For many in the greater Long Beach area, the mention of the name Sublime evokes warm memories. The band’s iconic sound is debatably one of most important genres to emerge during the ‘90s, both locally and internationally. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first album, the iconic 40 Oz of Freedom, surviving member Bud Gaugh decided to take a non-traditional victory lap with two of his favorite things: beer and tacos.
Last week, Gaugh, along with Troy denDekker (Bradley Nowell’s widow), DJ Product 1969c (from Robbin’ The Hood), Opie Ortiz (the artist who created the iconic sun logo) partook in the first celebration down at AleSmith brewery in San Diego. There, they celebrated with fans by serving Sublime Mexican Lager in both keg form, and of course, in 40 ounce bottles. The idea for the band to have its own beer has been in the works for a few years. The band licensed its name for a hard cider lemonade drink, and as Gaugh says, “It’s not something we’d ever drink. Not back in the day, not now, not never.” Thus, given the name of their debut, they felt it would be apropos to release a beer that channeled the spirit of the band.
“It was a great beer!” the drummer says. “It was crisp and refreshing and something you could drink a lot of in the sun. That was important because craft beers get hoppy and heavy on the gullet. This one you can enjoy all day.”
Following that event, the band decided to keep the celebration going by teaming up with Sancho’s Tacos. Taking place this Saturday, will feature a Sublime themed menu, co-branded merchandise, artwork and another appearance by DJ PRODUCT 1969c. As one might expect, the items on the menu are named after Sublime songs, with tacos like Slow Ride (Slow-cooked carnitas), Santeria (Grilled chicken breast), Badfish Taco (Grilled fish), Wrong Way (Artichoke hearts) and of course, What I Got (Kids quesadilla) being most prominent.
“Since I don’t live in Long Beach anymore (he lives in Reno), places come and go,” says the former line cook. “This place is going up on the corner I grew up on down in Belmont Shore on. We used to terrorize that corner all day every day. Sancho’s Tacos are great and I’m really excited about this co-venture. It would have been neat to have this place when I was down there.”
If nothing else, these two events demonstrate the staying power of both Sublime the band, and Sublime the lifestyle. The feel-good vibes demonstrated in their collaboration in naming the different items reflect the tenor of their songs and what the band stands for. The surviving members’ collaboration extends to the merchandise for the event as well.
“I remember way back we would take camping and surf trips down to Baja all the time,” Gaugh recalls. “Eric and I had a trailer down there where we’d go out for weeks on end. There’s a lot of history with Mexico and Sublime together.”
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Looking back at the 25 years since the release of 40 Oz of Freedom, Gaugh can’t help but get nostalgic. There are tentative plans to repackage the album, but as far as live events are concerned, last week’s and Saturday’s are the only ones slated to mark the anniversary. He wouldn’t rule out further adult beverages cultivated in the name of Sublime either.
Despite there not being any new music in over 20 years, when the drummer describes at the cultural impact his band had, his voices beams with pride. The same goes when he reflects on what Bradley Nowell would think of the festivities surrounding the anniversary.
“He’d be fat and happy just like me!” he says. “He’s right there in my heart every day and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about him and what we’d be doing now. But the longevity, we have the fans to thank for keeping us alive for so long to get to this moment.”
Correction: The original version said Gaugh and original bassist Eric Wilson celebrated with fans. Wilson wasn't in attendance at the San Diego event.