Randomville - Interview with Bud
Randomville - July 1, 2008
By Mackenzie McAninch
Interview with Bud Gaugh
It’s been twelve years since the ultimate, Long Beach party band Sublime came to an abrupt end. In that time, drummer Bud Gaugh has gone off and joined Sublime bass player Eric Wilson in the Long Beach Dub Allstars, formed a trio with Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) and Curt Kirkwood (the Meat Puppets) in a band called Eyes Adrift, played with Kirkwood in another band called Volcano, and recently settled in behind the drum kit with Del Mar, a surf-punk band he shares with his recent wife, Nicole Hutcheson. While Sublime always had the punk attitude and was well known for being pretty wild, Gaugh has also been known as being full of piss & vinegar. And maybe he has every right to be. It was Gaugh that found Sublime lead singer (and his best friend) Brad Nowell dead of the accidental heroin overdose in the hotel room in 1996. In Sublime, it seemed like the sky was the limit for Gaugh and crew, and then the rug got pulled out from under them. Bud also had his share of struggles with drugs and alcohol for many years and he has had punk rock flowing through his veins for years.
While the aforementioned, post-Sublime musical experiences were certainly good for Gaugh it appears he’s really found his place with Del Mar (along with Matt Bode/guitar, and Mike Martinez/bass), especially with having the independent control that he craves. He now lives in Reno; he’s got cars to work on, dogs, a wife and a new band again that is hard at work on their debut album. Also, Gaugh is proud to announce the launch of the new, official Sublime Website, as it’s loaded with plenty of info, pictures and news for both the ultimate and casual Sublime fan. In a rare interview, Bud Gaugh spoke to us and he was certainly vocal about his hatred for major labels and how they are destroying music as we know it. As expected, he was cautious when speaking about Sublime and he really clammed up each time Brad Nowell was mentioned. But he talks about his new band mates in Del Mar, being sober, the future of Sublime and plenty more:
Randomville: You now live in Reno, NV over your beloved Long Beach. Do you miss the surfing or anything else about the LBC?
Bud Gaugh: Just my friends & family. I love a state that treats an adult like an adult and California has some really asinine laws that I completely disagree with.
Rv: What might some of these laws be?
BG: That list would be endless. Gun control laws would be one of the big ones.
Rv: Though you’ve struggled with drugs in your past, it sounds like you’ve been clean for a while. Any milestones you care to share?
BG: I haven’t used drugs and alcohol in a looooooooong time. Those things just aren’t worth it.
Rv: Has marriage and/or being forty mellowed you out at all, or do you still feel the “punk” in your veins?
BG: In a post-punk apocalypse, I feel bitter that the punk savior never came from the gutters to save us from emo. If you call “mellow” huffing paint in my garage, mixing my own nitro-methane fuels and shooting full-auto machine guns every chance I get, then yes, I’m quite mellow these days.
Rv: Is being a Conservative Republican the new “punk” thing to do these days? It is terribly unpopular.
BG: I disagree with fuzzy liberals and equally can’t stand neo-cons. “Punk,” according to kids now, is anti-depressants, black eyeliner, girl pants & “Vote for Obama” pins. The majority of the masses don’t even know what punk is anymore.
Rv: Do you feel like you owe an amends to Denny’s for literally blasting a bus-load of shit on their back door? [Editors’ note: Sublime once unloaded all of their bus “savings” onto the back door of a Denny’s after an argument.]
BG: No. Not since they changed their menu.
Rv: Jazz drumming lost arguably the best ever when Max Roach died last year. What drummers that are still alive do you look up to still?
BG: Abe Laboriel Jr., Danny Carey, and Ginger Baker.
Rv: You’ve been in bands with some great bass players like Eric Wilson (Sublime) and Krist Novoselic (Nirvana). Have you ever wanted to be in a band with guys like Les Claypool, Mike Watt or even Flea? And do you think you could keep up with them?
BG: Hook it up. I’ll ditch Del Mar in a second. I kid. I would always keep an open schedule for Les, Watt, or Flea. Do you even need to ask if I could keep up?
Rv: Tell us something musically positive about each of your new band mates.
BG: Mike, bass player: He’s new to bass, but being an established guitar player he’s got an advantage; he’s just as eager to excel on his new instrument. Matt, guitar: Matt’s a creative guitarist; he’s got a cool style of old school punk and surf. He’s also a real nut to top it off. Nicole, rhythm: She’s got a real creative style also, drawing on a number of musical influences- brings something new to the sound.
