According to the courts, the Sublime that performed at California's SmokeOut festival last week was not actually Sublime. A California judge has instructed the surviving members of the '90s band, Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh, that they cannot use the name Sublime for their group with new singer Rome for any additional live appearances, merchandise or similarly named Internet domain names. The band's We Are Sublime Website has since been replaced with a photo of a muzzled dog with a sign around its neck that reads "Free Sublime."
As Rolling Stone reported, the estate of former frontman Bradley Nowell, who died from a heroin overdose in 1996, protested "Sublime" 's appearance at the SmokeOut, stating that Nowell had trademarked the moniker and never intended for any band to use it without him. Wilson and Gaugh spent the last decade performing as the Long Beach Dub Allstars until recently, when they recruited Rome and renamed the band "Sublime."
Wilson and Gaugh responded to the ruling with a statement that reads, "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."
Before their SmokeOut performance, the reformed Sublime successfully won the right to play under the name and issued a statement saying that despite the Nowell estate's objections, "we are pleased that the United States District Court has allowed us to perform as Sublime for all of our fans." The band said they wouldn't call the band's resurrection a "reunion," but instead a "celebration' of the band's past.
In an interesting twist, Wilson and Gaugh are currently in litigation with another band currently performing under the name Sublime LBC, according to the Sublime MySpace page. Gaugh called the defendant in that case "the dumbest animal on the planet."