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Hot Off The Heels Of Uniting With His Late Dad's Band Sublime, We Interviewed Jakob Nowell About What It's Like To Play With Such A Legendary Group

We had a really great guest on Barstool Backstage this week. Jakob Nowell, son of Sublime legend Bradley Nowell.

Twenty-eight years after his dad’s death, Jakob is stepping up to lead Sublime, bringing his own flair while honoring his father’s legacy. He’s been hustling in the music scene for a decade without leaning on his famous last name, proving he’s got the chops to make his own mark, and he has had quite the journey. 

After getting sober, he started to really dig into the music his dad created and began to appreciate the incredible legacy of Sublime. It has been a journey of self-discovery for him, filled with the beats and vibes that made Sublime a household name for decades of kids and adults growing up in the 90s. 

His recovery story, something he's very proud of, and open about (as you'll see in our interview) is really remarkable. 

In September 2023, Jakob found himself at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, CA: the same spot where Sublime played their last show. 

While there, he stumbled upon a recovery meeting packed with punk-rock locals and Sublime fans. It was in that moment Jakob realized he needed to take on the role of fronting Sublime. It just felt right.

The idea of performing at a benefit show for Bad Brains' HR started to float around. (H.R. suffers from SUNCT syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes headaches. In 2017, he underwent surgery for the condition.) Jakob got together with original Sublime members Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson to jam for the first time ever. The rehearsals were a blast he said, and playing together felt natural, came easy, and left everybody full of good vibes.

Stereogum - Sublime’s Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh performed with the son of their late bandmate Bradley Nowell at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles on Monday night. Jakob Nowell, who is 28 and currently plays in Jakobs Castle, fronted the group at a benefit show for Bad Brains vocalist H.R., who has been unable to tour due to his battle with SUNCT (Short-lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform with Conjunctival injection and Tearing). It was Jakob’s first concert with the Sublime members and marked bassist Wilson’s reunion with drummer Gaugh, who left Sublime With Rome in 2011.

Their set featured eight songs including “April 29, 1992 (Miami),” “Wrong Way,” “What I Got,” “Santeria,” and “Same In The End.” “Bad Brains has inspired me since I was small so it’s an honor being asked to perform in a benefit for the legendary HR,” Nowell shared in a message afterwards. “Gonna be playing some Sublime songs with my uncles Bud and Eric, feels like the timing is right…”

Shortly after leaving Sublime With Rome, Gaugh shared his mixed feelings about performing Sublime songs after Bradley Nowell’s death. “In hindsight I would not have used the name. I didn’t want to in the first place, I was talked into it and I would like to apologize to certain people and the fans for trying to justify or talk them into it as well,” he told SWRfans.com in a 2012 interview. He added, “It was really good for the first few months, after that, it just felt wrong. Not playing the songs but playing them with the name Sublime, without Brad.” However, Billboard now points to a new business relationship between Jakob Nowell’s manager and the Sublime estate, hinting that more collaborations between the musicians could be in the works.

Other performers at Monday’s benefit included Dave Lombardo, Fred Armisen, Money Mark, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore and Norwood Fisher, former Bad Brains vocalist Ras Israel Joseph I, and more. 

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The response from fans after the benefit show was off the charts. With all the love and support pouring in, Bud, Eric, and Jakob decided to keep the ball rolling and bring Sublime back to life, with Jakob stepping in as the new frontman.

At Coachella, Jakob rocked out with his dad’s unique custom guitar and used his dad’s Mesa Boogie amp. Bud played his iconic green drum kit, reuniting the instruments that last shared a stage in 1996. It was a powerful, emotional performance that honored the band's legacy and thrilled the crowd.

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Their PR rep sent us some really great news for fans of the band, which we touched on in the interview - 

Sublime’s comeback includes performances at the Levitate Music & Arts Festival, No Values Festival, Oceans Calling, and the Point Break Music Festival. While there’s no tour planned just yet, fans can look forward to more festival announcements.

There’s even a Sublime biopic set to start production this year, promising to dive into the band’s history and legacy.

When he's not jamming with Sublime, Jakob tours with his own band, Jakob's Castle. Their debut album, Enter The Castle, dropped in April 2024 via Epitaph Records. Jakob is now 28; the same age his dad was when he passed away.

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