Sublime, famously from Long Beach, California, is a reggae/punk/ska band who formed in 1988 with members Bradley Nowell on vocals and guitar, Eric Wilson on bass, and Bud Gaugh on drums. After two albums, 40 oz. to Freedom and Robbin’ the Hood, without mainstream recognition, Sublime recorded their first album with a major label self-titled Sublime. Unfortunately, this was the last album that Sublime recorded. Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose in 1996.
Sublime shows how versatile Sublime could be sometimes. Sublime definitely helped make popular punk sounding music in the United States. Reggae beats are not uncommon in Sublime, the first song on the c.d., “Garden Grove” even makes references to Jamaica, saying, “Cause in my mind/Music from Jamaica, all the love I found/Pull over there’s a reason why my soul’s unsound” showing how reggae music influenced their music. This song is Bradley singing over a rolling bass line and a consistent drum pattern. Bradley did what most a lot of artists, songwriters, and people do by using their own personal experiences and relating it back so that more people can relate to it as well. Also, towards the end of the song it has been mixed and the albums been scratched to mix the instruments and lyrics around. “What I Got” and “Santeria” are the most popular off of the album and have received the most air-time on the radio. I personally love the song “What I Got” for the lyrics and the really awesome guitar solos. Recently, I attended Earthday Birthday in Orlando, Florida and as Chevelle was leaving the stage they played “What I Got” as a song just in between bands, but as soon as the song started people who had started to merge out from the crowd stopped and started singing. It was like for at least a few moments, people just gave into the song and the lyrics because they truly felt that “Lovin’ is what I got.”
Sublime had some major punk roots. Songs like “Same in the End” with its crashing cymbals and drum rolls fantastic bass lines that mimic the guitar and give the song more depth and makes it a louder noise. Another of my personal favorites is “April 29th, 1992” which is about the Los Angeles Riots of 1992. The riots were started after the acquittal of four police officers who were accused of beating up Rodney King on videotape. These riots that started in Los Angeles spread throughout the United States, and in the song Bradley states the cities the riots were in. “Pawn Shop” has the most reggae influence in my own opinion with the slow but consistent beats with short stops within the beat and reggae feel on the guitar. The slow repetition of “Down here at the pawn shop,” I think also adds to the reggae vibe.
Sublime is the band of Long Beach, California. In numerous songs, in multiple ways, Sublime always references their roots in Long Beach, California, or the LBC as they call it in many songs. And just like a lot of Californians, Sublime was a surf band as well. The song “Paddle Out” is all about surfing, the best places to surf, experiences when surfing, along with a classically good surf guitar riff. “Caress Me Down” is one of my favorites, and many other peoples favorite as well. Mainstream and radio success for this song could never be even though is displays Bradley’s skill at singing in Spanish and English because a majority of the song would be bleeped out and that would just ruin this bass filled song.
Sublime is a great band. It’s sad that Bradley died at such a young age with such a bright future ahead of him, but things happen. The surviving members, Eric and Bud, are still around and have recently started performing as Sublime With Rome, Rome being the guy they found to fill in for Bradley. Debates have been made whether its right for Eric and Bud to continue playing under the name Sublime without Bradley. But that’s up to personal opinion. That is why there was a compromise to add the With Rome onto the end of Sublime after a copyright lawsuit from the Nowell estate. I do know that I’d love to hear new music by them because they both are great musicians. But to me, Sublime cannot really be Sublime without Bradley.
This is why I love college, I get to write things like the article I wrote for History & Appreciation of Rock at UNF on Jimi Hendrix. I had to go for one of the best first, and he fit the best at the time, now here is my paper.:
Let’s hope for an A :]
Jimi Hendrix was a revolutionary guitarist who stretched chords out, and produced some of the greatest riffs off of the electric guitar. He also used distortion and static to create his unique sound. And although Jimi is no longer with us, recent discoveries of new music show us although he died young, his potential was great.
