Second Hand Smoke
Description:Entertainment Weekly (12/19/97, pp.75-76) - "...Sublime's own evolution from beer-bash trio to sonic experimentalists is...evident. By the end of this chronologically sequenced set, they're mixing up Peter Tosh instrumentals, duetting with pal Gwen Stefani, and concocting soulful pop-reggae..."
- Rating: B
SECONDHAND SMOKE is a collection of previously unreleased tracks along with alternate and dub takes of currently available material.
Sublime: Brad Nowell (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Eric Wilson (organ, bass); Bud Gaugh (drums).
Additional personnel: Gwen Stefani (vocals); Miguel (guitar, background vocals, sound effects); Tim Wu (saxophone); Isiah Owens (keyboards); Billy Wilson (percussion); Field Marshall (drums, programming).
Producers include: Paul Leary, The Field Marshall, Miguel, Sublime, Bradley Nowell.
Engineers include: Eddie Ashworth, Miguel, Craven Morehead, Steve McNeil, Donnell Cameron.
Includes liner notes by Michael "Miguel" Happoldt.
It is often said that the quickest way for an artist to become famous is to die. The obvious flip-side of this is that the artist doesn't get to enjoy the fruits of his labors. On SECOND-HAND SMOKE, the surviving Sublime members and long-time collaborator Miguel gather together some of their earliest demos along with more recent out-takes in a final tribute to their late leader, drug casualty Brad Nowell.
Comparing the earliest work on this release to the later hits, it's striking how far Nowell's songwriting had progressed. The band was just beginning to synthesize its diverse influences into something that was instantly recognizable as Sublime. The early songs range from the straight pop of "New Realization" to reggae ("Don't Push") to the blend of ska and hip hop that was their signature ("Garbage Grove"). On "April 29th 1992 (Leary)," Nowell explores the real motivation behind the LA riots from the partly-humorous, partly-serious point-of-view that would characterize the bulk of his work. One can only wonder how far Nowell would have taken his music had he not passed away just as he was entering his prime.