1992 40 OZ TO FREEDOM
“RIVERS OF BABYLON”
40 Oz To Freedom didn’t set the world on fire when it first released. The album was released on Skunk Records with mixed reviews for the new SOCA band. But four years later after lead singer, Brad Newell, died, the CD was re-released on the MCA label and sales figures skyrocketed. The album is raw and a hodgepodge of musical genres including reggae, punk, surf, ska, dub, and even a little hip hop. Covers by bands like the Grateful Dead, Toots & The Maytals, and Bad Religion mixed with originals. A Jamaican rocksteady band called The Melodians recorded the original Rivers Of Babylon for Peter Tosh’s movie, The Harder They Come. Sublime’s version stands out as the best version of it yet.
1994 ROBBIN THE HOOD
The CD cover looks like a 50 year old toothless Tommy Lee from Motley Crue. Sublime’s second album didn’t achieve commercial success but the hardcore fans love it. Self-produced, low budget, disjointed songs including multiple instrumentals and even some half finished demos that were later fleshed out into hits like Santeria. Yet fans could see a glimmer of Sublime’s potential in tracks like Pool Shark and Saw Red with a young Gwen Stefani. Samples of bands as diverse as The Doors, Steely Dan, The Geto Boys, and Steady B, created a crossover appeal for the young rising band. Boss DJ samples Bob Marley and Aswad. The laid-back reggae vibe is perfectly captured by Brad’s guitar and voice.
Perhaps the greatest ska album of all-time? This was the album that pushed Sublime into the spotlight. Wrong Way, Santeria, Pawn Shop, Doin’ Time, Garden Grove, and #1 hit, What I Got are definitive Sublime songs that alternative radio jumped all over as the soundtrack of our summer. Tracks like Caress Me Down, Burritos, and Under My Voodoo were those quirky, original classic album cuts that made the Sublime CD so creative. Sublime’s appearance on the very first Vans Warped Tour, along with up and coming bands like Green Day and The Offspring, cannot be understated for breaking the band to superstar status.
1997 SECOND HAND SMOKE
At the time of Brad Newell’s death at 28 from a heroin overdose, Sublime was one of the biggest bands in the country. A follow-up album would have went straight to #1 but the best the band could muster was a compilation disc including some recycled versions and a few unreleased tracks to appease their fans. By this time, No Doubt had become a huge act and Gwen’s duet with Brad was now a big deal. A funky video version of Don’t Push captured Brad’s charisma and stands as an album highlight.
2006 EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN
“ONE CUP OF COFFEE / JUDGE NOT”
Fans had been sharing bootlegs concert material and unreleased songs on sites like Napster, a bootleg site called Sublime Archive, or simply trading on homemade cassettes and cd’s. To culminate the 10th anniversary of Brad’s death, Geffen Records released a box set of 3 CD’s and one concert DVD. Reggae and punk covers, live radio versions, remixes, it was a Sublime fan’s dream to get all of these memories compiled in one place. A studio recording of the Bob Marley songs, “One Cup Of Coffee” paired with “Judge Not” reminds us of Sublime’s talent and their incredible mood-altering music.