Q & A From The Nowell Family At Brad's Grave - Written By A Fan
From Sublime Wiki
On May 25th 2006, the 10th anniversary of Brad's passing was a bright beautiful day in Westminster, Ca. I showed up @ 10 am. I noticed a bright red Expedition parked in front of Bradley's grave. The license plate said SUBL*ME and a matching red Sublime bumper sticker lay on the read window. I parked behind the SUV, and noticed a large grey haired man, with light grey hair and a light blue Hawaiian shirt looking over the grave, standing there as if he was in a trance. When he returned to his car, I got out of mine and proceeded to the gravestone. I paid my respected with a beer bottle cap, and a guitar pick. As I stood there at attention that large grizzled man came up to me and said "Hello I'm Jim Nowell, I'm Brad's dad". Well shit, I was shocked! I shook his hand and he joined me in a deep sigh looking over his sonâ€™s grave. Within a minute a small and slightly aged woman stepped out of the passenger seat of the Ford, and came to my other side and said "Hello I'm Jane, I'm Brad's step-mom". Then as if Brad had timed it perfectly, his sister Kelly and her family arrived in a newer black sedan with a similar Sublime sticker placed above the brake light of her car. Jim's grandchildren climbed out of the car and ran to "grandpa!â€ Now I'm just like you guys, I'm a sublime fan to the highest degree and here I am in the middle of the Nowell family reunion! Wow! I step back towards my car let the Nowells catch up. Brad's sister and step-mother take some chemicals and start cleaning Brad's gravestone, Brad's nephews running around the cemetery with their father on the chance, and here comes old Jim Nowell, up to me and asks "So do you go to school?" Wow I was shocked! As we talked like regular guys for 10 or minutes, the family said a silent prayer over their fallen brother, son, and friend. They all look and sigh, and Jim offers to take them all out to breakfast. He says he'll return in an hour or so, and asked if I would "hold down the fort. I agreed, and being a boy scout I always carry a fold out chair in the trunk of my Accord. As my mind wonders, and my car speakers playing 40oz various sublime fans come and go. Then Jim and Jane return to a crowd of 10 or so. What you are about to read are answers to as many questions as I could think of in the 7 hours I had to spend with the Nowells. I hope you enjoy.
Yeah everyone was there for hours, telling stories, singing songs drinking 40's and passing joints...and the stories his parents told us! Like....'
- When Brad died he was over a million dollars in debt to the record label, and for the first year Brad's parents funded Troy and Jakob fully.
- All royalties that would have gone to Brad go into two bank accounts... one for Troy and a savings in Jakobs name
- Brad growing up was secretly in love with Gwen, figuring her and Tony would get married he started dating Troy, right when Brad and Troy got serious, Tony and Gwen broke up. He was tempted to brake up with Troy to be with Gwen. His step-mom said "I don't know for sure but I bet for years those two had affairs, but the only person for sure u can ask is Gwen"
- They tried kicking Bud out several times, and wanted Marshall to be the full time drummer, but Bud threatens to kick all their asses if they didn't let him come back. Bud ready had a way being a bully.
- Bud would beat the shit out of Brad, Brad wasn't a fighter, he was quick but Bud was from the streets. Brad would come home with bruises and a black eye at times. True Brad did ask for some of it, but he really did bully Brad and Eric a lot. Eric wrote all the drums and bass lines, Brad did lyrics and guitar, Bud could just play drums really well, that's pretty much all he did.
- Brad loved history and philosophy as much as music. When Troy was going into labor Brad was reading "The raise and fall of the third Riche" (thatâ€™s about Nazi history)
- When Brad moved out, his room was turned into a sewing room. Well he moved in and out a lot until maybe the last year or two before he died, when u look at the credits for Robbin' the hood, it mentions recorded in the sewing room. That's his old room at his parentâ€™s house in Long Beach
- Eric throws annual 4th of July parties in Long Beach; if you can find his house your welcomed all I know is it's on the peninsula next to the ocean
- When Brad died he was cremated up in Frisco, then the boys took his ashes back home. When they laid him to rest in Westminster after everyone left his parents took half his ashes and buried them in the soil (the cemetery people don't know this and they like to keep it a secret because they could loose the lease for his headstone) and then there was the get together at Brad's place in Surfside (where Brad and Troy had an apartment), and at sunset all his best buddies paddled out to and put a lay in the water and they each scattered his ashes at sea and took one last wave back in. Till' this day none of them surf at Surfside (except when Louie died).
