Sublime - Date Rape (1992)
I wonder if this low-budget, slap-happy, vulgar little video ever saw the light of day on MTV. I was surprised just now to run across it on VH1 Classic's show "The Alternative." As we all know, Sublime was a kick-ass rock/reggae/punk band who would have been truly massive and long-lasting had its lead singer, Brad Nowell, not died of a heroin overdose just before the release of his band's breakthrough self-titled album.
We have three half-assed but charming studio albums to remember Sublime by but only a handful of videos. Most of those, in the style of the posthumous barrage of 2Pac clips, awkwardly inject the same available footage of Nowell before he died. "Date Rape," though, has a full-fledged, breathing, shirtless Nowell spread throughout the video. From the opening shot of him spitting into the camera to the closing shot of him getting whacked in the head by the neck of the bass player's whirling instrument.
The band performs in a smokey room in black and white, while the song's story is acted out in camcorder-looking color shots of a truly smarmy gentleman approaching a single woman at the bar, buying her several drinks and leaving in his car together. Not surprisingly, considering the song's title, Smarmy doesn't take no for an answer, but the victim gets her revenge. She throws a rock at his head, gets a lawyer and calls the cops, then Judge Ron Jeremy sentences him to a couple decades in jail, where Smarmy gets "butt-raped by a large inmate." Played by Ron Jeremy. Who, if you've seen any of his several thousand porn flicks, is no small fry. And is apparently no gentleman where lube is concerned.
Sublime's best music has innovation crossed with certain immature charm, and "Date Rape" is one of the band's strongest singles. That there's an actual video from years before Sublime had any notoriety and Nowell took his last intravenous plunge - an actual video made with a three-digit budget and somehow free of content censorship by the cable channels - well, that's a pleasant surprise on a Sunday morning.