Sublime Debut New Singer at SmokeOut Festival Despite Nowell Family Protests

October 26th, 2009 by Shirley Halperin Leave a reply »

They weren’t billed as headliners on Saturday’s SmokeOut Festival, which rolled out pot-friendly acts like Method Man and Redman, Cheech & Chong, Kottonmouth Kings and hosts Cypress Hill, but there’s no doubt Sublime, featuring surviving members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh — with 21-year-old Rome Ramirez positioned where the late Brad Nowell once stood — were a major draw for the estimated 15,000 fans who trekked out to San Bernardino, California, this weekend.

It was only the band’s second stage appearance in the 13 years since Nowell died of a heroin overdose, and before Ramirez strummed the first chord, the performance was fraught with controversy. As Rolling Stone reported, days earlier, representatives for Nowell’s estate filed suit against Wilson, Gaugh and Ramirez, citing trademark infringement for using the band’s moniker on the SmokeOut lineup. In a statement released October 21st, the estate declared, “It was Brad’s expressed intention that no one use the name Sublime in any group that did not include him, and Brad even registered the trademark ‘Sublime’ under his own name.” But a District Court judge allowed the show to go on, and Wilson and Gaugh shot back with their own missive, which read, “While we all mourn the passing of our brother and bandmate Bradley Nowell some 13 years ago, Sublime still has a strong message of hope and love… Brad’s heirs apparently do not share this vision.”

Fortunately, it seemed the fans, many who were too young to have experienced Sublime while Nowell was alive, remained blissfully unaware of the drama, and as the threesome hit the stage in the early afternoon, the crowd welcomed them back with open minds and hearts. Ramirez dedicated the first song, “Crazy Fool,” to Nowell, then competently led the amphitheater sing-along through classics like “Santeria,” “Wrong Way,...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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