- When Louie died (was put to sleep), he was cremated and like Brad half of ashes lie next to the head stone, and the rest was scattered at sea.
- Brad was actually a much respected surfer, he even surfed at Mavericks (which is known as a pro only spot, because of how extreme those waves get)
- His left hand was born cricket! It bent to the left, so when he played guitar it was so natural he could play almost all day and never have an ache.
- He was 5'10 and had light brownish eyes with a hint of green
- He wanted to make an all Spanish album, half Sublime songs half new songs. He was fluent in Spanish.
- Him and Troy had their honeymoon at Costa Rica a month before they married.
- Brad died on Jakobs 11th month birthday. Jakob doesn't know who his dad is, he just knows his dad died when he was young and he played music.
- Jakob lives with his mom in San Diego; he's going into the 7th grade and is spending the whole summer with grandma and grandpa Nowell
- Troy was supposed to go up and visit Brad in San Fran the day he died. She was getting her nails and hair done when she got the phone call, she asked if Jakob was fine and Jim said "he's fine" and then she cried because she knew Brad had died then.
- Jim and Jane have never collected a dime from Brad's royalties, they do sell some things and have made some money on the Sublime image, but all things with royalties are strictly Troyâ€™s and Jakobs.
- Jim handles Eric's finances. He collects his royalties and then keeps 10%, gives some to Eric and the rest in savings and investments. Eric stays close and lives a couple blocks away still. Bud is in Topanga Canyon trying to grow grapes.
- When Sublime ended the band was millions in debt and the Nowells wanted Eric and Bud to find another lead singer and go on the road and try making some money. They declined. Luckily the album was good enough to make them money. But years later they did think, LBDAS should of been more Sublime oriented because they lost a lot of money on that project.
- "Brad could start a party by just playing guitar on the front porch. No seriously, it happened about a hundred times"
- Brad didn't like UC Santa Cruz; he tried to finish college at Cal State LB
- He was very self conscious about his hair. He went through many hair cuts, and he kept working his way down until it just became a buzz cut. His dad said if u see pictures of him with a buzz head when he was younger, it was a buzz cut because the 4 hair cuts before that he didn't like, eventually he just kept it buzz
- Brad at one time (I think 15) had broken both his wrist in a tire swing accident. He couldn't brush his teeth, get dressed or wipe his own ass (which Jim had to do)
- He always tortured his sisters!
- Brad had a cat! Brad and Troy got a cat and named it "Pussie Cat" when Brad had to take it to the vet he was embarrassed by the name, so when they asked him the name of the cat he said "Wendy". Wendy was given to a fan, because that cat was a holy terror! The fan actually called Jim and asked if she could give him the cat back.
- Brad paid $500 for Louie. He saved up and bought him. The guy who owned him when he was pup had him tied out around a toilet seat in his front yard.
- Louie was a whiner! He cried and cried waiting for Brad. And when brad would pull up to the drive way coming back from tour (his parents took care of Louie sometimes) he would run out the door and jump in his car through the window. Brad would say "what the hell?!? Are u beating my dog or something?"
- Louie became deaf after being on stage for so many years. On stand by your van you can hear Brad go "Louie Louie Louie Louie" into the loud speaker, because by that time, his hearing was just about gone and that was the only way Louie could hear his name called.
- Louie sheded like crazy!
- Brad was classified with ADD back in the early 80's, now a days he would of been classified with ADHD. Jake has it too
- The Nowells have two boats "Badfish" and "Sublime"
- Jane Nowell (his step mom) fav. song was Badfish, she remembers listening to him play it for her when he finished the song, he finished it in his room and she was in the family room. He was so thrilled. (Yeah she cried a lot)
- Brad loved In N Out by the way
- Brad hated it when they would headline a show because sound check was at 6 but after that they had nothing to do for 4 or 5 hours so they would drink or whatever and then they sounded like crap. Jim said "I told Brad, why not stay sober" and Brad said "with this group not drinking is not an option, just wish me luck"
- Jake makes a lot and says a lot of things that Brad use to say or do at that age. Jim says it's kind of scary when u sees a mini Brad, because he doesn't remember his dad.
- Jake already has a girlfriend. They showed me some pictures; you can see he really has a lot of Brad in him. In about 10 years that kid will have no trouble with the ladies.
- Brad always was reading. He wasn't much for TV
- Brad had so many cousins! The family is huge. Cousins in La Paz, NorCal, eat coast ect... but the biggest set of cousins was in Hawaii, he spent a lot of his summers in Hawaii as a kid, and for a time a lot of people thought Brad was from Hawaii. Brad's sister did date Jack Johnson for awhile.
