Sublime formed in 1988 and released two albums on their own label before getting deal with MCA, which issued their self-titled album in 1996 two months after lead singer Brad Nowell died of a heroin overdose at age 28. The band was little known at the time outside of their home base of Long Beach, California, and Nowell's death got little national coverage.
His bandmates later re-formed as the Long Beach Dub Allstars, but there was no Sublime to promote the album. When MCA sent promotional copies of "What I Got
" to US radio stations, it got some heat and suddenly the defunct band was on the air and in demand. "Santeria" was the next single pushed to radio, and it was well-received, garnering most of its airplay in early 1997, almost a year after the album was released. "Wrong Way
" was then sent to stations, followed by "Doin' Time
," keeping Sublime on the airwaves well into 1998.
None of these songs were made available for sale as singles in America, which ramped up album sales. Sublime
ended up selling over 5 million copies despite the death of their frontman.