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Sublime Retrospective Due

October 28th, 2005 2:20pm EDT
SublimeIn music, as well as attitude, Sublime was one of the most influential bands of both '90s modern rock and youth culture. Its freewheeling mix of alternative, hip-hop, punk and reggae--served up with an aggressive d.i.y. spirit--broke down musical and cultural barriers, and became a model for the cross-genre music of today. Sublime fueled a rabid grassroots following, comprised of all ages and walks of life- the ska-punk underground, the frat house collegiate, the ever increasing dub and ragga aficionados, and, of course, the legions of the surf/skate/snowboard community who embraced the band and its lifestyle from its early inception. Boasting a rich musical legacy that remains after the untimely passing of singer-songwriter-guitarist Brad Nowell, who has been called "the posthumous voice of the extreme generation," Sublime today is an indispensable band for any fan of modern rock. And while the group's catalogue has sold a collective 12 million records, by some, Sublime continues to be one of Rock's most misunderstood and underappreciated bands.


To help put into perspective the impact and importance of Sublime's music is the group's most comprehensive retrospective ever issued, Sublime: Gold (Geffen/UMe/Gasoline Alley/Skunk), released November 15, 2005. Sublime: Gold contains a ripe sampling of nearly every popular song the band recorded in its studio career, and a few, less widespread, rare gems. Featuring 42 digitally re-mastered tracks culled from Sublime's three studio albums--plus two recordings from a posthumous collection--Sublime: Gold is a tribute to the band whose stay on stage was far too short. From tracks laid down in various living rooms on a four-track cassette recorder and guest vocals by a pre-stardom Gwen Stefani to major label success and pop hits, Gold follows the band from cult hero to its legendary status today.

Formed in 1988 by Nowell, bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh, the Long Beach-born band built a loyal audience with D.I.Y. touring along the California coast. Thanks to an adventurous, experimental musical sensibility and the personal, emotionally complex writing of Nowell, Sublime stood out from the punk retreads and ska revivalists on the alt-rock scene.

The trio's formal debut was 1992's self-issued 40 Oz. To Freedom. Heard on Gold are 14 of that album's selections, from the morality play "Date Rape," the smoothly skanking "Badfish" and the barbed title track to "KRS-One," honoring the socially-conscious rapper, and inventive covers of the Grateful Dead's "Scarlet Begonias," the Jamaican standard "Rivers Of Babylon" and the '80s novelty "Smoke Two Joints."

The indie release of 1994's Robbin' The Hood plus airplay by L.A.'s bellwether alternative radio station KROQ finally drew the attention of major labels and the band signed to MCA, which re-released Robbin' The Hood. Contributing 10 tracks to Gold, that album featured some of Nowell's most emotionally naked songwriting, including "Pool Shark" and "STP." Meanwhile, Stefani is heard on "Saw Red" while a reworking of Joe Higgs "Steppin' Razor" (made popular originally by Peter Tosh) echoed Sublime's roots.

The next album, the self titled Sublime was already complete at the time Nowell passed away. Sublime was issued two months later and 15 of its songs are reprised on Gold. The album eventually went quintuple platinum thanks to the Top 5 Modern Rock hits "What I Got," (produced by both Kahne and Leary, as both saw it as an undeniable hit) "Wrong Way" and "Santeria," and Top 30 Modern Rock "Doin' Time." Its success also belatedly drove 40 Oz. To Freedom to platinum and Robbin' The Hood to gold. Among the collections that followed was the gold Second Hand Smoke, which included Bob Marley's "Trenchtown Rock."

Today, Sublime's influence lives on in the work of countless other bands, including Gaugh and Wilson's Long Beach Dub All-Stars. Today, Sublime's seminal body of work endures as some of the most potent and compelling rock music of its time. Today, Sublime's music continues to be admired by those who were there and continues to be discovered by a new generation.

Sublime: Gold hits shelves November 15, 2005.

And next year fans can look forward to more new Sublime collections:

OUT IN 2006--Sublime Deluxe Edition

Originally released in 1996, we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of one of the most influential albums of all time with Sublime: Deluxe Edition. This 2 disc set contains their groundbreaking self-titled album, completely digitally remastered from the original recordings, plus rare and unreleased bonus tracks, non album single a-sides and b-sides, alternate mixes, demos and rare live recordings. Expanded packaging features the complete original artwork, new liner notes, additional photos and more.

OUT IN 2006--Sublime Retrospective BOXED SET

Celebrating the life and music of Brad Nowell, Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh is the 4 disc (3 CD + 1 DVD) Sublime Box Set. Included are unreleased live and radio show performances, demos, and more. The DVD includes rare videos from their early performances throughout career.

Related Links:
Sublime photos, history, reviews and more...
Starpulse review of 'Sublime: Gold'