Something haunted me inside a 15,000 word think piece about Sublime.
It was a 63-minute read (according to the subheader). Honestly not even sure how I got there. Maybe googling a lyric.
The essay took a crumb of a premise and blew it entirely out. Basically hypothesizing the band's final ever performance of a lesser known song contained more to it than what originally met the eye and ear.
...especially their final live performance of “The Ballad of Johnny Butt.” A fan recorded them playing it the night before singer Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose in his motel room at age 28, in the bed next to his drummer Bud Gaugh. To me, few songs capture Sublime’s maturing talents and wounded beauty as this final live version, and few songs embody the band’s contradictory essence more clearly: dudes playing cheery party music while courting death by the beach.
The original trio played their last show on May 24, 1996 at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, California, north of San Francisco. It’s a sloppy performance. A concert promotor named Lil’ Mike, who’d professionally recorded previous Sublime performances, encouraged his girlfriend “Badfish” to record the show, so she sat up in the balcony and taped what she could on her handheld Sony Walkman. Her cassette captures a band that isn’t as enthusiastic, tight, or fun as they were at their best. Sometimes they’re on fire. Sometimes they sound tired. They go through the motions on some old favorites. Bradley forgets lyrics to new songs they’d recorded a few months earlier for their major label debut. He often forgot lyrics, and he just as often made them up. Improvisation was part of Sublime’s charm. But something about the band was off. Maybe the crack they’d smoked that morning in Chico set a dark pall over the whole day. Maybe death has a way of darkening a room before it leads you away.
It’s odd, because Bradley called his wife Troy Dendekker after the show, raving about their performance. “It was the happiest I had ever heard him,” she remembered on a VH1 special. Jason Boggs, singer and saxophonist of the opening band Filibuster, agreed. “Sublime killed it that night. They did a great, great job. Considering how much we’d all been partying before the show, I was very, very impressed at how tight they sounded.” Other listeners had a different impression.
The death line (emphasis mine) floated up into the air and became something tangible the very second I saw it, and, well, I think you probably know where this is going.
anyway that ending sucked ass and was frustrating in a million different ways but getting to watch two years of Garza doing that was pretty cool. Guy will make a lot of money playing basketball somewhere— adam s (@ADSohn) March 22, 2021
I'm close to that headspace now, but I was nowhere near that headspace on Monday.
And please dont fall for what is sure to be the ultra-optimistic Iowa spin ... just a bad matchup. Nope. Youre a #2 seed. You cant get boat raced in the second round. Maybe you lose, fine. But theyre getting run out of the gym.— Wayne Drehs (@W_Drehs) March 22, 2021
Eh, maybe I'm still closer to this headspace.
Iowa-Oregon was futile and illuminating and every Hawkeye fan's worst case scenario. Defense and athleticism is not something this team had in spades, and Oregon completely maxed out those advantages on their side. It was half-dunk city/half-firebomb. We had the nightmare privilege of watching this team wilt, die, and decay in real time. The gap was insurmountable, the loss was inevitable; there was no going back, and when it finally did end, we weren't going to have the same group of people we came with.
It's hard to say if Luka playing so well made it easier or harder. Probably easier? That man gave it every single thing he had, and, well...
Love how Fran took his mask down just to yell fuck pic.twitter.com/3NV977hgLw— Cheating Croatian (@CheatingCroet) March 22, 2021
We know, man. We know.
That L was so bad, I had to turn off the television. Like, on paper, I had no quarrel with the existence of a Gonzaga-Oklahoma game, but... could you really be around basketball after something like that?
Saw some discourse on if this was worse than the Rose Bowl... I say worse. The Rose Bowl was just so long it almost became funny toward the end. You were fully able to process and mentally check out. This? I was locked in. Even coming up with fake halftime adjustments.
Iowa second half plan: stop dribbling into more athletic guys and actually shoot the threes theyre giving you/prevent Oregon from torching the building down.— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 22, 2021
But it was never going to be that easy. Turns out subbing in defense sacrificed shooting. We needed to combine our players into super-players for this outcome to ever be flipped, and unfortunately, the science is not quite there yet.
Also, come on.
Fran says he didn't put Connor or CJ back in the game because they were injured— MarkEmmert (@MarkEmmert) March 22, 2021
This was never Connor's game, and I may not ever get over Fran starting him. Also not sure if it made it better or worse when he basically conceded that point by not playing him, CJ, or JBo nearly as many minutes in the second half.
Speaking of JBo...
Silver lining is I know my team. pic.twitter.com/gai2YR8iKJ— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 22, 2021
One of my buddies put it best: has anyone ever been worse at backing up their smack talk? Man. I remember, just this December, he had that swaggery line about Iowa not being ranked No. 1 yet but basically saying it was going to happen soon enough.
Then they got waxed by Gonzaga and never threatened the top spot again.
Our man scored 0 points in his grand finale.
Silver lining is I know my team. pic.twitter.com/gai2YR8iKJ— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 22, 2021
If you did want to focus on something good, it has to be the ending of one Luka G.