Rv: As far as songwriting goes, is the rest of the band paving the way and you’re along for the ride, or are you the conductor?
BG: We collaborate; pretty much all songs are written as a band.
Rv: Has Del Mar considered asking Dick Dale to record with them? He probably doesn’t have a lot of years left in him.
BG: Since Matt is Dick Dale’s incarnate, we don’t need him. However, we would like to play a show with him sometime.
Rv: You slept in vans and even on the side of the road while touring with Sublime in the early days. With royalties, I’m assuming you’ll at least be crashing at a Motel 6 every night now while on tour, or do you think it’s something your band mates should experience?
BG: We do flop where ever we can find a pad. Sometimes we camp, sometimes we bug other bands we play shows with by crashing at their place and keep them up all night, promptly wearing out our welcome.
Rv: Brad turned you on to all sorts of different styles of music when you were young. Has the rest of Del Mar brought any newer music to your attention that you like?
BG: I don’t like any new music; it all sucks. Except for Hillstomp, Sexrat, and Del Mar.
Rv: What would you like to do different with Del Mar compared to Sublime?
BG: No major labels, no major deal of any sort. Keeping a handle on everything without letting outside sources interfere with the music.
Rv: Well, it certainly sounds like money is not your motive with Del Mar. But for a band that has been broken up for twelve years, Sublime has released a lot of albums since then.
BG: Again, it was never the band’s decision to re-package and re-sell the same album over and over again as the label has done. We had some unreleased material that was good for the fans to hear, some live shit, some rare out-takes from the box set and whatnot, and that’s all cool. But the fact that they put together the same old songs everyone’s already bought and try to pass it off as a “new release” is disgusting to us. It isn’t entirely the label’s doing, it’s also been incompetent management that never had the balls to stand up for what we believe in.
Rv: So, the band doesn’t really have a say in what gets released then? If they release twelve more albums of different takes of songs, you can’t do anything about it?
BG: Our contract has us held to where we have very limited control over anything, as is the case with most every other artist out there. They use our songs without our consent for advertisements, release singles at inappropriate times, release records at inappropriate times; pretty much whatever they want to do.
Rv: Did you and Eric ever consider keeping Sublime “alive” by auditioning new singers/guitarists?
BG: No, but the label did. Those bastards are nothing but blood-suckers and vultures; they’ll never get it.
Rv: Yes, but bands like AC/DC, Queen, Blind Melon and INXS have moved on with new singers and some even used reality TV to get one. Do you feel like that is a selfish thing to do even though it makes some fans happy?
BG: It would be “selfish” to move on & keep trekking like Brad is easily replaceable. Additionally, we’re respecting his wishes by not looking for a fill-in. Sublime was Brad, Eric, and myself, not Eric, me, and Joe-fucking-blow. After all, is it really Queen without Freddy Mercury? C’mon.
Rv: So what is the “surf-style, instrumental Sublime song” that Del Mar is covering? Would that be Falling Idols?
BG: New Realization
Rv: In the new Sublime box set, you have previously un-released songs like “Hong Kong Phooey” and a cover of Bob Marley’s “Real Situation.” Are there many more hidden gems waiting to be released? And why didn’t either of these make it to any of your albums?
BG: There’s some cool stuff on there for the fans, and “Hong Kong Phooey” was released on a comp. Leaking some hidden tracks helps prevent the labels from regurgitating the same shit over and over again in different packaging. There may be a few more rare tracks out there not yet heard by the public. You can hear a few of them on the new official Sublime website.
Rv: Do you think Sublime has a chance at being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Or do you even care?
BG: I don’t have any faith in the industry. When those sluts from that MTV reality show, Hills Hookers or whatever it’s called, are on the cover of Rolling Stone, I’m pretty sure that rock’n’roll has done rolled itself up and smoked it. Do I think Sublime deserves to be inducted? I’m just happy the Hard Rock Casino hasn’t taken our display down.
Rv: Eric’s dad was a huge music mentor to you when you were young and once told you “Whatever you do, be a musician. It’s the greatest life.” Do you still agree with this and do you have any words of advice for all of the young Bud Gaugh fans out there?
BG: Being a musician is a great life. Do it as best you can without label interference. Being an artist is easy, keeping everything in balance- that’s the hard part.