Q&A with Sublime founding member/drummer Bud Gaugh:
When did you decide to reform?
We don’t see this as a reformation or a reunion—it’s a celebration. We’re celebrating the music that Eric and I made with our brother Brad. We’re celebrating the songs and celebrating his memory and sharing that experience with our fans, friends and families. Eric and I have wanted to do something like this for a long time.
So why the wait?
It’s taken us both a long time to deal with losing Brad. We were all kids when we started Sublime and Brad was more than just a bandmate—he was a brother and a friend. So playing these songs brings back a lot of memories—great memories. But they can also be painful memories because we loved him and miss him so much. Thirteen years have passed but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. When Eric and I started talking about doing this, we realized that embracing the music could be a huge step toward healing and moving forward. And there are so many people out there that never got a chance to see Sublime live, so what better way to honor Brad than by introducing him to a new generation of fans.
You’ve got a new singer named Rome—tell us about him.
Rome is a great kid and a great talent. It’s funny, Eric came to me and basically repeated the exact same words that he said when he introduced me to Brad. He was like, “Hey, you’ve got to meet this kid. He’s got a platinum voice and plays the guitar like a mo-fo!” Word-for-word, it was almost the same description and it really caught me off-guard. But after meeting Rome and hearing him sing and play, I was like, wow, this guy is awesome.
There are some people out there that say this can’t be Sublime without Brad.
I can understand that. No one can or will ever replace Brad and that’s not what we’re going for. But this is and always has been a band—our band—and the addition of Rome allows our music to live on and hopefully be a positive force in people’s lives. But Brad was and always will be part of Sublime.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from fans after announcing plans to re-form?
It’s been pretty positive. We did an unannounced show a few months ago and the audience went nuts. We’ve had people come to rehearsals and they’re blown away. Yesterday someone showed me a Facebook page called “We Want Sublime,” which is a movement started by fans that want us to succeed and that’s awesome. Their love and support means a lot to us and we really appreciate it. At the end of the day, it’s all about the music and those people are true fans.
You’re playing the Smokeout Festival on Oct. 24. Can audiences expect to hear some new material?
They’ll experience a set with songs from all stages of Sublime’s career. They’ll hear songs that were never performed live with Sublime prior to ’96 and they might also hear something brand new.
And what are your plans beyond that?
It’d be great to get back into the studio and make some new music. It’d be great to tour again. But we’re taking it a step at a time and as long as each step feels good, then we’ll keep on going. One major project under development that we’re psyched about is code-named “Brad’s House.” The idea is to provide free addiction recovery service to underprivileged teens in Brad’s honor. The entire Sublime family was devastated by Brad’s loss and we would like to help prevent that from happening to others. The band has agreed to allocate proceeds to get this started. We’ll begin with one facility but our hope is that we can get other bands and organizations to join us and we can eventually scale it all across the country.
What do you think Brad would say about your decision to move forward?
I think he’d be stoked because he wanted our music to live forever. Brad, Eric and I formed the band out of our love for the art. It was always about the music and nothing else. We were doing things musically that a lot of people told us was wrong, but we always did what felt right. I think that’s why our fans have always felt an emotional connection with us.