The Fall and Rise of the Sublime band: Members, Tragic Story, Bio


The American rock band Sublime formed in Long Beach, California, in 1988. Its main members were Bradley Nowell (main vocalist and guitarist), Bud Gaugh (drums), and Eric Wilson (bass)  – Bradley’s dalmatian, Lou Dog, was the band’s mascot.

Bradley’s tragic heroin overdose and death in 1996 led to the band breaking up. However, Sublime’s team continued to put singles out on US radio stations, such as “Santeria”, “Doin’ Time”, and “What I Got”.

Over the course of its career, Sublime released a live album, three studio albums, and five compilation albums, along with a box set and three EPs.

Group’s History

Eric and Bud grew up in the same neighborhood and became friends in their childhood. Eric’s father, Billy Wilson, taught Bud to play the drums and read music. During their high school year, Eric and Bud joined forces with Michael Happoldt – the band’s future manager – to form punk band The Juice Bros.

Around the same time, Bradley joined the band, introducing Eric and Bud to reggae and ska. Sublime’s first gig, which took place in a small bar, was on Independence Day 1988. Many music venues refused to book the band due to its eclectic musical fusion; however, Sublime created Skunk Records, its own label, in order to appear more professional and book more gigs.

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw Sublime play at small clubs and parties in the Southern California area, alongside Skeletones, Smokestacks, No Doubt, and other local ska bands. They also released short demos and recorded various singles.

Bradley adopted Lou Dog from a shelter in February 1990, and from then on, the band would often bring him to its concert performances, eventually turning the abused pup into the band’s official mascot. Later that year, Michael Happoldt approached Sublime offering to let them record in the studio where he was studying music.

Sublime accepted Michael’s offer, and from then on would trespass into the school and record from midnight to 7 a.m. several times a week. There, they recorded the popular cassette tape “Jah Won’t Pay the Bills”, which they released in 1991 and helped them develop a strong following in Southern California.

In 1992, Sublime released “40oz. to Freedom” under Michael’s label Skunk Records,. The band’s blend of surf rock, punk, ska, reggae, and hip hop helped establish Sublime in the competitive California music scene. Around the same time, they were also briefly signed to the True Sound imprint; however, they eventually signed to the MCA Records imprint Gasoline Alley, which was run by Jon Phillips, their future manager.

Sublime released its experimental sophomore project “Robbin’ the Hood” in 1994, which flopped commercially. They toured steadily throughout 1994 and 1995, co-headlining the inaugural Vans Warped Tour in 1995. However, they were asked to leave the tour for a week due to Lou Dog biting four concertgoers, and the Sublime guests’ behavior.

Following the Warped Tour and Three Ring Circus Tour, Sublime began producing new studio material. In early 1996, Bradley and his bandmates headlined the inaugural SnoCore Tour and began recording its eponymous debut album under a major label, which was completed two months before Bradley’s heroin overdose on 25th May 1996.

Bradley was aged just 28 years old when he was found dead in a motel room after a night of hard partying. “Sublime” included the chart-topping single “What I Got” and helped the band cross over into worldwide fame, eventually going 5x platinum on the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

1996 – Present Day

Following Bradley’s untimely demise, Bud and Eric weren’t interested in continuing to perform under the Sublime name. However, the band put out various posthumous releases, such as “Stand by Your Van”, “Second-Hand Smoke”, and “Sublime Acoustic: Bradley Nowell & Friends”. In 1999, Sublime released a “Greatest Hits” compilation, followed seven years later by a box set of live recordings and rare material named “Everything Under the Sun”.

Although Bud and Eric founded the Long Beach Dub Allstars in 1997, they disbanded in 2002 due to many members of the band – which included Michael, Marshall Goodman and Todd Forman – breaking the no-drug vow they had taken.

Afterwards, Bud joined the supergroup Eyes Adrift alongside the talented Curt Kirkwood and Krist Novoselic, who previously played with the Meat Puppets and Nirvana respectively. Eyes Adrift released its only album in 2002, which included 12 songs and the single “Alaska”, later disbanding for unspecified reasons.

The “Look at All the Love We Found: A Tribute to Sublime” concert took place in 2005, and featured performances from various musicians who had previously performed with the band. All proceeds from the show went towards artists struggling with substance abuse problems.

In June 2012, Bud and Eric reunited to perform at the D-Tox Rockfest, going by the name Sublime with Rome. A year later, it was officially announced that the group would release its first live concert film to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its first show. The album “3 Ring Circus – Live at the Palace” featured rare footage from the band’s 1995 show in Hollywood, and went down well with fans.

A 25th anniversary limited-edition cassette tape of Sublime’s self-titled album was released in October 2021. In the same year, they created the remix project “Sublime Meets Scientist & Mad Professor Inna L.B.C”, which was released digitally and included eight new songs. In April 2023, Sublime produced a new license of cannabis products, REEFERS.

Outside of their work with Sublime, Bud and Eric have rarely made headlines. In April 2019, Eric suffered an ATV accident on his avocado ranch, breaking four ribs and an arm, but was later confirmed to be in stable condition. Meanwhile, Bud maintains a low profile and hasn’t released any music since 2018. At the time, he was performing with Jelly of the Month Club, which describes itself as a ‘family club’ that inspires, educates, and entertains children of all ages. However, he’s since believed to have left the group.

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Affair Post, I lead a team in uncovering the stories of the world’s most influential personalities. My role involves diving deep into the lives of our subjects, combining accurate data with engaging narratives through every phase of the editorial process, from initial research to final publication. Our objective is to deliver comprehensive analyses of the net worth and accomplishments of pioneers in various sectors, including technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. By integrating rigorous research with eloquent storytelling, we aim to connect our readers with exceptional individuals who are shaping our future, offering insights into their paths to success, challenges, and societal contributions.

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