Sublime vs. No Doubt? Manager/producer Miguel Happoldt Says 'No Doubt was like Richie Cunningham and Sublime was like Fonzie'

Categories: No Doubt
no doubt cassette-001.jpg
This is the cassette with the songs that had Sublime going, "HOLY SHIT THEY"RE BLOWING UP"
See Also: 
*No Doubt Talk About Being Rockstar Parents
*Happy 25th Anniversary, No Doubt! A Look at the First Show's Venue, Lineup, Flyers and Benefit--And Where Everyone is Now
*No Doubt in Their Own Words

No Doubt is back with a retro-new wave album called Push and Shove after a 10-year-hiatus. This week's cover story has the fab four from Anaheim talking about the challenges of making the album and more. According to Tazy Phillips, two bands -- No Doubt and Sublime -- bust the door open for ska in the early '90s. As friends and colleagues, Brad Nowell and Gwen Stefani and co. paved the way for third-wave ska getting radio airplay and going mainstream. Here, Sublime's original manager and producer Miguel Happoldt talks about how the two bands' fates intertwined. 

Guitarist Tom Dumont Was Heavy Metal: I met No Doubt before I met Sublime. We used to rehearse next to them in this place called the Stompbox, in Anaheim. I remember the day Tom auditioned because he used to be all heavy metal, with long hair and all.

On No Doubt Helping Sublime Make It: The way No Doubt and Sublime got hooked up was, the guy who directed the Date Rape video threw a tape - our first demo tape, Jah Won't Pay the Bills - at bassist Tony Kanal onstage. And Tony was blown away by it and he tracked us down and we started playing shows. That was a huge break for us because No Doubt was already well-known and sort of professional. They were like, Fishbone-good, and Sublime was still kind of garage-y. 
 The first time we played with them we showed up late and they made us play last. But they still thought we were pretty good because they kept putting us on shows. With No Doubt helping us though, it was better than anything else we had going on at the time. There was always something going on.

Bradley Nowell on being labeled a ska band: We used to laugh when people said we were ska because Brad never thought that was our scene. That was just one part of cool music that he liked. He liked rap, reggae and punk rock just as much and he always said, "Ska? Whatever, we're just a band."

On No Doubt, then and now: On one end they were the coolest people we'd ever met in terms of humility. It's cliche but they're such cool people to this day. I could pick up the phone and call Tony right now. We're so stoked for their success. They're a great band, so they were going to do good, whether in the ska scene or not.

Sublime vs. No Doubt? There was no competition-- there was no chance. They were always rehearsed, all the songs arranged, they looked good, you know what I mean? Sublime showed up in the van half-drunk and played whatever they wanted to. Sublime loved that about No Doubt and No Doubt loved that about Sublime. No Doubt was like Richie Cunningham and Sublime was like Fonzie. Brad admired the professionalism. He said, "One day we're going to have to be like that."

That Classic Sublime/No Doubt Moment: One time we were at Aspen and we showed up at a show really late. But we had an excuse--we just rolled our van! While we were telling them, "Just 35 minutes ago, we were upside down in our van," we were drinking beer trying to calm our nerves. And they're doing stretches, putting together tight set lists, Gwen's doing her vocal exercises. And we just almost died and we're just drinking beer. And two minutes later we went onstage to play.

On No Doubt opening for Sublime that once (If you missed it, read it online here): I kind of felt deflated that night when I had to pay them to open for us. It was like, if you guys can't make it, how are we going to make it? But as Flea said, "You're only a verse and a chorus away from greatness." Even if Brad lived we probably never would've caught up to them, because they were first, you know? They were already huge when Sublime was a garage band.

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