They played their first show on July 4, 1988 at Harbor Peninsula, a small club in Long Beach, California. As legend has it, the performance initiated a small-scale riot, now known as the Peninsula Riot.
Their first record, 40 Oz. to Freedom, was released through a homemade label, Skunk Records, started by Nowell and Sublime manager Miguel. It sold an amazing 5,000 copies before they were signed to MCA and spent over 50 weeks on Billboard's Alternative New Artist chart.
Nowell died on May 25, 1996 in San Francisco, California from a heroin overdose. Their commercial breakthrough didn't occur until July that year when their third, self-titled album was released. His death came just seven days after he married his wife Troy, and eleven months after his son Jakob Nowell was born.
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