April twenty-six nineteen ninety two
There was a riot in the streets tell me where were you
You were sitting home watching your TV
While I was participating in some Anarchy
- Sublime, "April 26, 1992"
In few words
Sublime is a ska / punk / dub / reggae-ish band active from the
late 80s to the mid 90s. Most famous for the songs Date Rape, What I
Got and a few other hits.
The place was Long Beach, California. The year was 1988. Three young
men hang around together, playing some garage punk music every now and then.
On the 4th of July they played their first gig, and subsequently started touring
the local music scene in California.
Slowly but surely the band started to get some followers, and they started
selling independently produced CDs at their shows. Exposure on radio of those
CDs got the band a record contract with MCA
The trio consisted of:
Sublime very much created their own style of music, and they made it possible
for artists like Sugar Ray and Buzz Poets. Their music style is difficult
to categorize, but it has definite roots of reggae, ska, and also elements
of the punk revival that Green Day and Offspring made so popular in the
These elements, combined with beats that have a certain hip-hop and / or
dub feel to them made Sublime famous.
Songs that are typical of the band (i.e download these if you want to find
out if you like them, and then get the albums if you do):
The tragic end
Just before the release of their third CD, on May 1996, Bradley overdosed
on heroin in a San Francisco hotelroom. This pretty much put an end to
Sublime, both to what it was and what it could possibly have become.
The remaining two started a new band after Bradley's departure; Long Beach Dub Allstars
Discography & micro-reviews
(Comments are subjective opinions on the various albums. Disregard at will)
- 1992 - 40 ounces to Freedom
- On this debut album, the initial impression is that the style seems
slightly broken up. The band show that they are quite diverse in their
music styles, but they don't seem to get anything right. Mind you, there
are a few gems on here, in particular Badfish and Date Rape, but the
album has heavy traces of starting-up troubles. The lyrics aren't exactly
worth any awards, but this is a definite summertime-driving-your-car-to-the-beach
- 1994 - Robbin' the Hood
- This album has Boss DJ and Saw Red on them. What else
can I say? Gorgeous fractions of dub / ska. The music has gotten some
more substance than it had on their debut album, but they are still
getting better on...
- 1996 - Sublime
- Sublime's third album, released just after Bradley's death, sold lots
of copies, and that for a reason. The album is a journey through the world
that Sublime created in their first two albums, except, well, better. The
music became more secure, but also more sexy and playful. Great album
that's definitely worth having. More summertime music, obviously, but that
is not a bad thing. If you only buy one Sublime CD - let this be the one!
- 1998 - Stand by your Van
- This is Sublime's live CD with recordings of songs from the first
two CDs. It is not worth having unless you already own 40 oz and Robbin',
but if you do, and decide you like them a lot, this album might be what
you are looking for. The live versions of the songs are a bit more relaxed
and less pretentious than the album versions, but the difference is so
small that it's hardly worth the money unless you are a Sublime fan.
- 1998 - Acoustic: Bradly Nowell and Friends
- Now this is a true gem. This acoustic album is an even more laid
back version of Sublime. The album combines a best-of compilation with
an acoustic and live album at the same time. If you like Sublime, and
would like to have a look at the "softer" side, this would be
a good choice.