An Interview With SUBLIME Tribute Band, BADFISH On Performing Sublime’s Music, Keeping That Legacy and More!
Posted On 02 May 2016
Tag: 40 oz. To Freedom, All Access, All Access Music Group, Badfish, Badfish Booze Cruise, Bradley Nowell, Bud Gaugh, Dave Ladin, Joel Hanks, Katie Daryl, Long Beach, Rhode Island, Robbin' The Hood, Scott Begin, Sublime, Tim Wu, Todd Forman, Tribute Bands, Troy, URI, Whiskey A Go-Go, World's Greatest Tribute Bands
Meet Badfish! They are one of the top Sublime Tribute Bands in the world!
It’s NOT hard to see why such a band exists. Formed in 1988, Sublime sold over 17 million albums worldwide, including about 10 million in the U.S. alone. They released three full-length albums with the original members- “40oz. To Freedom (1992), “Robbin’ The Hood” (1994) and “Sublime” (1996).
All the members of Badfish still live in the same town in Rhode Island where they played their very first show in 2001. They most recently played to their largest crowd in Buffalo NY: over 17,000 people. Bud Gaugh, Sublime’s original drummer, has joined Badfish on stage several times, and played an entire show with them in June of 2015. Badfish has also been joined on stage by former Sublime and Long Beach Dub All-Star saxaphoninsts Todd Forman and Tim Wu. Badfish has had the honor of meeting and performing for Bradley Nowell’s wife Troy and son Jacob.
Learn more about Badfish and how they got to be a Sublime Tribute Band in the following All Access interview:
How did Badfish first form? How long have you all been playing together? Why do you think you all get along so well and are able to be this tribute band?
We formed in early 2001 in Kingston RI where Joel Hanks and Scott Begin were both attending college at URI. Our idea to do a Sublime tribute show had been floating around in the wake of Joel’s previous band but had never coalesced. Joel and Scott eventually rebooted the idea with Badfish’s first singer Dave Ladin and put together a couple hour long set of music with the idea to just do a Sublime tribute show. The show was very well received, so we pushed on as a proper band and the continued to expand our areas where we perform and ultimately chose to perform as a full-time endeavor.
I think we all realize how lucky we are to be able to perform such great music all around the country. We’ve always been able to keep that in perspective and that allows us to retain a positive vibe which helps us get along and keep going despite any of the typical bumps in the road we may encounter.
Where did this love for Sublime first come from for you all? Is Sublime all of your favorite band? What do you think it is about this band that reaches so many people all over the world?
Sublime is undoubtedly up there as one of our favorite bands. Having gone from high school to college in the 90s, their music was everywhere – on a lot of the radio stations and blasting at house parties everywhere you went. It really felt like a soundtrack to those years, which is why we still love it so much.
They were the perfect mix of all our favorite styles of music when we were growing up, most notably punk,ska and reggae – and the lyrics and melodies were infectious. I think their music has proven to be timeless at this point, the records are being passed down to each new generation of kids as they reach their mid teens.
Can you talk about your recent performance and biggest one to date in front of 17,000 people? What was that like for you all? Was there an energy that you got from that big of a crowd that you’ve never felt before?
That was pretty amazing. Definitely a pretty cool and different energy. For the first time in a long time, I would say I was a little nervous when we started. I’m not sure I looked up much for the first 3 songs. But when I did finally settle in, looking out to sea of people is a pretty amazing feeling. The crowd was really fun and responsive too. It was an outdoor show and the weather was absolutely perfect. A memorable night for sure.
I understand that Sublime’s original drummer, Bud Gaugh often joins you on stage and plays with you. As fans of Sublime first and foremost, what is that like and then, what’s that like to be able to perform with him? Do you think he’s pushed you all to up your game on stage?
Having Bud come up and play with us is a real trip. He’s such a cool guy and his drumming style is such a big part of Sublime’s sound, so to see him back there playing with us is just amazing. And yeah, when you know that one of the band’s founding members is right there in back of you, you’d better bring your A game!
What was it like performing for Bradley Nowell’s wife and son? That must have been quite an emotional experience. Have you been able to play for any other Sublime members?
Meeting Troy and Jacob was such a great experience. We’ve always been careful to be respectful of the band’s music and legacy and the fact that they reached out to us and wanted to come see us perform these songs that are so close to their hearts was truly humbling. We’re looking forward to seeing Jacob again when we’re out in Cali and having his band play a couple of shows with us. We’ve had other people in Sublime’s extended family join us on stage from time to time. Sax players Tim Wu and Todd Foreman, who’ve contributed to Sublime’s recordings and performances, usually join us when we’re Cali as much as they’re available to do so. They too are great guys and we’re blessed to call them friends.
I’m curious to know what your Badfish Booze Cruises are like? How did you get involved with these cruises?
We usually do a series of these cruises in NYC every summer – sometimes several in one day! Cruising around Manhattan + food + booze + Sublime music…..you get the idea. Fun!
Are you excited to be a part of Katie Daryl’s World’s Greatest Tribute Bands series? Have you performed at it before?
This is our first time playing on the series, and we couldn’t be more excited! Playing out in Cali is fun enough as it is, so to be able to kick off our mini tour with a live TV broadcast is just incredible. We’ve never done anything quite like it, so as it draws closer to the show date, the anticipation is building and we’re pumped!
What Sublime songs do you enjoy playing the most? What song always gets the crowd the most excited? Do you ever get requests to play songs that you aren’t familiar with at all?
Everybody likes the hits! They are fun to play as well. We get requests for deep cuts for sure. I’d say those are equally as fun. There may be a few that we don’t play too often but overall we have the whole catalog on lock down. Lucky for us, Sublime knew how to write damn good songs!
From now until the end August, you have a pretty busy tour scheduled. How do you keep up the energy night after night? What’s the best part about going out on these kinds of long tours?
Our show is basically 50% re-creating Sublime’s energy that was captured within their songs and 50% harnessing our crowds (insane) energy. People come to our shows ready for a party. We’re just there to poke the bear. (laughter) The best part of the tour is getting into a nightly rhythm where the songs are flowing out like second nature and we can really focus on the spur of the moment highlights that may come up throughout the night.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about Badfish?
We have been performing these songs for so long and for so many people over the years that we have really grown an attachment to them. When we started performing sublimes’ music it filled a void for show goers by being able to hear the songs performed live. As the years pass, our show as a nightly celebration of sublimes music seems to grow increasingly nostalgic. It’s amazing from our point of view to see a bands music first-hand grow and mature through time.