Saturday Feb 24
Sublime’s 40oz. to Freedom: 20th Anniversary

Sublime’s 40oz to Freedom: 20th Anniversary

Release Date: June, 1992
Record Label: Skunk/MCA Records

Track Listing: Skunk Records Release
1.) Waiting For My Ruca
2.) Get Out!
3.) 40 oz. to Freedom
4.) Smoke Two Joints
5.) We’re Only Gonna Die for Our Own Arrogance
6.) Don’t Push
7.) 5446 That’s My Number/Ball and Chain
8.) Badfish
9.) Let’s Go Get Stoned
10.) New Thrash
11.) Scarlet Begonias
12.) Live at E’s
13.) D.J.s
14.) Chica Me Tipo
15.) Right Back
16.) What Happened
17.) New Song
18.) Ebin
19.) Date Rape/Rawhide
20.) Hope
21.) KRS-One
22.) Rivers of Babylon
23.) Thanx

MCA Records Release:
1.) Waiting For My Ruca
2.) 40 oz. to Freedom
3.) Smoke Two Joints
4.) We’re Only Gonna Die for Our Own Arrogance
5.) Don’t Push
6.) 5446 That’s My Number/Ball and Chain
7.) Badfish
8.) Let’s Go Get Stoned
9.) New Thrash
10.) Scarlet Begonias
11.) Live at E’s
12.) D.J.s
13.) Chica Me Tipo
14.) Right Back
15.) What Happened
16.) New Song
17.) Ebin
18.) Date Rape
19.) Hope
20.) KRS-One
21.) Rivers of Babylon
22.) Thanx

The month of June has long been coveted in the Reggae-Rock community, not only because the calendar flips from spring to summer, but the numerous album releases have been prosperous this year, as well as at the inception of this genre’s most notable band: Sublime. June marks the 20th anniversary of Sublime’s breakthrough album release 40oz. to Freedom.

After Bradley Nowell, Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson spread their music out of the trunk of cars and vans at shows, it is incredible to believe, the iconic band has now sold over 17 million records worldwide, including over 2 million of the 40oz variety. 40 oz. to Freedom spawned, perhaps, the first taste the masses received from Sublime, while still remaining prevalent to this day.

The music Sublime created was a unique fusion of reggae, hip-hop, punk rock, ska, classic rock guitar solos and even a touch of Spanish rhymes. All three-band members created their own style during recording sessions and live performances. Needless to say, Sublime was the definition of innovators and ingenious musical talents.

Sublime embodied what California music was, and still is to this day. The band branded themselves with their name and record label (Skunk Records) and created a blue print for success without garnering attention from the national public. They had everything they needed directly in the “Golden State” of California. Little did they know, one of the largest alternative rock stations in the country (KROQ) would soon get their hands on 40 oz. to Freedom, most notably track #19 titled, “Date Rape”.

Although, at that point, 40oz. to Freedom was still yet to be distributed through MCA Records, which later removed “Get Out!”, due to samples the band did not own, along with the hidden track after the aforementioned “Date Rape” called, “Rawhide”. Regardless of the track listing discrepancy, Sublime’s fans were able to listen to the band’s live material wherever they pleased with their major label debut back in 1992. However, the general public in the United States didn’t fully grasp the music until a few years later when the album peaked at #15 on the Billboard Heatseakers chart, and a year later peaking at #140 on the Billboard Top 200 albums, spending 9 weeks in the Top 200.

As Sublime’s producer for 40oz. to Freedom and the 1994 release of Robbin’ the Hood, Michael “Miguel” Happoldt referenced in a past interview with the great Philip Lucas-Smith, “[Recording] was a good time. The fondest memories were rehearsing for [40oz.]. At that point, the band was me, Brad, Eric and Marshall (Goodman) on drums. The album was basically our set at the time. Except we pretty much wrote the songs “Right Back” and “40 oz. to Freedom” on the spot. Brad brought those songs in on the last day and surprised us with those two and there was no way we were not going to do them. We literally threw those together and the next day we tracked them. It is hard to imagine the record without those two songs (haha).”

Trying to imagine the album without the title track is nearly unimaginable, at this point. However, creating art on the spot with those two tracks was the essence of Sublime’s style. Capturing those moments on tape has now brought millions of people together, singing the same tunes, one after the other with an unending routine.

Sublime’s sound was original and distinctively their own. Even while covering songs, each band member left their fingerprints on the sound coming out the speakers. If you lined up Sublime’s “We’re Only Gonna Die” next to Bad Religion’s original version, there are minimal similarities between the two. The same could be said with The Toyes “Smoke Two Joints” and Toots and the Maytals “54-46 That’s My Number”, compared to Sublime’s rendition, coupled with the addition of “Ball and Chain”. Sublime put their stamp on music history, and opened their fans’ eyes up to what good music is by honoring the past legends, and their inspirations, in an audio form.

Take the Grateful Dead’s song “Scarlet Begonias” for example. The song is a classic, yet Sublime pushed it forward to the masses in a new direction. In the same light, Miguel referenced Sublime’s collection of cover songs from 40oz. to Freedom saying, “Covers are weird, band’s play them, then they stop playing them and those covers just happened to be the ones we were playing at that time. Sublime had been doing the Bad Religion cover from the night I saw them and they may have even been doing that song from the day they started the band.”

