Long Beach Dub Allstars (LBDA) has been spreading the laid-back vibes of sunny beaches and reggae tunes around the globe since 1997. It is no secret that its fame is rooted in tragedy. It was in the wake of the death of Sublime frontman Bradley Nowell that LBDA was formed. The reason was partly to pay tribute and keep Nowell’s memory alive, and also to heal through the band members’ shared love of music. The band found solace in the familiarity of writing, recording and performing. With a heavy rhythm section, and often overlooked, but deeply meaningful lyrics, LBDA has embraced the darkest parts of life, the tragedy the band members have experienced, and gone forward, performing around the world, bringing light and love to audiences everywhere for 20 years. CULTURE recently caught up with lead vocalist, Opie Ortiz, to talk about the band, his love of cannabis and the new material he’s been working on.
“Hopefully soon so we can all reap the benefits of cannabis by either smoking [it] or CBD oil or many of its derivatives, which are all helpful.”
Thanks for talking to us, Opie. Will you start out by telling us the history of Long Beach Dub Allstars?
LBDA formed in the ashes of Sublime’s Bradley Nowell’s passing. Friends and musical associates gathered to play out of respect for Brad and Sublime, as well as our general love to play music.
LBDA is a mix of many different genres. How would you describe your sound?
The LBDA genre of music is a combo of many different styles. Mainly reggae along with some rock and soul influences.
After all these years, do you still get excited to play live?
We always get excited to play live! Anywhere and everywhere, but especially locally because that’s our peeps!
You guys will forever be tied to Sublime. Do you consider your music to be a tribute to Bradley, a way to carry on his memory?
Yeah, our music is directly connected to Sublime, but I feel we offer a little bit more of a full range of reggae with keys, horns and such. With a three-piece you are very limited. I’m sure Brad would approve of what we are doing. Obviously, he would do it his way, but a lot of what we do is the same formula that he used.
What is your approach to making music? Do you just let it come naturally in its own time, or do you have a structured writing schedule?
Our approach to writing material is the main musical parts are recorded, then the lyrics are written. Sometimes it’s different though. We occasionally have lyrics that have been written, then music is added later. It all depends on what’s going on at that specific time.
Who are your influences? Who shaped the LBDA sound?
Our influences are everywhere from jazz, soul, reggae, blues, funk and punk—really all genres of music. Lately, I find myself digging for a lot of soul and funk, because I feel a strong connection to that music. It speaks to me more than other music. I think LBDA was shaped by a strong respect for reggae and punk but [is] more now in the reggae grind.
Do you have any new music, shows or tours in the works? If so, what can fans expect?
We have been writing new material and hope to be recording soon, but will be playing new material along with the old favorites.
What are your thoughts on the cannabis movement?
I’m currently hopeful for the cannabis movement! It’s been way too long. These laws have to be updated, hopefully soon, so we can all reap the benefits of cannabis by either smoking [it] or CBD oil or many of its derivatives, which are all helpful.
What are your favorite strains?
I enjoy smoking regularly and enjoy many different strains. Too many to name, but Banana OG, Gorilla Glue, Granddaddy Purp and Royal OG are some of my favorites.
What about your preferred method of consuming cannabis? Are you a dabber, or are you more into joints or edibles?
I smoke blunts, joints and occasionally hit a dab.
Do you consume cannabis while writing, recording and performing?
I smoke every day. So yes, it’s part of all of the above. Usually four or five times a day depending on what the day consists of. Sometimes less, sometimes more.
Anything you’d like to add before we wrap it up?
Keep your eyes and ears open for some new material and more shows coming your way.