It has been 2 decades since we lost one of thee most renowned pioneers of our time in Bradley Nowell. I was about 16 maybe 17 years old when the waves hit Monterey Country letting us know that Sublime was going to be the next big thing. People really had no clue who Sublime was (myself included), but out of nowhere “What I Got” made its way to the airwaves, and I became a fan of Sublime, and like most fans in the area I wanted to know everything. At that time we were entering the internet era (AOL 2.1), and i began to look them up. see what other news I was able to find on Sublime. As I began to read I realized that it was a difficult road for Bradley and Sublime.
Sublime first came together in 1988 after Bradley chose to drop out of UC Santa Cruz. Bradley joined his soon to be best friends in Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh to form Sublime. It took sublime a couple of year to really get their feet planted, as Sublime struggled to to book shows. The trio realized they had to do something to make them more accomplished so they formed their label Skunk Records. In 1990 Bradley found the fourth member of Sublime Lou Dog. Lou Dog became Sublime’s mascot and traveled with them everywhere.
In 1992 Sublime released their first full length album titled 40 oz. to Freedom, and it contained songs like Date Rape, 54-46 That’s My Number/Ball & Chain, Krs-One, Badfish, Chica Me Tipo, Smoke Two Joints, and others which became instant favorites. A couple of year later Sublime signed with MCA Records and in good timing because Sublime released their second album ” Robbin’ In The Hood” which came out to mixed reviews, mostly for the 13 tracks that were recorded on a 8 track player. Little did people know at the time that songs like “Pool Shark” and “Saw Red” would become some of Bradley’s most personal songs to ever record. The next year passed and Sublime was in the studio finishing up their Self-Titled major label debut album as they release ” What I Got” to radio.
After 8 years in the pursuit of fame Bradley’s Addiction finally caught up to him. on May 25th 1996, 10 weeks before Sublime’s major label debut album was to be released; Bradley was found dead in his hotel room in San Francisco, CA. A devastating and heart wrenching blow for everyone especially his family. MCA released Sublime’s album and in its first week it ranked 25th in the top 200 billboards, but only to peak at 13 a few weeks later. only to go Quadruple Platinum (17 million sold).
Bradley never got the chance to see the fame he fought so hard for, but only to leave a legacy of influence behind while opening the door for bands like No Doubt, Slightly Stoopid, Jack Johnson, The Expendables, and others.
In remembering Bradley Nowell I would like to share a couple of videos from from Fishbone and Badfish (sublime tribute band) performing some of Sublime’s most memorable songs as they play homage Bradley’s Legacy and a tribute song by local 831 artist Qiensave
Qiensave – Ode To Brad (Click Here To Download)
Fishbone – Date Rape (cover)
Badfish – Badfish (cover)