Tide Of Sublime Releases Getting Higher

Band plans to release a documentary and a live album nearly two years after lead singer's death.

Nearly two years after the death of Sublime leader Bradley Nowell, the parade of the band's releases continues unabated with a soon-to-be-released documentary and forthcoming live album.

First up for release is an hour-and-a-half documentary about the now-legendary Long Beach, Calif., trio, whose fusion of punk, reggae, ska and surf music continued to carve an indelible niche in music culture long after Nowell's May 1996 drug-related death at the age of 28.

Currently in its final editing stages is "Stories, Tales, Lies and Exaggerations," a documentary on the band (which also included drummer Bud Gaugh and bassist Eric Wilson), directed by friend Josh Fischel and currently slated for a late May release on video. Fischel, who co-directed the "Doin' Time" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Wrong Way" (RealAudio excerpt) Sublime videos, said "Stories, Tales ..." is an attempt to tell the story of Sublime by interviewing the band's extended family of friends, heroes, hangers-on and kin.

"One thing I always noticed in hanging out with them is that it really is a family," Fischel said. "It wasn't just those guys, but the 70 people that make up Sublime. Everyone was a catalyst in some way, either by inspiring them or being inspired by them." Among the inspirations interviewed for what Fischel said was the more than 70 hours of raw footage he has to edit down by the end of this week were the bandmembers' families, Nowell's widow, Troy, members of fellow Long Beach surf/punk band the Ziggens, members of fellow punks Pennywise, Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal of No Doubt and former Minutemen bassist Mike Watt.

Also slated for release in the next few months is a live Sublime album, Stand By Your Van, tentatively due on June 16, according to Eric Stein of MCA Records. The album is slated to feature material recorded at a number of shows in the spring of 1996, some of which were recorded shortly before Nowell's death.

Stein said the album, being compiled by longtime Sublime producer/guitarist/right-hand-man Mike "Miguel" Happoldt, will feature material from the band's final, multi-platinum album, Sublime (1996), as well as earlier work from their two independent releases, Robbin The Hood (1994) and 40 Oz. To Freedom (1992). Steve Bloom, editor of the marijuana-friendly magazine High Times, will be writing the liner notes for the album.

"It has examples of them road-testing some of the material that ended up on Sublime and lots of never-before-seen photos," Stein said.

Meanwhile, Fischel said the documentary also features a host of never-before-seen live footage, rare interviews -- including a new one with adult-video legend Ron Jeremy on the site of a porn shoot (Jeremy appeared in the "Date Rape" clip) -- obscenity-laced MTV outtakes that the music-video station couldn't air and footage of Happoldt doing a live remix of the song "Miami" using recordings of Nowell freestyling verses that never made it onto the finished recordings.

The movie is also slated to contain rare footage of Sublime playing a backyard house party in Long Beach in 1990.

"It really is like a tapestry," Fischel said. "That's why I interviewed Watt, because they were huge Minutemen fans. The sample at the beginning of [Sublime's 1992 album] 40 Oz. To Freedom, 'punk rock changed my life,' is from a Minutemen song. Watt puts it best, 'it's like a thread that just keeps on going. You're just building the blanket.' That's what this documentary is, it's really just casual and personal."

An album of Sublime outtakes and rare tracks, Secondhand Smoke, was released last year.

The album was released after surviving members Gaugh and Wilson signed on for three posthumous MCA-released efforts from the band, the final one of which is expected to be a Nowell acoustic effort. "I think there's some good music that we have left over," Gaugh said last year, before the deal was signed. "We have endless sound-board tapes, a couple of bootlegs and some good live recordings from some shows."