Late Sublime Singer's Estate Threatens to Sue over Reunion
Published Oct 26, 2009Nearly a full year ago, the rumours were buzzing around that Eric Wilson and Floyd "Bud" Gaugh, the rhythm section of Sublime, would be bringing together their ska punk trio with a new front-man to replace founding member Brad Nowell, who passed away in 1996. At this point, the new version of Sublime have only recently began to play a few live shows.
Understanding the obvious implications of calling it "Sublime," Wilson and Gaugh have described the shows as a "celebration," not a reunion. According to Nowell's estate, however, this goes against everything the late singer intended when he registered the name Sublime as a trademark.
As Rolling Stone points out, Nowell's family released the following statement:
It was recently announced that Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and Sublime drummer Floyd "Bud" Gaugh are "reuniting" and teaming with singer and guitarist Rome Ramirez in a band they intend to call "Sublime." Prior to his untimely passing, both Bud and Eric acknowledged that Brad Nowell was the sole owner of the name Sublime. 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.
As Brad's heirs, and with the support of his entire family, we only want to respect his wishes and therefore have not consented to Bud and Eric calling their new project "Sublime." We have always supported Bud and Eric's musical endeavors and their desire to continue to play Sublime's music. We wholeheartedly supported Bud, Eric and the many talented members of the Sublime posse that formed the Long Beach Dub All-Stars, soon after Brad's death, to honor him through their original recordings, live performances and Sublime music until they disbanded in 2001. But, out of respect for Brad's wishes, we have always refused to endorse any group performing as "Sublime," and now with great reluctance feel compelled to take the appropriate legal action to protect Brad's legacy.
Our hope is that Brad's ex-bandmates will respect his wishes and find a new name to perform under, so as to enhance the 'Sublime' legacy without the confusion and disappointment that many fans have expressed upon seeing the announcement.
Peace and Love to all,
Troy, Jakob & Jim 'Papa' Nowell
In response to the estate's threat of legal action, the reuniting members have issued their own statements, adding a United States District Court gave the trio the go-head to perform as Sublime after a temporary restraining order from the Nowell family was unsuccessful.
Via Rolling Stone, here are their statements:
On behalf of the band Sublime, founding members Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson are thrilled by the opportunity to reconnect with their fans around the world. While we all mourn the passing of our brother and bandmate Bradley Nowell some thirteen years ago, Sublime still has a strong message of hope and love to share - a message that is especially important in these difficult times.
Brad's heirs apparently do not share this vision and do not want the band Sublime to continue and tried - unsuccessfully - to file a temporary restraining order to prevent the band from carrying on. Despite those objections, we are pleased that the United States District Court has allowed us to perform as Sublime for all of our fans.
We urge everyone to join us in our message of peace and love, and we look forward to sharing the music we created - the music that defines us.
Statement from Bud Gaugh:
It's unfortunate that The Estate would take a position against us. Eric, Brad and I started this band when we were kids. We were the ones that spent years paying dues playing hole-in-the-wall clubs. We were the ones lugging around our gear in a broken down van. We were the ones that spent years writing, recording and rehearsing. WE. Not anyone else. Sublime is a band - our band.
Eric, Brad and I always agreed that no one should ever be allowed to tell artists what they can and cannot do with their art. It's a matter of artistic integrity.
We were devastated when we lost Brad and there's not a day that goes by that Eric and I don't think about him and miss him. When we got together and started jamming with Rome, we realized that embracing the music will be a huge step toward healing and moving forward. We see this as a celebration of Brad's memory and the music we all made together. And the fans are on board - they've started a Facebook page called "We Want Sublime" and its numbers are growing daily. Sublime's music has always been about love and we hope The Estate joins us and the fans that support us in celebrating Brad's life and our music. Come celebrate with us.