Spearhead, Camper Van Beethoven and Ozomatli are among the artists contributing tracks to the Sublime tribute album, Look At All the Love We’ve Found, due next summer. Sublime came to an untimely end when frontman Brad Nowell died of a heroin overdose in 1996, just two months before the California ska-punks’ breakthrough album.
Along with Blackalicious MC Gift of Gab, Spearhead take on “What I Got,” Sublime’s signature hit. “I decided to do the song because I am a fan,” explains Spearhead’s Michael Franti. “There was a sincerity about Brad’s voice and lyrics that I always identified with. It is such a tragedy when there is a band that has as much promise as Sublime, and it gets cut off so short. I remember feeling the same way about Nirvana.”
Camper, who will cover “Garden Grove,” got involved because Sublime had covered one of their songs. “There is a cover of ‘Eye of Fatima’ that’s essentially Brad Nowell by himself on acoustic guitar,” says bassist Victor Krummenacher. “It was a nice nod in our direction, and I thought that since Brad had enough respect to cover Camper, being part of this tribute album was more than fitting.”
“This was the first time we ever recorded a cover song and were proud of how it came out,” says Ozomatli leader Wil-Dog Abers of their version of “April 29, 1992.” “I always thought [Sublime] had something real.”
Others confirmed include Pennywise (“Same in the End”), Fishbone (“Date Rape”), the Greyboy Allstars (“Doin’ Time”), Avail (“Santeria”), Bargain Music (“Get Out!”), the Ziggens (“Paddle Out”), and Mike Watt with Stephen Perkins and Petra Haden (“Work That We Do”). Jack Johnson, No Doubt, G. Love and Special Sauce, and ex-Meat Puppet Curt Kirkwood have expressed interest in the project, according to organizers.
In putting together Love, Zach Fischel (head of Cornerstone RAS, an offshoot of Sublime’s longtime label, Skunk), invited artists who influenced Sublime as well as those who were influenced by them. “Sublime’s music was always diverse in its influences, and we wanted this tribute album to have the same type of diversity.”
Although their career lasted less than a decade, Sublime left their mark on the ska-punk world, issuing a pair of underground favorites, 1992’s 40 Oz. to Freedom and 1994’s Robbin’ the Hood, before Nowell’s death. The group’s third release, Sublime, was released posthumously, and became a major hit on the strength of such singles as “What I Got” and “Santeria.”
By design, Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh will not appear on the album. “They’re in the loop, and they’ll definitely hear it before anyone else,” Fischel says. “We want them to just be able to sit back, relax and hear some great artists paying tribute to the music they wrote.”