Brad Nowell's Son Just Turned 18. He Talks About Playing His Very First Gig

Categories: interview

Courtesy Jakob Nowell
Tomorrow marks the official 25th anniversary of Sublime's very first gig on July 4th, 1988. But if you're a true Sublime aficionado, you probably already know that. What you may not know, however, is that the son of the band's immortal frontman, Brad Nowell, is also finally picking up the guitar and making his music heard. Having just turned 18 years-old last month, Jakob Nowell and his band LAW played their very first gig in June at DiPiazza's to a packed house who all came out to see the first musical steps of the kid who has the blood of one of Long Beach's biggest legends flowing through his veins. He handled all the pressure in stride and says that since that first gig, he's truly become addicted to the stage. This is the first interview he's ever given. Read on below as we talk to Jakob about dealing with his father's legacy growing up, his influences outside of Sublime, and what it was like to to be on stage for the very first time.

See Also:
* Sublime Turn 25!
* Exclusive Photos of Brad, Jakob, Lou Dog and more from the Nowell Family
* Five Songs That Prove Why Sublime Still Matters

OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): Would you say you've been able to grow up reasonably normal despite all the interest in your dad's legacy?
Jakob Nowell: I have, honestly. I've had a very unique way of growing up. When I was a kid, I'd just mess around in the house and play video games and pick up guitar and draw and stuff but I wasn't really super active until I moved to Long Beach recently. I'm working a job three days a week and going to school four days a week. Now my life is about making time to play music and do art and stuff.

You just had your very first gig last month. What was it like setting up on stage for the first time and playing in public? What kind of response did you get?
It was basically like the craziest LSD trip, but at the same time completely natural. We decided to not smoke weed or drink before the show. At first, we were a little nervous and slowly people we knew started to arrive and we realized that there were so many people coming that were like 'wow there really is like a little community here of people who were all our friends' and immediately I just got this rush of energy. And before I knew it, it was our turn to go on. So we started setting up and there's a bunch of people and a bunch of girls and stuff and it was awesome. So Miguel [Happoldt] is there just helping us set everything up and then I look over and he'd gotten off the stage and the crowd is just looking at us and the sound guy has his thumbs up and I'm like "oh shit, do we go now?"

So we just started jamming around. And as soon as we started getting into the songs, it was the best fucking feeling I've ever had in my entire life. Hands down. Before I knew it, it was over and it was the craziest rush of brain energy. And the last song we played was "Re-Ignition" [by Bad Brains] and Miguel played guitar with us and we just started going off. It was one of the best nights of my life, it was just really weird. The center of attention was totally on us and it was weird knowing that to some degree that was part of our music.

What do you love most about performing after doing it for the first time?
With performing, I really live for that crazy energy you can get just performing for people. But at the same time I wanna take it very slow, like do the right thing with it and eventually get to really awesome place in the correct way.

When did you start your band LAW?

We started four months ago when my bassist Dakota Ethridge and I moved up here to Long Beach. And our drummer Nicholas Aguilar lives in San Pedro and we just started jamming with him and it just became a regular thing. We had our first show on June 14.

Do you feel any sort of spiritual presence from your dad when you're playing music? Or is that something you don't really think about as much?

Growing up, the very first thing mom told me about my dad is that he's always gonna be in my heart. And I'm a pretty spiritual person. So those beliefs were instilled in my head at a very young age. Only this year have I really come to realize that my dad's music created this humungous entity with the whole culture and all the people and lives on through that. And I very much feel a connection to him through a chemical, spiritual, connection. Everything that I have in my entire life is all thanks to my father. And it's like a really empowering feeling and it makes me want to do as much as possible with the gift that he's given me.

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