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Is Pepper the New Sublime??

Updated on November 9, 2011

The answer is...


BUT they come in at a close second...

Much like Sublime, Pepper combines rock with the local island flavor that you cant help but move to! Pepper is great, but it still has a ways to go when it comes to stepping up to Sublime. From their funky rhythms to down to earth lyrics, Pepper has an influence almost everywhere they touch. Unluckily, with their style of music, it is often limited to the coastal regions.

But before I can get into all that, I gotta show some respect for the legendary Sublime.

Check it!


As I try to type this, there are just no words that truly get on Sublime's level. If you put all of the songs Sublime ever released onto a playlist and hit shuffle, one minute you would be bopping around to a funky punk song, the next you would be swaying to the sweet acoustic melodies of vocalist/guitarist Brad Nowell, and the next you would be bobbing your head to those sweet reggae riffs. Even some of the songs are a beautiful combination of all three.

Sublime started in 1988 as a garage punk band, with vocalist/guitarist Nowell, bassist Eric Wilson, and drummer Bud Gaugh. Sublime didn't get famous until the mid 90's with the rise of "California Punk" (Green Day, The Offspring), Sublime grasped the crowd with their own blend of rock, reggae and ska. After four years dedicated to nothing but touring and live shows, they came back to make the album, 40 Oz to Freedom, in 1992. They weren't too famous until a local radio station blew up their single, Date Rape. Mostly due to radio exposure, Sublime signed for another album in 1994, Robbin the Hood, then later made the self titled Sublime album. Nowell never got to see his third album release in July 1996. It was May 25, 1996 that Brad Nowell was found dead in his San francisco hotel room. He had died from a heroine overdose. . The hit single "What I got", was so popular, that by the end of the year the album had gone Gold. The album sold over 5 million copies, making it the most popular ska-punk albums in history! It is a shame that Bradley Nowell was gone before he ever got to the top. He will always be my all-time favorite lyricist and vocalist. Many posthumous Sublime releases include Second Hand Smoke (1997), Stand by your Van and acoustic: Bradley Nowell and Friends (1998), Greatest Hits (1999), and Gold (2005). 

The band lives on...

Bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Daugh went on in their music careers as Long Dub Beach Allstars, but never reached the fan base of Sublime and failed. In 2009, Wilson and Daugh teamed up with Rome Ramirez to be Sublime's new vocalist/guitarist. After performing at the Cypress Hill Smokeout Festival, they were slapped with a lawsuit and were no longer able to use the name Sublime. (Bradley owned the rights) They started a tour on April 20, 2010, as Sublime with Rome.

If you ask me, no one can sing those songs but Bradley Nowell. There was never a right time to replace Bradley Nowell, not now, not 15 years ago. Ramirez is mostly talented in the studio, but when you get him on stage he has a hard time catching his breath trying to sing and play guitar at the same time. Keep practicing bud!

Check it out!


Pepper has got what's goin' on! If you put all of their songs on a playlist, you would have a result much like Sublime; except for Pepper was never too big on acoustic sessions. Pepper's music is more heavily influenced with reggae, seeing as they are from Hawaii.

Pepper banded together on the big island in Hawaii in 1997, with members bassist/vocalist Bret Bollinger, guitarist/vocalist Kaleo Wassman, and drummer Yesod Williams. These three mostly played in garages and house parties for the next two years until they took the initiative to pack up all their belongings and move to San Diego, CA to push their music. In that time they recorded their first album Give n It in 2000. Pepper landed shows with the established artists, Born Jamericans, Shaggy, Eek-a-Mouse, Burning Spear, Pato Banton, Secret Hate, and SX10, who were featured on XBOX games/Transworld Surf and Snow games. Pepper also played an entire season on the Warped Tour in 2001, they didn't play for free though... These boys had to pay their dues by building the stage to be able to deliver their "Kona-dub-rock" to the heart and souls of the public.


In late 2001, Pepper finally hit up a professional studio to record their next album Kona Town(to be released in 2002). These boys had a lot of help, with dub technician Remy Derouchmont controlling the space echo's throughout the album, Steve Kravac (Blink-182) producing, Willie Waldman (Sublime, Snoop Dogg) on horns and Ronnie King (Death Row Records) on keys. The result, an edgy, rockin', melodic masterpiece. Pepper was finally able to capture their essence of sound the way it was meant to be heard. (For those of you who listened to Give n It, you know what I mean) Out of this album protruded the single, "Give it Up", which has been one of Pepper's most aired songs to date.

