Nearly four months ago, rumors began swirling that [artist id="816"]Sublime[/artist] — the celebrated Long Beach ska/punk misfits who achieved fame after the death of lead singer Bradley Nowell in 1996 — were contemplating a full-fledged reunion with a mysterious “unknown singer and guitarist” filling Nowell’s spot. Well, over the weekend, at a Mexican restaurant in Sparks, Nevada, that reunion officially happened.
Of course, that sort of depends on your definition of “reunion.”
Here’s what we do know: On Saturday, Del Mar, a punk act featuring former Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh, took the stage at the Cantina Los Tres Hombres, a Sparks restaurant/bar (try the Burritos Grandes). After finishing the set, Gaugh then took the stage again, joined by Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and a Southern California singer by the name of Rome and began playing Sublime songs (check out a photo of the set list here), even reportedly testing out at least one new song.
The audience went crazy (here’s a YouTube clip). After all, since calling it quits in ’96, Sublime have had a string of hits (most notably “What I Got” and “Santeria”), sold more than 17 million albums worldwide and inspired a cottage industry of tribute acts, including Providence, Rhode Island’s Badfish. But does the Cantina gig mean that Sublime are back in business? Well, according to Del Mar, the answer is “yes.”
“So, Del Mar played the gig at Cantina last night … it was packed and amazing. What really f—ing killed it was SUBLIME reuniting and playing with new singer, Rome,” the band wrote on its MySpace page. “We’re f—ing stoked for Bud, Eric and Rome … Bud’s still playing with Del Mar, and Sublime doesn’t have any firm tour plans or anything YET, but we’ll keep you posted on their progress.”
That post set off a flurry of message-board activity, most of it centered on the question of whether a Sublime without Nowell actually counts as Sublime at all. “Sorry, but it’s not Sublime without Brad Nowell,” one PunkDisasters.com poster wrote. “That’s like saying Nirvana reunited last night.” Fans also wonder if this so-called reunion is just another incarnation of the Long Beach Dub Allstars , the group Gaugh and Wilson formed following Nowell’s death of a heroin overdose in 1996.
And while the debate may rage, according to one person who was at the Cantina show, what he saw was very much the reincarnation of Sublime.
“They sure sounded like Sublime. It was incredible,” Thad Peterson, the booker for the Cantina, told MTV News on Monday (March 2). “It was an all-around incredible show. The band was tight, and they sounded great.”