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 Miguel's Story

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Miguel's Story

 
 

These are Michael 'Miguel' Happoldt's words in the front cover of the album Second Hand Smoke. Miguel was Sublime's producer, among other things. (These are exact words)

"I first met Sublime in the Fall of 1988, me and Brad were students at C.S.U.L.B. The band was the most popular group on campus and on the way to being the biggest draw in town. At the time, I was playing in the Ziggens and Brad would occasionally let us open up. One day I decided I was going to release all the Ziggens demos I was working on in the cassette format. I got a sharpie marker and scribbled out Skunk Records for the xeroxed liner notes. "You can't just do that" said Brad. Sublime had just completed a 4-song, 16-track demo, so we said, "why not put out your tape on our new label?" So we began a partnership that would propel the music from keg parties to video music awards and platinum plaques. **"Don't Push" and "Slowride" were from this first tape.

Prior to our meeting, was the infamous 8-track demo that "Romeo" and "New Realization" are from. This tape would have been lost if it wasn't for Trey Pangborn (guitarist for Falling Idols). The master tapes were long gone, and back then there was no DAT for a bunch of punk rockers from Long Beach. One New Year's we were boozin' at Trey's and I was going through the tape box for a selection. I came across a day-glo Memorex Tape (like the kind your little sister would record the "Grease" soundtrack on), and there it was.

All this time I was a recording student at C.S.U.D.H, so we eventually got together to make a tape. Our first outing was live to DAT, this was a big deal in 1990, new technology, whatever. We recorded about two whole hours worth of material in the middle of the night. "Had A DAT" (hence the name) and "Chick On My Tip" were from this session.

Our first 24-track session was at C.S.U.D.H. we spent months recording 4 songs, perfecting, experimenting, learning. This would be the bulk of our second cassette release "Jah Won't Pay The Bills". "Badfish" was from this time. At this point, we thoughht we were really in there. We had finally produced prime recordings that we were proud of and we were about to embark on our first tour. We were wrong. This is where Bud went on a little vacation from music.

We all missed Bud very much, but respected his decision. Rather than rest on our laurels, we decided to keep recording. In 1991, I bought my first sampler, a Roland S-50. This changed everything. We were also working with the Field Marshall at this time. "Get Out" was the first song we worked on. We had completed our first tour and upon returning it was obvious to all that we needed a CD to take it to the next level. I'm not gonna go into detail on how we financed this venture, let's just say we did it "by any means necessary." The version of "Get Out!" presented here is a remix. The original contained samples of a long-haired, British, burn-out band that shall remain nameless. when the corporates picked up "40 oz." to distribute nationally, the original was removed from the CD.

"Trenchtown Rock" was the last thing recorded during the one day tracking session for "40 oz.". It was one of those spur of the second things, but to this day it gives me the chills because it is a testiment of how Brad was, bam! genius. "Drunk Drivin'" is the only song I ever wrote. It was for Bert Susanka who was convinved I too could create the hits. These songs were left off the CD because when I was done, the program was 82 minutes long and CDs can only have 74 minutes. We were pretty na´ve.

It took a while, but "40 oz." started to do pretty good. We kept touring and doing shows. We had Kelly Vargas on drums for a while. Eventually, Mr. Brett got a hold of our CD and wanted to hear some new songs. In the summer of '94 we entered Epitaph's Studio to make some demos. It's a long story, but by this time Bud was back on the kit. "Saw Red" is from this session. No Doubt were friends of ours from way back, and were always real supportive of our efforts. So, when Brad askes Gwen to come down to sing she was glad to. Needless to say, we never got signed to Epitaph!

We finished six songs and were going to put out a CD, but Eric and Brad thought six songs on a CD was kind of a rip-off. So we recorded a bunch of acoustic numbers and began working on the 4-track. If you ever buy a 4-track, get a Tascam 246 because they rule. We had always used the 4-track for demos but by now we were getting really good results. We would move our clandestine lab from house to house till we would get ejected for obvious reasons. "Garbage Grove" was supposed to be on "Robbin' The Hood", but we thought we could do it better on 24-track. You be the judge.

Between "Robbin'" and the last tape we did a few compilation and soundtrack projects. "Legal Dub" was the extended ending of a song that would go to benefit NORML. We like NORML. "What's Really Goin' Wrong" was the sequel to a surf flick from a company called "Lost". Chicken had the rough idea and the boys helped him finish it off. It's interesting to note that these surf/skate/snowboard flicks gave us out first national, as well as international, distribution. This was a pre-corporation days.

"April 29, 1992 (Leary)" was recorded in Texas with head Butthole Paul Leary. The sessions with Paul were very prolific. We filled 22 reels of 24-track tape. The album version had already been done in L.A. with David Kahne, so we thought let's give it another try. By the way, those scanner bites are real. I recorded my neighbor's police scanner on April 30, 1992, the night after was the night Long Beach went richter. "Superstar Punani" was completed at this time. It was left off the last tape because we simply had enough songs. Doin' Time "Uptown Dub" was started in Texas, but never completed. We finished it about a year later with Ikey and Time. I think Brad would be pretty stoked on the results. He always liked the take but wanted to change the lyrics, so I made it an instrumental dub.

By now you know how much influence hip-hop had on the music. One of the first things we wanted to do when the last album was done was a remix EP with other artists reinterpreting the music. Sean Perry gave me his "Doin' Time (Eerie Splendor Remix)" when we were in Hawaii. It was too late to make the remix EP, but too awesome to go to waste. Mad Lion was always someone we were into, and his work with KRS-One never left Brad's tape deck. Sean hooked up this guest appearance. I like the futuristic vibe, it sounds like the ideas we had for future recordings.

I could go on telling anecdotes and stories forever, but the music will always explain things best. I hope you enjoy this compilation. For all of you that wrote in, I got a ton of good live music that we're goin' to release next. Oh yeah, Loudog is fine, he's at my feet right now. He is fat and sassy. We all miss you very much Brad.

-Michael "Miguel" Happoldt 9/10/97

**The songs mentioned above are all in Second Hand Smoke.

"Sublime is key" >Z-man

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Sublime At The Icehouse