Sublime Is 25! Fans Reflect on What the Band Means to Them
A new live album, 3 Ring Circus: Live at the Palace - October 21, 1995, marks the occasion, growing the reggae-punk act's posthumous catalogue to Pac-like proportions.
Though the original incarnation of the band hasn't existed since Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose in 1996, they are still an integral part of people's everyday lives, especially those who live in the surf, skate, and punk communities.
We suspect that, to some, their music is a reminder of a time when beach culture wasn't burdened by yuppie consumerism; to others it's a soundtrack to bong-rip and kick-flip to while playing hooky.
But to get a deeper sense of why Sublime's music endures, we talked to people from all walks of life who have been touched by their songs, from fellow musicians to surfers. Some of the best are below. Bonus, at the bottom of the post, new songs, and a video, and a letter Nowell wrote to Jean-Christophe Kay of The Toyes.
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Taylor Ramirez, co-owner of Vulture Vintage, Hermosa Beach punk aficionado
My first memory of really being into Sublime was when I was 16. My dad was teaching me how to drive a stick-shift. He got me this brand-new 1964 red bug. I grabbed one of the CDs in it and it was Sublime's Robbin' the Hood. I remember playing that CD over and over in that car. It's just a good highlight of life, remembering those times in that car with that album.
That's always been one of my favorite albums. Before that I had heard "Caress Me Down" and "Santeria" and all that, but I didn't really fall in love with them until that album. Hearing "New Realization" and "Romeo," those became some of my favorite songs of all time.
We met Brad and all the guys from Sublime when we were 15, 16 years old. Those guys took us under their wing... That might have been '94... Brad and Miguel [Happoldt] had invited us up to this place called the Foothill Tavern in Long Beach. It was an old punk rock biker bar, just a place where we would play shows. After the gig Brad came up to me and Kyle and asked if we wanted to make a record on [his label] Skunk Records.
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Our first couple records were off of Skunk. Brad and Miguel gave us a hand when we were kids, showed us some of the ropes. Showed us some of the do's and don't's of life on the road and what it's like in the music world. We were just little kids trying to figure it out, looking up going "holy shit" at the guy that we grew up listening to and idolized. It was such a cool thing to happen to a couple kids from Ocean Beach.
Sublime endures because of the way, lyrically, that Brad would make you feel. People can relate so much to that Southern California culture that he spit out. It was refreshing because it was new. Just like Nirvana helped change from the hair-metal stage into the grunge rock of the '90s, Sublime did the same thing, changing the whole grunge sound... When you're a musician like that it's timeless, it'll last forever.