Alongside other 90s US acts such as 311 and Rage Against The Machine, Sublime built their reputation by developing a sound which mixed and matched from various traditions, especially rap, ska and rock. The band’s profile initially depended on their heavy touring schedule and mesmerising live performances, which helped to build a loyal following among those in the skate and snow-boarding communities – always the group’s natural fanbase. Though the group signed to MCA Records subsidiary Gasoline Alley, both of their first two albums were distributed through the independent network. This led to a substantial grassroots following which 1996’s self-titled third album looked certain to exploit. However, lead singer Bradley Nowell died of a drugs overdose in May 1996, just four months before its release. After some consideration, it was decided to go ahead with its release, as bass player Eric Wilson told the press. “We just want the album to do well so that Brad’s kid can go to a good school, and so that we can continue to make a living.’ In November 1997, previously unreleased songs were included on Second Hand Smoke, which was released as a special limited edition CD in the USA; proceeds from the sale of the CDs went to the US Musicians” Assistance Program, a charity that helps musicians fight drug and alcohol addiction.