Sublime was everywhere in the late 1990s.
I was in college at the time and you couldn’t walk around campus on a sunny day without hearing Santeria, What I Got or Wrong Way everywhere you went.
Of course, they have many other great songs, but no one seemed to know that.
Either way, the number of Sublime songs is unfortunately very limited, due to Bradley Nowell’s untimely death.
But there are plenty of good bands like Sublime out there that keep the good vibes going.
Let’s take a look at the best among them.
Table of Contents
- 1 Bands That Sound Like Sublime
- 2 Bands Like Sublime: Final Thoughts
Bands That Sound Like Sublime
This whole movement of ska and reggae bands that suddenly emerged in the 1990s is pretty astonishing. Aside from Sublime, who were, without a doubt, the most influential of the bunch, we can also single out Slightly Stoopid as one of the most important names.
Formed in 1994, the only two original members at this point are lead vocalists and multi-instrumentalists Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald. The duo still remains their creative core.
Although not as commercially successful as Sublime, Slightly Stoopid has a lot of material to offer. There are a total of nine albums in their catalog, so you’ll definitely be busy going through them all.
311, pronounced “three eleven,” is a band that started working around the same time as Sublime. Aside from awesome music, that mixes alternative rock, ska, and even some metal, they’re one of the rare few bands that have their own holiday.
As you might have already assumed, March 3rd is when they organize special celebration events. They’ve been doing this since 2000.
Vocalist and guitarist Nick Hexum, bassist Aaron Wills, and drummer Chad Sexton have been constant members since 1988. Sometime before the release of their debut album, they were joined by guitarist Tim Mahoney and lead vocalist Doug Martinez.
This same lineup persists even to this day. Together, they have quite a discography. They released a total of thirteen records between 1993 and 2019.
Coming from Santa Cruz, California, The Expendables formed in 1997. Starting out as a classic “school buddy” kind of band, they enjoyed covering classic surf rock stuff.
That eventually impacted their style when they started releasing their music in the early 2000s. The Expendables are a pretty interesting blend of ska, reggae, surf rock, metal, and punk.
If you’re looking for a band that’s similar to Sublime but has their own twist and “flavor” to these musical styles, then The Expendables are an obligatory addition to your playlist.
Honestly, nothing really beats a good rock trio with a stable lineup since their formation. This is exactly the case with Pepper, a band featuring Bret Bollinger, Kaleo Wassman, and Yesod Williams.
Originally coming from Hawaii, they’re also a part of the whole ska rebirth of the 1990s and the early 2000s. They’ve been pretty busy making albums over the years.
And they even managed to slowly grow and evolve. What’s really interesting is that their latest album, 2019’s Local Motion, is quite popular among their original fans. And you can’t say that about many rock bands.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Of course, there’s no way to avoid mentioning the legends themselves: the Red hot Chili Peppers. The 1980s were a decade of “extremes” in some way.
But the problem is that many bands and music fans fell into these “molds” and listened to the same stuff over and over again. But there was no band like Red Hot Chili Peppers. They broke out of the genre boundaries of both hard rock and funk.
The classic and current lineup includes Chad Smith and John Frusciante, along with constant original members Flea and Anthony Kiedis. But a lot of other musicians have passed through the Red Hot Chili Peppers, including Dave Navarro, Hillel Slovak, Josh Klinghoffer, Cliff Martinez, and others.
And honestly, we don’t know which of their albums to recommend. If you like Sublime, the safest bet is their earliest material, going up to their fifth album. Later on, they changed directions, but you can still notice their unique style.
California was really a place where the most interesting combinations of genres happened. Although not as big as Sublime, Dirty Heads have certainly made a breakthrough in rock music, as many Californian bands did. Sure, they’re way younger, but they carry the torch of the old masters like Sublime.
Although it’s always somewhat of a controversial blend, they mostly combine hip hop with alternative rock, reggae, and ska. But what’s really important is that they’ve released a lot of music between 2008 and now. We recommend that you go through their discography one album at a time.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Also known as just “The Bosstones,” The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are one of the classic ska bands. In fact, they predate Sublime, starting their work back in the early 1980s. They’re considered the originators of the ska punk genre.
