RIP Bradley Nowell

RIP Bradley Nowell

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-T hose of you who were fortunate enough to meet Bradley Nowell, saw a man who liked to smile and sing. He did these two things with the greatest of ease. The man we knew liked to pick up a guitar, not needles, but on the 25th of May in 1996, many of us were shocked by the news of his tragic death. Just seven days earlier, he married the beautiful Troy Dendekker. Things were lookin absolutely bright for him. It was rumored that he even woke up extra early on the morning of his death to walk his dog on the beach because he felt just great to be living. Hours later after he woke up, he was found dead from a heroin overdose in his San Francisco motel room.

W hat went wrong I thought to myself? I remember hearing the news of his death on a local radio station. I've been a Sublime fan since my senior year of high school. The single "Date Rape" made the Chicago airwaves and I was hooked. I did a little research and I discovered that Bradley had been in and out of rehabilitation centers since 1992. Many people that I've talked to about Bradley's death really didn't seem to care. Being a huge Sublime fan, I was angered by their ignorance. Most of the time I heard people say that it was Bradley's fault for taking the drug in the first place, but I came to realize that it really wasn't his fault. Troy Nowell says in the VH1 documentary on Bradley that obviously the drug was "bigger than both of us (Bradley and Troy)". She said he hated what he was doing, and tried to stop numerous times, but the world is ignorant to the fact that this drug, heroin, is extremely physically addictive. Bud Gaugh, the drummer of Sublime, said he used to hug, sweat, and cry with Bradley during his fight with heroin. If it were his choice, Bradley would've stopped using it, but heroin took a hold of his nerves and his entire body.

W e need to remember the Bradley who gave us three absolutely spectacular albums and a voice that stopped the world, not the one who stuck needles in his arm. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him a good twelve hours during the day.

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He is perhaps the most talented musician that I know of besides John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Bradley defied the image of a junkie. He was a man well-read in philosophy and literature, an A honor roll student at Wilson High School in Long Beach, CA, and was one semester away from receiving his degree in finance. The man could do it all. Most importantly, we need to realize that he hated what he was doing. Shooting heroin made him lie, cheat, and steal. These things were in stark contrast of what he loved. Bradley loved Jakob, Troy, friends, family, Lou Dog, and music. If you ever fall upon video footage of him singing "Pool Shark", you can easily see the hurt in his face from singing the lyrics. He ultimately knew "one day he was gonna lose the war".

Please make donations to the Jakob James Nowell Trust Fund:

Jakob James Nowell Trust Fund
275 Redondo Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90803
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