Sublime cover band plays in West Vail Sunday |

Sublime cover band plays in West Vail Sunday

Sarah Mausolf
West Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

The guys in the ska-punk band Sublime were all about their dogs. So much so, they insisted on taking their canine entourage on stage, where the pets occasionally bit concert-goers.

That dog hangup is one thing 40 Oz To Freedom, a Sublime tribute band, doesn’t emulate.

They leave their pets at home, although the guys have considered painting a ceramic pooch to look like Lou Dog, Sublime’s Dalmatian mascot.

“We still haven’t gotten around to that,” lead singer and guitarist Dane Scott said.

Forty Oz To Freedom celebrates Sublime’s entire catalogue, from hits like “Santeria” to obscure tunes like “STP.” The sound is Sublime with a little poetic license.

“People shouldn’t expect to hear Sublime stuff note for note because one of the things that we do is elaborate,” Scott said. “We kind of jam out a little bit, and we connect some songs together and go right into them and stuff like that.”

Forty Oz To Freedom will stop by the Sandbar in West Vail on Sunday as part of its Colorado tour. The band’s tour ends on Nov. 15 in Aspen, though band members are planning a larger tour in February that will fan out into the East Coast.

The existence of 40 Oz to Freedom suggests it’s never too soon to start reminiscing about the ’90s. Unlike the other tribute bands that swing through Vail, this group refrains from resurrecting the much-recycled ’70s. Instead it focuses on the height of ska, that special time in American history when the Mighty Mighty Bosstones dominated the airwaves.

For a while there, Sublime was pretty hard to escape. Radio stations fell for hits like “What I Got” from the band’s 1996 self-titled album. It was tough to leave a party without hearing lead singer Bradley Nowell’s intoxicated crooning blasting from the stereo. That is until he stopped crooning.

Nowell died of a heroine overdose in 1996, cutting short the band’s rise to fame.

“It’s just a sad story because it’s just the same old thing,” Scott said. “Drug overdose. Great talent dies way before his time. Because they were really just starting to get real big, you know? I don’t think they reached their peak by any means. It was cut short by an unfortunate event.”

Sublime split up but tribute groups still keep a candle burning for Nowell. Named after Sublime’s 1992 album, 40 Oz To Freedom formed about a year and a half ago in San Diego, Calif.

Scott, 27, said friends often told him he sounded like Nowell when he covered Sublime songs with his original band. The rest was a matter of memorizing Sublime’s lyrics (Nowell could rap faster than Sarah Palin can field dress a moose).

Somewhat inexplicably, the guys in 40 oz to Freedom have taken to playing without shirts.

“Normally you’ll see a pretty naked band,” Scott said. “We usually don’t play with shirts on. That’s just one of our deals. We all just kinda get real sweaty and it’s been a natural thing to shed the shirt halfway through. Now it’s become part of our image, you know? I’ll wear the white wife-beater and everybody else will take their shirts off.”

Like Sublime, some of the guys sport tattoos. In fact, Scott said a star tat on his shoulder received some touch-up work from one of Nowell’s friends.

Sublime’s resurrected sound attracts a party crowd, Scott said.

“That whole Southern California vibe: I think it attracts the surf, the skate, the snowboarding crew,” he said. “I really don’t know how to word it. More of a party type crew.”

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

Who: Sublime cover band 40 Oz To Freedom. Openers are reggae/rock band Ballyhoo! and DJ Weez.

Where: Sandbar Sports Grill, West Vail

When: Sunday, doors open at 9 p.m.

Cost: $10

More information: Visit or call 970-476-4314

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