Sublime Comes to Levitate Music and Arts Festival in Marshfield

“It’s crazy, it’s something I never thought I’d do,” Noel said. “You always want to achieve that with your own band, so to do that with my dad’s band was a give and take for me.”

What Noel means is that he wants to make his own way in the world and is unwilling to use his family’s reputation to develop his own career. At the same time, he feels like a guardian of the band’s legacy. Wilson and Gaugh were both former members of Sublime with Rome, an offshoot of the original band that formed in 2009 when they began performing with singer Rome Ramirez. But Sublime with Rome is touring this year without Gough or Wilson, which makes Noel uncomfortable.

“It was shocking to me that there were other bands that were performing without any of the original members and no one on staff, management or the show knew my dad or anyone on set,” Noel said. “I can’t tell you how angry that makes me.”

From left: Sublime’s Jakob Nowell and Michael Happoldt perform during the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 20 in Indio, California.Coachella Fraser Harrison/Getty Images

Sublime first came together in 1988 in Long Beach, California, establishing themselves locally with the eclectic style of the time. Their unique musical style helped Sublime stand out, although the band’s music attracted the largest audience following the death of Bradley Nowell. Since then, Sublime has sold millions of albums and songs including “What I Got” and “Santeria” became radio hits. Thanks in part to tribute acts scattered across the country, including Rhode Island’s Badfish, the band’s music continues to attract new fans who, like Nowell, weren’t old enough to experience Sublime when the original band was active.

“Like The Dead, Sublime has become a lifestyle, and there are a lot of bands doing that Southern California stoner reggae sound,” said Kenneth Partridge, who calls Sublime Included in his 2021 book Hell of a Hat: The Rise of ‘. “But I think it mostly comes down to the song. Bradley writes great hooks and memorable (if sometimes problematic) lyrics, and as long as there are summer picnics, laid-back reggae rock will never go out of style.

Although Noel was surprised by the audience’s reaction, his father’s legacy is a complicated one for the singer, who still remembers the first time he consciously heard a Sublime song as a child.

“I was sitting in the car, driving down Garnet Avenue in San Diego, California, and my mom burst into tears,” said Noel, whose band, Jakobs Castle, released the album “Enter: The Castle” in April. “She was playing this song and told me that was my dad singing.”

Although the music was always present in the background throughout his childhood, Noel had only recently delved into the orchestra’s catalog while learning to play it. It’s not easy.

Jakob Nowell of Sublime performs at the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 20 in Indio, California.Coachella Fraser Harrison/Getty Images

“Opening a Sublime song is an emotional challenge,” Noel said. “There are pros and cons to that, but I’m sitting there trying to dissect a song and learn the chord progression of this guy that I wish I could meet and hang out with.”

Noel’s attempts to understand his father in his absence lead him to more than just music. Now seven years sober, he began drinking at the age of 12 and later dabbled in other substances.

“I was just born an addict,” Noel said. “It never felt like a cautionary tale, it was more like, man, I wonder what could be so good. My thought was, ‘If that’s enough to give up this great life and family that he had, that would be great.’ ” Indeed.

If his own substance abuse issues helped Noel understand his father’s situation, learning his father’s songs had an even more profound impact.

“I developed my own unique relationship with my father through playing music,” Noel said. “So it’s definitely been a very emotionally draining but healing process in that respect.”


Levitate Music and Arts Festival, Marshfield Fairgrounds, 140 Main St., Marshfield, July 5-7. Doors open daily at 12:30 noon. Three-day general admission is $289, single-day admission is $159. For schedule and ticket information, visit

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