Written by Cameron Finn and Sason Bishope Parry
After ten years of sustained international touring, critically acclaimed releases, and constant behind-the-scenes content, Sublime with Rome is back with their first album in four years, titled “Blessings”, which singer Rome Ramirez describes as, “a thank you to our fans.” As evidenced by the success of recent singles, “Light On” and “Thank U”, a bass-heavy reggae tune slightly reminiscent of the band’s unique 1992 song, “Waiting for My Ruca”, Sublime with Rome has achieved a perfect balance between creating their own identity as a band and paying homage to their legendary past as “Sublime.”
Sublime had a whirlwind of success as a hugely influential Southern California reggae/rock band between the years of 1991-1996, eventually selling over 17 million albums worldwide. They are widely credited as a pioneer of the reggae/rock genre and their influence on the sound, art concepts, and live performance style of the genre is still apparent to this day. After the untimely passing of original lead singer and guitarist Bradley Nowell in 1996, the remaining members of Sublime, bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Floyd “Bud” Gaugh, were unsure of the future of the band. They spent several years working on other musical endeavours including releases by side-projects, “Long Beach Dub All Stars”, “Eyes Adrift”, and “Volcano”. In 2009, after meeting the incredibly talented 21-year-old singer/guitarist Rome Ramirez, they finally decided to revive Sublime under a new moniker, “Sublime with Rome.”
Sublime with Rome released the album “Yours Truly” with Gaugh in 2011 and “Sirens” with drummer John Freese in 2015. The band was able to recruit adept drummer Carlos Verdugo of Tribal Seeds fame for their most recent release. “We’ve become a family on this last album”, remarked Wilson in a recent interview, when asked about Verdugo joining the band for Blessings. The closeness the band was able to cultivate is apparent on songs such as the ska inspired, “Spiderweb” which smoothly blends tropical drums and an upbeat reggae bassline with one of Rome’s trademark catchy hooks. Their current live show includes a trumpet player and a DJ, calling back to the classic Sublime performance vibe. They tightly perform a fun set of songs from Blessings and their previous two albums, along with a medley of fan-favourites from the past.
The band hopes to continue winning over fans of the classic Sublime with their new album, while at the same time introducing their younger audience to their renowned back-catalogue. Sublime with Rome has proven to be a vital part of the current pop zeitgeist, which is a planned move by singer Rome Ramirez. The multi-talented musician is active on many social platforms including Twitch and Discord, and along with the help of his brother, has worked to make Sublime with Rome more culturally relevant than ever. The band was recently joined on stage by Hip-Hop superstar Post Malone for a rendition of their classic hit, “Santeria” and a video of the performance, including Malone nailing the guitar solo, which has since gone viral. The band also has an upcoming feature documentary to be released in October, which inspired singer Lana Del Rey to record a cover of their summer classic, “Doin’ Time”. Her beautiful rendition of the song made the iTunes charts and a recent video for the cover has surpassed seven million views on YouTube within just a few days of its release.
With a brand new album of feel-good tunes that serve as “a recap of the last ten years” according to Ramirez and an influx of new fans, Sublime with Rome has good reason to celebrate their 10th anniversary. You can catch their stellar live performance on Saturday, September 14th at the outstanding summer festival, Kaaboo Del Mar, along with an October tour.
We were recently able to catch up with accomplished lead singer Rome Ramirez to discuss life, the new album, and the inner-workings of the band.
Sason Bishope Parry: How is life treating you?
Rome Ramirez: Great, man! Just getting ready to head out to a show in Tampa right now. Heard there’s a huge storm heading that way, should be interesting!
SBP: You’ve got a new album out, “Blessings.” Tell us about it. How long did it take to make?
Rome: We wrote the first song ‘mayday’ 4 years ago and have been slowly working on it ever since. We didn’t want to rush this one or feel like we had a timeline. We wanted it to be organic and come from the heart.
SBP: Your new single, “Light On” is an inspiring song. What inspired you to write it?
Rome: “Light On” is just about being away on the road and away from the people you love the most trying to give them everything you can. But it comes at the expense of never being around. It’s sort of bittersweet.
SBP: Sublime has had some ups and downs since the original lead singer, Bradley Nowell, tragically passed away. How have fans reacted to the new music and shows?
Rome: You know, every year I’m more and more surprised at how many old fans know the new songs. It’s really rad to see. But people don’t come to our shows because they want to sulk about old shit, they come because they want to have a good ass time.
SBP: Who writes most of the songs?
Rome: I write all of the lyrics and we all work on the music together.
SBP: Lana Del Rey just did an amazing cover of your classic hit, “Doin Time”. Who’s idea was that?
Rome: That was her idea! And she reached out to Eric asking for him to play bass on it. It turned out fucking awesome and we love the video as well.
SBP: Will Lana Del Rey be joining you on any upcoming shows?
Rome: Man, I wish! That would be dope! We gotta set that up.
SBP: Are you just as excited about Sublime today as you were when you started?
Rome: Hell yeah! Sublime was my FAVORITE band growing up and not one single thing has changed about that for me. It’s legendary and I’m so lucky to be able to sing my favourite songs every night to other people who love it just as much.
SBP: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
Rome: Starting my family and being able to bring them around the world with me.
SBP: You’re playing the upcoming acclaimed Kaaboo Del Mar festival, what can fans expect?
Rome: We’ve been changing up our setlist a lot, trying to get the right mix of energy for our fans. Kaaboo’s a blast though, so we’re definitely bringing the party.
SBP: What’s one secret about Sublime With Rome that nobody knows?
Rome: Eric loves Dubstep.
SBP: What’s next for Sublime with Rome?
Rome: More shows, more music, and more fucking fun. We just want to have a good time doing what we love!
with Rome will be playing KAABOO DEL MAR on Satuday September 14
Tour dates and tickets can be found on the band’s website: www.sublimewithrome.com
For complete info on KAABOO DEL MAR go to: www.kaaboodelmar.com