Riding on the heels of that success, Pepper retreated into "The Hive" (311's legendary analog studio), and started on their next album, In With the Old, which released in March of 2004. Pepper has always been about nonstop touring, but when the dust finally settled, they were back at it in the studio to record, No Shame, which came out in October of 2006. This album contained the next popular single, "No Control", which topped the Billboard's "alternative" chart at number 18, with "Give it Up" coming in at 34. Another single from the album No Shame, "Your Face", has been chosen to be available for Guitar Hero World Tour.


Pepper sold over 500,000 albums independently, and used that money to found their own record label, LAW records. Though it is still not a very large record label yet, it has spawned three bands; IRATION, Passafire, and The Supervillians.                                                             Pepper's music has often been used for TV shows, video games, and even a few movies (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Good Luck Chuck).

Pepper has a huge fan base due to their constant touring (a lot of the time, its one after the other). They also play at numerous festivals, Vans Warped Tour, and outings with other bands (for example 311, Snoop Dogg, the Wailers). Throughout all the craziness of shows and touring, they managed to record the album Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations, which released in July of 2008 and peaked to #11 on the Billboard's "independent albums" chart!

After spending the early months of 2010 writing and recording new music, Pepper spent their summer on the annual Unity Tour with long time friends 311, and The Offspring. Then later this fall, they started up on the "Like a Surgeon" tour to promote the forthcoming release of their album, Stitches  due out Oct 12, 2010.

Give it Up!

Date Rape


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    • profile image

      E-Dogg 19 months ago

      Pepper is horrible! So full of themselves....they completely lost the Irie vibe. Kaleo acts like Adam Levine. Please go away Pepper!!!

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      Andrew 3 years ago

      I'll tell you who the next Sublime is. Simply because Pepper is way too soft for the most part. The Dirty Heads, whose debut album came out in 2008, and who have had two more since are the closest you're going to get in terms of quality and edginess. Pepper isn't bad, they're just a little too laid back. Dirty Heads use hip-hop, reggae, and rock to blow your mind. Seriously, they are their own band, but they are closer to Sublime than anyone else.

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      mllwmood 4 years ago

      Sry but pepper is not anything close to being slightly stoopid... ha wooow...

    • Boogr profile image

      Boogr 7 years ago from Louisiana

      Hey Steve, before you get your panties in a twist, I would like for you to read the first actual sentence of my hub... it's only one word, and its bold and capitalized. Don't see how you missed it... But, I believe it goes along the lines of NO. I love Slightly Stoopid as well, but they have their own thing going on... I suggest that you see Pepper now, before you make any judgments my friend. I'm sorry, but the only thing I'm sorry for is that you can't read! Stay ignorant!

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      steve 7 years ago

      are you joking? pepper is never going to be the next sublime.. sure they went main stream and blew up.. sublime got popular from kroq by playing the song date rape which is above and a true sublime will tell you they dont like that song.. it sucks, but to go and say is pepper the new sublime haha get a new job dude, it will never happen.. sublime has been gone for 14 years and is still one of the biggest bands ever.. i've seen pepper back 7 or 8 years ago when they used to open for slightly stoopid.. there ok but nothing great.. maybe your title should of said is pepper the new slightly stoopid?

    • Boogr profile image

      Boogr 7 years ago from Louisiana

      Ahhh... I love Green Hell, Davey Jones Locker, Wanted, Stone Love....oh God there are too many good ones to have a favorite!

    • profile image

      baxcor 7 years ago

      i like to think that Pepper has their own thing going for them, definitely inspired by the music before them and around them, but cranking out song after song...I love "wake up"

    • Boogr profile image

      Boogr 7 years ago from Louisiana

      Gotta love Pepper man, it's funny, the first time I ever heard them I ALMOST thought they were Sublime, and I thought it couldn't be possible that there was a song I hadn't heard! After the first time, I was addicted!

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      Thor 7 years ago

      Great article. Glad to see someone giving props to Pepper, they deserve it. One of my favorite bands by far.

    • DJ Funktual profile image

      DJ Funktual 7 years ago from One Nation Under a Groove

      I just made a video series called The Bradley Nowell Story showing you all the reggae songs that Bradley stole to make all their biggest hits. Check it out. seems right up your alley.