Beloved Southern California rock-reggae group Sublime, whose lead singer Bradley Nowell died of a drug overdose in 1996, is teaming up with Oscar-winning director Bill Guttentag for a full-length documentary on the band. Guttentag will write and direct. He’ll also produce along with attorney Peter Paterno, Sublime managers Dave Kaplan and Scott Seine (DKM/Surfdog), and Nayeema Raza.
The film has the full cooperation of the Nowell estate and is targeting a theatrical release in 2018, with production set to start imminently. In addition, the doc will delve deep into the band’s archives with never-before-seen footage and rare recordings.
Sublime, founded in 1988 by Eric Wilson, Bud Gaugh and Nowell, released its debut album, “40oz. to Freedom,” in 1992 on its own label, Skunk Records. Later signing with major label MCA, they became a KROQ favorite, which drove hit singles like “What I Got,” “Santeria,” and “Wrong Way.” Eventually, the band would sell 17 million albums in the U.S.
After Nowell’s death, the band went dormant until 2009, when it rechristened itself Sublime With Rome, featuring Rome Ramirez formerly of the Dirty Heads. Sublime continues to play to devoted crowds who have kept the music alive.
Said drummer Gaugh in announcing the film: “I can’t wait to hand deliver our story to our fans. It has been a long-time coming and now there are literally two more generations of fans who never had the opportunity to see us perform, or don’t know the whole story. I am excited to work with Bill Guttentag, as I am a big fan of his work as well.”
Manager Kaplan added that the team “searched long and hard for the right person to tell this story … of struggle, daring, musical pioneering, love, triumph, intense tragedy, and cultural impact.”
Guttentag won a Best Documentary Short Oscar in 1998 (for “You Don’t Have to Die”) and 2003 (for “Twin Towers”).