By Liquid Todd of Culture Magazine
Sublime singer Bradley Nowell may be gone, but there is no need to panic because the boys are back! The frontman may be new, the name may different, but from the looks of things, Sublime With Rome still provides the same kick-ass Kush-friendly music as the original. Bradley would be so proud. CULTURE got a hold of new frontman Rome Ramirez to hear what he had to say about how he represents the LBC.
So where are ya right now?
I’m home man. I’m sitting on my f@#*ing porch lovin‘ life.
And would you say things are going well for you right now?
Yeah. Better than expected (laughs). Better than I thought I’d be doing at 23.
When did you start really getting serious about music?
I knew this is what I wanted to do at the age of 12 after playing guitar for about a year. I got serious and figured out how to actually go about doing it at the age of 16, 17.
Is songwriting an everyday thing for you?
Yeah, all day long. If I’m not on the road playing on stage then I’m buried somewhere in the studio writing music. I’m usually in the studio for 12-15 hours a day. I just sleep and I wake up and get into the lab.
So let’s talk about Sublime With Rome. Did you ever see the original version of Sublime play live?
No, no. When Bradley died I was only 8 years old.
You guys have a new album out called Yours Truly. The first single is “Panic.” Are you happy with how it came out?
I couldn’t be any happier.
Replacing the songwriter and lead singer of an iconic band like Sublime so long after he died and the band broke up puts you in a really unique situation. It must also be difficult dealing with those die-hard fans who will always resent you for replacing Brad Nowell. How do you deal with the haters?
I just go up there and have fun, man. As long as I keep it from the heart and play and write songs because I genuinely love to do it . . . that’s the only thing that fuels me. I don’t really think about any of the negativity out there. We’re also playing a bunch of sold-out shows where we have people coming up to us telling us it was the best concert of their lives. They can’t believe how much fun they had tonight and all that shit. For us, that’s the stuff that stands out because we’re not going to sell out a show full of a bunch of people who don’t want to be there . . . because . . . they’re not going to be there (laughs).
There’s been some controversy over the surviving members of the band using the name Sublime and playing Sublime songs. In fact Brad Nowell’s family hit you guys with a legal injunction which led to the “Sublime With Rome” name change. I don’t know the inside story but it never seemed to me to be a particularly nasty dispute. Is the family okay with the name “Sublime With Rome”?
Totally. It was really just miscommunication. We didn’t really go about things the proper way. We’re still kinda punk rock so you gotta hold it down like that. We just had to get on the phone and say the right things and everybody had to be on the same page. Now it’s fine. They come to the shows, they bring their family to the shows.
It still must be a little weird having his memory hanging over everything you do. Do you ever thing you’re going to get beyond that?
Out the gate I wrote a hit song for a band that made Billboard history. I mean. I’m not worrying about living up to nobody.
There’s a bit of age difference between you and the other guys. Bud is 43. Is that a problem?
I’m 23 going on 38. I’m an old man. All I want to do is work and smoke weed and play video games. And most kids my age just want to do the last two.
Do you guys get along well? Do you hang out?
Oh yeah, man, we’re always bullshitting around. The dudes are super down to earth. They’re like the dudes next door. It’s hard to believe they’ve sold 17 million records when you see how humble they are. But it’s cool, man. I’m super grateful to be in a band with guys that are that cool, respectful and on time.
Have you ever seen CULTURE?
Yeah. I’ve rolled a couple joints off your guys’ magazine. There’s always some CULTURE mags in my room. I actually used to have the one with the Dirty Heads on the cover.
Awesome. I prefer to roll my joints on the issue with the Wiz Khalifa cover story I wrote.
We just did a track with Wiz. It’s on our album. The name of the song is “Can You Feel It”. A dope track about just sitting back and smoking weed.
Obviously you guys are cool with the greenery. Do you have any band rules about partying?
Uh, yeah. Don’t smoke my stash.
That’s it, huh?
Rule No. 1 is that there are no rules.
Do you have a good time on the road?
Oh yeah. We have a blast.
I’m in NYC–where we apparently lead the nation in marijuana arrests–so buying pot can be hazardous to your freedom. But you live in California where medical marijuana is legal. Do you have a prescription?
Oh totally, man. I just run over to the clinic in my pajamas and pick up a sack of weed if I’m out.
I hate you.
I know it sucks, huh?
Plus you can get all sorts of other great stuff like marijuana lollypops and all those awesome baked goods, right?
Aw, dude, we get everything.
So what are your favorites? Go on. Torture me some more.
Well I can’t really do edibles, man, because I get all fucked up on them and I just end up passing out.
But I smoke all the good shit. I love the OG Kush. We have this dope ass strain out
here called the Holy Grail OG. My God. It’s just as amazing as it sounds. (Both laugh) It’s crazy . . . In Southern California it’s really Kush crazy. But if you go up to the Bay Area it’s really Purps. Like real, real Purps. None of that fake, bullshit Purps.
So is marijuana part of your songwriting process?
Oh, man, it has to be. I do everything stoned. I even take a shower stoned.
Gotta stay clean, right? So how long did it take you to make the new album?
Shit. About eight weeks.
Not eight months? You went in the studio and banged out the whole album in two months?
Yeah, it’s crazy. That’s why when I hear bands that spend like three years in the studio and have counselors and all that shit . . . I don’t understand that, man.
So how many songs did you end up writing?
We wrote about 19, but we put 14 on the album.
That’s what I call a work ethic. Okay, so what would you like to see happen with Sublime With Rome? What’s your dream scenario?
Well we gotta win some Grammys. And we gotta sell a million records. Then we’ll take it from there.