Biography by John Bush
Formed in Long Beach, CA, in 1988 as a garage punk band, Sublime grew to fame in the mid-'90s on the back of the Cali punk explosion engendered by Green Day and the Offspring, though Sublime mixed up their punk rage with reggae and ska influences. The band released just two albums during its first seven years, finally finding a hit with its self-titled third one. It was Sublime's last, however, as lead singer Brad Nowell died in May 1996, just two months before the album's release.
The trio which comprised Sublime -- vocalist/guitarist Nowell, bassist Eric Wilson, and drummer Bud Gaugh -- played their first gig on the 4th of July 1988 at a small Long Beach club (a show which sparked the infamous Peninsula Riot). The group began aggressively touring around the area with an increasingly substantial following, especially among the surf/skate beach crowd. After four years of concentrating strictly on live shows, Sublime's first album (40 Oz. to Freedom) was recorded in 1992. The LP was released on Skunk Records -- the label formed by Nowell with Sublime manager Miguel -- and sold at shows, but it really started to break when KROQ began playing the single "Date Rape" two years after its initial release.
Mostly due to the radio exposure, Sublime signed to MCA for 1994's Robbin' the Hood, which revealed an experimental ethic more in keeping with cut-and-paste dub than the well-tuned rage of the Cali punk revival. The album performed well at college radio and set the stage for the breakout success of their self-titled third album. On May 25, 1996, however, Nowell was found in a San Francisco hotel room, dead of a heroin overdose. The band collapsed, but Sublime was still slated for a July release. On the strength of the alternative radio hit "What I Got," the album was certified gold by the end of 1996. A number of posthumous releases followed, among them 1997's Second Hand Smoke, 1998's Stand by Your Van, and Acoustic: Bradley Nowell & Friends.
Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato
Nearly as much as Metallica or Megadeth, Anthrax was responsible for the emergence of speed and thrash metal; combining the speed and fury of hardcore punk with the prominent guitars and vocals of heavy metal, they helped create a new subgenre of heavy metal on their early albums. Original guitarists Scott Ian and Dan Spitz were a formidable pair, spitting out lightning-fast riffs and solos that never seemed masturbatory. Unlike Metallica or Megadeth, they had the good sense to temper their often serious music with a healthy dose of humor and realism. After their first album, Fistful of Metal, singer Joey Belladonna and bassist Frank Bello joined the lineup. Belladonna helped take the band farther away from conventional metal clichés, and over the next five albums (with the exception of 1988's State of Euphoria, where the band sounded like they were in a creative straitjacket), Anthrax arguably became the leaders of speed metal. As the '80s became the '90s, they also began to increase their experiments with hip-hop, culminating in a tour with Public Enemy in 1991 and a joint re-recording of PE's classic "Bring the Noise." After their peak period of the late '80s, Anthrax kicked Belladonna out of the band in 1992 and replaced him with ex-Armored Saint vocalist John Bush -- a singer that was gruffer and deeper, fitting most metal conventions perfectly. Subsequently, their sound became less unique and their audience shrank slightly as a consequence, and after signing to Elektra for 1993's Sound of White Noise, the group left the label after just one more album, 1995's Stomp 442. At that point, Anthrax -- now a four-piece consisting of Ian, Bush, Bello, and drummer Charlie Benante -- built their own studio in Yonkers, NY, and after a three-year hiatus returned with their Ignition label debut The Threat Is Real, Vol. 8. 1999 saw the release of Anthrax's very first "hits" collection, titled Return of the Killer A's: The Best Of, also their first release for the Beyond label. The album included a cover of "Ball of Confusion," which featured a duet between current frontman Bush and former vocalist Belladonna. A proposed tour that was to include both vocalists was announced, but on the eve of its launch, Belladonna pulled out for supposed monetary reasons. The tour carried on, as Anthrax signed on to participate in a package tour during the summer of 2000 with Mötley Crüe and Megadeth, but left the tour after only playing a handful of dates. Anthrax appeared on the Twisted Sister tribute album Twisted Forever in 2001 (covering the track "Destroyer"), and began recording their next album the same year. In addition, guitarist Ian found time to regularly host the metal television program Rock Show on VH1, plus appearing as part of the fictional metal band Titannica in the film Run, Ronnie, Run. VH1 programming heads would eventually replace Ian with Sebastian Bach, but the band was ready to head back into the studio anyway. New guitarist Rob Caggiano joined in the spring of 2002, just in time for the recording. A year later, Anthrax made their Sanctuary debut with We've Come For You All. The band's dynamic hadn't changed and touring in support of that album was met with overwhelming success. The CD/DVD set Music of Mass Destruction: Live in Chicago, which arrived in Spring 2004, celebrated that and Anthrax's twentysome years in the business.