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 history

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:

The music

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 mid-90s.

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 album.
  • 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.