Like most musicians at the age of twenty, singer-songwriter Rome Ramirez was inspired by the music he listened to growing up, including influential reggae group Sublime. Little did he know, he would not only be given the opportunity to jam with Sublime, but to also become their new frontman. The band had not performed as Sublime since the death of original vocalist Bradley Nowell in 1996, but founding members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh knew that Ramirez would be the right choice to sing for the newly reunited band. Sublime with Rome released their debut album, Yours Truly, in July 2011 and have been touring nonstop since. We had the opportunity to speak with Rome himself about fronting this legendary band, what it’s like to write with Bud and Eric and his future plans for a solo record.
OS: What is your musical background and how did it lead you to connecting with the members of Sublime?
RR: I started playing guitar when I was eleven years and I wanted to learn Sublime songs. I played other instruments too, but I was mainly a guitar player. I didn’t start singing until way, way later. I was in a studio in Orange County, and the studio owner was good friends with Eric, the bass player of the band. Eric would come by and hang out and shit, and over the course of time we started to jam. My soon-to-be-manager caught wave that a kid who kind of sounded like Brad was playing Sublime songs once in a while with Eric. She thought of the idea and talked to Eric, and Eric was like, “I was thinking the same thing!” Next thing was going up to Tahoe and seeing Bud…
OS: That’s crazy!
RR: Dude, it’s nuts. It happened so fast!
OS: What is like to be so young, but performing with a band that has a twenty year legacy?
RR: I grew up listening to that music, in particular, so to be able to pick up a phone and call them is just fucking weird [laughs], let alone being on stage and playing their songs!