Work That We Did - Rolling Stone Magazine

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Rolling Stone Magazine - August 2, 1998

By Blair R. Fischer

Work That We Did

What the world needs now is another Sublime record -- and another really contagious disease. For now, a new plague will have to wait but, thankfully -- or ruefully, depending on which side you're on -- another Sublime release won't. Just five months after the release of the posthumous live album Stand By Your Van and twelve months after the release of the rarities compilation Second-Hand Smoke, the powers that be will put out Sublime Acoustic: Bradley Nowell and Friends (November 17).

The album marks the third of at least four anticipated Sublime releases to hit the marketplace following frontman Brad Nowell's death from a heroin overdose in May '96, just prior to the release of the now triple-platinum major-label debut Sublime. A "greatest hits" package will round out the four, and that, according to Jim Nowell, Brad's father, is it. "We don't have anymore material," he says. "Nothing. Absolutely nothing."

Not exactly so, according to Miles Doughty, frontman for the San Diego band Slightly Stoopid. Four years ago, over the course of a couple days, Doughty and Nowell jammed off-and-on in Doughty's bedroom. There, says Doughty, the pair recorded approximately eight hours worth of material, some of which will appear on the upcoming acoustic record. "We were just chillin' in my room," he says. "We'd sit there for hours and hit the button on the four-track and start strumming acoustics." The bulk of those primitive sessions remain in Doughty's possession where, he says, they'll remain, believing it wouldn't be appropriate to cash in on Nowell's untimely death. A medley of Bob Marley's "Guava Jelly" and "This Train," which Jim Nowell says "brings tears to your eyes," will appear on the new release.

Other material will be culled from a 1996 session Nowell did with Sublime producer Paul Leary, recorded at Willie Nelson's Texas studio, a solo acoustic set Nowell performed at the Firecracker Lounge in Anaheim, Calif., and a half-assed jam session Nowell did with Sublime members Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson. The latter, which will represent the only true Sublime material on the album, was recorded at Jim Nowell's Los Angeles home with Gaugh playing congo and Wilson on pump organ. Songs expected to be included from the various sessions will include "Wrong Way," "Saw Red," "Don't Push," "D.J.s" and "Garden Grove." Additionally, "Big Salty Tears," contributed by Sublime fanatics the Ziggens, will be tacked onto the fourteen-track album, just for kicks.

The glut of Sublime material in the marketplace has been vexing for former Sublime manager Jon Phillips, who calls MCA Records, the label responsible for releasing all of the posthumous records so far, a "really frustrating corporate monolith." Nowell, however, takes most of the blame for rushing Sublime releases into the marketplace. "Being that I'm his father and being that I have to deal with it every day," he says, "I'd just like to get it over with."

Doughty adds, "it's kind of crazy how many Sublime albums they've released since he died. Too bad he's not allowed to enjoy all this success."