Bradley Nowell died on May 25, 1996, in a San Francisco hotel room, after shooting up some heroin that was much more potent than the brown Mexican tar he was used to.
His death came seven days after his wedding to Troy den Denkker, who'd given birth to their son, Jakob, 11 months earlier; it was two months before the release of the album that would make his band famous.
The band would get back together that summer and start playing bars, clubs, parties, and BBQs.Known for their combination of laid back surfer attitude and punk mentality, Sublime is very hard to pin down.Any song can be a delightful mash up of punk, hip-hop, and reggae, with lyrics that make you laugh even as you think, "Did he really just say that?Although the show went well and everything seemed fine, it would be the last time Troy would ever speak to her husband.At the time of his lethal heroin overdose, Nowell and his reggae-infused punk band were winding through a five-date promotional run for the upcoming release of their self-titled third album and major label debut, set for release two months later."We still get lots of letters for him," says Brad's father, Jim, who handles his son's estate."I have a boxful of them in my office." At least a boxful. Throughout 1997, produced hit after hit, and the album has sold more than 2 million copies to date.By April 1997, a little less than a year after Nowell's OD, 's Top 20, and the album's first single, the breezily grooving, mostly acoustic hip-hop toaster "What I Got," went to No. The follow-up to "What I Got" was the reggae-tinged ballad "Santeria"; then came the shuffling ska of "Wrong Way" and the dance-hall-flavored "Doin' Time," which Nowell constructed around the melody of the Gershwin standard "Summertime." Eighteen months after Nowell's death, Sublime sell about 40,000 records every week; in November, MCA released a collection of early songs, unissued material, remixes and alternate takes.Sublime's surviving members recently inked a deal to release at least three more albums of archival material over the next few years.In the early hours of May 25, 1996, 28-year-old singer and guitarist Bradley Nowell called Troy, his wife of exactly one week and mother of his 11 month-old son, Jakob.Earlier that night, Sublime had played at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, about seven hours north of Nowell’s home in Long Beach, California.For all intents and purposes, however, the Sublime the world came to love in the mid-’90s died along with Nowell in that San Francisco hotel room, despite a slew of posthumous albums released by MCA, including the 1997 rarities collection .Wilson and Gaugh continued on as Long Beach Dub Allstars and, for years, they refused to perform again as Sublime.his band became a phenomenon, before he had a chance to become a bona fide rock star, his death has been oddly free of the mythic impact of so many rock star flameouts.