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Sublime Lead Singer and Guitarist Brad Nowell Died 25 Years Ago Today

Today is the 25th anniversary of the singular person that made me fall in love with music, Brad Nowell. When I say the singular person, I'm not lying. When I was super young - I'm talking like 6-7 years old young - I remember my dad playing a bunch of shit that I didn't fall in love with until years later, specifically Steely Dan and John Prine. I wish I could say I'm embarrassed to admit that Steely Dan and John Prine didn't "hit me in the feels" the moment I heard the guitar riff that opens "Reelin' In The Years" or Bonnie Raitt cover "Angels In Montgomery" or Prine's "Fish and Whistle" bluegrass-y tune, but I didn't. Was just a *little* too young to appreciate that sort of greatness yet. 

Fast forward to 1996. I'm now an 8 year old whippersnapper with an arm like a goddamn cannon and a mind like a fucking scientist. Yes, I just omitted the "cock like a Burmese python" part of that line drop due to my age, by I regress. We were road tripping out to NJ to visit family and my older sister plugged her CD player into the cord that connects to the cassette tape that inserts into the car stereo so we could listen to non-radio music. She played Sublime's self titled album and I distinctly remember thinking to myself, "what is THIS?!?" I legitimately couldn't get enough of it. 

It was legit that moment I fell in love with Sublime's music and music as a whole; It wasn't too dissimilar from the scene in Almost Famous where William Miller inherits his sister's albums before she takes off to San Fran to be a flight attendant. All of a sudden I'm jamming out to Sublime, Zeppelin, The Doors, NWA, and yes, I grew to not just appreciate, but to love Steely Dan and John Prine as well. 

Brad specifically was just a fantastic rock star. Great guitarist, great lyricist, great stage presence with his gunt hanging all over the place with his dog Lou frolicking around stage. He did it his way and his way came with demons. Dude just couldn't shake the junk. There video I linked above is what I think is the best collection one can find on his best live performances; but there are others out there where he is CLEARLY so fucked up on H that the performance is, to put it nicely, dog shit. 

Like this one:

He looks like complete shit in this video and his slurring his words and everything. Really, really sad. That's not the Bradly that everyone loves... THIS is the Brad that everyone loves:

The bass line by Eric Wilson in this song paired with Brad's guitar work is, to me, PERFECTION. Absolute music perfection. And it was at some house party in Long Beach, CA or wherever.

But as we know, brad ultimately succumbed to his addiction, but that doesn't mean he didn't leave an indelible mark on music. Without Brad there's no Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads, Rebelution, or a lot of other So Cal ska bands that we see today. Even artists not in the reggae rock genre point to Brad as an influence. He's the reference point. He's the standard, just as Sublime's self titled album is the standard in Ska music albums. It's legitimately a perfect album; every other album in that genre is fighting for second place. 


Also - some self promotion - I got a music podcast that I'm cohosting with Colin Budny of Foxtrot and the Get Down and Kenny Carkeet formerly of AWOL Nation and currently of Fitness. This week we interviewed Mike Fitzpatrick of Fitz and the Tantrums. He has an UNREAL story of how hard he grinded to get his band to where it is today. 

The dude's 50 years old now and didn't see any sort of fame or money until he was in his 40s already. Constantly asked his parents for money to front the band, couldn't make rent on time, etc., but he believed in himself and in his band. Now they sell out stadiums. Check out our show - it's called "On The Guest List" and you'll see a WAY different side of me. So far we've had a really good lineup of guests through 15 episodes or so - Cory Wong, Chris Shifflet of the Foo Fighters, Marc Roberge of OAR, Chad Stokes of Dispatch, Isaiah Sharkey from John Mayer's band, Doug Ellin of Entourage, David Shaw of the Revivalists, Duddy B from the Dirty Heads and world renown drummer JB Robinson and a LOT more. Got Miles Doughty of Slightly Stoopid coming on in the coming weeks too.

Not too shabby for a brand new show!!! Check it out and let us know what you think. Trying to launch a whole music vertical here.