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Sublime stood for a lifestyle more than a particular musical sound. With a mixture of stony reggae vibes, light-hearted ska fun, punk rock attitudes and Long Beach gangsta brotherhood, Sublime attracted a segment of the diverse Southern California community to unite under one band. Everyone from the wallet chain-wearing gangster skater to the old school punker to the reggae (and reggae dub) enthusiast found something to enjoy in Sublime. It's no surprise that the Sublime posse (the three core members, singer/guitarist Brad Nowell, drummer Floyd "Bud" Gaugh and bassist Eric Wilson, along with numerous DJs, producers and friends) grew into a tight family unit that played together and partied together with a hip army of followers in tow. While Sublime will be most remembered for the premature death of Nowell, the band's willingness to crisscross styles and blend genres played a significant part in expanding the world of pop music in yet unheard ways.

By the time Sublime started receiving national attention in 1995 (due to the popularity of the then radio hit "Date Rape"), the band had already independently sold thousands of copies of the 1992 release 40 Oz. To Freedom on its own Skunk Records. Received nationally as a ska band, a peek at the musical diversity on 40 Oz. To Freedom or the 1994 reggae dub and punk experimental 4-track release Robbin' The Hood proved otherwise. Going mostly unnoticed, Robbin' consists mainly of loose lyrical and rhythm explorations which later blossomed into full songs for the band's third and most cohesive release, Sublime. Released in 1996 (months after the accidental drug death of frontman Nowell), the band's major-label debut on MCA produced a number of hits, a fine showing of what could have been a long-lived and healthy pop career.

Well into one year after Nowell's death Sublime was certified platinum and had produced three hit singles while 40 Oz. continues as a strong catalog seller. During the summer of 1997, a party-style club song called "Doin' Time" was released with remixes by hip hop artists such as Snoop Doggy Dogg and the Pharcyde, bringing Sublime closer into hip hop circles. The remaining members of Sublime and the expanded Sublime family continue with a Sublime tribute band called the Long Beach Dub All Stars while working with numerous other upstart bands of all genres. While MCA is scraping demos and outtakes for another possible release, Sublime's legacy lives on in the many bootlegs found within independent record store circles.



"We're pro-choice. We think everyone should have the right to smoke pot or not"
- Bud Gaugh

"Sublime is a hodgepodge of all types of bands I have been into since I was a kid. Not like I mix it all up on purpose but more like its a subconscious type of thing. As a young kid I was heavily into hard core punk, like the Circle Jerks and Black Flag, then I first heard the ska sound from bands like The Selector and The Specials. I thought this was the best music I had ever heard. Then came the rub a dub style of dance hall reggae music which I've never been able get out of my head since! A little later I was into Run DMC and the whole NWA sound. I was blown away when I heard groups like BDP and KRS-One mixing rap and reggae. It was devastating. Without really trying I now seem to put a dance hall style lyric melody over much of my attempts at writing other types of music. The bottom line is I love good music and I try to shy away from all these labels that people think are so necessary to slap on music. It seems like people get afraid of a certain music if they can't pigeonhole it to their satisfaction. They will be up all night trying to slap a label on Sublime. Good music is good music, and that should be enough for anybody."
- Brad Nowell

"One thing people don't understand is that Sublime was always so much more then just music. It was and still is a family"
- Bud Gaugh

"There's nothing that often comes up in Sublime tributes and on the countless Web pages dedicated to the band which describes Sublime as a "below average garage punk band that every kid wants to play his party." Though many authors are quick to point out that Sublime's genre-jumping style of ska, hip hop, punk, reggae, and dub reached far beyond that, live Sublime- even at the height of their career- always retained far beyond that three-guys-playing-for-beer attitude. Whether in front of 50 or 50,000 people, Sublime was either at a party, brought along one or caused one to start. Just three guys and a Dalmation jumping onstage and looking for a good time. Often playing without a set list and letting the show go in any direction it chose, the Sublime experience had the ease of an open-invitation Long Beach backyard party. Undedicated to one specific genre or clique, Sublime were a direct representation of the Southern California beach community where color, race, and musical style didn't matter. One of the few bands that could remain so individualistic yet appeal to so many kinds of people, Sublime shows would have dreadlocked Rasta lovers grooving, beach bunnies shimmying and SoCal tattooed punks moshing- all to the same song. Anyone though, who tells you Sublime were always good live were lying. But that's what made them so memorable. There were those nights when the extended members of the Sublime family would jump on stage for their go at the mic. But then even the guys were able to string grooves together, peppering ska riffs with snippets of songs in the works or giving way to punk ferocity, ending the set with a series of Bad Brains covers. Having played together since childhood, the guys could improvise with ease. When they hit that groove, it didn't matter so much what Brad did- a scat master of lyrical improvisation- was saying, but what everyone was feeling. Those were the moments of bliss. When Brad would forget the lyrics, but the crowd would fill in the gaps. When the set became an incomprehensive jam that wondered down all of Sublime's musical avenues, snagging parts of songs throughout. When you were allowed to do your thing- whatever that may be. When nothing else mattered except that party around you. That's when you realized there will never be a band that felt as good as, as free or as welcoming as Sublime."
- JR Griffin


The Official Sublime Page
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