Sublime Reunion Show Sparks Controversy
Last month, the surviving members of Long Beach, Calif. ska-punk band Sublime made a surprise announcement: the group would reform with a new lead singer and would make at least one live appearance, its first official concert since the death of its founder Bradley Nowell from a drug overdose in 1996. The gig is scheduled for tomorrow (Oct. 24) as part of Cypress Hill's Smokeout Festival.
But earlier today, Nowell's family and the executors of his estate threatened Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson, along with newcomer Rome Ramirez, with a lawsuit if the reconstituted band uses that moniker in a statement posted on the band's official MySpace page.
The statement reads:
"It was recently announced that Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and Sublime drummer Floyd 'Bud' Gaugh are 'reuniting' and teaming with singer and guitarist Rome Ramirez in a band they intend to call 'Sublime.' Prior to his untimely passing, both Bud and Eric acknowledged that Brad Nowell was the sole owner of the name Sublime. It was Brad's expressed intention that no one use the name Sublime in any group that did not include him, and Brad even registered the trademark 'Sublime' under his own name.
As Brad's heirs, and with the support of his entire family, we only want to respect his wishes and therefore have not consented to Bud and Eric calling their new project 'Sublime.' We have always supported Bud and Eric's musical endeavors and their desire to continue to play Sublime's music. We wholeheartedly supported Bud, Eric and the many talented members of the Sublime posse that formed the Long Beach Dub All-Stars, soon after Brad's death, to honor him through their original recordings, live performances and Sublime music until they disbanded in 2001. But, out of respect for Brad's wishes, we have always refused to endorse any group performing as 'Sublime,' and now with great reluctance feel compelled to take the appropriate legal action to protect Brad's legacy.
Our hope is that Brad's ex-bandmates will respect his wishes and find a new name to perform under, so as to enhance the 'Sublime' legacy without the confusion and disappointment that many fans have expressed upon seeing the announcement."
Representatives of Wilson, Gaugh, and Ramirez have not yet responded to Billboard's request for comment.
Currently, Sublime remain listed on the festival website, alongside other performers including Slipknot, Deftones, Cypress Hill, Geto Boys, Goodie Mob, Pennywise, Redman & Method Man, Kottonmouth Kings and Bad Brains, among others. The Smokeout Festival, which begins today, is meant to raise awareness about the cannabis counter-culture.