It was quite a bold move to combine hardcore punk and ska back then. But the band, fronted by Dicky Barrett, decided to do it anyway, eventually producing some of the most groundbreaking albums in this movement.
They managed to release their first album in 1989, and a lot of different musicians passed through the lineup since. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in their catalog. The most important part is that they have some strong ska elements in there, especially the inclusion of the trombone (read Trumpet Vs Trombone for more on that instrument) and saxophone.
Another proof that California was one of the most innovative places in the world of music during the 1990s, Goldfinger is another band that you should be checking out if you like Sublime. Classic punk rock, mashed with pop punk and ska – it’s all that you’re looking for, right? Well, this band has it.
Formed back in 1994, they’re pretty much led by singer and guitarist John Feldman, who remains the sole constant member. Going from their self-titled 1996 debut, all the way to 2020’s Never Look Back, you simply cannot go wrong with any of their albums.
Third Eye Blind
Although not exactly a ska band, Third Eye Blind has some elements that make it similar to Sublime. On the other hand, they’re mostly described as an alternative rock or a “post-grunge” band. But whatever you call them, one thing remains certain – you’ll like their material.
Starting out in the 1990s, they are still led by vocalist and guitarist Stephan Jenkins. They’re a pretty unique band and deserve special attention. So take your time with their material.
Now, the inclusion of Blink 182 on this list might seem weird to some. Sure, they’re not a ska band, but they’re one of the most influential names in punk music. And, their optimistic-sounding pop punk style will most definitely sit well with you if you’re into Sublime.
This is especially the case with some of their earliest material. Of course, if you’re into this kind of music, you can’t go wrong with later albums either.
Again, a somewhat of a controversial addition to the list, mostly because The Offspring are not a ska band. But what makes them appropriate for this list is the classic 1990s punk style.
Led by singer and guitarist Dexter Holland and guitarist Noodles, they’re a bit “harsher” and heavier than, let’s say, Blink 182 or Green Day who were really popular during the 1990s. The easiest albums to get into are 1998’s Americana, 1997’s Ixnay on the Hombre, as well as 1994’s Smash.
Going back to ska punk bands, Home Grown was one of the most interesting bands of this movement. Sure, they haven’t been active since 2005, breaking up not long after bassist and vocalist Adam Lohrbach left to join New Years Day.
Lasting a bit over a decade, Home Grown have produced three studio albums and several EPs, as well as standalone singles. They are not as commercially successful as some big names on this list, but they’re certainly worth your time if you’re into Sublime.
Of course, Weezer is an obvious choice for this list, despite them not being a ska-oriented band. Formed in 1992, singer and guitarist Rivers Cuomo is still the band’s creative mastermind.
What’s great about a group like Weezer is that they’re popular among fans of many different genres. With that said, it’s kind of hard to put them into a specific subgenre, so they’re mostly described as alternative rock. But what is important here is that it’s highly likely that you’ll enjoy their stuff if you’re a fan of Sublime.
Sublime With Rome
Of course, it would be hard not to mention Sublime with Rome. This group started out as an attempt to continue Sublime long after Bradley Nowell’s death. However, bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gauh were not allowed to use the name Sublime.
Since they hired young guitarist Rome Ramirez, they simply named it Sublime with Rome. At this point, bassist Eric Wilson is the sole remaining member of the original Sublime. They’ve released three albums of new original material, all of which reminds us of Sublime’s original stuff, only with a bit of a different twist.
Long Beach Dub All Stars
Lastly, we’d like to just mention Long Beach Dub All Stars. Formed in the late 1990s, they’re a reggae and ska punk group that feature Marshall Goodman, a former member of Sublime. Although they don’t have much stuff in their discography, you’ll definitely like what you hear.
Bands Like Sublime: Final Thoughts
Sublime reinvented reggae music, but that act in itself brought a lot of controversy. They have since been accused of cultural appropriation, because that’s what we do nowadays.
However you feel about that, it was not the only reason for all the controversy surrounding Sublime. The other issue was their tendency to make fun of serious topics, like date rape or child prostitution.
But back then, few people really cared about any of that. They simply liked the feel good vibes of the music, and ignored the lyrics for the most part.
If you now feel bad for once enjoying their music, many of these bands like Sublime should fix that. They have similar vibes, without the controversy.