Searching For That Original Sublime Sound

This might sound crazy to you, but I love Sublime. That’s right — Sublime. They’re my favorite band of all-time even though they haven’t recorded an album in more than 15 years. I’ve searched over and over again to find more of that unique Sublime sound, but it’s hard to find a replacement. More than a few bands have tried over the years though…

Sublime album art

My favorite album of all-time

Sublime is the first band I ever attached to. I remember listening to their self-titled Sublime album when I was in the shower one day as a teenager. My sister, who is seven years older than me, had never heard me listening to music like this before, so she peeked into the bathroom and asked, “Are you listening to Sublime?!” I couldn’t see the look on her face, but her voice told me she was stunned. Her little brother was finally growing up and listening to real music.

The self-titled Sublime album is still my favorite album to this day. I rocked out to it with friends through high school (it’s how I even got the nickname Lew Dog), and it became our album in college as well. It was also my jam every time I made long road trips home after I moved away for my career. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to that album, but I’d guess thousands of times. I can sing every word to every song, and I still crank my stereo when I hear Sublime come on the radio. They’re as fun to listen to now as they were when I was 16.

You can never replace Sublime, because they were so unique. Every since Bradley Nowell overdosed on drugs in 1996, the other members of the band have tried repeating the sound several times. Bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh formed the Long Beach Dub Allstars, and then later created Long Beach Shortbus with singer RAS-1. Long Beach Shortbus broke up in 2007, so Wilson and Gaugh finally went separate ways. In 2009, the two came back together with Rome Ramirez to restart Sublime. Nowell’s estate wouldn’t allow them to use the name Sublime, so they changed the band’s name to Sublime with Rome.

Rome Sublime

Sublime with Rome

Sublime with Rome only played original Sublime songs for a long time, but they finally recorded their own debut album called Yours Truly in 2011. I own the two Long Beach Dub Allstars albums and the one Long Beach Shortbus album, but Yours Truly seems like the closest thing you’ll find to the real, old Sublime. The best (and most Sublime-like) song on the album is ‘Panic (the acoustic version on the Delux Album is good too), and ‘Lovers Rock has a very Sublime sound as well. With all that said, Sublime with Rome is still not the real Sublime.

I was actually listening to the radio the other day when I heard a random song. I honestly thought to myself, “This sounds like Sublime!” I quickly pulled out my cell phone and Shazam’d it. The title: ‘Lay Me Down’ by The Dirty Heads featuring Rome from Sublime (at this point I didn’t even realize Sublime with Rome existed). I liked the song enough to check out The Dirty Heads on iTunes. The group released its second album in June. Again, The Dirty Heads have a very similar sound to Sublime (I like the song ‘Spread Too Thin), but they just can’t match it (not that they’re even trying to do that). As weird as it sounds – The Dirty Heads just aren’t explicit enough. Sublime jammed about sex, drugs and riots, while The Dirty Heads sing about hanging out with friends at a cabin by the sea.

The Long Beach Dub Allstars, Long Beach Shortbus, Sublime with Rome and The Dirty Heads are all solid in their own right (and I’ll probably listen to more of their jams as time goes on), but they definitely don’t matchup to the original Sublime. I realize now that no one ever will compare to Sublime, but that’s OK. Sublime’s old recordings are never going away and I’ll surely play them on repeat for the rest of my life.

Are you a Sublime fun? What do you think of the alternatives like Sublime with Rome or The Dirty Heads? I would love to hear from you! Simply leave a comment below or connect with me on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget to check out more of my take on music at!

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