14 years ago today, on May 25, 1996, Sublime singer-guitarist Bradley Nowell was discovered dead of a heroin overdose at Ocean View Motel in San Francisco, CA, just hours before the ska-punk trio were set to perform a sold-out concert. He was 28.
Since his death, Nowell and his band Sublime have become cult heroes. Their self-titled third album, released in July 1996 just months after Nowell’s death, is now considered a classic, spawning hits like “Wrong Way,” “What I Got,” and “Santeria.” Having debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard chart, Sublime has now sold over 13 million copies worldwide.
Last year, bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh reformed the band with singer-guitar Rome Ramirez. Now billed as “Sublime with Rome,” the trio have been performing live over the last year. Read SPIN’s review of their recent tour kickoff here.
To celebrate the life of Nowell, SPIN opened up our archives to revisit features, reviews, and more about the talented, funny, and caring frontman and his band Sublime, whose fusion of ska, punk, reggae, and hip-hop is one of the defining sounds of the ’90s.
SPIN Archive on Google
- Drug Bust: When Brad Nowell Died of a Heroin Overdose (Jan 1997)
- No Doubt’s Tony Kanal Remembers Brad Nowell (Feb 2004)
- Keeping Sublime Alive (Nov 2007)
- 90 Greatest Albums of the ’90s: Sublime (Sep 1999)