Bradley James Nowell was born on 22 February 1968. He was a "swinger/songwriter/guitarist and digital ambassador". He died of a heroin overdose on 25 May 1996 in a San Francisco hotel room. A week before his death he had married Troy, and he had an 11-month old baby boy, Jakob. He also had a beloved dalmation named Louie (which is pictured in the artwork of 40 oz to Freedome and in several videos including "What I Got" and "Wrong Way"). His father built homes and was a guitarist who played Jim Croce songs at parties; his mother was a classical flute player and piano teacher.
Brad's influences were the Circle Jerks and Black Flag, Bob Marley, The Specials, The Selector, and Rum DMC. He attended UC Santa Cruz for two years, but transferred to Cal State Long Beach and majored in finance. He lacked one term to earn a degree.