Thursday, August 12, 2010

#45 Sublime

In my life, I have heard of only a rare few groups that produce a truly original sound for me. The Beatles are definitely at the top of that chart, as are the Clash and the Grateful Dead. In the mid-nineties, I was in my mid teens and in the middle of high school. This state of mind was very discouraging for me and I began to drift away from reality a little bit and seriously increased my intake of marijuana and rock music. After picking up some random CD's at a garage sale, I came across a few bootleg copies of early Sublime music. From those raw tracks I had found, I instantly gained a huge appreciation for their work. I had not heard anything like them since the Clash. How a couple of young white dudes can so superbly jam out the reggae and hip hop vibes while creating that epic mixture of ska and punk that no one has done to a truly wonderful level since the break up of the Clash. To my horror, I lost those early bootleg Cd's, but I remember within weeks of finding them I was out in the store and purchasing the '40 ounces to Freedom' album. Today, more then fifteen years later, I still haven't heard a new band make me feel as excited to throw their album on as Sublime made me (with the possible exception of Monsters of Folk). Sadly, within a year of being introduced to them, Brad Nowell died of a Heroin overdose four days before my birthday (suffice it to say I was really bummed that B-Day).

Sublime was actually formed in the late 80's. Bassist Eric Wilson and Drummer 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, who had recently dropped out of University of California, Santa Cruz, joined the band on Lead Guitar and Lead Vocals.
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.

There really is no other band like Sublime and they are always worth checking out even if you have heard them tons of times before.

No comments: