Reflecting back on 20 years since the passing of Sublime’s Bradley Nowell
Today marks 20 years since the world lost one of its brightest young musical visionaries, Bradley Nowell, front man for the Long Beach, California-based reggae/rock/punk/ska/hip-hop band Sublime, to a heroin overdose at the age of 28.
Few outside of Southern California knew how much the world would miss Bradley, though, as the band was just beginning to break through and become more than, depending on who you ask, the world’s greatest party band or just a group of drunken, rowdy punks. Brad supposedly as clean as he’d been in years, had recently had a son and gotten married, and his band had just recorded an album that would go on to become influential to an entire generation of musicians.
Shortly after Bradley’s death, Sublime’s self-titled, major-label debut album was released, “What I Got,” “Santeria,” and “Wrong Way” became alt-rock radio staples and millions of albums flew off the shelves. It was too late; all these new converts would never see them perform live.
This is not a post I was proud to write, publish, and share with the world forever. But it’s something I wanted to document for myself and for the future.
Twenty years ago today was the first of several times in my younger adult years that I truly experienced what it was like to be broke. While this is not an anniversary I look fondly upon, it did help me begin to learn financial lessons that have proven invaluable.
Many will read this story and roll their eyes because it is, admittedly, a #whitewhine or #firstworldproblem. But it was an eye-opening experience for a college freshman who grew up in a firmly middle-class family and whose parents sacrificed a lot to provide their three sons with the expensive shoes, toys, and experiences that kids gravitate toward.
What could have caused this feeling? I was attending a swanky, private college two states away from home, had a dormitory roof over my head, and a meal plan with so much credit available that most days I struggled to spend my allotment.
Brace yourselves for the horror: I did not have the cash in hand (nor the credit, but we’ll get to that) to purchase Cypress Hill’s “Temples of Boom” album during its release week.
It took years and years of (very) occasional searches, all of which came up fruitless. A couple times I came across a low-quality version that temporarily satiated my appetite for childhood nostalgia, but it was never good enough.
Happily, times have changed. Today I am happy to announce that I am now the forever-owner of a high-quality version of the “Two-Fisted Slopper” video that was shown on the Milwaukee County Stadium (RIP) scoreboard during Milwaukee Brewers home games during the 1980s and 90s!
(h/t to the Cait Covers The Bases MLB blog for posting this video, and for allowing downloads!)
I originally wrote this piece for my business website, but decided it also was very appropriate for this site. Plus, I don’t get to post here as often as I’d like, so yada yada yada two birds, one stone …
Wow. That’s all I can say about the past year, and that’s a wonderful thing.
It was 12 short months ago — June 1, 2013 — that I officially launched Why The Fuss? Technical Solutions with nothing more than an idea, a loose plan of what I wanted to do and accomplish, and a small loan from our savings account.
You better know who you are
And where you come from
Lay the path to the place where you belong
From the day you were born
To where you trod on
No one holds you to limitation
— Steven Rene Jacobo | Tribal Seeds
I always have been amazed by how much of my day-in, day-out life is lost over time in the clutter of my memory. Yet, a gentle reminder can trigger such a flood of recollection it’s almost as if the events and memories are suddenly fresh in my mind. And, more so, how said memories, viewed in this context, help me understand where I have been, how far I have come, and exactly how I came to be the person I am today.
I realize I haven’t written anything in this space for quite some time, and I apologize; however, there is good reason, which I will get to shortly.
From an early age I always have had something of an entrepreneurial spirit. I recall being 4 or 5 years old and trying to sell my (and, most likely, my brothers’ …) “surplus” toys while the next-door neighbor held a garage sale. A few years later, buying/selling baseball cards and yard work were my main hustles. It just seemed like I always had some great, new idea by which I thought I could make money.
At some point, I lost that instinct; or, rather, it was suppressed for several years while I was busy trying to succeed in a “real job” in the “real world.” Unfortunately for me, this all too often required me to sacrifice who I was in exchange for a paycheck. It never sat well with me, but at the time I believed that it was what I had to do in order to “make it” and please those around me.
Then came the spring and summer of 2012, during which I faced some of the most significant challenges and hurdles — both personal and professional, physical, mental and otherwise.
I can’t believe we haven’t met before. Now that we have things seem much more interesting. Stay tuned…