San Francisco Examiner - May 27, 1996
by Ray Delgado

Band's singer found dead in motel

Bradley Nowell, lead singer for the alternative band Sublime, died of an apparent drug overdose in a San Francisco motel just hours before the group was to perform a sold-out concert.

The band's drummer found Nowell, 28, dead in his room at the Ocean View Motel shortly after noon Saturday following a night of partying, said Jon Phillips, a manager of the group.

Cause of death was not been determined, pending laboratory results, but when asked if Nowell had died of a heroin overdose as reported, Phillips said it was "probably the most distinct possibility." Nowell's death ended what was seen as a promising future for a band that gained extensive airplay with its single "Date Rape." The band was about to begin a summer tour in the United States and Europe to promote an upcoming album. "It looked like the band was ready to explode," Phillips said. "The stage was set for greatness."

The band was in San Francisco to perform at Maritime Hall Saturday night, said Boots Hughston, who produces shows at the hall. The band's management told Hughston of Nowell's death hours before the show, forcing the promoters to cancel it and issue refunds.

Phillips said band members Eric Wilson and Bud went back to their hometown of Long Beach to console Nowell's wife of just a week, Troy Dendekker, and the couple's infant son.

Blane Kaplan, another Sublime manager, said Nowell was looking forward to leaving for Europe on Wednesday for a tour. The band's future is uncertain, he said.

"The guys are still going to continue with their projects in Skunk Records," Kaplan said. "I would assume that with Brad gone, they'd never play under the name Sublime again."

Phillips said the three band members grew up together in Long Beach and formed the band in 1988, releasing several albums, including "40 Oz. to Freedom" and "Robbin' the Hood."

Phillips said the band members and people closely associated with them were taking news of Nowell's death pretty hard.

"It left everyone grieving quite heavily," Phillips said. "They were a band that's been together for nearly 10 years and were soul brothers."

Monday, May 27, 1996 · Page A2 © 1996 San Francisco Examiner

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