Born and raised in Belmont Shore, Long Beach, California, Nowell developed an interest in music at a young age. His father took him on a trip to Jamaica during his childhood years, which exposed him to reggae and dancehall music; he then gained a strong interest in rock music once he learned how to play guitar. Nowell played in various bands until forming Sublime with bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh, whom he had met while attending California State University at Long Beach. In his lifetime, Sublime released the albums 40oz. to Freedom and Robbin' the Hood to critical and commercial success.
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