40 Ounces to Freedom is all about Sublime. “A lot of people think I sound very similar to [Sublime singer] Bradley Nowell,” says 27-year-old front man Dane Scott. “Some people even say I bear a striking resemblance to him.”
According to Scott, “We do Sublime with a twist. We play a lot of the specific guitar solos and bass lines the same, but we also like to improvise on top and add our own arrangements of some songs…we don’t try to look like Sublime, although the drummer and I have both been tattooed by one of Bradley’s longtime buddies.”
“The hardest part about being in a Sublime tribute band is remembering all the lyrics,” says Scott. “Sometimes [Sublime singer] Bradley Nowell rapped so fast, it’s hard to even tell what he's saying.”
At 27, Scott is the youngest band member. “Everyone else is thirty-something,” he says, “which is more the age group that was around when Sublime was big. Younger guys my age tend to like [the music] just ‘cause it’s got a reggae groove with fat bass lines.”
Formed in 2007, Scott says the band has already racked up some memorable onstage moments. “One night in Arizona, over the course of the show, the crowd bought us a total of 13 Jager shots. Each. That’s our signature drink. At Soho Santa Barbara, they actually sold out of Jager before we were even done playing. At the end of the night, it looked like a war zone in there, with all the empty shot glasses and beer bottles everywhere. Even in the bathrooms.”
Sublime singer Bradley Nowell was 28 when he died in May 1996, from a reported accidental heroin overdose. If given the chance to contact Nowell’s spirit, what would 40 Ouncer Dane Scott want to tell him? “I guess I would say thanks for the tunes, and I'm sorry you left the world so young age. You definitely had a lot of great music to write, but you never had the chance to finish what you started.”
The 40 Ouncers have a richer musical pedigree than one might expect from copycat rockers, perhaps explaining their hectic gig schedule.
Scott spent six years with Tubby and is currently working on a project with former Social Distortion player John Maurer. Bassist Sol Turpin also fronts Safety Orange, while Jeremy Miller plays in Stepping Feet, a Dave Matthews tribute. Adam Bausch (33) was the original drummer for Slightly Stoopid. “Adam actually played gigs with Sublime back in the day,” says Scott, “so he knows them all. I met Bradley’s widow when I worked for a store I think she owned in OB, called On the Contrary. I was her shoe guy.”
Scott says those days of reliably gainful employment are long gone. “Now, we all support ourselves with music. Nobody has a ‘real’ job. And Sol is the only one of us who’s married, for around two years now. It’s hard to be married and make a living as a musician at the same time.” The group won Best Tribute Band at the 2010 San Diego Music Awards.
In 2015, they toured with fellow Sublime tribute band Badfish, running from January 15 in Delaware through February 17 in Cleveland, including a January 30 show at downtown's House of Blues with Shrub. Bassist/singer Sol has also played with the Brian Jones Rock 'N' Roll Revival.