It’s been more than 27 years since Sublime performed its final show with Bradley Nowell, but recent moves by the late frontman’s family have paved the way for the band’s possible return with Nowell’s son Jakob Nowell as the famed Long Beach punk-ska-reggae trio’s next generation singer.
Jakob Nowell — who was 11 months old when his father died in 1996 — has been performing and touring for more than a decade, and this year signed a record deal with Epitaph Records for his group Jakob’s Castle and made a surprise appearance with Stick Figure at Coachella. On Dec. 11, he will perform at a benefit concert for Bad Brains frontman H.R. at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles alongside Sublime’s original members, bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh, for the first time ever. The trio are not calling themselves Sublime for the benefit show, but Jakob’s manager Kevin Zinger with Regime Music Group and musician-turned-executive Joe Escalante have already been selected by the original band members, along with Bradley Nowell’s wife (and Jakob’s mom) Troy Dendekker Nowell, to manage the rights and intellectual property for Sublime.
Zinger and Escalante have been hired to manage the “legacy assets, the licensing and all the business in Sublime going forward for Jake, Troy, Bud and Eric,” Escalante tells Billboard. “The guys plan to jam together in support of H.R. at the Teragram Ballroom on Dec. 11. Beyond that we’re not prepared to make any announcements.”
Zinger is a veteran music executive and documentary filmmaker whose clients include House of Pain, Tower of Power, Everlast and Steele Pulse. Escalante is bassist for the famed Orange County punk band The Vandals, as well as a music executive and Hollywood showrunner.
News of a relaunched Sublime has generated significant interest from festival talent buyers who have already begun submitting offers for festival bookings, Zinger tells Billboard. But for now, he says, the three men remain focused on rehearsing for the Dec. 11 show.
“We’re patiently waiting and doing the right thing,” says Zinger. “If the vibe’s there, the vibe’s there.”
Wilson is also a member of Sublime with Rome, a popular touring outfit led by singer Rome Ramirez that plays songs from Sublime’s catalog as well as Ramirez’s originals. The name Sublime with Rome was created as legal a compromise between Ramirez, Wilson and Troy Dendekker Nowell in 2010 after Nowell sued to stop the men from touring under the name Sublime.
Further complicating matters for Sublime relaunch with Jakob Nowell is that Sublime With Rome have a New Zealand tour and a number of big festivals booked in 2024;, as does Jakob’s Castle, who’s opening for G Love & Special Sauce on a tour running through the end of March.
Tickets are still available for Positive Mental Attitude: A Benefit For HR of Bad Brains at the Teragram Ballroom on Dec. 11, priced at $30 apiece. There is also a GoFundMe set up to benefit H.R. here.