Miguel continued to explain, “The other covers we just did them. ‘Scarlet Begonias’…It was another last minute song addition. Originally Brad sang the whole song and then the middle part where he sings “Summer of love…” was a guitar solo. That version was probably pretty good. Brad would save you like that and he would do stuff like go out to the car, smoke and listen to the demo I gave him two weeks ago. He then came in with a bummed look on his face, he was not a perfectionist but he knew with minimal effort the song could be way better and that we have to go that extra mile. We have to!… [Brad] was just always wanting to do something special. He was good at zeroing in on that real heart moment.”

And now, twenty years later, the ever-growing fans are still cherishing Sublime’s “Something special” and “that real heart moment”, which Miguel referenced. Moreover, the sound that Sublime created has influenced an entirely new generation of kids and fans alike. It is rare to walk down the boardwalk alongside the various Southern California beaches and not see a Sublime influenced tattoo, or even a replica of the 40oz. cover art forever imprinted on their body. And, not too far from that sight, it is safe to say, Sublime’s “Badfish” will be billowing from an open-air bar or accompanying a beach volleyball game. All of that is before touching the surface of the countless bands Sublime has influenced today.

Miguel once said, “Reggae-Rock music is a real fun type of music and that is why Brad played it, because he would like to get in your backyard and make people happy. To see people poppin’ with the positivity. You can’t get enough of that in the world.”

In a nutshell, that is the beauty of Sublime’s music. Sublime still is, not was, one of a kind, and their name truly says it all.

Article By: Kris Siuta

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Video: Sublime – “Date Rape”

Video: Sublime – “Badfish”

9 Responses to Sublime’s 40oz. to Freedom: 20th Anniversary

  1. Dub Diezel "Matty D" says:

    AN OUTSTANDING ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I ABSOLUTELY LUV when the Pier does not leave or miss out on dates of certain albums etc… This article couldn’t had been any better. 40 Oz is still heavily played and in my cd deck right now as we speak. I completely forgot any type of aniversay date or anythnig like that and how cool is that I have it out in my Jeep right now, and have played it through and through for 2 straight dayz. That is Sublime and Bradley working the spiritual side of his art and creation. I love that album and actually my most favorite cover is actually “Hope” Sublime’s version rocks just like when Brad played it live on stage by himself for the fans waiting to see Sublime but no show-up of Bud or Eric, I know all of you fans out there know exactly what I’m talking about, as it’s on some dvd’s etc… , you can watch of Sublime and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, search for it on YouTube. Man does it still suck and will forever suck that Brad is gone, but what he and his bandmates, producers, fans, you nane it, left for us musicians, fans, whatever, I know I’ll forever be greateful!!! You nailed this article Kris! Kudo’s braw!

  2. Neto P says:

    Back in February, the Dub-Allstars had a killer jam session in Long Beach. I spoke to all the guys, especially Miguel. I thanked him for creating a sound, for being pioneers. He’s such a humble guy. I was introduced to Sublime back in 1994, the music changed my life. I was hooked instantly, like many I never saw Sublime live. Their music will forever live, good music,is good music….RIP Brad!!

  3. Liz says:

    R.I.P. Brad Nowell! Sure you’re spliffin’ it w/BOB & music, & other powerfuL musicians :)

  4. Chris J says:

    What a great article! It’s incredible how much Sublime has influenced my life in a positive way. I was in 5th grade when I first had a copy of the self titled album. I listened to it over and over and then my mom came in while Caress Me Down was on. Needless to stay she wasn’t stoked that I was listening to it that young. She took the album away from me. I went out the next day with all my change and bought another one. She found it, threw it away. Some how I got another c

  5. Chris J says:

    opy and she threw it away AGAIN. This basically happened a couple more times and she finally gave up. She knew I loved that band. They opened my eyes and ears to basically everything I listen to today.

  6. GMan says:

    Love the article guys!!,…. but one major faux pas….. The “OG” 40 oz. did not have a “Parental Advisory” label on it. Therefore, the picture of the CD (shown above) does not have the “20th Anniversary” kudos attached to it….. Yet. ;-)

  7. Awesome article. Love the ’40oz’ album.

    Was able to download the original version from the back in the day

    the 2 differences were ‘get out’ and ‘rawhide’

    And also worth noting that the original Get Out is different from the re-make they released with Second Hand Smoke album.

    This one contains a Led Zep sample.

    I’ve posted up the mp3s for anyone who hasn’t heard them

    Original version of “Get Out”

    Sublime’s cover of “Rawhide”

  8. Gregory Silvers says:

    great article… I cant stress enough that my ear for music came from my teen years listening to some of the greatest music i ever had the pleasure of hearing… Cant thnk sublime enough for the greatest tunes and the gift of whenever im feelin down i can always without fail have my spirits lifted instantaneously when n e one of their tracks r jammin!

  9. GEofFReY says:

    Did they have to cut out the Specials samples? I didn’t bother with the MCA version, as I already had 4 or 5 other copies.

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