a generation into tranquility and harmony. this nostalgic band reminds me of summer nights and times on the beach just everything that can make someone happy.Sublime has brought millions of people together through poetic words which most people can relate to, and some words in which others may never understand. The lyrics behind this group in particular leaves an individual to think more profoundly and question the world that may be drug infested and fighting addiction. Sublime’s story is diverse and heart moving, furthermore each and every album produced has a story of its own. I would have LOVED to meet Brad, Eric, and Bud. I don't know how i would make it through each day without listening to pool shark or robin the hood. All i know is that Sublime is one of the hugest influences in my life.
R.I.P Brad Nowell
* I never knew you, but everytime i hear you sing i feel like i do *

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