… they may not be a part of this realm anymore, spirits really do live on.
Unless you’ve been living under several rocks, then you’ve heard of Badfish. Badfish is a tribute band dedicated to playing the music of Sublime. Huh, what? I thought there was already somebody doing that? Sublime with Rome something or other? This might start a debate up, but what the hell is freedom of expression and speech for if you keep your mouths shut? I’m in the column of people who never got down with Sublime with Rome. I’m all for people making a living, but please don’t make it on the deceased back of your dearly departed front man. Badfish, on the other hand, are paying tribute to the greatness that was Sublime. There is a difference.
… I had the good fortune to catch what all the hooplah hubub was all about.
I first heard of the band, Badfish in the mid-2000’s and I became instantly intrigued. Unlike other cover bands, this band had a pretty deep following. This wasn’t just some flash in the pan cover band, this was Badfish. Badfish is not a cover band, they’re a tribute band. They don’t cover Sublime’s songs, they pay tribute to Sublime’s music and this past Friday, I had the good fortune to catch what all the hooplah hubub was all about. You know what? The rumblings about these guys are all justified. I never had the opportunity to see Sublime live while Bradley was still around. If Badfish taught me anything, it’s that people come and go, and although they may not be a part of this realm anymore, spirits really do live on.
Can you say double the fun? Oh yeeeeeah!
These accomplished musicians that make up Badfish don’t limit themselves to playing another band’s music. Along with Badfish, the boys also play their own original songs in a band which they’ve christened Scotty Don’t. If you’re lucky, Scotty Don’t sometimes opens up for Badfish, (so I guess you can say that Badfish opens up for themselves.) Can you say double the fun? Oh yeeeeeah!
The whole band was fucking on it, my friends!
Badfish performed at B.B King’s in Times Square and they tore that place the fuck down! Badfish set the mood just right last Friday by opening their set with “Jailhouse” and I was flooooooooored. Sublime lives, y’all! My escort for the evening, Mimzy caught me with my eyes closed during the third song on the band’s set list, “5446/Ball and Chain“. Why were my eyes closed? I couldn’t fucking believe it, that’s why. vocalist/guitarist, Pat Downes was on point with his singing. The man has done his homework. Scott Begin (drummer) bashed away on the skins like a pro. When the band played “Scarlet Begonias“, Scott’s skin skills were felt by all. (speaking of Mr. Begin, kilScene has an exclusive interview with the man himself at the end of this review, so yeah, something to look forward to y’all.) Sax man, Gerard Ramm was hamming it up for the flashing cameras, giving the audience a hell of a show with his throwback dancing that is the Running Man. Bassist, Joel Hanks (who bears a striking resemblence to Bradley when he’s wearing shades) was in the pocket like nobody’s business and I remember him specifically because he had this never-ending grin on his face through out the whole performance. Joel was having a grand ol’ time on that stage, but then again, so was the rest of the band. Sublime’s music makes people happy. The whole band was fucking on it, my friends!
I swear two tears escaped from my eyes.
By the time the band got to Sublime’s version “We’re Only Gonna Die (For Our Arrogance)” (the song itself was originally recorded by my second favorite band in the whole wide world, Bad Religion back in the ’82), I swear two tears escaped from my eyes. My people, it’s simple math: Bradley Nowell is no longer with us and here is a band that carries the torch that celebrates the music of Sublime on a nightly basis, in a different city ensuring that Sublime’s music lives forever. You might be thinking, “Well, isn’t Sublime with Rome doing the same thing? They actually have one original member of Sublime in the band.” To that I say, don’t get me started. Badfish is the way. If you hear that Badfish is coming to your town, make it a point to join the party, because that’s what it is. Badfish brings the party to the masses and it’s a good time every time. I can’t wait until they come back to my neck of the woods again. All I needed was one Badfish experience to get hooked. I believe in Badfish and you will too. As promised, time for our interview with Badfish’s own, Scott Begin!
kS • How did a bunch of computer science majors go from that to deciding to devote their lives to paying tribute to the greatness of Sublime?
sB • Well I actually met Joel, our bass player, in college, where we were both studying computer science. We found we had a mutual interest in music and after throwing around different ideas for a band, we decided to just try to doing a Sublime tribute show. Things took off from there and we decided to continue with the idea as a band.
kS • How did you guys catch fire the way you did?
sB • We really just played a lot. After college we stepped up our game and tried to branch out into other music markets such as Boston and New York. We found a really good response wherever we played and we just kept at it. It helps that Sublime has such great music and often times people would come to check us out for that reason alone. We put our all into our performances and we hope that’s what keeps people coming back to see us.
kS • What was it about Sublime’s music that made you want to start a tribute band dedicated to playing their music?
sB • Sublime has such a great blend of musical styles and great songs. There music was everywhere throughout our college years and we figured people would want to come out to see this music performed live. Their music is fun to play and to listen to live. The blend of danceable ska and reggae and more rocking songs make for a great live show.
kS • Have you ever thought to incorporate Scotty Don’t originals into your set list?
sB • We have played SD songs in the Badfish set at times and for a long time we played SD sets before our Badfish set. We’ve taken a break from the original songs for the time being but we’ll usually throw one into the Badfish set if people are asking for it.
kS • Did you ever have the opportunity to see Sublime live?
sB • Unfortunately I never got to see them live. I’ve seen Long Beach Dub Allstars and Long Beach Shortbus, but sadly never got to see the guys with Bradley.
kS • What are your thoughts on Sublime with Rome?
sB • I know that there’s a divide among fans about the SWR band. My opinion is: If any combination of people want to get together to create music, I think that’s always a good thing. Maybe it’s their choice to call it “Sublime” in some way that has people bothered, but I have to think that the 2 other remaining band members had to give that their “ok”. Changing a singer and keeping the same band name is always controversial. I say, let them allow their music to do the talking.
kS • Favorite Sublime album and why?
sB • Probably 40 Oz To Freedom. It has such a unique sound and great songs. The song “Badfish” is so good and then hard stuff like “Ebin” and “Hope“… good stuff.
kS • If you could open up for any band, who would it be and why?
sB • Probably Zeppelin back in the ’70s. Because they’re Zeppelin. If there’s any motivation to play your ass off, that’s it.
kS • What’s your bucket list for Badfish?
sB • I’ll give you 3, in no particular order:
1. Play overseas somewhere
2. Share the stage with Eric Wilson (we’ve already had the privilege of having Bud Gaugh sit in with us!)
3. LIVE AT WEMBLEY!!
… Damn, I would sure love to be that guy in the crowd if Badfish ever gets to play Wembley. Couldn’t you guys just to hear all of our friends across the pond singing along to “Smoke Two Joints“. Simply bad ass. Can’t wait to experience that feeling of pure joy again at the next one!
Photos by Mimzy