Local Wire

Badfish/Scotty Don't

Long Beach-bred punk-ska band Sublime was on the verge of becoming a national success when frontman Brad Nowell died of a heroin overdose in 1996, right after work on Sublime's major-label debut was completed. To help fill the void left by the band, Rhode Island-based quartet Badfish do a very personal tribute to Sublime. Instead of copying the original group, Badfish prefer to honor the music by playing the songs through their own point of view. Their opening act is an original band called Scotty Don't, formed by Pat Downes (vocals, guitar), Scott Begin (drums), Joel Hanks (bass), and Ben Schomp (keys, guitar) — which happen to be the same musicians in Badfish. "We kind of go on incognito and play our own opening act with things that we put together — songs that I wrote with the rest of the band," says Downes in a phone interview from Providence, Rhode Island. "It's kind of cool because people look at the stage and say, 'Oh, what's this band?' and then, by the end, we kind of reveal our identity and throw people for a loop. And if they like the band, they get more interested. And it's something that hasn't really been done before." Scotty Don't released a disc in December that was produced by Paul Leary, who also worked with Sublime. For now, though, there are no plans of abandoning the tribute act. "They are two totally separate projects, as we get to show two different sides," says Downes. "We love Sublime and the crowd loves it, and we do the original stuff and try to win them over that way. It's a challenge and it's a lot of fun, and we can definitely see us doing both for a long time."
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Ernest Barteldes