The newly released music comes from the never released album Valley of Neptune. Songs on this album were recently unheard of or were old songs just played differently. One of the songs titled “Lover Man” off of Valley of Neptune starts with a nice bluesy solo with a drummer accompanying the melody that the solo takes, even though the solo goes off on little riffs every little bit. It sounds like Jimi is embellishing on notes and taking the chord low and high to maintain a melody but allows him to also add in the riffs and changing of chords to make the song more interesting. Little singing, but his voice melds with the rough sound of the guitar. “Lullaby for the Summer” is a quick paced, guitar filled solo, with an echo of a second guitar, and a march-like quality to the drums. Nice use of bass, and what sounds like a wa-wa bar. The title track, “Valleys of Neptune” from the album of the same name starts with a strumming guitar and like a trembling cymbal sound. Jimi lays out lyrics over the melody to try and paint a mental image of Neptune rising and what might happen in the days to come. This song starts out sounding like its anxious with the cymbal and then it sweeps into a faster song with lyrics, and comes through to an almost resolution of words that immediately slows the guitar down until he just quietly strums to a fade out. This album could have been, if Jimi had lived, the first to be recorded and mixed at Electric Lady, Jimi’s own recording studio that officially opened only three weeks before his death. In a recent Rolling Stone article from the April 1, 2010 issue called, “The Last Days and Lost Music of Jimi Hendrix” by David Fricke describes how, “Electric Lady Studios was the guitarist’s own state-of-the-art recording facility, and he had personally supervised many of its psychedelic details, like the mural of an elfin woman at the console of a spaceship,” and how Electric Lady was “where he could live with his music without interference” (Fricke, pg. 52 RS).
Jimi Hendrix was an exuberant showman who put on a good show, but off stage Jimi Hendrix was a very shy man. In part it seems that Electric Lady was to be his rescue from the stress of being on the road all the time. It is unfortunate to know that maybe if Jimi Hendri had instead canceled all the dates on the tour instead of after playing Britain, Scandinavia, and Germany. Jimi Hendrix died in November of 1970 in London, “’the official cause of death was ‘inhalation of vomit due to barbiturate intoxication’” (Fricke). The drug that he took was a large quantity of the sedative, Vesperax.
Jimi Hendrix began touring right after he was discharged from the army for an injury resulting from jumping from an airplane. He began by playing back-up guitar to acts like Little Richard, or Ike and Tina Turner. He started his own bands, and eventually gained success in Britain. But he received instant success in America after his performance of the song, “Wild Thing” at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967 in Monterey, California. At the end of “Wild Thing,” Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire. Kids, having never seen such a performance of this flamboyant and destructive act done with so much passion, were hooked and Hendrix then became a very popular performer within American society. Jimi also swept the stage at Woodstock during the three days of love, peace, and music at the farm in Bethel, New York in August of 1969. He gave a mind-blowing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner played on his electric guitar. The many fans who were lucky enough to be in attendance at Woodstock witnessed an amazing musical event in our history of the 60’s. Luckily, fairly good recordings of the event exist and I was lucky enough to find one. I love how he expands and distorts the classic chords that make up the Star Spangled Banner. I think it sort of shows how America is different and how we grow and take old aspects and change them to make them unique and personal. His music defiantly has a chapter in the history of American music with his unique guitar playing style and personal style. Jimi Hendrix intertwined the performance of the Star Spangled Banner with the song, “Purple Haze.” The fast pace riffs that build, give you an idea of the solo as a whole and how in places distortion leeks in to intensify the song. The exploration of chords, use of lighter strums, use of heavier and deeper riffs with distortion and amplification to make the song and the guitar vibrate along. Jimi’s personal style of experimenting with the sounds he could make from his guitar is really why Jimi Hendrix is hailed as one of the best guitarist ever.
Jimi’s style started generations of kids picking up guitars and teaching themselves to play it. That’s how Jimi learned, he taught himself on an old acoustic guitar before getting his first electric. Jimi Hendrix can be attributed with influencing bands like: Led Zeppelin, Lenny Kravitz, Sublime, and many others. He died before he could see how his style encouraged more to take the guitar and do more with it then had been before. Jimi Hendrix’s many recordings were results of jam sessions with the band. He took songs and did them one way, and then redid them another way. This process of recording and re-recording happened until a piece got mixed perfectly.
If Jimi Hendrix was alive today, then rock and roll might be more different if he had continued to experiment and expand the genre. But all we can do is imagine a time when Jimi is still alive instead of dead. At least we have his music to have as a soundtrack as we go through our own lives.
Fricke, David. “The Last Days and Lost Music of Jimi Hendrix.” Rolling Stone. April 1, 2010.