Monday, March 4, 2024

Elegant’s “Pool Shark”: Bradley Nowell’s Suicide Notice

California, early Nineties.

Regardless of the epicenter of well-liked music rising from the Sundown Strip (assume Weapons n’ Roses) and Compton (assume N.W.A. and Snoop Dogg,) a counterculture hotbed is simmering. Previous to boiling and spilling eastward, upward, and outward internationally with acts like No Doubt, Crimson Sizzling Chili Peppers, Rage Towards the Machine, and Software, it might stay the nation’s worst saved secret.

Among the many soon-to-be juggernauts rests a little-known act referred to as Elegant. Later identified for his or her at-the-hip connection to Ska, 1994 will see Elegant launch their sophomoric LP, cheekily titled Robbin’ the Hood (Gasoline/MCA Data).

Whereas their first providing, 40oz to Freedom cemented their names within the Ska-laden pigeon gap, Robbin’ the Hood (the band’s first launch on a serious label) will show to be a confidently huge departure from their self-released, seismic effort, together with – on the quilt – the truth that your entire album options 13 self-produced songs recorded on a 4-track.

Among the many experimental, acoustic-heavy, usually off-the-garage-floor takes of their new materials lies lyricist and vocalist Bradley Nowell’s most weak, determined suicide word: “Pool Shark.”

Because the band has been selecting up pace and distance throughout the U.S., each dwell and in rotation, Nowell has picked one thing up for himself – a runaway heroin behavior.

Barely pudgy, at all times beaming his 1000-tooth grin, and completely enamored together with his Dalmatian Lou Canine (who makes a number of appearances each on songs, albums, and phases,) Nowell doesn’t appear to suit the standard mildew for a junkie. It has remained aptly hidden in each lightless nook of his public persona, regardless of over 10 makes an attempt at rehab. That’s, till now.

Nowell spares no time and squanders no alternative for thinly-veiled allusions, opening with

Mendacity in my plastic mattress pondering how issues had been so cool to me
My child likes to shoot pool
I like mendacity bare in my bed room tying off the dinosaur tonight
It was so cool

If one can wipe clear the poetic floor, a dirt-laden, harrowing foretelling emerges slightly below. His girlfriend likes to shoot pool. Nowell likes to shoot one thing else. The primary heat, womblike embrace of heroin has lengthy gone. Extinct as dinosaurs. As each junkie will attest, it was cool at first. It was heaven at first. Now it has spiraled him downward into an unnavigable hell.

If there stays doubt relating to the topic or story, it’s swiftly erased within the doorway of the refrain, as Nowell claims:

Now I’ve bought the needle
And I can’t shake
However I can’t breathe
I’d take it away however I’d need increasingly more

At some point I’m gonna lose the struggle.

Elegant’s 5x platinum-selling, iconic self-titled album might be launched in July 1996. The success washing over the band not in contrast to the nice and cozy entombment of Nowell’s first couple photographs of heroin.

There’s just one caveat – At 11:30AM on Might 25, 1996, on the Oceanview Resort, Nowell might be discovered lifeless of an overdose. Lou Canine sitting impatiently on the sting of the mattress, having witnessed his finest buddy lastly lose the struggle.

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