Judge: Sublime Must Go
What’s in a band’s name? Plenty if the name is “Sublime.” A judge yesterday ordered a group consisting of former Sublime members to cease using the moniker without approval from the deceased lead singer’s estate.
American ska band Sublime was on the road to success during the first half of the 1990s. Formed by Bradley Nowell, Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh in Long Beach during the late ‘80s, the band broke up after lead singer Nowell’s death from a heroin overdose in 1996.
Wilson and Gaugh went on to form Long Beach Dub Allstars in 1997. After the band dissolved in 2002, Wilson went on to become a member of Long Beach Short Bus.
Earlier this year Wilson and Gaugh, along with singer Rome Ramirez, began performing as Sublime, but it wasn’t until the group was booked to play the Cypress Hill Smokeout that Nowell’s estate took notice and called the lawyers.
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz granted Nowell’s estate a preliminary injunction ordering Wilson, Gaugh and Ramirez to stop performing as Sublime.
“The point we tried to make is that we encourage these gentlemen to go out and play,” said Jeremiah Reynolds, the attorney representing Nowell’s estate said after the judge’s decision Tuesday. “We think they’re great musicians. We just don’t think it’s appropriate to call a group that doesn’t have Bradley and has a new lead singer Sublime. It’s consistent with Brad’s intentions that we seek to protect the name. The court agreed that Bud and Eric and the new lead singer didn’t have the right to go out and call themselves Sublime.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the ruling will be upheld until a breach-of-contract / trademark infringement suit gets underway. That is, unless the bickering parties settle first.
The judgment also calls for some money – specifically, a $125,000 bond to be posted by Nowell’s estate in case it’s determined the now Sublime-less band suffered damages because of yesterday’s ruling. Reynolds said the bond would be posted.
In response to yesterday’s court order, Gaugh and Wilson issued a statement saying they would work on a “business solution” to the naming dustup.
“Our goal continues to be sharing the music and message of Sublime with all of our fans around the world. We intend to take the court’s advice and work on a business solution to this issue. We hope the estate follows suit so the music of Sublime can live on and be accessible to everyone.”
Of course, Nowell’s estate had a statement of its own to deliver.
“We are gratified the court ruled in our favor and found that Bud, Eric and Rome could not use the name Sublime without first obtaining permission from Brad’s heirs,” the statement read. “We believe this will help protect and preserve Brad’s musical legacy.”