- When Brad died, the local radio station in Hawaii played 40'z and Robbinâ€™ all day from midnight to midnight. They had a lot of his cousinâ€™s call in, and some fans call in. His death hit Hawaii almost as bad as it hit the LBC scene when Brad died.
- There were plans of a European tour for Sublime summer/fall of 96. Everyone was excited about the drugs to score; Brad was making plans to visit all the historical sites of various battles and landmarks. He was really excited.
- The pictures from second hand smoke with the guys in the pool. That's on the roof of Miguelâ€™s apt.
- When Brad died, Louie became kind of distraught after awhile. Miguel offered to take him in. For a couple years Louie was there, but he got arthritis in his legs and couldn't climb the stairs. Eventually he spent the last 6 months living with Miguelâ€™s family in Palos Rancho Verdeâ€™s, but they called him and said this dog is about to go.
- Toby and Eric went for a walk in the woods one day and Toby was getting really old. Eric saw Toby walk off into the woods and never saw him again.
- At Brad's wedding the whole family was there and Brad was 100% clean the entire weekend, and most likely the days before and after the wedding. He wasn't in pain, he wasn't withdrawing, and he didn't even want to drink really. It's the last memory he left for all his family. Only his parents saw him in-between then and before he left for San Fran. They hugged him and said I love you's.
- The Nowells sold a lot of Brads clothing off to help pay for bills after he died. Like shoes and shirts and sunglasses and stuff.
- Troy remarried and has 2 girls from that marriage. She always dated guys with tats from head to toes after Brad died, but had no tolerance for junkies.
- The Nowells live in the same house that Brad grew up in still.
- Brad knew before he died that it would take a miracle for him to get rid of his addiction.
- Brad's gravestone was not intended for him. Jane's (his step-mom) mother in 1996 was very old and ill. Jane's mother (Brad's step-grandma) loved the beach, and so Jane bought a gravestone and gravesite for her motherâ€™s upcoming death in the spring of 96. Well when Brad died, it was handy to already have a gravestone and a gravesite available. Brad is buried around his step-family, which by the way most of them are Freemasons.
- Brad spoke perfect Spanish. Jim was a contractor all his life. Brad often would stop by at Jim work site, and hang around. Well most of the workers spoke Spanish, and a lot of them only spoke Spanish. Brad learned Spanish from various Latinoâ€™s around Long Beach and took it in school. He aced Spanish, and continued his Spanish studies in college.
- Brad was a people person. His dad told me there was always time for a fan, and no matter where Brad went he would make friends. During the track "Thanx" the list of people the boys wanted to thank was extremely long. It took one take for Brad to read off the list the boys made, but had to stopped 3/4 way through, because you couldn't put the entire "Thanx" track on 40oz on a tape, there was just not enough room.
sorry it was late, now I'm alittle more awake, let me clear some things up...
I ment to say Miguel instead of Brad reading the names.
I ment Jakob is going into the 6th grade, and Jakob turned 11 on June 25th'
- Brads left wrist is wasn't bent when he was born but very flexible, almost double jointed, when he broke his wrist it healed in a fashion that it bent where naturally he could played the guitar with ease.
- Jims dad told me he tried Mavericks once, Brad was with friends who were very experienced surfers who wanted to try Mavericks. Jim told me Brad didn't have a good time, he hated wearing a wet suit (one reason why he didn't like Santa Cruz) and the waves were just to much, but he tried it once.
- The reason Brad died a million in debt is because when you are signed to a label, the label fronts the money for a big studio recording, touring expenses and merch., and putting the album out and making the millions of copy's. Plus the Euro tour was going to cost almost a 1/2 mill it's self. In turn it was projected that Sublime would be out of debt by the spring of 98, no one expected the self title to be as big of a hit.
- Jane got a sun tattoo from Opie a couple of years ago
- Brad drove nothing but junkers, he'd rather buy another junker then learn to fix the car that was about to die.
- When the Crazy Fool book came out, it was orginally $20 bucks at book stores. Then they stopped publishing the book and gave 4 crates full of Crazy Books on Jims door step. Well he moved them into his garage, and began selling them on ebay. Currently there about 40 left. Once there gone, it's gone forever.
- Jim still has various Sublime poster and merch. in his garage. He gave me a case of Sublime Hard Lemonade. The lemonade is still floating around in various stores, on the east coast, for sure in the New England area and in north Flordia.