Luka out there with the whole god damn bench... so cool.— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 22, 2021
Need a high quality pic of Luka crying so I can post it as an IG story with a broken heart emoji before throwing my phone off the balcony.— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 22, 2021
It's cliche to say an athlete gave "everything," because isn't that just damn near impossible? I do not doubt this expression when it comes to Luka Garza. His flaws on defense perpetually bothered me, but he was a perfect Hawkeye and wonderful face to this program. I've said it before, but hopefully his career and legacy can be a building block to something bigger. Maybe a Megan Gustafson to another player's Caitlin Clark.
This L made it hard to take Iowa seriously -- on the national stage, at least -- going forward. Definitely said something during the game like "I cannot watch this team next year," which I'm already comfortably walking back. The future is unwritten, and maybe ours will involve some increased lateral movement.
"You can't muck when you're getting bucked."
3/20 - Iowa 86, Grand Canyon 74: Damn, was it really that close? I remember nothing about this game.
3/22 - Oregon 95, Iowa 80: Self-loathing was so high by the end, I was a little upset we cracked 80 because it made the game look closer than it ever was.
I mean, technically Iowa did make it past the first weekend...— Tom Ksobiech (@TomKsobiech) March 22, 2021
Caitlin Clark is so good I dont even know who you compare her to— Luke Meredith (@LukeyMeredith) March 23, 2021
There isn't necessarily anything new to say about Caitlin Clark, but it is still incredibly refreshing to watch new people take her game in.
DP spent his afternoon yesterday watching Caitlin Clark (@CaitlinClark22) and @IowaWBB. If you haven't seen Caitlin play, he's advising you all to tune into their Sweet 16 matchup against @UConnWBB and Paige Bueckers (@PaigeBueckers1) this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/ZsBX90jIrF— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) March 24, 2021
Look at how gobsmacked Patrick is. You can almost see him still physically coming down from watching the Kentucky game.
Don't you put that fear in me, Slim Reaper!
also this pass
Sometimes, a pass is so transcendent, the bucket is preordained; Monika was not missing this shit. pic.twitter.com/swcTXPv0Q5— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 23, 2021
"Is Brad Davison A Senior"
This seems like it was three years ago and certainly stopped feeling good already.
But yes, I did make a short playlist.
ok, its time https://t.co/z9OMgNypGo— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 21, 2021
Seeing your enemy vanquished really forces you to also see their human--OH MY GOD, THE WORST. THE ABSOLUTE WORST.
Was this Brad Davisons last charge? Bittersweet moment pic.twitter.com/U2WVwsYxDX— Fundamentally Sound (@FundamentallySD) March 21, 2021
Please be all the way gone.
remember to not feel bad pic.twitter.com/wu91B8CwCt— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 21, 2021
He's... totally gonna exercise that extra year, isn't he?
gotta love how hard brad davison hustles to the corner after totally falling asleep on a good shooter off the ball— john beilein's agent (@AceAnbender) March 21, 2021
The Ballad Of Ricky-Bobby
Each week, we check in with professional basketball writer Ricky O'Donnell for a quick exchange
Left Ricky alone this week, but two links:
- His piece about Loyola
- The Washington damn Post wrote an article about him creating a virtual dynasty in College Hoops 2K8 while furloughed last year; your boy also got quoted a few times, and I can't recommend this read enough.
Obligatory Michigan Section
After M and Iowa lost hours apart in the Big Ten semis, I realized how much double proximity heartbreak could take a toll. This led to... an increased desperation going into their game LSU following Iowa's loss to Oregon.
Putting every ounce of my mind, body, and soul into this Michigan basketball game. Its worked out before.— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 22, 2021
It was... emotional. Michigan has made the NCAA finals twice in the last decade, and I would put this round two win right up there with any of the others. They withstood body blows and came through without one of their best players. God damn inspiring. That is to say I on and off cried and folded up one of my couch cushions to both punch but also pretend was a person.
Really gotta get that vaccine soon.
Iowa isnt playing Nebraska this year? https://t.co/iYNtENOt6e— Pac 12 Larry (@CycloneLarry69) March 24, 202
Very rarely interested in low-hanging Nebraska potshots... but I think we all need a pick-me-up this week.
"I hate these sho--hmmmmm."
Some Beach themed Kyrie 7 are coming in. pic.twitter.com/HAJWMdvSPU— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) March 24, 2021
They're definitely different.
Bill Walton's Western Civilization
In a world of busted brackets, a hero will rise...... pic.twitter.com/lGGqL4laGN— Dave Pasch (@DavePasch) March 22, 2021
No Context College Basketball
Some extras I didn't have the full energy for.
Making fun of Ohio State:
After 40 mins of Oral pic.twitter.com/7TkBrM4I7s— hydrated king chris long (@JOEL9ONE) March 19, 2021
Making fun of Michigan State:
Making fun of Indiana:
They should make Indiana be ballboys for the tourney games in Bloomington.. not like theyre doing anything else— T IGT (@itsAntWright) March 18, 2021
* * *
Even more extras...
Great Moments In Sports Television: pic.twitter.com/nen3N5RSdZ— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 22, 2021
* * *
And a final shout out to Cam Krutwig, who is now works 250 different jobs, according to Twitter.
Modern Adonis Kofi Cockburn Sauced, Tossed by Plumber Union Delegate Krutwig— jesuit beng (@kicknyrgios) March 19, 2021
Wrapping It Up...
We've got a brand new dance, it's called we've got to overcome.
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Go Iowa Awesome. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or email to bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.